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TheOpenCD Launches First Edition 216

Emil fra Loeneberg writes with welcome news from TheOpenCD. "This article on NewsForge describes a project which plans to distribute Open Source Software (OSS) widely to Windows users. You can download a CD image from a mirror site and start spreading the OSS message. It's basically an OSS distro for Windows. This project was also mentioned on Slashdot back in April and now they are ready with a first release. Any first reviews?"
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TheOpenCD Launches First Edition

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  • gnu/Windows (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 07, 2002 @08:17AM (#4832111)
    I don't think microsoft will be very happy with stallman for trying to call it gnu/Windows
    • Re:gnu/Windows (Score:3, Interesting)

      by kenthorvath ( 225950 )
      Could we actually succeed in seperating the windows kernel from the rest of the applications? What would it take to make GNU versions of Explorer (the shell) and other such programs. Could GNOME be ported to windows without Cygwin? And should GNU be changed to GNW in this case or GNMS?
  • by Ezubaric ( 464724 ) on Saturday December 07, 2002 @08:19AM (#4832118) Homepage

    Let's call it America's Open Library (AOL) and send it out in bulk mailings on cheap blue CDs. This has gotta be effective, right?
  • This is great (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bluesman ( 104513 ) on Saturday December 07, 2002 @08:26AM (#4832133) Homepage
    I've been using Open Office on Windows for a few weeks, and it's just fantastic.

    I think too many people focus on Linux when they talk about open-source software, when the beauty of this software is that it's portable and usable on so many platforms. When I have to use Windows, I love to be able to use The Gimp and OpenOffice, since I'm not locked into proprietary formats.

    Microsoft's monopoly exists in their applications, which have always been much better than the easily available alternatives, until now.
  • Overkill? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by 5lash ( 589953 )
    Seems to me like there's gonna be a lot of unnecessary downloading of files you'll never use. How about just a floppy with the Program Browser on it, but links to download the file from the internet? Along with a comprehensive description of the program, users would only have to download what they want. And i don't think i'm being harsh in saying that anyone without an internet connection really needs to shape-up!
    • Re:Overkill? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by sydneyfong ( 410107 ) on Saturday December 07, 2002 @08:34AM (#4832157) Homepage Journal
      I don't have a broadband connection, you insensitive clod.

      Well, actually I do, but many don't.

      Besides, URLs change over time, and if people were so inclined to download the software, a simple google search would do the job, why bother getting it from a CD?
    • Re:Overkill? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Yet another troll. What, exactly, would be the point in making the process of trying out all this open-source software more difficult by forcing a potential user to download all of it? That's what they're trying to do by creating the CD, you see. Make it MORE CONVENIENT, so that people less knowledgable about their computers, or OSS, will consider using it. I mean imagine how impressed someone would be if you gave them a CD of fully functional software that fulfilled most of the needs they'd ever have with their computer, without having to download a thing, with the added bonus that they can let any of their friends have it..legally.

      As for the Internet connection part, well..I more or less have come to respect ignorant remarks such as that from people like you. If you really have lost your perspective, try working out on a calculator how long it would take someone to download 650MB of programs on a 56k modem, which many people are still using for their Internet connections.
    • Re:Overkill? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by AndersM ( 32304 ) on Saturday December 07, 2002 @08:58AM (#4832216) Homepage

      I think the power of this CD with a load of goodies on it is that it can be downloaded by a LUG or similar activist group and duplicated (with a burner, or perhaps at a CD factory if the group has the financial resources).

      Then they can distribute it to all those people who don't necessarily have the connection or the patience to wait for the big downloads to finish.

      Remember, the target group here aren't the power users who have dsl or cable, but the home users who might still be happily downloading their mail with a 56k modem.

      Put yourself in the position of a computer user without particular interest in how the computer works. When your computer-savvy friend hands you a CD and says "This disc contains a lot of good, free software, and no, it isn't pirated! Just pop it in and try!" - you'd be a lot more inclined to actually trying it out than if the same computer-savvy friend told you to check out an URL, and wait for long, long downloads, wouldn't you?

      I certainly think the OpenCD is an excellent way of pulling people onto the bandwagon. It's already moving, we just need to give it more mass and more momentum.

    • Re:Overkill? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by stwrtpj ( 518864 ) <p DOT stewart AT comcast DOT net> on Saturday December 07, 2002 @09:09AM (#4832241) Journal
      Seems to me like there's gonna be a lot of unnecessary downloading of files you'll never use. How about just a floppy with the Program Browser on it, but links to download the file from the internet? Along with a comprehensive description of the program, users would only have to download what they want. And i don't think i'm being harsh in saying that anyone without an internet connection really needs to shape-up!

      The reason this is a bad idea is because this is NOT how most Windows apps are shipped. Most Windows apps do not force you to go to a website to download the software, they come on an easy-to-install CD. The idea is to have users believe that OSS apps are just as easy to install and use as Windows apps. You don't want to point people to a URL to download, only to have it change, or to suddenly have what was once a stable production-ready release replaced with the next beta.

