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The Future of Closed Source Software and Linux 566

slashy writes "What is the future of closed source software and Linux? delves into the subject and emerges with a possible answer. Quote: "I have been struggling with one major problem lately with the Linux operating system and that problem is the amazing lack of new and exciting software. It's frustrating because by the time said software does finally make its way down to the Linux user, the Windows crowd has been using it for nearly a year or longer. Perhaps some of this is because there does not appear to be a clear, simple to follow outline cooperative for companies to design for the open source operating system. Arguably this is because of the perceived need to keep things "open," however, I feel it's time for Linux to grow up and find some kind of common ground with the closed source community. I am a firm believer that both parties could learn a lot from each other; unfortunately I don't see that happening any time soon."
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The Future of Closed Source Software and Linux

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  • by Red Alastor ( 742410 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @01:56AM (#15837636)
    If you find there isn't enough software for Linux, you haven't browsed your repositories. I'm not saying that "I miss software X" isn't valid but if you think there isn't enough new things to try in general, you are not trying very hard !
  • Article Summary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SnowZero ( 92219 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @01:57AM (#15837638)
    Summary: I like Outlook, but its not available for Linux. Evolution doesn't work enough like it, and Microsoft is unlikely to release a Linux version of Outlook. Boo-hoo. Why can't we all get along?

    I was kind of hoping for something a bit broader than one example heaped with a few generalities...
  • by WindBourne ( 631190 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @01:57AM (#15837639) Journal
    Apache, mosaic, jabber, etc were started on *nix. But these are server apps. There are many more desktop apps that were started on Windows and then FINALLY ported to *nix. What it will take is to make Linux a competitive place for desktop. Hopefully, as Google moves their apps on over linxu and forces other companies to compete on the same platform, then things may change.

  • by AnyThingButWindows ( 939158 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @01:58AM (#15837645) Homepage
    "I feel it's time for Linux to grow up and find some kind of common ground with the closed source community"

    I believe it is time for the closed source community to grow up and find some common ground with Linux.
  • Wha? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by RandUser ( 799024 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @01:59AM (#15837646)
    What is he talking about? Linux doesn't need new or exciting features, it needs further usability improvements and for the products currently available to mature. Feature bloat is not something I wish to see in the GNU/Linux world - function over flash has always been the mantra and it is definitely not outdated.

    When there is a gap for new programs, they will be created. When someone needs to get a task done and there isn't a tool, he will scratch that itch - eventually, if enough people have the itch it becomes widespread. I also have no idea where he is coming from about this release gap between windows and linux, unless we're talking about games which is a whole other can of worms.

    And finally, has he checked out XGL/compiz? That is some bleeding edge technology that is unmatched currently and definitely some cool stuff to play with. Basically I don't understand what this guy's beef is and how it relates to closed/open source - GNU/linux has all the software it needs being developed and the few closed source vendors who don't want to play nice and port are not the fault of the open vision.

    Of course, I am basing this entirely on the summary so who knows. *shrug*
  • Excitement = Bad (Score:2, Insightful)

    by rai4shu2 ( 987626 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @02:03AM (#15837662)
    If you're excited, it's probably because it barely works. We don't need more of that type of software on any OS.
  • Wait a second... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MostAwesomeDude ( 980382 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @02:03AM (#15837665) Homepage
    So, what he's saying is that Linux people aren't trying hard enough to make closed software available on Linux? ...

    I almost feel like Obviousman here. Linux can't accomodate closed-source software easily BECAUSE IT'S CLOSED AND THUS IMPOSSIBLE TO INTEGRATE SEAMLESSLY INTO OTHER APPLICATIONS. Linux has no obligations whatsoever when it comes to compatibility -- they've published all their docs, spotty though they may be, and they use standards. Microsoft, Adobe, and now-defunct Macromedia have done neither, with some exceptions such as SWF and PDF formats.

    If this guy wants more integration, he should stop bitching at Linux, which has an open kernel API; he should stop bitching at GNU, which is completely and totally open. He should be directing his trolling at Microsoft, who has made no efforts to make their software work on top of Linux kernels.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 03, 2006 @02:07AM (#15837682)
    Why would any company want to open their source code and share their intellectual property with everyone? Hours later, someone would be trying to sell a rebranded version of their hard work.
  • by SocietyoftheFist ( 316444 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @02:12AM (#15837692)
    No coherent vision with a bunch of competing vendors. One target needs to emerge with the kind of support that Windows has down the whole stack. I've been hearing about Linux taking over this and that for 6 years now, I only see it replacing UNIX.
  • by ozmanjusri ( 601766 ) <> on Thursday August 03, 2006 @02:15AM (#15837699) Journal
    I believe it is time for the closed source community to grow up and find some common ground with Linux.

    There will come a time when proprietary software will be routinely written for Linux, but I would prefer it didn't happen too soon. At the moment, the consequence of proprietary software developers ignoring Linux (and other FOSS OSs) is that open source developers are having to create the entire software stack.

    The FOSS community won't just be developing an OS, but office apps, graphics tools, audio, video, CAD etc. It makes the task of creating a viable alternative to Microsoft harder, true, but the end result will be that an entire suite of FOSS software will exist for the platform by the time commercial interests start noticing the market.

    At the moment, the lack of pressure from commercial interests is allowing the FOSS solutions to develop at their own pace, so the longer the proprietary companies keep shooting themselves in the foot by ignoring Linux, the better. Given time, any company wishing to compete in the Linux market will have to produce software which is significantly better than the established FOSS tools, and that has to be good for us computer users.

  • by MMaestro ( 585010 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @02:21AM (#15837717)
    Sure, right when Linux shows multi-BILLION dollar profits, a SUCCESSFUL business strategy and doesn't have thousands developers each creating their own 'perfect' GUI.

    With the exception of servers and anti-virus software, Linux is far, far away from being a serious threat to Windows (and Macs.)

  • It's not all bad (Score:4, Insightful)

    by also-rr ( 980579 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @02:22AM (#15837718) Homepage
    Woohoo, I get to recycle my +5 comment [] from last night

    Proprietary software, as long as it doesn't make the system less free, is not necessarily bad.

    For example a proprietary document system that uses open formats and has open APIs does very little to harm the user and potentially fills a niche that cannot be served by free software very well (eg handles certain legal compliance issues, which requires expensive insurance and research).

    As long as you *could* write your own software to replace bits of the system, or interoperate with the system, then you dont necessarily have to for the benefit to be very real indeed.
  • by RotateLeftByte ( 797477 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @02:25AM (#15837724)

    As has been stated, this article is nothing more than "I want outlook on Linux".

    If you take a good look at real world closed source software (ie sold by companies not based in Redmond, WA) you will find most of the top app providers already selling Linux versions of their products. For many, this was a no brainer as they already had Unix (of various flavours) versions of their key products.
    Then you get companies like IBM who are (IMHO) actually looking at replacing windows with Linux as the key dev platform. For example, if you look as some of the WebSphere range of products. Until fairly recently, there was always a need for at leat one windows system to act as the dev host. Now, with the switch to Eclipse based dev tools they can also use linux instead of Windows in this key area. Ok, they are not betting the farm on linux succeeding in this area but with each release the need to use windows grows less and less.

