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Kevin Carmony Responds to Criticism 300

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the painting-a-target-on-your-back dept.
sharkscott writes to tell us that LXer's Don Parris took a few minutes to get Kevin Carmony's response to the large amount of criticism he has been taking over offering non-free software in Linspire. From the article: "Essentially, Carmony's position is that, in ten years of holding out, the FOSS community has made relatively few gains, in terms of convincing vendors to release libre codecs and drivers. In other words, the strategy doesn't seem to be working. Additionally, while some will be patient, most users would prefer to have something - anything - that works in the meanwhile."
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Kevin Carmony Responds to Criticism

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  • by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman@gma i l . c om> on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @10:33PM (#15298612) Homepage Journal
    To repost my response to Mr. Paris on the L4C mailing list:

    I honestly don't understand why Pamela got into such a tizzy over Linspire. The entire point of OSS is to allow forking. The OSS software Linspire is using (and sharing) was released by its owners with the understanding that others would use it for both commercial and non-commercial uses. And they were fine with that. All they required was that changes to *their* code be returned to the public. Anything that the licensee creates separately is his own.

    Now that Linspire is taking advantage of that, we're supposed to get worked up about it? Why? If you don't want to contribute, don't contribute. Ignoring the project will kill it far faster than drawing attention to it.

    I have a lot of pet peeves against Michael Robertson (not the least of which is his tendency to greatly exaggerate),. but I don't hold a grudge against the guy. If he wants to share his software with the world while keeping parts proprietary, that's his business. All I ask is that Linspire doesn't lay any Intellectual Property traps for unsuspecting souls. It should be clear who owns what and what permissions are given.


    Note that Mr. Paris pointed out to me that Robertson stepped down as CEO. Carmony is running the show now. (Just in case you pay as little attention to Linspire as I do.)

    My point still holds, though. There's nothing "wrong" with what Linspire is doing with the Freespire project. They're giving away free binaries (which they don't have to give you) along with all the source code they owe you. In exchange, you may or may not become a Click and Run [wikipedia.org] customer. I don't see an issue here. And no, I don't think that Linspire is really expecting a huge outpouring of volunteer programmers, either.

    On another topic (since I can't make fun of poor Mr. Robertson's Linspire work anymore), has anyone noticed the latest from AJAX Launch [ajaxlaunch.com]? It seems that they have added an Excel "Demo" (a pretty bit of XUL that looks like a real spreadsheet), a media player that seems no more sophisticated than the one in sharkscott's link in the summary (if I wanted your website to make noise... grrr...), and a RealPlayer video of the "AJAX Desktop" of the Future.

    Are you amazed yet? Ecstatic? Hopping up and down in excitement? Holding your breath in bated anticipation?

    No, neither am I. :-P
    • by vga_init (589198) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @10:43PM (#15298655) Journal

      All they required was that changes to *their* code be returned to the public. Anything that the licensee creates separately is his own.

      Even though the licenses of the software you mentioned permit this, bear in mind that this is not characteristic of Free software, something that GNU and the FSF are very dedicated to. Since GNU/linux is the most popular implementation of their system, naturally you're going to have a large user base that prescribes to the philosphy behind Free software. Even if you don't like hearing complaints from them, it's bound to happen. :)

      • by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman@gma i l . c om> on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @11:26PM (#15298794) Homepage Journal
        Even though the licenses of the software you mentioned permit this, bear in mind that this is not characteristic of Free software

        Nonsense. Not only does the license explicitly separate your programs from GPLed programs (as opposed to the "viral" view), Stallman has repeatedly stated that he has no issues with software being sold or used commercially. If Linspire is going to provide you with access to commercial software AND users are willing to pay for it, then more power to them.

        Sure, Linspire may not have bought 100% into the GPL philosophy, but that's not the point. The point is that the GPLed software they're still adhering to the GPL principles by sharing any and all maintenance. If they fix a bug, they have to share it. If they add a new feature, they have to share it. If they decide to try a completely different direction, they still have to share it. Thus the Linux software grows, even if it fails to incorporate CNR or MPEG4. Both of those are matters for other [atekon.de] GPL projects [xvid.org] to encourage freedom in.