      Also, recall that some of these apps are going to be GPL, which means they come with the source. Not everyone has broadband, and those source bundles can be HUGE.

  • How About The Games? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 07, 2002 @08:28AM (#4832140)
    They should make an OpenGames CD with FreeCraft, FreeCiv, Doom, Quake, Quake 2, Tux Racer, etc. etc. Kids would love it.
    • by bryanp ( 160522 )
      Look around on the web page. At the page where you can see a list of what programs are on the CD -

      http://www.theopencd.org/programs/index.html

      You'll see a link to the right called "More Programs"

      http://www.theopencd.org/programs/MorePrograms.h tm l

      Lots 'o games shown there.

      (sorry, I'm feeling too lazy to make real links today, cut & paste)

      • "This is because the list below is simply a list of all the programs that were nominated for inclusion in this, the first volume of the OpenCD, which is intended to cover mainly desktop software."

        no those are just links to projects and are not on the CD, note that Mozilla is on that list. if all of this was on the cd id be dling it right now.

    • by dzym ( 544085 ) on Saturday December 07, 2002 @10:34AM (#4832546) Homepage Journal
      Just making a CD with Doom, Quake, or Quake 2 executables isn't going to work. You still need to distribute the data files--and the shareware or demo versions of each won't cut it because they're released under a proprietary license.

      You may contribute to a project such as Freedoom [sf.net], however. I'm fairly certain there's an analog for Freedoom for each of the currently big-name open-sourced id software games.

  • by CaVi ( 37216 ) on Saturday December 07, 2002 @08:29AM (#4832143) Homepage
    Free OSes (Linux, BSDs,...) have a lot of values, _one_ of which is their large library of free applications.

    By bundling those for windows, people will have less reasons to switch to one of those free OSes. Of course, there are still reasons, but there is one less.

    People who don't matter for ideology behind free OSes won't bother switching. ANd I'm afraid this means a lot of users...

    There is some momentum which is needed with free OSes to have the attention span of big companies, and convince them to throw resources at supporting their products under those OSes. Having less people switch to those means less momentum, and therefore less attention.

    On the other end, using those tools under Windows will at least render much easier data exchanges, and is therefore a first step in breaking the dependency on those proprietary and more or less closed formats.

    I'm not sure if this is ideologically good or not. It will for sure be usefull for those who have no possiblity to switch of OS (because of job requirements, or games,...).

    My 2 cents...
    • by concord ( 198387 ) on Saturday December 07, 2002 @08:58AM (#4832214) Homepage
      I agree with you. I don't know the answer to that either but it's not going to succeed or fail based upon what you or I do.

      Let's not forget the fact that free software _is_ free and that includes the fact that people will _always_ want to port it to unstable but popular platforms - we can't (thank you GPL) stop it. We don't want to anyway, right? If software is free but only to people who want to use it or port it to particular "approved" platforms, is it really free?

      Let's not lose sight of the fact that we aren't here to hurt Microsoft. We're here to help people enjoy better software and to give them the freedom to enjoy it secure in the knowledge that it'll always be there for them, their children and their children's children. The GPL ensures that it always will be.

      In the long run I hope you're right about the fact that it'll make popular free OSS windows programs which can save in formats compatible for _all_ users of the program, regardless of their OS.

      My 2
    • by Peter_Pork ( 627313 ) on Saturday December 07, 2002 @09:02AM (#4832225)
      Yes, let's make OSS look like M$... This is about free software, that you can use in any platform, in any way you want. As people use OSS more and more, the OS will matter less and less, that is the only way to get rid of monopolies (call them M$ or Linux, they can be as bad).
    • by rickymoz ( 533931 ) on Saturday December 07, 2002 @09:13AM (#4832259) Journal

      Maybe you have one reason less to switch, as you say, but you will have one reason less NOT to switch. Think of all the people who say: hu? OpenOffice? I don't know that, I'll stick with MS Word, at least I'm comfortable with it.

      So basically their reason not to switch is that they are not familiar with OSS. With this CD, they will be and this kills this reason which keeps them hooked on proprietary software.

      • For me personally, these programs have helped me become more and more comfortable with the idea of using linux on the desktop. I haven't switched yet, but I'm close enough to actually be dual booting now thanks to all the developers that released my favorite programs cross platform.
    • to have some people use Free software and see some of the benefits, than to have those people only use Free software if they switch away from Windows altogether?

      A CD like this is helping users down a path, where you want them to climb a wall.
    • Nothing new here ... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jc42 ( 318812 ) on Saturday December 07, 2002 @12:09PM (#4832990) Homepage Journal
      I have a number of friends who are stuck with using NT at work. They say they have an approach that works pretty well. They note that Microsoft claims that NT is POSIX compliant. They take this at face value, and start downloading the source for all the usual POSIX-based tools from the online linux archives. They compile them, and they mostly work quite well.

      There are problems with the things that just don't work right, of course. But a friend put this in an interesting perspective. Back in the early days of POSIX, the committee sent out requests for specs for a system called WEIRDNIX. This was defined as a system that was technically in compliance with the POSIX specs, but took advantage of every loophole and ambiguity to do things in the worst possible way. This was a technique of pre-emptively adjusting the wording so that vendors would have difficulty violating the spirit of POSIX.