      We don't need Outlook on Linux. What we need is a decent email/groupware client that will interact seamlessly with MS Exchange that provides all the functionality of Outlook but without the underlying problems that it has.

      What bugs me about Office 2003 is that outlook had lost its ability to export the account settings. What you have to use is the office exporter which produces a file which is a horrible missmash of Binary & XML (no the binary is not wrapped in XML) that only the office imported can read. I know this is part of the M$ lock in policy but previous versions of lookout so that other email clients can read them easily. So now, you have to import them manually. I get really annoyed with M$ when the go on about their interoperability policy. It if nothing more than pure FUD.

  • by kfg ( 145172 ) * on Thursday August 03, 2006 @02:25AM (#15837726)
    If you find there isn't enough software for Linux, you haven't browsed your repositories.

    Ahhhhhhhh, but he's not really talking about software, is he? He's talking about Microsoftcompatibleware and Buzzware.

  • by L.Bob.Rife ( 844620 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @02:26AM (#15837733)
    The counter-argument is that many companies are basically seeking people who will port their code for free, and then profit from their efforts. Companies can either pay actual salaries to programmares and get it coded closed-source, or donate their intellectual property and get it ported for free, eventually. Either way, they have to pay.
  • by l3v1 ( 787564 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @02:27AM (#15837736)
    mazing lack of new and exciting software

    Yes, sire, I shalt bow before thee. Am I alone to think such opinions come from the usual thinking-to-be professionals who don't actually use those "exciting" software but find it fashionable to talk about having it and using it and knowing it, etc. ? What is "exciting software" anyway ? There are of course applications which have some purpose and are designed nicer, slicker than the others, some even are more usable than others, some are more professional, etc. Still, "new and exciting software" is a so broad and bland formulation that it makes the whole opinion unworthy of any serious consideration.

    Apart from the above, OSes other than Windows happen to have very many good applications for a wide variety of goals (and yes, the job and the goal is what defines what software to use, we don't just use a software because it's "exciting" and "new", unless the special family of what I usually call toy apps), and surprisingly (well, not for us) they are usually developed in a much faster pace than in the case of some other OS. Also, needs of the crowds and recognition of some missing niche software (and the implementation of it) usually happens more frequently and faster in the non-Windows world.

    If just talking about the number of maintained and developed apps, and the number of areas these applications target, then Linux is better performing in some of these areas than any other OS out there. There are probably a lot of people who at least once thought how nice would it be if this app existed also on Windows, and guess what, these wishes come true more frequently than not. In my world this is one of the biggest strenghts of FOSS development which also makes such developers much more evolved in my book, since they are mostly developing to be platform-agnostic.

    If I were wearing my troll-boots, I'd tell you where to go with those new and exciting software you so hardly seek, but I can't find them so there you go, all I can advise you now is to take a much broader point of view upon the Linux and FOSS world, formulate goals and try to find existing software to achieve your goals, and after experimentation you still feel the lack of those exciting pieces of software, than all you can do is search for other pastures where exciting-software-trees grow by the dozen.
  • by Chaffar ( 670874 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @02:28AM (#15837737)
    "Evolution is a very clumsy feeling program with a lack of fluidity. Getting it to work with the MS Exchange plugin works about half the time (tried it on many distributions) and it's just a pain to use in the first place."

    Go ask Microsoft why they lock down their products the way they do, it's not really the OSS community's fault.

    the fact remains that I am tired of having to boot back into my Windows install to do some pretty basic stuff. [...] There is one application that cannot be run at all because of its dependency on Internet Explorer - Outlook 2003.

    Well if you're sooo dependent on Microsoft products, and you admit it, then you should now understand WHY OSS is so important. We're seeking to empower the individuals, who in today's setup are at the mercy of software companies. And your experience of Linux has only highlighted even more this need to have an open alternative to Windows and its flagship "products".

    If you want to exclusively use Linux, then the first thing you need to learn to do is to COMPROMISE. Understand that you'll be better off not using MSN messenger or Outlook, and start looking at the alternatives. We're not here to emulate windows, we're here to offer a different desktop experience.

    As for the lack of new interesting things in the OSS world, well I'll just say that you haven't been looking hard enough. Not all the interesting stuff comes in a .deb or .rpm ...

  • What's to follow? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Todd Knarr ( 15451 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @02:31AM (#15837746) Homepage

    I'm not sure why companies would need any special outline for Linux. That it's open-source is irrelevant for most software, really. If you're making a kernel module the issue comes into play, but very few things other than actual hardware devices need kernel modules. If you include GPL'd libraries in your software there's a licensing issue, but then if you include any libraries licensed from third parties you've got a licensing issue when you start distributing them and you're going to have to do some negotiating and cough up some money. I don't think there's any GPL'd libraries that apps on Linux have to use, so any app should be able to avoid the issue if they want to. The only thing left is integration into the system:

    • Installation of the software. Not much to say here. A simple tar file that can be unpacked and copied under /usr/local, or that's got an installation script that does the work, should work on any Unix out there including Linux. At worst you've got to add a library directory to /etc/, but usually a small wrapper script that sets LD_LIBRARY_PATH appropriately obviates the need for that. If you want to use the native packaging system you've got to build binary packages, but that's usually straightforward and covered in the documentation for each distro.
    • Integration into the system startup scripts. There's a couple of different layouts for the startup script directories, and each distro has it's own little customizations you have to accomodate for perfect integration (things like how the script should check for the software already being started during runlevel changes, stuff like that). But how much software really needs to be set running during startup? Most doesn't, but the few packages that do have some complexity on their hands.
    • Desktop integration. This isn't a Linux issue, it's a Gnome and KDE issue (those being the two major ones these days). Their Web sites have guides on how to do this right IIRC, and if you follow them it should work for that desktop on any platform the desktop runs on. Linux is simply another platform.
    • Integration with the desktop. Um, this is Unix. There is no single desktop. Any user on the system can run any desktop, and in fact run different desktops at different times. Best bet is to follow the guides for integration, check for each desktop and integrate with all that're installed, and provide a single executable (or a wrapper script) that a user can run from the command line that'll start your app. That last insures users can use your app without any desktop integration at all by simply manually creating a launcher for it where they want one.
    • Copy protection. This can be an issue. The world outside Windows is remarkably hostile to the sorts of copy-protection schemes seen in Windows software, and Linux isn't unique in this. License key servers can be used, but they tend to cause more headaches for your customers (even when working properly) than for pirates. Hardware keying is a pain since Unixes tend to hide the hardware so well the detailed information isn't readily available (you can get it, but it takes a fair amount of hackery).
    Have I missed anything? I don't think I have, and aside from the issue of copy protection none of the above needs any special communication or coordination between the software vendor and the Linux community or distributions to deal with beyond reading the relevant docs. Maybe it's that the vendors have a problem believing it can be that simple after all these years of dealing with the complexities of Windows?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 03, 2006 @02:32AM (#15837748)
    Apparently not, silly child. You have yet to learn that you don't know everything.
  • Tell me about it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by loomis ( 141922 ) * on Thursday August 03, 2006 @02:33AM (#15837751)
    I am a novice linux user who is currently struggling through converting my computers completely to Ubuntu.