        This is true even if they don't otherwise want to make their software free. As Stallman said [gnu.org]:
        The goal of GNU was to give users freedom, not just to be popular. So we needed to use distribution terms that would prevent GNU software from being turned into proprietary software. The method we use is called "copyleft".(1)

        The central idea of copyleft is that we give everyone permission to run the program, copy the program, modify the program, and distribute modified versions--but not permission to add restrictions of their own. Thus, the crucial freedoms that define "free software" are guaranteed to everyone who has a copy; they become inalienable rights.

        For an effective copyleft, modified versions must also be free. This ensures that work based on ours becomes available to our community if it is published. When programmers who have jobs as programmers volunteer to improve GNU software, it is copyleft that prevents their employers from saying, "You can't share those changes, because we are going to use them to make our proprietary version of the program."

        Give unto Caesar what is Caesar's...
      • Here's the part that kills me: open source software got its start by bundling OSS programs with proprietary code. This is the history of BSD (and thus SunOS), the whole GNU toolchain including Emacs and gcc which didn't run on an open source platform until the 90s, X windows (which was mixed with various proprietary software over the years, and has always come out the better for it, or at least unscathed), etc.

        Now that there's a working system that can stand on its own, all of a sudden the free software adv
    • Bated anticipation, actually. They're obviously vastly overoptimistic, but serious tools being developed in AJAX can only be a good thing. Mind, these aren't serious tools yet - they have a long way to go yet, but they are very nice proof-of-concept demos.

      Carmony is probably an idiot, but there's nothing that says he can't try and make a semi-proprietary consumer OS.
    • I don't think the problem is Linspire using non-free software. Lots of folks do that.

      The problem was the tone he was taking, talking this up as a wonderful advance that everyone should emulate, lionizing the supposed 'freedom' to 'choose' to be unfree. That's what really set PJ off. And it left a bad taste in my mouth when I read it too.

    • "In exchange, you may or may not become a Click and Run customer."

      And if you don't, you'll be able to do what with your computer? Practically nothing. Without third-party software, Linspire is almost as bare as Windows. Without Click and Run, your computer is little more than a big paperweight. And apt WILL break it. When I tested it, apt-get broke the OS after just three uses to install very common programs; my, what a coincidence that the only other way to get software that they don't profit from break

      • It's like a choice between eating or starving.

        Nah. Those are bi-polar opposites.

        I'd say this is more a choice between paying $49.95 for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, paying $19.95 for some wild strawberries and contaminated groundwater, or starving.
      • My wife bought a Sub300 laptop with Linspire (Lindows then) a few years ago. By now there is no Linspire left on it, it is all plain Debian. There were a few dependency problems but no worse than when you go from say Knoppix or Ubuntu to Debian. I havent tried, but I imagine you would have similar issues transforming eg. a RHEL into a FC5.

        The laptop did not have a CD- or floppydrive, otherwise it would probably have been easyer to install a Debian from scratch. The great thing about a computer preinstalled
    • "The OSS software Linspire is using (and sharing) was released by its owners with the understanding that others would use it for both commercial and non-commercial uses. And they were fine with that. ... If [Michael Robertson] wants to share his software with the world while keeping parts proprietary, that's his business."

      Careful, you're conflating two logically unrelated points there. Proprietary and Commerical are not the same thing.

      People who are in perfect agreement with the commercial sale of softw

  • If... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by xx_toran_xx (936474) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @10:38PM (#15298628)
    If Linux proponents expect to see any sort of growth in desktop Linux usage, they are going to have to back down on this issue. Users want their MP3s to play. They want their videos to play. They don't want to deal with some complicated installation procedure just to get basic functionality that they can get easily, out-of-the-box in an install of another operating system.

    Linspire realizes this, so they're doing all they can to make it easy as they can for new Linux users to use Linux and do what they want. People shouldn't be giving them flack for this.
    • Re:If... (Score:2, Troll)

      by babbling (952366)
      You're missing the point. Free software people are interested in spreading Free Software. Why would they sacrifice the Free Software part of that, just to spread more proprietary software?
      • by tftp (111690)
        Why would they sacrifice the Free Software part of that, just to spread more proprietary software?