      The Microsoft version of the POSIX libraries can be viewed as an implementation of WEIRDNIX. This should give you a good idea of them problems that you will encounter.

      But in general, the gnu and linux tools are widely reported to work pretty well on NT. Better than the NT tools, anyway.

      --
    • By bundling those for windows, people will have less reasons to switch to one of those free OSes. Of course, there are still reasons, but there is one less.

      I disagree. The widespread availability of open source software in the Windows world can attract people to open source operating systems in the long run, but it's a two-step process:

      Step 1: "Why do I have to dish out hundreds of dollars for Microsoft Office and its countless upgrades if OpenOffice.org works just as well? I'm gonna work exclusively with OpenOffice.org from now on!"

      Step 2: "Wait a minute - all the applications I am using have been originally developed for Linux. This means on Linux they are supported at least as well as on Windows, and may be even better. I won't lose anything by switching to Linux completely, but I will save an additional few hundred dollars!"

      The advantage is that such a two-step switchover to Linux can be performed without any (perceived) risk. The would-be windows converts can take their time getting used to open source applications without immediately giving up the (perceived) safety of their familiar Windows environment. Altogether, this is probably a Good Thing.

    • By bundling those for windows, people will have less reasons to switch to one of those free OSes. Of course, there are still reasons, but there is one less.

      Whilst this is a valid point and true, one of the biggest problems with the Slashdot mentality (and I'm not suggesting that you have this, because I don't know you and your comment seemed well balanced) is that there is this misguided belief that everyone on the planet is unhappy with Windows and would change it at the drop of the hat.

      This isn't really the case. There are plenty of people (millions) who are just fine and happy about Windows and don't really care about moving. They see Windows as an enabler to other productivity applications and as long as it's enabling (which it does pretty well) then they have no reason to move.

      So the question ultimately is:

      Do you want to show these people the alternatives out there and accept they possibly aren't going to move from their closed OS?

      Or do you want to avoid doing such a thing and accept that they may never ever see any open alternatives?

    • Somebody may have mentioned this already, but I'm on a really slow link and can't read all replies right now. All I want to say is that _not_ porting Free software to Windows would basically amount to locking people into free OSen. Think about it.

    • I think you're looking too short-range. Look at what happened with gcc. Once gcc became a powerful C compiler, available on non-free platforms, it became extremely widespread, and eventually a massive amount of code became dependent on _gcc_ instead of a proprietary alternative. Then, once the Free operating systems became more mature, people MUCH more easily ported to them.

      The same can occur here, too. It's very difficult to get Word users to switch to Linux! But if the majority of word processor users (for example) used Open Office (or Abiword or KWord), then they'd find it essentially trivial to switch.

      People don't buy operating systems. They buy applications, and then get the operating system to run it. If you want people to use your operating system, you need to get them to use the applications that run on your operating system.

    • People who don't matter for ideology behind free OSes won't bother switching. ANd I'm afraid this means a lot of users...

      Windows running GNU software is still Windows, with all its warts, usability problems,and inefficiencies. End-users notice, believe me. They notice when their shiny new 2GHz machine crawls through problems slowly. They notice even more when their Windows machines fail, as they are prone to after running for a few months, and people stop giving them free technical support and suggest installing a more reliable OS instead.

      Overall, I think bringing some open source software to Windows is good, namely software that workes like entrenched Microsoft products but costs less: Mozilla, OpenOffice, lots of utilities and games. When a Linux program does something that isn't easily available under Windows otherwise, it should not get ported: those programs provide additional motivation to switch.

  • by OtisSnerd ( 600854 ) on Saturday December 07, 2002 @08:30AM (#4832144)
    This is an admirable idea. Unfortunately, it will suffer the same fate that Linux suffers in most businesses; no drop-in replacement for MS-Access. I'd love to see an 'Open Office' product replace that bloated hog MS Office, but my employer lives on Access. It's used as both a front end, and as stand alone single user databases. --- Is it possible for Newsforge to use an even smaller font? I can barely read it now...
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 07, 2002 @08:46AM (#4832186)
      But openoffice already HAS Access functionality, and it's relatively painless to setup.

      it requires an external database, anything that can be used via odbc, basically. unfortunately, i don't think it handles access files themselves *yet*.
      see here: on linuxmafia [linuxmafia.com] for more information on this topic.

      ashridah
  • by b0ycheese ( 587473 ) on Saturday December 07, 2002 @08:37AM (#4832165)
    Blank cd's are cheap, so using them to distribute free software is a wonderful idea. If you can burn this, and give it to a few friends, co-workers, or family members who use windows, if they like it, most likely they'll burn it and pass it on (the probably already do this with other software anyway). This being legal, they'll actually feel good about redistributing it. The wider this gets spread, the less money goes into the pockets of people who head greedy corporations, and more money goes to the actual programmers. In my mind, if i'm getting all my software free, i'm more likely to be able to donate directly to the programmer(s) to keep the projects going, because i'm not wasting money on pretty boxes, or supporting company bureaucracy. Send copies of this or knoppix out with your christmas cards this year. Give people the gift of freedom. :)
  • "As you might expect, the headline acts on the CD are OpenOffice.org, AbiWord and Beonex"

    Actually, I'm a bit surprised by Beonex's presence. I would have expected Mozilla and/or Phoenix in its place. Can someone fill me in what (if anything) makes Beonex a better choice? I've tried it out briefly, but don't remmeber any significant improvements over Mozilla itself and it seems to get updated much less frequently.