    It has really been a challenge for me, not so much due to anything wrong with Ubuntu, but because the "aftermarket" software just doesn't exist, or is really poor.

    For example, can you believe that there are no good graphical FTP clients for linux? It's true. I have been using gFTP, which most people consider to be the best one, for about a week. It crashes almost daily, isn't very good option-wise, and it is soooo slow. I want something simple, say something like WSFTP for windows, and lo and behold it just doesn't exist. Seems remarkable that a good graphical FTP client doesn't even exist.

    The same can be said for a Mavis-esque typing program, and a simple photo editor like the immensely popular Irfanview.

    Indeed these are the stumbling blocks for me. Not the distribution, but rather the software inavailability.

  • by coralsaw ( 904732 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @02:37AM (#15837765)
    Businesses do not really care if something is open source or closed source or whatever. This is a fallacy. Businesses care about ROI, pure and simple. And when you care about ROI you want to maximize your returns for a given size of effort. Which in our case, in a very watered down analysis, would mean:

    1. Tapping into high-margin customer segments (server software, niche workstation software)
    2. Tapping into the mass market (read: consumer)

    In case 1. Linux is King (TM). Look at Amazon, Google, e-Bay, with more coming aboard.

    In vase 2. XP is King. Which means there are more desktops to tap, and more consumers that are used to pay for software (or need the software) that run XP on their machines rather than Linux. We all know why, major reason being that traditionally Linux was not Desktop-Newbie-Consumer friendly. With the advent of DNC-friendly distros like Ubuntu, Xandros, Linspire (observe: paid or not!), the segment grows, more business plans result into positive ROI, more new software is written for Linux.

    Granted, there are secondary problems in terms of supporting many distros, the fact that FOSS repositories have zillions of "new and exciting" software already for free (if only one could take the time and look at it), etc.

    But the initial assertion of the article: open source viz closed source -> no new and exiciting software is a false assertion, I'm sorry to say. /coralsaw
  • Re:Article Summary (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Melllvar ( 911158 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @02:42AM (#15837772)

    Ya know, I read and re-read the article at least three times (I really did!), because all I kept getting out of it was the sheer cluelessness of its premise. Seriously, Outlook? Is there anyone out there whose spent more than five minutes ruminating over computer OS issues who believes that Microsoft is seriously gonn get behind Linux/Unix versions of its flagship products?

    Besides Dvorak, I mean.

    The article also cites Shockwave and iTunes as examples; but I've never felt even remotely outta the loop for being without either one of them. I frankly don't understood the weird obsession with those silly little Mac music players (my 2-year-old, 20gb, non-DRM compliant, format agnostic iRiver still kicks serious enough ass, thank you); and as for Shockwave ... well ... in I dunno how many years of XP usage I've had to put up with, I've never even had to bother with using Shockwave, so why install it? So I can ... what ... finally have that full, uncrippled [] experience?

    There's only one thing that ever brings me back to Windows with any regularity. And that's gaming, pure and simple. You show me a critical mass of support from the mainstream PC gaming industry for Linux/Unix support, and I'll be outta here faster than Mindy Gates can say "Microsoft Bob."

  • by bky1701 ( 979071 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @02:58AM (#15837815) Homepage
    Sooo... you think it's totally reasonable to ask the Linux coders, committed to free software, to help port closed software, so the closed software companies can make more money...? I don't see the commitment on part of the Linux coders to help companies with too much money make more myself.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 03, 2006 @03:03AM (#15837825)
    Ummmm ... If no one is willing to take the jobs to port software to Linux, does it make sense to then turn around and complain that there's not enough commercial software available for Linux?
  • by jeswin ( 981808 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @03:15AM (#15837853) Homepage
    Here is a point many Slashdotters are missing, when they see the word "Closed Source".

    Closed source should not be defined as anything packaged in disks or as installable on the local machines. The majority of closed source is now disguised as Web Applications. When we raise arms against Microsoft, we are supportive or at best silent about the dozens of useful web applications that spring up. Google Maps, Spreadsheets, BaseCamp and the rest are as closed source as Microsoft are. And so are the algorithms that power things like search engines.

    As Google and others bring newer applications on the Web, and as the desktop applications get replaced by Web Applications we will have "Closed Source 2.0".

    Actually they might be worse that the current breed of closed source.
    - When Web Applications shut down you have nothing!
    - You dont have code to reverse engineer
    - Hell, you don't even have the data with you
    - You have no idea what they do with your data!
    - Can we depend on their security?

  • by rolfwind ( 528248 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @03:30AM (#15837878)
    On the other hand, I am finding proprietary operating systems becoming less useful all the time. For instance, does MS's refusal to open up NTFS hurt its competitors? Not really, linux has great file systems available to it, so one place I would have potentially had a dual setup, I went all linux because I didn't want FAT32 (no permissions), nor can Windows interface with a lot of the file systems I use out of the box.

    The same can be said with Open Office vs Microsoft Office in regard to open documents. I am finding closed documents a hassle because that means I can use only a very limited subset of apps to manipulate said document - and not every should be a one size fits all (except emacs:) )

    I'm probably the exception these days, as with some hassle, drivers can be added to Windows to let it read other filesystem, and Open Office can run on Windows.

    But other benefits of Open Source are repositories, as you mention, and I find the convenience of one central spot on my computer to download and automatically install known good software with a few button clicks (sans spyware/adware) beats any Windows experience hands down (which usually includes searching the web, downloading, installing, hoping it's not malware, adware, etcetera for every app).

    I really could not see going back to something like Windows. It just seems like too much work and money. Quite a reversal from the Linux experience like around 1999 or so.
  • by aztracker1 ( 702135 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @03:32AM (#15837884) Homepage
    Damn, and I have mod points... still. Part of the problem is a lot of software, but very little *good* software.. Video editing comes to mind... Kino is nice for basic edits (cut/order) but handling additional audio tracks, and the interface for some parts is cumbersom. Pitivi is at least a few years away from being usable... Live seems interesting... As do a few others.. but spending the time to setup programs that *aren't* in the repositories, to find out they suck, and don't uninstall properly/completely... after a few days of trying, it sucks..

    Honestly, I am pretty comfortable with linux, but this is just one area that irks me to no end... There's plenty of other areas, but honestly, I'd pay $100-300 for a mid-grade video editor (Similar in features to say Pinnacle Studio, or iMovie) ... Unfortunately the market isn't there on that end for linux.

    Photo editing is another big thing.. and no, the gimp does suck... not feature wise, function/UI wise.. GimpShop goes a bit towards making it better, would be nice to see those changes migrated into the main tree... I've always liked Paint Shop Pro... and if it ran decent under WINE would use it there instead of VMWare... It's one of the few Windows apps I still rely on.