        People won't use OpenOffice on a Linux box if they can't play their MP3s on the same box. Throw one proprietary s/w in, and the new convert gets 1000 F/OSS packages to discover. Otherwise she will not even want to look.

    • Re:If... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Brandybuck (704397)
      You mean, rather than trying to get manufacturers to release their specs, we should just throw in the towel and wave the white flag.
    • Re:If... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @11:14PM (#15298758)
      Except you've entirely missed the point of an open source operating system. By the death of a thousand pin-pricks, Linux may soon depend so much on closed code that a great number of the advantages it presents over closed operating systems like MS Windows will largely evaporate. You will either have a flakey system of dubious security that frequently breaks on OS upgrades due to dated drivers, or Linux will be locked into outdated but unchangable kernel schemes, for fear of breaking it's hordes of proprietary device drivers.
      • Re:If... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by RedWizzard (192002) on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @12:13AM (#15298929)
        The point of an operating system is to enable the user to get their stuff done. It doesn't matter if it's an open source OS or a closed source OS, if it fails that primary requirement then it's worthless to the user. Some stuff is currently not doable using only open source software.
        • Some stuff is currently not doable using only closed source software. By your logic, that makes it useless and open source the only option.

          Oops!
          • Only a complete moron would forget about the option of using both open source and closed source software. That's the whole point. Some Free Software people refuse to use close source software so there are some things they just can't do. But people who are not so fanatical need not restrict themselves to one or the other.
            • I run my desktop on completely free software - while there might be stuff I can't do (the only one I've noticed is that I can't play Flash - and being a PowerPC, there's no proprietary option anyway), there's nothing I need to do and rarely anything I want to do..

              I'd be quite interested to know what jobs people need to do that they can't do with free software :)
        • Re:If... (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Arker (91948)
          So by your logic, if I give you a binary blob that 'gets your stuff done' that's it, end of story, right?

          Now what if that blob also lets me take over your computer and do whatever I want with it? Maybe I'll use it to send a few million spams... or maybe I'll just snoop through your private documents and check out your pr0n collection. Either way, doesn't matter, since you 'got your stuff done' right?

          What you're doing is looking at one side of the equation - benefit - but not at the other - cost.

          What 'stuff'
          • Re:If... (Score:3, Insightful)

            by arivanov (12034)
            A large portion of users are happy with this.

            And this is exactly what distinguishes between a possible OSS and non-OSS user. It is not price, it is not ease of use, it is not "what my computer plays".

            I have a couple of friends who are nowhere near technical computerwise (biologists, humanties, etc). They run Linux for this exact and sole reason (and some of them are pretty happy with good old Debian woody as a matter of fact). They use the computer as a tool that does what they need to do for their daily br
            • by Arker (91948)
              I think you largely hit the nail on the head there.

              I'm an example. I'm just a computer user, not a kernel hacker or anything like that. I've been using linux for well over a decade, and haven't used a windows machine in around half that time. I'm always amused at the 'is linux ready for the desktop' crap that keeps getting recycled every 6 months. Of course it's ready. It's been ready for a decade. The question is 'are you ready?'

              Yes, there's some things that toy computers do that linux won't. So what. That
            • Hmm... Maybe Debian (or I guess Ubuntu, since they're more into advertising than Debian) should adopt an ad campaign that lists all the useless crap that their OS doesn't do.
            • That is despite the fact that they get 20-30% less work done as result because of dealing with all the binary blobs taking over the machine.

              That is not completely true, I use Windows XP same as Linux (Fedora Core 4) and I find I am equally productive in both environments.

              In fact, there are things I can do very easily in Windows which on Linux take quite a bit. You see, the truth is that all of the "niceties" that linux has (a bash shell, the GNU utilities, scripting languages like Python, etc) are freely av
              • You forgot to mention that fallacy that some binary drivers are going to "take over your computer" and do malicious things...

                Yes, it's always a possibility, but the chance of the OSS community not figuring out quickly and putting a stop to it is pretty small. Besides, has this EVER happened with binary only drivers from hardware vendors?

