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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? OSWeekly.com 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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  • WAAAA???? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Fluffy_Kitten ( 911430 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @01:59AM (#15837648) Homepage
    are you kidding me? most innovations now start at the linux level. Aero? Vista eye candy? compiz did it a year BEFORE not AFTER. Workspaces? windows still doesn't have that. all the new desktop usability comes from linux, while windows kept the windows 95 desktop going for 10+ years with minor changes. linux thinks AHEAD not 3 year ago like closed source. OPEN means you can risk new ideas, while CLOSED means risks can rouin you. I chose to take bold new innovations out for a spin.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 03, 2006 @02:00AM (#15837649)
    without respecting the owners chosen license, their code does belong to them after all.

    What you do with your code on top of that is entirely up to you including the license terms and cost model.

    Isn't it about time proprietary coders grow up and start working within the law with open source licenses?


  • by Cannedbread ( 841645 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @02:01AM (#15837656) Homepage
    Here is what i have learned from closed source

    1. reverse engineering
    2. who to be friends with in the pirate scene
    3. why Free software is so much better

    Here is what i have learned from open source

    1 Everything.
  • Pro graphics apps (Score:5, Interesting)

    by edwardpickman ( 965122 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @02:02AM (#15837658)
    Ironically it's the pro applications now that port first. Things like Maya are more and more focasing on Linux. I doubt you'll see most consumer applications paying much attention to Linux anytime soon but the professionals are adopting it faster than any group. The 3D realm likes the power and stability. Photoshop is still dragging it's feet as far as I know but but there are plenty of higher end 3d animating and modelling apps availible and they tend to be released before even the Mac versions.
  • The problem is this. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Null Nihils ( 965047 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @02:17AM (#15837703) Journal
    Its really quite simple.

    Linux, and most of the other software distros bundle with it, is all licensed under the GPL, and is generally licensed as such for a reason: the developers are dedicated to Free Software. The question of proprietary kernel drivers, and many other issues, are consistently decided in favour of continuing to strictly adhere to GNU/Free Software standards.

    On the other side of the fence, proprietary software is Closed Source in order to maximize revenue. Much of it will stay closed forever, due to legal red-tape, patent skullduggery, shareholder interests, and good old fashioned greed.

    And then, most importantly (believe it or not) we have the Users. Sometimes they get what they want, either thanks to a commercial development, or the teeming F/OSS community.

    Sometimes, however, they don't get what they want -- they get shafted -- thanks to the interests of whomever controls the copyrights of the technology at issue.
  • by speeDDemon (nw) ( 643987 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @02:20AM (#15837713) Homepage
    Is it "possible" to write software that will run in linux that does not "require" GPL code? (This is a valid question not a flame)
    If I wished to write software for Linux and charge for the software (Not just support) is it realisticly achievable without having to re-write a swag of libraries.

    Is support the only way to 're-coup' costs from a research and development, or is the best open source business model to just not bother until someone explicitly pays you to develop the work. Then release it for free (as per the licences) and completely alienate your client as you then supply all your code to the 'community' aka, their competing company who now doesnt have to pay for said OSS product.

  • Re:Tell me about it (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 03, 2006 @02:52AM (#15837800)
    http://wiki.linuxquestions.org/wiki/Linux_software _equivalent_to_Windows_software [linuxquestions.org] should help nicely.

    for gui ftp clients: Kasablanca, GFTP, KBear, FireFTP Konqueror

    for IfranView: XnView, GQView

    for a Mavis-esque typing program: KTouch and GNU Typist
  • by Mr. Hankey ( 95668 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @03:06AM (#15837833) Homepage
    It may be what you've heard, but I know enough coders who wouldn't care one way or the other if the source was freely available after the fact - as long as they're being paid. If a company asks them to port the software gratis, that's an entirely different matter. That's not to say that there isn't a vocal group who pushes this agenda, but I'd be willing to bet most aren't actual coders. I do prefer GPL software myself, but respect other licenses and terms as the coder's/vendor's choice.
  • by dbIII ( 701233 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @03:08AM (#15837839)
    I think the article should be entitled "The future of MS Windows compataible closed source software and linux". There is plenty of other stuff in the feilds of geophysics, engineering, databases and system integration that is closed source but runs on a variety of platforms - including linux. A lot of it has done so for more than five years. A lot of it I wish was open source (eg. a closed source seismic data processing app has had a lot of bug fixes recently - but these won't be released to customers like my users until next year) but I just have to be happy that it exists.