    Generall office apps, email and web browsing, pretty much there... outside of that, there is a *LOT* to be desired... how about a decent bittorrent client? I would KTorrent is decent, would like to see it approach uTorrent, or Azureus on usability/features... and in all honesty, if I had more time, I would donate some of it towards improving things... However, I do a lot more web based programming, and far less desktop/gui development.. it's a bit of a different mindset.
  • by NickFortune ( 613926 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @03:42AM (#15837911) Homepage Journal
    Why would any company want to open their source code and share their intellectual property with everyone?

    What the GP actually said was:

    I believe it is time for the closed source community to grow up and find some common ground with Linux.
    I can't see anything there that says "open source code" or "share ip", can you?
  • by NickFortune ( 613926 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @03:47AM (#15837926) Homepage Journal
    Agreed. The whole thing reminds me of how I felt in my first couple of months using linux, when I really, really wanted Linux versions of GetRight and ZoneAlarm. Shows how much I knew then, really.

    He's on firmer ground with flash - as in the browser plugin, anyway. Even then, I'm not too worried. All those flash ads out there provide therir own pressure on Adobe to keep Flash as cross platform as possible.

  • by dnaumov ( 453672 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @03:50AM (#15837936)
    "I believe it is time for the closed source community to grow up and find some common ground with Linux."
    ...the ant told the elephant.
  • by hhinde ( 538730 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @03:55AM (#15837945)

    As a long time Gentoo user I have dealt with many problems over the years trying to use a Linux distro as a main desktop OS. And I have finally come to the conclusion that Linux on the desktop is not only dead, but never really got started.

    I sit in chatrooms trying to help newbies and all I hear is "is there a Linux app that works like " And when you point them to the Linux equivalent they come back stating that the product you pointed them to is incomplete. Take Office and for example. Sure Office is very bloated, but it is also the defacto standard and Openoffice has never been and probably never will be 100% compatible.

    Another example is the day to day life of a web surfer, videos and flash from the web. All the interfaces available for Linux to stream video are so clunky that they are nearly unusable. And don't even get me started on Flash. It just sucks on Linux.

    And then you have the poor hardware support. I have two laptops and two desktops. My two laptops are completely out of the question as most of the hardware is too new to be fully supported. Everything from native LCD resolutions to no native support for the wireless card. And on my desktops, one still runs Gentoo as a server, which Linux is ideally suited for, the other, in order to play games (which once again is pathetic on Linux) I have to run that other OS.

    So to all the fanatics and fanboys, Linux will never be a force on the consumer's desktop. It's not bad on the business desktop because of its management capabilities and actually because of some of the flaws listed above (no worrying about employees watching movies or wasting time on Flash games). And in the back room Linux is the light in a once dark world with its power and plethora of server software.

    Until the hardware manufacturers start writing native drivers (and aren't vilified for keeping their company secrets hidden) and until the major software manufacturers begin to believe that Linux is a viable consumer platform, Linux on the desktop is dead.

  • by geminidomino ( 614729 ) * on Thursday August 03, 2006 @03:57AM (#15837949) Journal
    Unless he's not talking about OSS developers. The first thing I thought of when I saw that comment about "growing up and looking for common ground" was the eternal NVidia flamewar. This IS a proprietary company trying to serve the OSS community, but they're constantly getting flack because they're not willing to go all the way to open-sourcing their drivers. Personally, I don't care. My interest is in making my computer work, but it seems I may be in the minority there.

    That sort of behavior could conceivably make other companies disinclined to even consider linux.
  • by russellh ( 547685 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @04:02AM (#15837960) Homepage
    Good points. but on the bright side they can do a lot less damage to your system.
  • on communities... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by costela ( 198904 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @04:03AM (#15837961)
    "the closed source community" ??

    yeah, that's like saying "the borg individuality"!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 03, 2006 @04:03AM (#15837962)
    Closed source "community"? I don't even really feel there is much of a real community in open source, but if there's one there, there's even less of a one in proprietary software. It's not two big blobs of people totally separate from each other forming different opposing communities that are bound together and will work with each other. A lot of people that have a job coding proprietary software spend some of their non work time coding open source software.

    I've worked at two different (proprietary) software companies so far, and there has been zero sense of a community with other software companies - it's mostly outright hostility, with very ocassional cooperative work when we were doing some work with a hardware company, and some very basic, half arsed file format interop when customers demanded it.
  • by pandrijeczko ( 588093 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @04:21AM (#15838000)
    And with me only two score and four years on this earth, there I was thinking that software only had to be "useful" and "usable".

    Look, I have no problem with people using Windows (I do myself a little), I have no problem with people disliking command-line tools in Windows or Linux but can *both types* of people please STOP imposing their view of the world on the rest of us! Now!

    The fact is that NOBODY (repeat N-O-B-O-D-Y) can appreciate the power of a Linux or UNIX operating system until you dive into the command line, learn shell, Python, Perl or another scripting language and start putting together INCREDIBLY POWERFUL AND VERSATILE TOOLS yourself.

    For the uninitiated, from the shell prompt in Linux or UNIX you can log into remote systems, view web pages, burn CDs, rip CDs, play MP3s, convert images, perform countless system diagnostics, edit files, etc. etc. On top of this, you can do some of the most amazingly powerful text manipulation using complex regular expressions that end up looking like a spider has crawled across your screen with inky feet. Admittedly, to a GUI-based user, none of this looks particularly "exciting" but when all of these tasks can be combined in countless ways within scripts, NOTHING (repeat N-O-T-H-I-N-G) within a GUI environment comes CLOSE for automation and sheer power.

    No, I'm not a command line zealot. I believe it's up to the user to decide what software/OS they are comfortable with, I personally have favourite tools in Windows, Gnome, KDE, BASH and even MS-DOS and I just use whatever I need to use to get a job done as quickly as possible. But the fact is that the UNIX command line is the most common place for me to work in.

    But to all the uninitiated out there, please do not voice opinions on a subject you do not fully understand. Linux and Open Source is NOT waging some kind of anti-Windows war with the goal of total Microsoft destruction - it's an ALTERNATIVE way of doing things where everything is done in an open fashion and the sole aim is to write useful, usable but NOT NECESSARILY PRETTY software, nothing more.

    And if you're waiting for Linux to drop into your lap as a ready-packaged alternative to Windows that you can immediately start using like Windows from day one, then I'm afraid you're in for a long wait. To become a Linux user means taking more time to learn about how your computer works and, to be an effective Linux user, ramping up your learning curve so that you know how to take best advantage of the wealth of excellent free software that has become available to you.

    If you're not willing to devote that time then, so be it. Stick with what you are comfortable with and enjoy it with my blessing - just don't be so quick to judge the rest of us.

  • Re:Article Summary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by killjoe ( 766577 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @04:26AM (#15838011)
    Gimme gimme gimme. Open source will die when too many people are whinging and not enough people are doing. Open source only works when YOU contribute. Find a way to help.
  • by foreverdisillusioned ( 763799 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @04:27AM (#15838014) Journal
    Seriously now...

    when Linux shows multi-BILLION dollar profits

    Linux and the GPL weren't designed to make money (though some people do make money off of Linux); they SAVE people money.