                Besides, I always thought this community was all about choice; I'd rather have the bells and whistles and choose not to use them then not have a choice.
            • It's pretty simple, really. People will use what they know, and hey will use what works.

              If linux is so great, one wonders, then why haven't we seen a flood of unwashed masses coming in to be baptized by the OSS community? Is it the MS monopoly? Is everyone just brainwashed?

              It can surely be argued that Linux has all the functionality, and in a large part it does. But you may have to recompile a pogram with certain conf flags. Or you may have to get the latest kernel. Or you may be SOL because there are no dr
            • Your comment is an excellent argument for converting to the Macintosh, not to open source. The biggest argument in favor of open source software like Linux and friends is the low/nonexistant up-front cost. If you're willing to trade initial cost for lots of extra work and less features, open source software is for you. The only other argument I can think of is if you like to tinker and want the source, which contradicts your argument.
          • So by your logic, if I give you a binary blob that 'gets your stuff done' that's it, end of story, right?

            Now what if that blob also lets me take over your computer and do whatever I want with it?

            Unless you check every line of the source of all the software you use yourself, and compile it all yourself, I don't see how open source software is any better than closed source software in this regard. Unless you do all that you're relying on other people to verify the software as secure. Now open source so

            • Re:If... (Score:4, Insightful)

              by Arker (91948) on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @03:33AM (#15299447) Homepage
              You're completely missing the point.

              The point is, look at what you pay for the software. Not just in monetary terms.

              Nvidia doesn't need to put a backdoor in their driver for the cost of it to be too high, because the known cost, without that, is still the users freedom. Their freedom to study how their system works. Their freedom to change how it works, or hire someone to change it for them. The freedom to run WHATEVER OS on it you choose. Sure, they're releasing linux drivers, for now. How's that help you if you want to run BSD? Or Plan9, or BeOS, or anything else? It doesn't. It may not even work when the next kernel comes out.

              At the most basic level, it takes away the customers ability to control the hardware they've bought and paid for, even if it doesn't have any unwanted features.

              There are plenty of practical problems that go along with that, statistically speaking. More bugs, yes, but more importantly a helplessness against the bugs. If your video driver is buggy and crashing your system, or worse, there are many people out there with the expertise to help debug it - but if that driver is blobware they can't help you. You're reduced to complete dependence on the vendor - who probably doesn't even think of you as a customer. Their customers are other big companies - you are a commodity to them. If you don't want to be that, you have to insist on keeping your freedom.

              Now, as to what you were talking about, of course bugs and malware can be inserted in free code - but not nearly as easily, and of course bugs and malware can be detect in unfree blobs - but not near as easily. If that's your only concern, you're an 'open source' person, and that's fine, you still don't want blobware.

              But the issues here are much deeper than the practical - the philosophical is much more important, the practicalities are ultimately reflections of the philosophies we live by, consciously or unconsciously. If you don't mind being a commodity that big corporations buy and sell - an 'eyeball' to the media companies and advertisers, for instance, rather than a customer, then I guess you won't mind having no control of the computer hardware you use either. You'll be happy with the blobware running your computer on behalf of its maker, and all their real customers that they sell you to. It'll get you clippy, and hassle-free hollywood movies, and endless britney spears videos, so why should you care if it means your computer really belongs to MS and is for sale to the highest bidders?

              That's the issue here, at the core. Everything else follows from it, even the practicalities, because they're a simple consequence of the fact that freedom works. But even if it didn't work so well, some of us would still insist on keeping it.
        • Re:If... (Score:3, Insightful)

          Some stuff is currently not doable using only open source software.

          More stuff is not doable because it hasn't been invented yet, either in open or closed source software.

          I've worked on both free and proprietary systems, and the fact of the matter is that I'm much more productive in doing things that have never been done before on free systems than on proprietary ones. By a factor of about 3, when compared to any platform made by Microsoft.

          If "the user" wants to see real innovation in software (and h

        • What is true about the situation on the destktop in 2006 that wasn't true about the server in 1986 with regards to the need for closed source software? The way you fix this is your replace piece by piece by piece. I suggest you look at the history of things like LKP project in the early 1990s it was very difficult to move the app vendors off SCO and Solaris to Linux. But the open source community did it. I don't really see anything different in today's situation on the desktop.