    There are more uses for a computer other than a glass typewriter, a ledger book or a toy.

    One last comment about the example - Outlook not so good. Nearly every other email client stores data in a form that can be recovered by a even a text editor or by tools from the same vendor - not an obfiscated database that requires dodgy shareware tools to fix.

  • by dbIII ( 701233 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @03:27AM (#15837874)
    OK - so you have a computer network with different machines.

    You want Outlook on your screen - no problem - just export it via X windows from your MS windows box to wherever you are. You mean that hasn't worked since NT 3.51? OK - it looks like you are stuck with MS windows since VNC is too much of a pain for constant use - but you can do things the other way with an X server on your windows box letting you run things remotely at full speed on other machines on the network. Exceed, cygwin and many other implementations of X Windows on MS Windows let you do this.

    The single user non network aware model still exists with MS Windows - the idea of exporting an entire terminal session is still about as clunky as an IBM 3270 terminal from decades past. Thankfully it only cuts one way - almost everything else works OK with MS Windows over a network even if MS Windows works with practicly nothing else.

  • by kripkenstein ( 913150 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @03:37AM (#15837897) Homepage
    Try xgl/compiz! It's the most exciting software I've seen since a windowing environment!

    Yes, exactly. Just to throw out a few other names besides XGL, how about GLScube [glscube.org] or Xen [wikipedia.org]. None of these (XGL included) is ready for prime time yet. But they show the exact opposite of what TFA claims - Linux, if anything, has plenty of 'exciting' software.

    If there is something lacking, it is boring software for Linux. TFA basically admits this when it talks about a "lack of exciting software", then complains about not having Outlook on Linux. Is Outlook then his idea of 'exciting software'? I doubt it, Outlook is the most boring piece of software ever. Perhaps it is necessary for certain corporations. But it isn't exciting.

    I read TFA, looking for examples of really 'exciting' software missing in Linux. Couldn't find any.
  • by CaptSisko ( 56435 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @03:48AM (#15837930) Homepage
    There is a difference between Open Source and Open License.
  • by jkrise ( 535370 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @04:19AM (#15837994) Journal
    Replying to this Flamebait Troll of an article? This is what I was doing when I refereshed my Slashdot page and found this chump spewing misinformation:

    In our site, we've got Active Directory for a group of 700 systems, and about 1200 users. I think Craptive Directory is a better word for this piece of junk. We tried migrating from Win2K server to Win2K3, and the damn thing called domain-prep and forest-prep threw out an error page some 500 meters long. Smoke's coming outta' my ears just reading reams and reams of error messages.
    So, I ask the security chap..

    What if we migrate to a better Directory server.. we're thinking of OpenLDAP or Fedora Directory Services. I asked this bloke to backup Active Directory, just in case. He says It Can't Be Done!!! It's just not possible to take a backup of the bloody damn POS s/w that's used to store the company's most valuable information. It's JUST NOT POSSIBLE TO transfer it to a better config. or even upgrade to a higher version smoothly. Seriously, why people ever choose Crapware like Active Directory, Exchange, LookOut or Office is beyond me.

    And so, we're sitting down, thinking long hard thoughts... wondering what we should be doing, to ensure we're fine, atleast 2 years from now... some points: (Actually this bloke Matt Hartley may have done us a big favour - he's made all the wrong arguments and points in one piece!)

    I. Use ONLY open standards and specs. No compromise on this at any cost.
    1a. We've decided to go in with HTML for 'documents'. Why do we need docs? We need to look at them, we need to print them, we need to email them so others can see, and we need to be able to write tools that can manipulate OUR data in OUR docs. And so, it's gonna be HTML from here on out. The Nvu editor seems the best suited for this thing, so we're going with it.

    1b. We don't use spreadsheets a lot. For those rare cases, we've decided to go in for Gnumeric, and csv as the format. No more of those bloody macros in the a/cs dept. We've developed all their apps on a server, we're giving them Import and Export to cvf where needed, and that's it.

    1c. PowerPoint: We've told the suits to go in with Impress for the time being... under OpenOffice. Until we figure out the best Open Source tool for presentations, that works to Open Standards, that is. All told, we have very few suits.. less than a dozen, so let them start picking up these skills NOW!