    And yes, I do realize that Mozilla isn't intended to be for end users, but it works well for me so I'm hoping for answers that will actually help me to understand the difference in practical terms rather than based on intent.

    • Re:Beonex (Score:3, Redundant)

      by Rhinobird ( 151521 )
      From thier FAQ:

      Q. Why didn't you include Mozilla?
      A. We were contacted by a developer in the Mozilla project, who asked us not to include Mozilla. The Mozilla.org project provides binaries for testing purposes only, as anyone who has read this page knows -- scroll down to the very bottom, and you will find a notice to that effect. In short, they do not want to wind up providing end-user support to people, and so they ask people not to re-distribute Mozilla unless it has been customized to make it clear that Mozilla.org did not provide the binary and will not support it.

      Unfortunately, it is not at all clear what requirements we need to meet in order to be able to re-distribute Mozilla, or what level of customization would be needed to do so. Also, we didn't have anybody willing to take on that task. If you want to help us out with this, get in touch! Beonex is a fine product, but we tend to think that Mozilla is better, especially since it is updated much more often.

    • Re:Beonex (Score:5, Informative)

      by Aanallein ( 556209 ) on Saturday December 07, 2002 @10:52AM (#4832630)
      Can someone fill me in what (if anything) makes Beonex a better choice?
      Although like any other distribution based on Mozilla (like Netscape), Beonex is running behind in features on the regular Mozilla releases, it does actually have a few things that it does better than Mozilla.
      If I'm not mistaken (*actually bothers to check the website [beonex.com] - ...I'm not) Beonex 0.8.1 is still based on Mozilla 1.0.1, so it's got all that stability, yet it does offer a few features from the trunk, such as the option to view HTML mail as plain text.
      Another feature from Beonex which isn't found in Mozilla at all (yet?) are options to set the HTTP_REFERER; I think you can opt to never send it, to only send it within the same domain, to always fake it to somethign else (not sure about this one), or to just send it always.
      Where Mozilla preferences are set in such a way that they don't provide optimal security and/or privacy, Beonex has changed those defaults so they do. (Improved privacy & security are the main focus of Beonex as I see it.)
      Beonex also comes with a spell checker by default, something which the latest version of Mozilla is still lacking. (Yes, the Netscape 7 spellchecker is currently once more working on linux builds, but not on windows.)

      Of course, now I'm comparing Beonex with Mozilla, while what I should do is compare Beonex with Netscape 7. There you trade in integrated AIM/ICQ for popup blocking (though that's finally coming in Netscape 7.01 - even with whitelisting options), image blocking, better default preferences, and general lack of AOL clutter.

      Basically, Beonex would be the ideal distribution for any geek if it wasn't for Mozilla itself appealing more.
  • Some Cynicism (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anik315 ( 585913 ) <anik@alphaco r . n et> on Saturday December 07, 2002 @08:45AM (#4832181)
    This needs to be done in conjunction with a robust support system (that corporations would pay for). The software can be free, but for businesses to adopt this kind of thing, there will need people who provide the operational support and integration sevices which can not be effecively done without money. The prime candidate for this job is IBM. Once people use this at work, they'll use it at home.
    • 2 things:

      1) "robust" support system? Wait a minute; Inappropriate use of the word robust...that's marketing-geek-speak! He's a secret Microsoft spy, seize him!!

      2) Businesses have in-house support. Yes, some small businesses just hire reboot-monkeys to call Microsoft tech support and wait on hold for a few hours, but most places would prefer to write one check instead of two.

      Enter the power of Free software...with more of an understanding of how the software actually works, the in-house support folk won't need to ask anyone as often. If they do, they can email the guy who wrote it. ;)
  • by JessLeah ( 625838 ) on Saturday December 07, 2002 @08:50AM (#4832196)
    The faux pas isn't the target audience itself-- it's a bad misjudgment of how far "market penetration" (if I must wax Corporate for the moment) will go among said target audience.

    Or, to put it more clearly-- this CD is targeted at bringing open-source software to people who otherwise would not use it, or maybe even have heard of it.

    But how many of those people are going to have heard of OpenCD.org? Joe Beer and his wife Martha surely aren't reading SlashDot. Or Kuro5hin. Or $OTHER_GEEK_HANGOUT_SITE.