          What's missing right now
      • People already must install numerous pieces of proprietary software on their linux systems. Who uses *desktop* linux without any proprietary drivers or software? Even ignoring drivers, what about Java? None of the Java clones are nearly as good as Sun Java... yet linux distros fail to include Sun Java, forcing nearly everyone using java for any serious purpose to replace it immediately at some unnecessary inconvenience.

        By taking the hardline "only OSS" stance at the distro level, we're just pushing installi
      • At the end of a slippery slope, we find a situation where:
        Linux will be locked into outdated but unchangable kernel schemes, for fear of breaking it's hordes of proprietary device drivers.

        And this would be worse than a situation where the kernel is free to evolve however it needs, but the system can only run in VGA mode because no better device drivers--proprietary or not--were ever released?

    • The distro I use, Gentoo, lets you play mp3s easily. In fact most Linux distributions do. I don't think it's a controversial issue that people want interoperability with their closed format files.

      But that's not the issue people have with Linspire.
    • Users want their MP3s to play. They want their videos to play.

      Well, the problem is distros aren't allowed to distribute libraries that plays mp3 and videos. They get around it, but it's not technically legal in some countries (like the US).
      Compare that to other drivers, like the Nvidia drivers, where Nvidia explicitly allows Linux distros to distribute their drivers, and then you do see distros include the drivers by default.

    • By two tracks I mean one track that has a Linspirish philosophy of just make it work for newbies even if that also means including some closed source proprietory software, AND a purist RMS FSF.

      Really these two tracks compliment each other the closed source development track brings in newbewies while the purest camp can defend our freedoms and perhaps save our butts if DRM becomes very prevalent.

      The point is though why does each side have to try to convert the other to it's philosophy as my way or the highwa
      • By two tracks I mean one track that has a Linspirish philosophy of just make it work for newbies even if that also means including some closed source proprietory software, AND a purist RMS FSF.

        You mean like Linspire and Debian respectively?
        • Or even a pirated copy of Windows 98 if that's all say an activist organization can afford and they aren't techies and don't want to have to mess with config files, and dependencies just to get a damn sound card, or a mouse working. Face it for most people a computer is a tool to do something else. Should an artist worry if the design of their paint brush is open source? I think not...

          And note I'm not saying this to knock RMS, I think he's doing important work on the front lines to protect our freedoms an
      • Freedom to code, read, to own the things you paid for, and to transmit information from one person to another and from one generation to another are just as important if not more important then poverty and war.

        The fact that you and millions of others don't realize the importance of these freedoms for us and more importantly for future generations tells me that we are not doing enough "converting".
    • Good point, but a very bad example.

      Anyone in the know who still uses mp3 absolutely deserves all the patent litigation that's coming to them.

      Especially since there have been viable alternatives for years that are superior in absolutely every way and are a hell of a lot more free.

    • Re:If... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by arkhan_jg (618674)
      The reason that free distros don't have mp3 and some video codecs such as mpeg2 (for dvd) is because of the patent system. Since codecs such as mp3 are patented in the US, it is illegal to distribute them in the US without paying the patent holder a licence fee.

      Since the distro is free, how are they supposed to pay for the licence? Their only choice is to put the rpms, tarballs etc on non-US mirrors, and ask you to get them yourself and pay your own fees if you live in the US.

      If it's a paid distro, they gen
    • Users want their MP3s to play.

      It's not just Joe User who wants his mp3s to play, it's everyone. Seriously, does anyone here ever not add mp3, dvd, etc support and instead go out and find oggs and flacs to listen to and watch exclusively? Anyone who does add dvd and mp3 etc to their home computers has no room to complain when a distro does.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @10:40PM (#15298639)
    ...that the _real world_ does not share their view that politics is the most important thing in software... Functionality is...

    • Except that it's precisely the stand of OSS community - pragmatism over philosophical matters. You must have meant FSF.
    • The OSS team needs to realise...that the _real world_ does not share their view that politics is the most important thing in software... Functionality is...