    SUCCESSFUL business strategy

    News flash: "Linux" in and of itself is not a business. And last I checked Red Hat and IBM were doing alright.

    With the exception of servers and anti-virus software, Linux is far, far away from being a serious threat to Windows (and Macs.)

    I have 5 machines in active use in my house. All of them dual boot XP/Ubuntu. No matter what machine I'm working with, when (re)installing XP I have to deal with the installer's MBR-related retardation and I have to hunt down and manually install the drivers for the network card, video card, and sound card. With the latest release of Ubuntu, ALL of my hardware is detected right out of the box. 3d-acceleration doesn't work, of course, but there are a few third party applications such as EasyUbuntu which automatically set this up for me. Installing Ubuntu and running EasyUbuntu is easier and by default requires less user input than XP and doesn't require hunting down drivers, and after it's done I can watch DVDs, check my email, surf the web, open or create MS Office documents using, play from a vast selection of Linux games (no, they're not Battlefield 2 but they're hella better than just Pinball, Minesweeper, Solitaire, Freecell, and Hearts... varients of which are all of which are included in the Ubuntu repositories, btw), easily install and run most simple Windows programs under Wine, and easily upgrade every single application on my computer with two mouse clicks.

    Yes, there are still plenty of rough spots, but its flaws aren't 1/100 as bad as the flaws Windows 98SE had. 99% of XP's non-gaming desktop functionality is there, and the remaining 1% is largely a result of Microsoft's anti-competitive practices and/or Window's momentum (Windows-only programs/drivers/APIs, IE-only websites, etc.) And on top of Window's functionality, you get immunity to most forms of malware, the benefits of the Debian package managment (makes InstallShield look like rocket science in comparison, and it automatically keeps your stuff up to date), and all-around predictability and stability--weird stuff still occasionally happens, but it isn't an constant, everpresent fact of life like it is with XP. (And don't give me that "XP/2000 is just as stable as *nix" argument--that'scrap. It's a big improvement over 9x, but that's akin to saying Ramen noodles is an improvement over eating dog crap. It still crashes. It still causes apps to crash. It still behaves in an extremely unpredictable fashion--problems seemingly coming out of nowhere--at least a couple times a month.)

    In terms of market share no, no it isn't a threat, but then Linux isn't a business, so market share isn't a terribly fair metric. Linux can thrive (and indeed has) even on an extremely small user base; Windows cannot.

    I hearby pronounce the neverending joke about this finally being the "year of the Linux Desktop" officially dead. Linux IS on the desktop, and my grandmother DOES use it for everything most people use Windows for--email, web browsing, music, watching movies, casual gaming. ...and if you are indeed arguing that desktop Linux is nonexistant, then you're a goddamned ignorant troll.
  • by killjoe ( 766577 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @04:32AM (#15838022)
    You don't have to do anything like that. If you just provide the binaries and give people permission they will happily package the thing up according to their distro.
  • by FireFury03 ( 653718 ) <> on Thursday August 03, 2006 @04:39AM (#15838036) Homepage
    the end result will be that an entire suite of FOSS software will exist for the platform by the time commercial interests start noticing the market.

    Whilest I will always to choose open solutions over closed ones where possible, I'm not convinced that having the entire software suite implemented before the closed source people take notice is necessarilly a good thing (if that were even possible). The closed software producers are often large corporations with a lot of marketting muscle and Linux may well benefit from them promoting their Linux versions of their software (and thus promoting the whole OS).

    I mean, lets that a theoretical example:
    Lets say Adobe ported PhotoShop to Linux. They put a bit of marketting behind it and a large chunk of PhotoShop users migrate over to Linux. (Ok, I guess this isn't necessarilly the best example since they're pretty attached to their Macs, but bear with me). A migration to Linux like this would give it quite a boost in the desktop market.

    Conversely, let's just imagine that The GIMP gets as good as (or better than) PhotoShop before Adobe start caring about Linux. So now they have a viable free (as in beer) competetor to their rather expensive product. Are they actually going to want to promote Linux (which usually ships as standard with The GIMP)? Of course not, they're going to want to use their marketting weight to push people away from Linux in the hope that they can keep as many people as possible from discovering that they can get something as good as PhotoShop for free.

    Yes, ok, so The GIMP is available for other platforms, but people are more likley to discover it if it's already installed when they get their computer.

    Given time, any company wishing to compete in the Linux market will have to produce software which is significantly better than the established FOSS tools, and that has to be good for us computer users.

    It's worth noting that (in my experience) most commercial decisions are not based on "what's best for the job" or even "what gives the most bang for our buck". I've lost count of the number of times employers have forced me to use some very expensive piece of software that really is nowhere near as good at the job as some FOSS software. In most of these cases, the expensive commercial software is a good 10 years behind the free equivalent. Many of these purchasing decisions seem to basically just be made on the "noone ever got fired for buying IBM" premise (replace "IBM" with any large corporation who has been selling expensive software for a long time).
  • MythTV (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RoboJ1M ( 992925 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @05:09AM (#15838094)

    I'd just like to say my PC was propping up dust until I discovered MythTV. After I read the myth features page I immediately backed up my personal stuff, wiped WinXP and installed Ubuntu Breezy. I've not been this excited about computing since I went to university and started using the web for the first time.

    I was disappointed when I learned of all the limitations of XP MCE (*why* can't I play a DVD on one machine and watch it on a different TV?? It's mine isn't it?) and Mr. Demerijan off of the Inq mentioned mythtv to me.

    Now I dream of multi TB servers with many DVB-T and S tuners and diddy mini ITX boxes under every TV.

    Some day, eh? Not exciting my rosy red arse.


  • P.S. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by foreverdisillusioned ( 763799 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @05:22AM (#15838124) Journal
    Linux and the GPL weren't designed to make money (though some people do make money off of Linux); they SAVE people money.

    I should clarify-- by "people", I meant companies as well. Hence, close sourced companies should learn to grow up and play well with Linux not because they can sell it, but because they can save money. Plus, since it's open source, they can easily modify any part of it as needed (they don't even have to redistribute the changes, so long as they don't distribute the binaries outside the company.)

    As far as business desktop vs. home desktop needs go, I'd say Linux is even more suited for work environments because gaming is (usually) discouraged, user rights management is much better, and there's certainly no lack of development tools available for Linux.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 03, 2006 @05:25AM (#15838137)
    Well - at first Linux was not taken seriously at all..

    Then they complained it was not ready for dayly use - we got Linux servers everywere..
    Then they complained we had no usefull desktop - we got GNOME, KDE and a lot of others..
    Then they complained Linux could not run windows software - we got wine, Crossover Office etc.
    Then they complained ther where no games - we got native games and wine/Cedega
    Then they complained we could not watch DVD's etc. - we got libdvdcss and a way to incorporate a wole bunch of other formats.
    Then they complained... oh well, you got the idea..

    First they complain about BIG issuses. Now those issues are resolved, they keep complaining. Only - it's getting harder and harder to find things to complain about.