    II. Groupware: No more fiddling around with the Exchange Server or the Notes server trying to figure out how to build some site-specific features we need. No point. We've figured the only thing MS or IBM care about is licensing money, not adherence to standards, delivering something useful to us, or anything. They just want license money, so we're looking elsewhere.

    We're also trying to build in some CRM functions... we heard Dynamics works only under Craptive Directory, so we're giving it a miss. SugarCRM seems useless without their commercial license, so we're ditching it too.

    We're experimenting with vTiger, Drupal, Mambo, phpBB and Moodle.. yes, Moodle. It looks the easiest of the lot to actually build community-oriented features, and has the most elegant of interfaces. No need for any client, no Evolution, no Zimbra, no nothing. Just a customised Groupware client that does the job for us. That works the way we like. That helps our users relate to what software we provide them.

    So, we asked ourselves, what are we doing with our email system?
    1. Announcements, Circulars and Notifications: We've decided to have them at the top of our Groupware page. Every intended recipient to indicate they've read the message.. some option for a feedback. No more tons of "Read" messages to the sender, no more Acknowledgement emails... no nothing. Just a one-page report to the Sender of which users have Read, Not Read, and Comments. That's it for this category of mails.

    2. Calendaring: We figured out this is not really important for all users, and the few who need it, need it in diffe
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 03, 2006 @04:21AM (#15837999)
    I was always amazed when the company I used to work for sold accounts for a web based application we'd developed. But my observation of every society I've seen is that people will go for whatever is convenient today, and will rarely ever think long term. Even I fall into that trap ocassionally, but at least I try to keep myself aware of it when I do.

    I ended up adding some export functionality that let the user retrieve (some) of their data in a few different formats to save to their hard disks, which I felt slightly better about.
  • by pandrijeczko ( 588093 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @04:56AM (#15838066)
    And I have finally come to the conclusion that Linux on the desktop is not only dead, but never really got started.

    Correction. It's dead on *YOUR* desktop, not on the desktops of millions of other users.

    Sure Office is very bloated, but it is also the defacto standard and Openoffice has never been and probably never will be 100% compatible.

    OpenOffice is not "100% compatible" because it just so happens that Microsoft's closed document standards are, unfortunately, the "accepted" standard for documentation - this is due to clever Microsoft marketing, not a fault of OpenOffice. ODF and RTF are open formats that are supported by OpenOffice.

    All the interfaces available for Linux to stream video are so clunky that they are nearly unusable.

    Huh? Pray tell what was it you were trying to stream from or to? It's never been a problem for me...

    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.

    So you just choose your hardware wisely, that's all. I've purchased two laptops within the past 6 months, a Gateway one and an HP one. I think the only thing that doesn't work on one of them is the button above the keyboard to turn off/on the wireless network interface. Oh, and I use Gentoo and I have use of native LCD resolutions.

    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 how about doing something constructive and contacting games companies to make native Linux games ports if that's what you want? Rather than just sitting there moaning and not doing anything. If there are enough people like you, maybe some of those companies will do something.

    So to all the fanatics and fanboys, Linux will never be a force on the consumer's desktop.

    Who cares? I use it and love it along with lots of other people. My niece loves Windows XP, Word and Powerpoint - and when I have to fix her PC for her, I don't install Linux on her PC, I put XP and MS Office back on it and let her get on with it.

    It's not bad on the business desktop because of its management capabilities and actually because of some of the flaws listed above

    You're making very generic statements here which suggests that you probably don't know as much about Linux as you'd like us to believe. What do you mean by "management capabilities, for example? Do you mean SNMP? Webmin? Package management? What?

    And in the back room Linux is the light in a once dark world with its power and plethora of server software.

    Why is this anything to do with Linux? The "server software" you talk about, whether it's Apache, Squid, sendmail, MySQL, SAMBA, etc, etc, all run on Solaris and just about any other UNIX you could think of - a few even run on Windows. And if your a Microsoft shop who insists on running Exchange, Active Directory, MS SQL and IIS, for example, then Linux is probably bugger all use to you. You seem to be very good at making empty sweeping statements without clarifying what it is you are talking about.

    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.