      Stupidest type of argument ever, claiming that the large number of people who prefer OSS licenses do not live in the "real world".

      There are people, and companies, out there in the "real world", that consider an OSS license an important requirement for software they're going to use - whether you like it or not.

    • Of course, proprietary software is more or less guaranteed to break, get outdated or become abandonware in the future, which means it, by its very nature, isnt functional.
  • by EnronHaliburton2004 (815366) * on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @10:48PM (#15298670) Homepage Journal
    This is the first I've heard of this situation involving Linspire. All I can say is, "Sounds good!"

    I can't believe how many times I have been stymied when configuring Linux because it didn't support my major-vendor video card. The "Open Source" version of certain drivers don't work. I tried an OSS implementation of some Nvidia drivers and it could barely spit out any video at all, much less allow me to use the advanced options on the card. I know the OSS developers tried hard, and I appreciate that. However, it just didn't work.

    At times like these, I don't really care about politics or philosophy. I'm just trying to get the computer working, and if I get stuck because of OSS, I'll just abandon the project.

    I suppose this is the reason why I haven't been a serious user of any Linux Desktop software for years. I use Linux as a server all the time, on dozens of different machines. It works great as a Server.
    • I use Linux as my primary OS, but, seriously, I use tons of proprietary, closed source software. Philosophically, it doesn't bother me a bit.

      I think that most people who agree with the philosophy that all software must be open source only do so to fit in with the crowd. The people who believe in something the least will be the ones who shout that belief most loudly, to prove to the rest of the group that they believe it (I saw this once at a lecture on the use of multi-agent simulations in sociology exper
      • I agree. The future of Linux and computing in general is going to be a symbiosis of open and closed source software. The sooner everyone realizes it the better off we will be. Hopefully, at some point, all widely used software will have a FOSS equivelant that is equal to or superior to closed source applications, but in the mean time room has to be made for proprietary vendors.
    • by jyda (114207)
      At times like these, I don't really care about politics or philosophy.

      So, when do you care? Only when it's convenient?
    • by Znork (31774)
      "I tried an OSS implementation of some Nvidia drivers and it could barely spit out any video at all"

      Of course, I tried running proprietary NVidia drivers with a xen-enabled kernel, resulting in total lockups, while the opensource driver worked flawlessly. The proprietary video card drivers are hardly the best example to bring up.

      Your mileage may vary.

      "I haven't been a serious user of any Linux Desktop software"

      Yeah, well, I was surfing around on Microsoft's site and just couldnt find the "download ISO's" li
  • but it seems to be making him money, so who am I to argue?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @10:51PM (#15298683)
    IMHO, there has been little to no success getting vendors to release documentation to write drivers for three major reasons:

    1) To date, the market share represented by open-source operating systems is very small.

    2) The users and distributors of opensource operating systems have not presented a united front when it comes to the inclusion of propriety drivers and code. In fact, it seems the vast majority of distributors and users are more than willing to settle for closed, propriety drivers (even when they are crap!)

    3) American corporate culture reflexively resists voluntarily releasing information of any kind. It is always easier to say no. Some Taiwanese vendors, for example, have been found by some opensource projects to be rather cooperative when it comes to releasing information. Major American corporations by constrast are a guaranteed stonewall.
  • by rice_burners_suck (243660) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @11:02PM (#15298722)
    Being that we produce real time systems for control, we have a company policy that ALL software we use for development, and all libraries that we license for use in our products, must either come with 100% source code that we can build ourselves, or be developed in-house. This is because, after decades of problems with products and libraries that didn't come with source, our management decided that it would rather take longer to get products to market than suffer the problems and subtle unfixable bugs that are caused by closed source software.

    We believe that the only way the world can successfully advance in the field of computer software is by eventually replacing all closed source systems with open source ones.

    Take an example of Apple's recent success with Mac OS X. This software, although it contains tons of closed source code, is based on open source code and contains literally hundreds and hundreds of free software packages. Apple would never have succeeded in creating such a feature-rich operating system in the time it took to make it without the availability and use of such open source code.