    Now the only thing they can complain about is that Linux does not have a substitute for Outlook. Well - just wait a while. As soon as Microsoft is forced by the EU to release enough information there will be a Outlook-ish client for Linux.

    You see - the problem is not Linux does not have a "Outlook". The problem is that Microsoft is keeping all the information to create such a "Outlook" close to his chest. It is impossible to create something "out of the blue" and expect to be compatible with Micosoft software. So - complain to the Big Brother in Redmond, because they are the ones keeping progress in Linux at minimum at this point..

    And - last but not least...

    There ARE realy exiting things happening. Only - the author seems to ignore them and is whining about Outlook and flash (oooohhh exiting, exiting - wow, wow, wow). The Outlook thingie is explained above, and flash? Well - there is a up-to-date flash for Linux coming (version 9) - its been worked on for some time now. Just have some patience please?

    Fact is - Linux is growing every day. Wat was not possible yesterday is possible today, and what is not possible today will be tomorrow....

    Still - I think people like the auhtor will allways find something to whine about. He never ever wil be satisfied about anything that isn't Windows. And thats the very core of the problem...

    Note: sorry about my English - it's not my native language, so spelling mistake will occure now and then...
  • by Ohreally_factor ( 593551 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @05:26AM (#15838138) Journal
    Note that since I'm using Lotus Notes, I also find Outlook exiting :-)


    But you have a good point. For me, the end user/non programmer guy, there aren't any absolutely compelling applications that make me want to move to Linux from OS X. On the other hand, there are some apps that compel me to stay on OS X, and given Apple's track record, there will be more apps to come. While the concepts of OSS and GPLv2 are great and worthwhile and make me supportive in general, in actual usage there isn't anything that comes close to being a "killer app".

    My perception (which I am sure a few people are about to tell me is wholly wrong) is that there isn't any exciting development in the end user application space. Where is the application that beats the pants off of Final Cut Pro, or even iMovie? Where is the amazing application that does something that nobody developing for OS X or Windows has even thought of yet?

    I'm not seeing it yet. I think that someday I will, but not yet. In some ways, this parallels the situation with PC Gamers not interested in moving to OS X. Where are the compelling games? If they come out for OS X at all, it's usually months after the PC release (with some exceptions). The difference is that I think it's likelier that I'll eventually come across an application that eventually overcomes my resistance to Linux. Someday Torvalds will replace Jobs as my deity. =)

    I'm not saying that it will be easy for such a project to materialize and mature. It's going to mean an awfully lot of hard work, probably without the same opportunities for financial rewards.

    One last thought:

    Maybe I'm wrong to be looking for a desktop application to win me over. Maybe it won't be that sort of beast. Aside from desktop usage, I use Google constantly throughout the day, not to mention many other linux based sites and services. In that loose sense, perhaps I am already a linux user and those "boring" pieces of software you use underly my everyday experience.
  • by jkrise ( 535370 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @05:47AM (#15838200) Journal
    if you think there isn't enough new things to try in general, you are not trying very hard !

    I think the author of the piece thinks companies like Microsoft, Adobe and Oracle invented th PC and that Standards are what these companies use in their Closed Source products.

    Obviously, it's very hard for people to write software for Linux, which supports these crooks. And on the other hand, there are litrally dozens of very old and useful programs.. simple commands actually, that work on Linux and Unix, but not on Windows.. let's see:

    1. The ls, find, grep, | and other useful commands.
    2. useradd (if I try to add a user in Windows AD using "net add" I get "Pre-Windows 2000 user", so that doesn't count)
    3. ps (no simple way to list running processes... user-wise, and ip-address-wise)
    4. kill -9
    5. chmod
    6. cp, ln and mv : By storing files all over the place, MS has made sure no sane user would type 'cp c:\winnt\system32\profiles\Admin.000\admin\My /\ Docu~\ kind of crap.
    7. Simple user-wise backup to a USB drive. In Linux, since all my files are under /home/jkrise, a simple command would transfer all my files, settings.. browsers, cookies etc. to a USB drive. In Windows, the mail profile is in the registry, the mails are in a pst, docs are on the Desktop, the browser settings are God-know-where... etc. Not even Microsoft can handle a simple thing like backing up a single user's data.

    After 2 decades, even such simple software is not available for Windows!
  • by Whiney Mac Fanboy ( 963289 ) * <> on Thursday August 03, 2006 @05:48AM (#15838204) Homepage Journal
    Personally, I don't care. My interest is in making my computer work, but it seems I may be in the minority there.

    Well good for you - others however, have an interest in making their computers work reliably. This means being able to expect support from their vendor & the people.

    However, running a closed source kernel module, means giving up that support (as the kernel developers cannot diagnose problems over which they have no control).

    My interest is in making my computer work, and work relaibly. That's why I linux over MS/Apple's proprietary offerings. and intel video chipsets over Nvidia or ATI's proprietary offerings.
  • by I'm Don Giovanni ( 598558 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @06:21AM (#15838280)
    To the GP:
    You say that OSS community doesn't want Nvidia to open source their driver (which is wrong, I've seen many demands for just that), they only want them to provide an open spec so the OSS community can write its own drivers.

    Did you ever think that Nvidia doesn't want their hardware run by homebrew drivers, because they'll catch the flack when those drivers act whacky? Joe Blow buys some Lindows machine with some OSS Nvidia driver written by who-the-hell-knows, and when that driver acts up, Nvidia gets the blame. I understand Nvidia perfectly on this issue.
  • Who is he? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 03, 2006 @06:25AM (#15838290)
    He's a customer. He's buying the hardware. That gives him EVERY RIGHT to say what his problem with NVidia's decision is.

    Additionally, he was responding to a question from the parent post to his, so anything he puts down as an answer is valid AS an answer. Turning on him for answering is ridiculous. You may counter his answer with a reason why NVidia should keep the driver closed, but their answer to the question "why are NVidia closed drivers not liked" is still their answer and still an answer for many people. Those who don't agree (like you) aren't complaining about NVidia's drivers, so you cannot answer why people don't like the closed drivers, so what are YOU doing writing this?

    ALL the defenses of NVidia closing their driver are based either on
    1) Well 'cos they can
    2) Well, they cannot because of other's "IP"
    3) Well, they cannot because people would otherwise "steal" the ideas from NVidia

    #1 isn't an answer
    #2 is COMPLETELY the reason for OSS: if OSS was the norm, NVidia wouldn't have a problem
    #3 is the reason why they shouldn't BSD their driver. GPLing means that if someone steals their idea and then improves it, NVidia get that development work back ("stealing" their ideas in return).
  • by squoozer ( 730327 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @06:32AM (#15838301)

    I'm glad someone has said it and said it well. I think there are quite a few companies, especially ones producing highly specialized software, that would quite like to release Linux versions but they are held back due to the whole "if it's on Linux it must be open" thing. I always felt that the whole OSS movement was more about providing people with free and open tools not completely replacing / removing all closed source software. An open OS fits in with the idea of producing free tools, it's pretty easy to argue that an open source office suite also fits in with those goals but trying to force say a games manufacturer to release the code for their game is just plain silly and likely to hold back the apperance of such things on Linux.