    Most Linux people are relatively happy with the state of nVidia and ATI drivers, for example, which are closed source. Sure, sometimes they release rubbish versions and a lot of hackers (not "crackers") would love to get their hands on the source code to these but that's just the way it is. I'm just happy there is *some* support.

    By the sounds of it, Gentoo was probably the wrong choice of distro for you anyway - you probably need a more newbie orientated distro like SuSE or Ubuntu.

    And if you're not prepared to do some of the hard work yourself then don't even bother - go back to Windows and moaning a lot.

  • by 70Bang ( 805280 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @05:12AM (#15838099)
    ...I have mod points (same here)... still. Part of the problem is a lot of software, but very little *good* software

    I'll one-up you. The major problem isn't there little good software, but very few good software engineers.

    Read it in toto before modding it. Thanks.
    I've said before [that] 98% of the people in the industry don't belong and usually get a lot of private rants 'n raves when I've said it before[1], so I've reduced it to 95% to provide some leeway for compromise, attempting too make them happy[1]. People think it's fun, they make decent money, it's a challenge, and people direct comments to them as though they ran into John Holmes at Roselawn, Indiana[2]. You da man! All of that put together makes their ego make them take a swing at every ball which comes across the plate.

    Code is inflated, buggy, a log of it written via trial & error, and if an actual review were to audit a sizeable fraction of code when prepared to be used, there'd be a lot of rewritten code or better coders who keep their jobs.

    The best way to explain it is one of my quotes from a long, long time ago. It's a simple compromise, but if people knew what they were paying for, there would be a lot of unhappy people (and companies) running around:

    "In this industry, you don't have to be good, just good enough."

    [1] Now, if you were to fall into the category of good why would you be p%ssed off about the other (larger) percentage? There are a lot of people who get upset when I assert these numbers. But it's like teaching a chess class: "Everyone who is a beginner or non-player go here ; everyone else ." Which side of the room are people going to put themselves in? It's the same with coding. If we were to break it out on a voluntary rating basis, how many people would go to the left and right sides of the room? I'll assert the left side of the room is going to be mighty empty. As you are reading this, do you consider yourself to be on the left or right side? Realistically. If you had to assert your position on the right-hand side, what's your evidence going to be?
    [2] When it was intact and he was alive. I'm trusting I shouldn't have to explain either of these, but that's what Google and Wikipedia are for.

  • by bcmm ( 768152 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @05:24AM (#15838132)
    Mosaic? How can you consider a web browser to be a server app?
  • by tehshen ( 794722 ) <tehshen@gmail.com> on Thursday August 03, 2006 @06:34AM (#15838309)
    It's not our problem, though - the desktop sucks. It's full of stupid people who are scared at the thought of thing new or different from what they're used to, people with no common sense who bury their heads in the sand whenever something goes wrong, people used to the released-software model where anything not in a shiny shrink-wrapped box is no good.

    You say you sit in chatrooms trying to help people. You should know that.

    Heck, the guy in the article was complaining that Evolution doesn't work like Outlook. Well, yeah. I think that's a good thing, as I don't like Outlook, but he's too narrow-minded (or possibly prejudiced) and thinks that Evolution is bad because it's different.

    The obvious fix to this "problem", to stop people complaining, is to give them something that they're used to. And to do that, Linux would have to be more like Windows.

    I'll say that again, if you're just skimming and didn't catch it: To make Linux ready for the desktop, it would have to be more like Windows - that is, worse.

    I've had people say that Emacs sucks because it uses funny combinations like C-x C-s and C-c. I mean, why can't it just use normal shortcuts, like Word does? I for one cringe when C-w closes a window instead of deleting a word, and M-t doesn't swap words instead of doing whatever the hell it does in Word (opens the Tools menu?) and think that C-k is far too important to waste on a stupid function like adding a hyperlink, but I'm not part of the different-is-bad crowd.

    These same people throw up their arms and complain when OpenOffice doesn't do things the same way as Word, or The GIMP doesn't do things the same way as Photoshop. It's not a case of unlearning the old way and learning the new, it's flat-out refusing to do anything. There's more of a case for OpenOffice than The GIMP here, but Microsoft Office isn't the epitome of good user interface design, and OpenOffice is allowed to change things for the better here and there. (Soooo many toolbars)

    Linux doesn't "need" anything. Linux won't "die" if it doesn't support the "killer aps". I don't use Flash or Photoshop or Office or any of those things. Oh no, I must be dead.