    This is why this Linspire debacle is happening. People know that although the expedient thing to do is to continue using closed source proprietary stuff, the correct thing to do is to get ourselves off that addiction and on to some better software.

    • Actually, up until a few months ago, Apple could have built OS-X on a completely closed-source base by using AIX (which already ran on the PPC) or Solaris (probably portable). On the other hand, they did the right thing and used a base which included the GNU toolchain and X11 as an add-on, making it easier for OSS developers to transition over. In a way a pity, as I'd love to be able to order a Power5 system from IBM, and run OSX on it, but I digress.

      Based on years of subjecting users to Linux desktops
    • This software, although it contains tons of closed source code, is based on open source code and contains literally hundreds and hundreds of free software packages. Apple would never have succeeded in creating such a feature-rich operating system in the time it took to make it without the availability and use of such open source code.

      I agree, the status of OS X as a mixture of open and closed source code, depending on which allows for more expedient development, has been a boon to Apple. Linspire should co
  • BSD by comparison (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mshurpik (198339) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @11:02PM (#15298724)
    Last week's Slashdot article on Theo de Raadt [kerneltrap.org] was about how he's not using binary drivers.
  • by r00t (33219) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @11:09PM (#15298739) Journal
    Ever try writing a 1 to the /proc/self/seccomp file? That blocks everything except read/write on already-open file descriptors, exit, and some stuff for returning from signal handlers. On x86, the cycle counter is disabled too.

    The alternative is an extremely strict SE Linux policy, but seccomp is probably better for this job. One could use both at the same time I suppose.

    I don't want some spyware crap telling Sony/Microsoft/Real/Sorensen about everything I do and probably acting as a backdoor.
  • Groklaw (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @12:05AM (#15298904)
    I'm guessing that this response was motivated (at least in part) by the effort of PJ at Groklaw. For those that have visited recently, PJ did a scathing article on Linspire/Freespire. Really harsh stuff which a lot of people found pretty unwarranted. Myself included.

    So I posted anonymously as I usually do. The odd thing that happened to me was that I found my post deleted. So I posted again ... deleted. Then it descended into farce.

    She seemed convinced that this was an orchestrated attack by Linspire "astroturfers". And when Kevin posted to the forum, she wouldn't talk to him and asked him for an apology from the (imaginary, IMHO) astroturfers. Having said that, Kevin did quote an email he sent PJ which I thought was poor form.

    Anyway, I literally sat there for ages watching post after post being deleted which I thought was amazing. A large number of these posts were quite sensible. They just didn't tow the Groklaw line.

    When it had calmed down a couple of days later, I posted that here is a place where they discuss free speech, but don't practice it. Quite frankly, the amount of groupthink and censorship I saw left me with a very different opinion of the place.

    The best thing about Slashdot's comment system is that it keeps all the posts. Even the trolls.
    • Oh, you'll be sorry. I once posted something negative about groklaw and the great unwashed linux hordes descended upon me like a swarm of blind locusts....

      I mean, geez folks... You come out with a license for your source code. A company _obeys_ the license to the letter, and you're still not happy? Change your license.

    • Cry me a river (Score:3, Insightful)

      "So I posted anonymously as I usually do"


      Why not stop moaning about it and create an account (free) and post from that? PJ's had SCO astroturfers hitting her sight and has had 'friends' of SCO posting her personal details to the internet at the same time she was getting death threats.
      So she might be a little oversensitive. Get over it.
  • Get a market share above 10% and vendors with consider to release on Linux. Get a market share above 20% and vendors will release on Linux. Get a market share above 30% and vendors can't afford not to release on Linux!

    How to get a higher market share? Fix the first top inhibitor of the Linux adoption (http://www.osdl.org/dtl/DTL_Survey_Report_Nov2005 .pdf [osdl.org]). How to fix this inhibitor? One important action (IMHO the most important) is to declare the guidelines of wyoGuide (http://wyoguide.sf.net/ [sf.net]) as the Linu
    • If this would be true there would be no "flemish" release of DVD.
      The Netherlands + Flemish part of belgium represent a much smaller part of "the market" than the "Linux afficionados".
      (BTW in many case there are two different release one for the Netherland and one in Flemish since they are not exactly the same languages.)