  • by Finnterprises ( 992934 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @06:41AM (#15838328)
    I truly don't understand open source fanatics. The marketplace is huge! There is room for everyone, from closed source, to open source.

    The beauty of open source is that it greatly reduces the barrier to entry for anybody with more time than money to create a business. Four years ago I had an idea for an online business, so I asked a couple of engineer buddies of mine of how to implement it as I had no programming experience whatsoever, except that one semester of Pascal in highschool. I didn't have the money to drop $1,000+ for SQL Server or Oracle, but open source and the plethora of online tutorials were there for anyone willing to spend the time and learn.

    Too many people think that open source has to compete with closed source, and more times than not, it doesn't. Every time someone chooses an open source solution, it doesn't necessarily mean that a closed source solution has lost a sale, it could mean that someone has decided to offer a product or service that he otherwise would not have due to lack of capital, as was my case.

    Now, sometimes we use open source solutions, sometimes closed source, whatever happens to be the best solution (as far as we can tell) at the time. Quit worrying about open source having to create the best, cutting edge, products, and be happy with what it has allowed small companies around the world to do--compete affectively with the big boys.

    So don't worry about it; there's a place for both and quit being so insecure about it.
  • by FireFury03 ( 653718 ) <> on Thursday August 03, 2006 @06:54AM (#15838356) Homepage
    I don't think you've ever _really_ used ClearCase. SVN is great for fairly straightforward projects, but once you need serious merge/branching capabilities it falls short.

    I've had to "really use" ClearCase for a long time - it's one of the worst revision control systems I've ever had the misfortune of using. It doesn't even do atomic commits FFS!

    dynamic views (which can sometimes be VERY useful)

    Dynamic views _can_ be useful in *very* large and complex projects, but they can also make using it for simple stuff an absolute ordeal. And also in the many years I've had of using CVS and SVN I've never found that I absolutely needed dynamic views - there's always another way of doing it, and it's usually not hard.

    IMHO the cons far, far outweigh the pros and the over-complexity makes you want to keep as much _out_ of the revision control system as possible, which is clearly the wrong way to do things. On projects that use SVN, the push is to get as much into the revision control system as possible, and that's a good thing (and SVN makes it extremely easy to read and update anything in the repository without fiddling around with views, et-al)
  • by Joce640k ( 829181 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @07:03AM (#15838378) Homepage
    Please tell me how to deliver a binary file...I'm not letting my source code out of the building.

    When you've solved that, you might see a lot more software for Linux.

  • by nmg196 ( 184961 ) * on Thursday August 03, 2006 @07:04AM (#15838382)
    > "Lack of new exciting software"? Try xgl/compiz!

    It's a f***ing window manager. If you think a window manager is exciting then you're a bit of a loser - even by Slashdot geek standards. Do you really think that 99.9% of people think that a window manager is exciting new software?

    If you people with the mod points (yes you) also think window managers are exiting, then please mod me down and I'll shut up and find a new website to read over my lunch hour.
  • by Gnulix ( 534608 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @07:09AM (#15838392) Homepage
    I was kind of agreing with you until you wrote that Blender is worse than 3DS Max, then I realized you were just being silly.
  • by EsbenMoseHansen ( 731150 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @07:27AM (#15838439) Homepage

    The only reason to run inward-facing firewalls like that is if you can't trust the software you run. Obviously, this is not a huge issue on linux, but is on windows.

    Also, the "per-application" thing is just plain silly. If you have unblocked one application, you have unblocked them all, given that you install as root. The malicious ones, anyway.

  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @07:29AM (#15838443) Homepage
    They are busy patenting every obvious thing on the planet trying to make sure that something exciting and origional CANT be created. OSS programmers do not have multi million dollar LEgal teams to fight the asshole companies that believe they own exclusive rights to something as trivial as a bubble sort or something that has been done for hundreds of years but now "on a computer" so either the programmers must work in secret and release in a country that is not stupid enough to have redicilous IP laws or risk getting sued.

  • by TeknoHog ( 164938 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @07:37AM (#15838469) Homepage Journal
    Why would any company want to open their source code and share their intellectual property with everyone? Hours later, someone would be trying to sell a rebranded version of their hard work.

    That someone is in no special position, because anyone can sell a rebranded version. So why would I buy from that one? I'd rather buy from the original company because they're the ones in a special position of knowing their product, and being able to support it better than a random guy.

    On the other hand, if that someone provides good support and actually improves on the original product, then he gains a special position that makes his new version more desirable. With open source, people and products are forced to succeed on their own merits, instead of relying on lock-in schemes like Microsofts' file formats. To me that seems like a purer form of capitalism than ever.

  • Re:Article Summary (Score:2, Insightful)

    by M1FCJ ( 586251 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @07:38AM (#15838474) Homepage
    Using the software and providing feedback is contributing. You don't have to be a developer to help opensource - most of the people working on FOSS do it because they themselves need the software they are writing - any positive feedback is only the icing on the cake.
  • by Decaff ( 42676 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @07:47AM (#15838507)
    I wouldn't say it's the fault of the developers, it's just many don't know how to write good SW. Yet even that isn't their fault because they never were taught how to write good SW since even teachers and professors mostly don't know.

    Anyone who has worked in IT for more than a year or two should realise that retraining is important. You should not rely only on the things you learned many years ago. Poor software is the fault of the developers. To rely only on teachers is not good enough. Developers who aren't prepared to put at least a little of their own time into keeping up to date and retraining themselves should not be in this business.

    Writing good SW is quite simple all you have to do is follow some good guidelines, the tricky part is what or where are these guidelines.

    I have been writing software for 30 years, and I don't think writing good software is simple. Requirements keep changing. The approaches you have to use for a simple command-line program are often different from those for a GUI app, or a web app, or a real-time app. Sure, you can start with basic ideas of good structure and good documentation, but that is the barest essentials. There are testing and debugging skills that can take years to develop.
  • by ajs318 ( 655362 ) <sd_resp2.earthshod@co@uk> on Thursday August 03, 2006 @08:04AM (#15838559)
    Who are you to lecture NVidia on whether open sourcing their driver code would make them sell more hardware? They obviously disagree, and they have every right and standing to do so
    Actually, they don't have any right. The owner of a physical object is, by virtue of ownership, automatically privy to any secret embodied in that object. By not providing proper documentation, nVidia are violating the common-law property rights of everyone who buys one of their cards. The reason nVidia don't provide documentation is because to do so would expose a scam that they are pulling. Do you seriously suppose that a £300 graphics card really has ten times more stuff in it than a £30 one? Someone with the right knowledge could make a £30 card behave like a £300 one ..... nVidia don't want that. They hide behind all manner of legal bullshit, but at the end of the day, they just want to rip you off.

    I'm currently using the open source "nv" driver without problems. Ideally, I'd prefer a truly open graphics card, with proper documentation and full Open Source drivers. A choice of masters is not freedom.
  • by Comboman ( 895500 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @08:31AM (#15838682)
    "In this industry, you don't have to be good, just good enough."