    Not to be a fatalist, but I don't think this CD (which is an EXCELLENT idea in concept) will get very many users. Sure, here and there a rabid OSS person will show it to all of their friends, and that's a Good Thing. But one thing SlashDot readers (and posters) tend to underestimate is the colossal "mindshare" Windows and Microsoft products in general hold. People, realize-- to many people in this country, Bill Gates is a "great business leader", to some almost a hero. Many people aspire to be like him, and hardly anyone (excepting geeks) has anything against what he's doing. We at SlashDot aren't quite so complacent-- but the great masses of people in this country ARE!

    Going against the MS monopoly with this nice OSS CD is like... well... To make an analogy to Star Control 2 [classicgaming.com], it would be rather like going up against a fully-loaded Ur-Quan Dreadnought in a Shofixti Scout. With the Glory Device broken...
    • Well, while i agree with most everthing you just said, that doesn't mean we shouldn't try.

      I'm going to distribute this CD to everybody i can, & tell them, if they like it, to copy it for others!

      Even if it never gets a fraction of the market, more users are always good, even if it is just a few.
      Isn't that what keeps OSS going?
    • by Teach ( 29386 ) <.graham. .at. .grahammitchell.com.> on Saturday December 07, 2002 @12:41PM (#4833153) Homepage

      Sure, here and there a rabid OSS person will show it to all of their friends, and that's a Good Thing.

      Exactly. And it all depends on how many "friends" you have. I teach computer science and webmastering at a largish high school near the "Silicon Hills" of Austin, TX. I've got over 100 students in my classes. And there are over 2000 in the school.

      You can bet as soon as I get the ISO downloaded ("ETA: 14:27") I'm going to burn a dozen copies or so and make them available to my students. Especially if I encourage them to burn copies for their friends, too. There's a "healthy" warez scene at my school, so they know how to do that, at least.

      My students influence their less-technical friends, influence their less-technical parents who will then influence their coworkers, and will soon influence their classmates when they go to college. It all starts somewhere.

      This is the same reason I keep copies of the latest RedHat on hand which I loan out for students to copy/install. I collect a $5 "ransom", which they get back if they return the CD.

      And as Apple learned in the 80s and Microsoft knows right now [msdnaa.net], making cheap products available to computer students can grow up a generation of people who may pirate now, but will probably pay for your product when they grow up and start getting paid.

  • How about GNUWin??? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Artemis3 ( 85734 ) on Saturday December 07, 2002 @08:54AM (#4832204)
    This looks like yet another GNUWin [gnuwin.epfl.ch]...

    They really have to catch up :) Go GNUWin team go!

  • What a good idea (Score:2, Insightful)

    by skinfitz ( 564041 )
    I like this. Easy to use software that is genuinely useful in a well presented form. Well done.
  • This is awsome. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Lokist ( 596852 ) on Saturday December 07, 2002 @09:59AM (#4832389)
    How many times have you Windows users had to download a shareware program that expires after 30 days? or have the program throw annoying popup windows after using it?

    This is awsome for the Windows community. It brings a little bit of open source to a closed sourced world. Maybe we can convert a few?

    Recently I sold someone a system that came with Windows XP. After debating if I should throw Linux on I decided that since the owner already paid for XP, they might as well use it... The problem was that they didn't have a word processor, they couldn't do graphics editing...they couldn't do anything... Whats the point of Windows without something to run on it?

    I ended up downloading Mozilla (because as we know... we can't trust Microsoft), Gimp, and Open Office... Wouldn't it be great if someone kept things organized and put out one handy dandy ISO for it all?

    If anything... This shows that the open source
    world is not selfish... We are bringing our software to a system that wants nothing to do with open source.

    See ya Bill Gates...

    --
    An active Open Source Advocate.
    • How many times have you Windows users had to download a shareware program that expires after 30 days? or have the program throw annoying popup windows after using it?

      Well, what I see happens is this:

      1. www.google.com
      2. serial "Program name"
      3. enter serial

      Maybe your grandma doesn't do that. But when her 15 grandson comes visit, poof goes the nags/expire dates. This has been around slashdot a few times, it's much more common than downloading huge warez or cracks. No "unknown" software downloaded from various sites, just copy-paste a key. Not trying to defend it, but it sure happens a lot.

      Kjella

  • WHAT??? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SuperDuG ( 134989 ) <<kt.celce> <ta> <eb>> on Saturday December 07, 2002 @10:09AM (#4832432) Homepage Journal
    you slashdot the website the cd images are stored on and you want us to review them? Basically you've set the project back almost 2 days until the story leaves the front page.
    • The project needs hits... they probably don't really mind getting some. They're not getting setback 2 days, they're getting ahead a couple months by Slashdot users actually using it and giving them a good foundation.

      So yeah, they should post mirrors, but this is better than no story at all, by a lot.
  • by MeanMF ( 631837 ) on Saturday December 07, 2002 @10:11AM (#4832448) Homepage
    Is there somebody out there who is going to collect 1,000,000 of these and deliver them to Richard Stallman? If so, sign me up!!
  • by Christopher Doopov ( 624261 ) <doopov@despammed.com> on Saturday December 07, 2002 @11:39AM (#4832860)

    From the What is TheOpenCD [theopencd.org] website:

    "It also includes a selection of essays about Open Source philosophy, and links to other programs that might be of interest."