      So saying "we'll wait till you have a 10..20..30% marketshare is pure free floating horse shit.

      The key reasons are cultural and political? basically Linux users are not a "nice demography" f
  • by Ivan Matveitch (748164) on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @01:22AM (#15299090)
    I always play my MP3s with a legitimate, patent-licensed player. After I download them from eDonkey.
  • by hansreiser (6963) on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @02:51AM (#15299343) Homepage
    Kevin and Michael are both incredibly nice guys who have a particular angle of insight that no other distro has. That is, that users want something that just works in ways that leave ordinary people knowing what to do, or better, not needing to do anything except the task that interests them. Linspire gets it that most people don't want to do things more complicated than click and run. It takes an enormous effort to make software be just click and it works. That deserves our respect.

    All of us are contributing, each in the ways we most understand. This sniping at each other, it is simply harmful.

    I think I am going to go install Linspire. Let's face it, I don't have the time to hassle with making mp3s and dvd players and voip work on the big distros either, and I am a Linux developer, I can't imagine what ordinary users do when they want to use Linux on one of these distros that requires you to get libraries that don't just compile and work and somehow install them before your dvds can play. Or have they finally gotten it together recently, someone tell me....

    If it is not written by me, it should just click and run.;-) Or at least, make and run.

    Oh, and pissing on nvidia is not reasonable. At least they port to Linux, ATI just ignores us.

    Charity is something to be thankful for, not to demand. Free software is charity. I like to do it myself, but that gives me no right to demand it of other more sensible persons.
    • I think I am going to go install Linspire. Let's face it, I don't have the time to hassle with making mp3s and dvd players and voip work on the big distros either, and I am a Linux developer...

      That's fine, and I agree with you on Linspire being a valuable addition to the Linux family. Still, I think we (as in, the people who at least partially understand the socio-techno-legal-economical consequencies of using proprietary and patented formats) should not stop educating people on this, in my opinion crucia

      • People should be made aware of the choice they're making

        That's as unrealistic as people telling you that not only should you be aware where each item of your clothes are made, but all of the components that went into it. The t-shirt you're wearing now... where was it sewn? Where was the cotton grown that went into it? Who was the cotton wholesaler? Where was it dyed? Where did the dye come from? Who made the thread that holds it together? Who made the tag? Who made the ink for the logo on it? Who m
  • We had a few developers build a mission critical system based on Kylix to run
    on our desktop clients. Now here we are a few years later and borland decides to
    end of life the development environment. The runtimes are dependant on the kernel versions. Now guess what I have, a program that I have to compile and or change on a old version of the operating system and I cannot upgrade production to anything newer I am forever stuck in this situation until a large amount of money is spent to replace the application
    • So don't buy it. He's not saying that its for everyone - quite the opposite, in fact. What you're implying is that its not for anyone, which I don't think is fair either. The GPL ensures that you can always use a different fork. It also gives him the right to do what he's doing. How are you hurt in the slightest by his actions?
  • Lost credibility (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pongo000 (97357) on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @09:00AM (#15300608)
    I grew disinterested with this article very quickly when I came across this non-sensical:

    This fits the perspective of those who prefer non-copleft licenses, namely the Open Source camp.


    What? Since when does the "Open Source camp" prefer non-copyleft licenses? What kind of drivel is this?

    And why is no one screaming and pulling their hair over the fact that Dell ships their RH Enterprise-equipped machines with closed-source nVidia drivers?

    I teach my Open Source Technology students that OS is a continuum, and that everyone falls somewhere along that continuum. ESR embraces the business side of OSS, while RMS (firmly!) embraces the libre side...everyone involved in OSS has some philosophical bent. If PJ has a problem with Linspire, she has every right to rant about it. But since she doesn't speak for the OSS movement, we have every right to ignore her (or pick up the pieces we agree with and discard the rest).

    The beauty of OSS is that there's room for everyone. Don't like what Linspire is doing? No worries, come up with your own distro that ships with OSS versions of whatever it is about Linspire that rubs you the wrong way.

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