    I can think of few industries where this isn't the case (Medicine perhaps, at one time I would say NASA but no longer). With unrealistic deadlines and tight budgets, "good enough" isn't just the minimum acceptable goal, it's the only acceptable goal. Don't blame the software engineers for a problem inherent in the system.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 03, 2006 @08:39AM (#15838727)
    You don't communicate with much people outside of your little castle, do you?
    As soon as you create a, let's say, projectplan in HTML, and send it to anyone, they will complain about it (it cannot be printed, looks funny, etc). Also, when you get documents from others in DOC format, what do you do?
    At least your solution looks very unprofessional to anyone outside of your company.
  • by arose ( 644256 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @09:07AM (#15838894)
    It's actually a rendering architecture, equivalents in Windows Vista and Mac OS X seem to be regarded as exiting...
  • by sgtrock ( 191182 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @09:35AM (#15839088)
    No, he said members of the OSS community with a clue are not asking for Nvidia to release their driver as OSS, only to open the specs.

    Did you ever think that Nvidia doesn't want their hardware run by homebrew drivers, because they'll catch the flack when those drivers act whacky? Joe Blow buys some Lindows machine with some OSS Nvidia driver written by who-the-hell-knows, and when that driver acts up, Nvidia gets the blame. I understand Nvidia perfectly on this issue.
    red herring. That's exactly the situation for anyone who buys gear shipped with Ubuntu, Suse SLED 10, or any of a half dozen other big distros. They ship with the nv driver only. No one blames Nvidia, they contact their vendor and ask for help.
  • by Fred_A ( 10934 ) <fred@fredshom[ ]rg ['e.o' in gap]> on Thursday August 03, 2006 @10:21AM (#15839449) Homepage
    And PPC Linux has been out for much longer I think...

    For pretty much any "non Linux corporation" Linux == x86 Linux.
    Of course when you look at the deployed numbers it does kind of make sense but they could have an unsupported section for the other platforms. Writing portable Unix code doesn't seem to be all that hard, or else everybody wouldn't be doing it ;)
  • by Sax Maniac ( 88550 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @10:42AM (#15839622) Homepage Journal
    It's not only possible, it's easy. The main thing to watch is libraries.

    Spoken like someone who's truly never done it.

    Libraries are the hard part. Take a look at any non-trivial application and look to see how many libraries it takes for various things.

        ldd /usr/local/firefox/firefox-bin | wc -l

    Now, if I want to develop a big application, I will eventually need to do something that's already coded in some library. Maybe it's XML parsing or HTTP connections or SSL or whatever:

        1. Figure out *where* the license is.
        2. Make an informed guess whether it's legal before you even try it.
        3. Oh shit, it's the "libgumple Public License", not something obvious like GPL. Now I have to read 37 pages of legalese.
        4. Give up, and forward it to the company lawyer who charges $500 an hour to say "No, you can't because of clause 33.4.2 paragraph 9, subsection B".
        5. Write it ourselves, anyway or go without. Then deal with users that say: "Hey, Firefox does this, but you don't. Why can't you? How hard can it be?"

    This, by no means of the word, is "easy". It is time-consuming and expensive.
  • by Todd Knarr ( 15451 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @11:28AM (#15839987) Homepage

    Well, yes, but then your example is of an open-source program that can freely use open-sourced libraries (for the most part). If you're writing your own app it starts out using no libraries. You then get to decide as you find a need for libraries which ones you'll use. Yes, you'll not be able to use a lot of common libraries and stay closed-source because those libraries are open-source. Similarly, open-source software can't use a lot of commercial libraries and stay open-source. It's a simple matter of deciding whether using the library's valuable enough to justify any license changes required.

    Of course, if you use third-party commercial libraries you've got the additional problem of getting them to provide a Linux version you can use. Many vendors won't do that and without those libraries your app may not work. If you've got customers who want to pay you for a Linux version, ponder the lost revenue and consider that you're experiencing exactly why a lot of Linux users don't like closed-source software. As a software developer I find myself saying this a lot: "If I've got the source code I can fix the problem. If I don't, we're SOL.".

  • by Mateo_LeFou ( 859634 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @12:34PM (#15840520) Homepage

    There's another def at work in a lot of the FUD. For TFA's author, Matt Harley "desktop user" means "user who got locked into a bunch of Microsoft or windows-based closed-source applications, often despite warnings about the potential for lock-in if heshe chose that stuff."

    Now they're ready to check out Linux, and they're pist b/c there are only 17 email/calendar apps available. There should be 18! And the 18th has to be Outlook!

    Now, it's not polite for the Lx crowd to just go "told you so" -- but the fact that this user is locked in is not a flaw in Linux. And when they open up the conversation in that way, they're going to get snide responses.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 03, 2006 @07:35PM (#15843534)
    While the concepts of OSS and GPLv2 are great and worthwhile and make me supportive in general, in actual usage there isn't anything that comes close to being a "killer app".

    Almost by its very nature, there can never be a "killer app" for Linux. If it was truly killer, it would be ported to other platforms. (This has happened many times for less-than-killer apps.)

    The killer feature for free software is its freedom. If you're looking for some Linux-only app that people would switch OSs for, you're not going to find it, because it's always going to be easier for a couple guys to port app X to Mac/Windows than to convert a boatload of people to Linux.

    This itself is a change from the Visicalc days, when people had much less investment in their existing computers, and porting was really hard.
  • by turbidostato ( 878842 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @08:11PM (#15843698)
    "the OSS/Linux Nazis are going to haveto learn to comprimise, because they're always a fucking problem whenever someone ports overto Linux."

    How is it? Do they *pay* marketing campaigns to FUD the porting efforts?

    Or, better, is it that they won't pay for such a port and, maybe, they will be vocal about their reasons not to do it?

    But then to the best of my knowledge that's almost all they can do, and I was under the impression that this is a free market and free speech country so I can't really see nothing bad about their doings.

    "NVIDIA and ATI drivers? "Proprietary, to the stake!" You know, because its just so much worsethan having no drivers at all."

    To the stake? To the best of my knowledge -again, every major Linux distributions comes with some kind of helper in order to install those drivers. And they don't include them within the distribution, you know way? BECAUSE NEITHER NVIDIA NOR ATI ALLOW THEM TO DO SO.

    "The point is proprietary software has TRIED to getalong with OSS"

    The point is proprietary software has TRIED to getalong with OSS ON THEIR OWN TERMS. What a pity I am running open source because I DISLIKE THEIR TERMS (among other things). It is not as if Linus Torvalds would say "No, no, it comes from NVidia, or Microsoft, or AutoDesk, so I don't want to know anything about them". All and every GPLed software from ANY company will be gladly accepted. Do they really want to getalong with OSS? Well, they won't have to scale unsurmountable mountains, they won't have to give me sand from the hidden side of the Moon, they won't have to make promise to go to church every Sunday... they only have to produce GPL software. I mustn't have to be such a difficult enterprise, after all even communists, hippies and pimply basement aficionados seem to be able to do it!

Basic is a high level languish. APL is a high level anguish.