    I'm sorry, but what is exactly open source philosophy? Open source [opensource.org] is about technical and economical advantages. Free software [gnu.org] is about philosophy [gnu.org]. Please do not flame me for saying the obvious. When Eric Raymond took Debian Free Software Guidelines [debian.org] and published them as Open Source Definition [opensource.org] in 1998 he did it exactly because he wanted free software without the strong philosophy associated with the "free software" term [gnu.org] since at least the announcement of the GNU Project in 1983.

    I think that TheOpenCD project should not talk about philosophy if they want to promote the open source movement. But if they think that the philosophy is important, then they should promote the free software movement and change their name to TheFreeCD. Because the philosophy is exactly the difference between free software and open source movements. If they talk about "open source philosophy" they are being against the main priciples of both movements.

    TheOpenCD project people should read these books:

    Those books are not very long, but they provide enough background to let avoid using such unfortunate oxymorons like "open source philosophy." I strongly respect both free software and open source movements and I can not stay ignorant when people insult any of them, while the term "open source philosophy" insults both.

    • You'er right, "Open Source Philosophy" is an oxymoron; "Open Source Ideas" or "Open Source Thinking" might be better. The two books you mention are quite good, and are both included on the CD in full (plus some essays).
  • AOL cds (Score:2, Interesting)

    by spazoid12 ( 525450 )
    Does this mean some rich person is going to fund the mailing out of billions of Debian CDs to every person in the US on a weekly schedule competing with AOL? Instead of "1000 Hours Free!" it could read "Your Life: Free!".

    All kidding aside, some kind of grassroots movement for that might be cool even without some rich person to fund it all. You'd go to a website and grab a copy of a standard CD label graphic, burn 20 CDs of some distro, package it up, and then send them out (maybe to a list of addresses provided by the website). A distributed effort to mimic the AOL campaign for OSS benefit, coordinated by some volunteer website.

    Although CD-R blanks are practically free, where can you get empty DVD cases for super cheap?
  • by Mustang Matt ( 133426 ) on Saturday December 07, 2002 @12:23PM (#4833055)
    A lot of these programs are cross platform.

    A lot of linux users don't understand why anyone should spend the time to write/port windows software. The reason is that this sort of thing helps users transition at their own pace.

    They have the ability to run open source software under the OS that their familiar and comfortable wth and the next time the license renewall comes up they can say, "hey, I can run this same software under a free OS instead of paying license fees!"

    I've gotten a lot of Windows users to start using PuTTY, WinSCP2 and OpenOffice. I really think this is the first step to becoming comfortable with linux on a daily basis.
  • hmm (Score:3, Interesting)

    by zapfie ( 560589 ) on Saturday December 07, 2002 @12:25PM (#4833066)
    From the article..

    "Given that we now have this fast, secure, desktop-ready, free OS, why doesn't everyone switch?"

    Hate to argue the third point, but until Linux has a single, consistant, easily understandable set of user interface guidelines that most people follow, I don't think we are there yet. One of the main rules of UI design is consistancy, but a user's experiences will differ vastly from one program to the next, often not allowing them to take what they've learned in one program and apply it to another. (for example, toolbars get located in different places, menu layouts work differently, widgets don't behave the same way, buttons on standard dialog boxes are placed differently, some support context menus, some don't, etc etc.) I'm not saying it's any better or worse on the Windows side, but in my eyes, that really is a major hurdle we need to work on as a community before we proclaim Linux a "desktop-ready" OS.
    • The argument is getting tired. There is no such thing as a "Linux desktop". There's numerous different desktop environments that run on Linux, such as KDE, GNOME, *Step, you name it. If a user only uses one of those environments, he has a perfect consistent UI.

      Thanks to openness, a user can use applications based on different toolkits and environments in parallel, but this has nothing to do with missing inconsistency in the "Linux Desktop", a thing that doesn't exist and, Thank God, will never exist.
      • Uh, no shit. Hence why I carefully avoided mentioning toolkits, desktop environments and the like. What I suggested was a single UI specification, not windowing environment. Also, realize what a programmer and a power user wants out of a computer is not what a typical user needs. You are not a typical computer user. Nor am I. We'd probably both make lousy interface designers. For my needs, Linux on the desktop is already where it needs to be, but for the common user, I don't feel that is the case. Drink some coffee, and try reading my previous post again.
        • Looks like I really misunderstood that. I read your text more like "everything should be one architecture".

          You're right about the UI design issue. But on the other hand - I consider many Windows interfaces just as horrible as a rushed-together Linux interface.
  • sell them (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bcrowell ( 177657 ) on Saturday December 07, 2002 @12:45PM (#4833172) Homepage
    I'd love to make copies of this and evangelize at the school where I teach, but my CD burner is at home, where I only have a modem connection. I'm sure I'm not unique in this regard. It would be a real service to the open-source community if someone would start selling copies and accepting payment via PayPal.
    • Re:sell them (Score:2, Informative)

      by Darnit ( 75420 )
      I brought this up early in the process and have gradually gotten to the point that I can do this. The only thing missing right now is a CD cover and a way to put a CD sticker on the CD.

      If you would like some, I will burn and package them for you for the cost of shipping, cost of CD, and a couple bucks for my time (if you want 5 or more). 5 CD's would prolly cost about 5 dollars for shipment to the lower 48 United States.

      Just email me (remove SPam) epenneSPam@engunx.unl.edu

      The CD covers should be done this weekend and I can have some CDs ready for shipment early next week.
  • ...that so many people have posted comments about this being a BAD idea. My thoughts on this are as follows...if we can get Free Software on Windows desktops, we have our foot in the door and we have the potential of encouraging people to take the next step and try Linux or a BSD. If people see that Free Software is not necessarily Amateur Hour, they will be less likely to dismiss it out of hand.

    I pulled the switch on my boss at the tech school I was working at last year. I put the Open Office beta on her computer and had her play with it a little. She used it for a while, then made the comment, "So, that's Office. I know Office. But where's Outlook? Did you forget to install Outlook?" It was then that I explained that this was not MS Office, but OpenOffice.Org. Better than those Folger's commercials! ;-)
    • I'm not convinced that anyone is served by treating these applications as a "gateway" to install other applications. Instead, I think the focus should be on delivering Free software on all platforms for its own sake.
  • by an_mo ( 175299 )
    Just tried enhusiastically vnc as I am an avid user of pcanywhere which I think sucks. Anyway vnc is so laggy on some software to be totally unusable. Still a long way to go to replace pcanywhere
    • Re:VNC (Score:2, Interesting)

      by tweek ( 18111 )
      TightVNC is your friend. Not only does it enable compression and cuts jpeg quality, but it encypts communications.

      With TightVNC, I connect to our NT servers using 8bpp, compression 9 and jpeg quality 0.

      Job done.
      • I tried it and it is better than vnc, but it still lags quite a bit relative to pcanywhere. Word processing is pretty hard to do. I may have not found the best configuration, but on a dsl connection pc anywhere is pretty good, tightpnc lags.

        THings improved by checking all the update handling boxes but I have no idea what's the best encoding. I set display to 8 bit and tight encoding but it is still noticeably worse than pcanywhere.

        Any suggestions? Thanks.
  • Why GIFs?! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LinuxInDallas ( 73952 ) on Saturday December 07, 2002 @01:35PM (#4833426)
    Does anyone else find it odd that they use the GIF graphics format for displaying the screenshots of the open source apps they are distributing? Isn't there still a big stink about using GIFs? And even if there wasn't, PNG is still the way to go!
  • I have already downloaded this and the whole image is available on my P2P (gnutella) share. Wouldn't it be wonderful if a lot more people would do the same?
  • by snilloc ( 470200 ) <jlcollins@hotm a i l . com> on Saturday December 07, 2002 @03:03PM (#4833909) Homepage
    I won't use this project exactly as it stands, but I wasn't previously aware of some of the programs, and I will incorporate some of them into my own shareware/OSS/cracked CD.

    As somebody who (like many /.-ers) provides cheap and/or free tech support to family and friends, I make my own "distro" of software for Windows that gets installed as needed. Being a pragmatist, some of the software I have used is less than legally pure. I try to find free (beer) and free (GNU) software wherever I can, but sometimes a few serial numbers come in handy.

    As has been pointed out, nobody is going to install Beonix on somebody else's computer. You're either going to update their IE and leave it at that, or you're going to give 'em Mozilla at best.

    Also, I'm going to keep giving people WinAmp. No, it isn't free in the GNU sense, but lots of people use it... It's not some wierd product that nobody has ever heard of and can't figure out how to use. And I always keep an installer of Adobe Acrobat around. Sure, I'm probably violating the EULA, but what the hell? I hate going to somebody else's house and waiting for a dialup download and then charge these good people by the hour when I have already spent a lot of time ridding their computer of viruses and I have better things to do.

    Probably, the biggest question I am asked about the super-anal-free-GNU software I install on other people's computers is "why?". Why, when Winamp exists and is supported, would I install FreeAmp or anything else? People don't want to hear about RMS and the GNU philosophy, they just want their shit to work, and as cheaply and easily as possible.

    To summarize, my personal softare collection will

    • Try to minimize the amount of legally questionable software on it, while not being anal about certain things like re-distribution of a free (beer) product.
    • Give people software I think they are capable of using - if this means occasionally using a serial-ized shareware program, so be it.
    • Not leave a computer unable to read common file formants (acrobat, zip), thus minimizing the amount of time I have to deal with these people.

    My biggest wish from the OSS community (and I am not a programmer, and I don't have the time to learn), is for a good Windows virus scanner. I have used (and still use) free (beer) virus scanners because people don't want to pay a ton of cash to make their computer usable. I more-or-less like the one I am using now (grisoft), but I have been burnt by "discontinued programs" before. Bait and switch. I suspect that the scanner itself wouldn't be too hard to write, but updating virus sigs on a regular basis would be.

    What would probably be more useful to people like myself is a "virtual" CD.... A list of freely available (but not anally or unnecessarily GNU-ized) collection of download links to software ... and the total download size magically adds up to 650 MB or less.

    • Because installing one is theft and installing the other is not. You can rationalize it all you like.

        1. As to the specific "why" question I addressed in my previous post... Winamp and some other free (beer) programs can be downloaded free of charge and free of any registration of any kind. Using a GNU alternative is dumb from my perspective when no money is involved and the end-user is satisfied. This is what I mean by being GNU-anal. Another great example of the "why" question is alternative browsers. Some people think I am insane for using Mozilla. "What's wrong with IE?". I tell them, and they don't care. NO THEFT INVOLVED.
        2. Installing "free" Acrobat reader on more than one computer may or may not actually violate the EULA. It probably does, but then again, there are copies of the AcroReader installer on all kinds of CDs that never ever get "registered" for free or whatever the hell Adobe does nowadays. I'm not losing any sleep over this, and neither should anybody else.
        3. I have explicitly stated that I install serialed software. No rationalization necessary. I fucking stole it. And not to "justify" or "rationalize" my actions, but I'm not the only person who does this. The reality is that people steal software. Projects like this one are a good place to start. Being overly GNU is probably holding back the project's popularity at this point, but it ain't my project.
        4. Some of the choices on the CD aren't choices that I would personally make. But it ain't my project, so they can do whatever the hell they want. I only offer my suggestions.
        5. My suggestion to somebody with a lot of free time is to make a virtual CD. From the project's perspective, doing this would eliminate issues of software registration for free stuff, and eliminate the whole "Mozilla not being an end-user item and we don't want outdated software being shipped" thing. Basically, a list of BEST TOOLS FOR THE JOB, gratis. The GPL-license sufficient but not necessary. Having such a collection of legal but not necessarily GPL software will bring down the amount of total software piracy, and I think we can all agree that would be a good thing.
  • I can't find the source on the page. Am I just another stupid Slashdotter, or are they missing something??

    --j
  • OK, I go to the site and I find that it's a 'distro' of assorted open source windows software.

    That doesn't matter though. OSS is the only thing that matters. What it is, what it does, how well it does it, NONE of this seems to matter any more--the dividing lines between any two sides of the coin have all faded, and now we're left looking at exactly one question: Is it OpenSource(tm), or EvilProprietary?

    Open source as a methodology and a scheme for distributing software is excellent. OpenSource as a cult is exactly as bad as any other cult, and that seems to be the way the OSS world is going--straight to cult status. "You're either with US, or you're with the TERR'RISTS!!!" "My 'puter is L33t--I don't have any proprietary software on it!!!"

    Honestly, tell us about new software projects. Tell us how they're licensed. But don't base the QUALITY or VALIDITY of a project on its license, and whether it's OSS.
  • by cos(0) ( 455098 ) <pmw+slashdot@qnan.org> on Saturday December 07, 2002 @05:22PM (#4834513) Homepage
    ...but I offer my own Open Source Software CD to people at my school and recently on eBay [ebay.com]. I used Slashdot's story a few months ago about what software for Windows to include on a CD-ROM to get about 666 MB worth of software.

    First I gave out a few for free to friends. Then others that are in our computer science classes -- people I barely know -- started asking me for my "open" CD for the DJGPP compiler that's on it. My school uses the ancient Borland Turbo C++ 3.0, and DJGPP's IDE, RHIDE, emulates it very well -- a great alternative to paying $70 for the suite. So far a few tens of CDs were sold at my school and two online.

    These CDs are quite popular.
  • The Moral Issue (Score:2, Insightful)

    by rinkjustice ( 24156 )
    I think open source software is not so much an alternative to proprietary software but rather an alternative to stolen proprietary software, aka warez. I personally use GPL software because I can't afford the proprietary "versions" and I'd rather not steal it. Linux tends to be the perfect platform to run software of this ilk so I use Caldera OpenLinux as my main and only os.

    Open source is a lawful and creative answer to warez! Perhaps it's an angle distributers like OpenCD should look at.
  • The ISO image is only 300MB, so more than half of the CD is empty. I would suggest filling it with some music [openmusicregistry.org]. The empty space should be filled with about 100 songs. Free software is not the only Free data out there, there is also Free music.

  • Sounds kind of like Phat Linux [phatlinux.com] to me.
  • GNU Win II (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Bill Kendrick ( 19287 ) <bill@newbreedsoftware.com> on Sunday December 08, 2002 @03:01PM (#4838979) Homepage
    Somehow I hadn't heard of (or forgot about) TheOpenCD.

    I'm vaguely familiar (as in, two of my apps are included in, and I just submitted many more to) the GNUWin II [gnuwin.epfl.ch] CD. It's the same idea. A CD of Open Source software we all use and love; just Windows versions of them.

    I guess I'm going to have to find someone who runs Windows and have them nominate [theopencd.org] some of my ported games [newbreedsoftware.com] to TheOpenCD. :^)

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