    I'm going to agree with your point here, but possibly not for the reasons you imagined. To all the fanatics and fanboys, Linux will not be on the consumer's desktop for a long time. It's intrinsic. Linux won't become popular unless it's more like Windows, and becoming more like Windows is not a direction I want it to go in.

    Linux has, however, reached a point where anyone self-determined can download Linux, install it, and use it with a minimum of fuss. There might be problems on the way, and things might be a little bit different, but if someone is clever enough to install Linux then they're unlikely to be swayed by things like that.

    That's far from "dead".
  • by lord_rob the only on ( 859100 ) <`shiva3003' `at' `gmail.com'> on Thursday August 03, 2006 @07:15AM (#15838406)

    I've recently set up DVD Decrypter on linux with wine. The latest version of Wine *seems* to run DVD Decrypter flawlessly. Anywy there are other (linux native) DVD ripping solutions. Have a look at DVD::Rip [slashdot.org].

    For me the problem is that I can't find an alternative to my DVD to DVD-R method. I'm using CCE (probably the best MPEG-2 encoder) and DVD-Maestro to make DVD compliant streams. Any alternative suggestion would be welcome ;)

  • by aichpvee ( 631243 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @07:35AM (#15838464) Journal
    Come on, switch to Maya already. It's lightyears ahead of 3DS Max and runs great on Linux, much better performance than the windows version and doesn't crash. If you're not down for that, there's always XSI which I hear great things about but have never seriously used myself. Not to mention that you can buy BOTH for less than a single copy of 3DS Max, which I know you paid for because every windows user pays for all of their applications as they aren't just a bunch of freeloading pirate hippies like us Linux users.

    I'll agree The GIMP can't really compare to Photoshop, but Photoshop has interface problems too, it's just that the toolset and features are a lot nicer there. I'll also agree on the changing GUI crap. I'm sick of the gtk crowd making everything harder to use all the time for no reason. Hopefully someday we'll have the holes filled in the KDE/Qt lineup with either native apps or at least ones using sensible GUI toolkits with sensible interfaces. But even gtk apps might get there if we can get an alternative file dialog, The GIMP's interface has improved a LOT in recent version, particularly the scale tool which actually almost doesn't suck anymore (except that floating layer business).
  • by TrueKonrads ( 580974 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @07:37AM (#15838470)
    Let me get on the "Linux does not need this" bandwagon a bit...
    The ZoneAlaram and likes, that do per application filtering came out as a response to trojans and spyware and their core purpose was to alert if something that is not from the dozens of applications the user has mindlessly clicked "Yes, accept permanently" wants to connect. If there is very little potential spyware, then why have this program? ( On a side note, I think any self respecting trojan should include some disable mechanism against zonealarm or at least should ride on top of internet explorer or mozilla as an extension/plugin/annoying HotBar, not to mention hijacking Microsoft Messenger or other programs likely on the list. It could even "observe" what is allowed to connect and then modify those). Besides, I hope that in very near future linux distros will ship with SELinux enabled, so that installing 3d party applications can be done only through trust verification mechanism (everything in signed .rpm/.deb , for example) so that executing 3d party unverified programs will raise an alarm. (Yes, I am aware of scripting and Java problems in this case)

    As for the second thing, well.. for every problem, there is a netfilter plugin or combination that can do this already, so only thing missing is GUI. However most applications that i'd like to limit (Bittorrent, Revconnect, http downloader of sorts) can already do it at app level.
  • by arose ( 644256 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @07:54AM (#15838530)
    But even gtk apps might get there if we can get an alternative file dialog [..]
    This is the alternative file dialog, because people loudly complained about the original GTK fle dialog [linuxheadquarters.com] (I found it nice after some time with it). Now people loudly complain about the new fle dialog (I like that also) and it seems that the complainers will only be statisfied when they get a copy of the POS win32 file dialog (at which point I will start complaining).
  • by Nichole_knc ( 790047 ) <nichole_knc@yahoo.com> on Thursday August 03, 2006 @08:00AM (#15838548)
    Yes Outlook is a very good program... I am partial to it myself when I use a windors box... HOWEVER you must consider Kontact. It is very powerful NOTE the "very powerful" part.... I like it much better now than Outlook... It you also add in all the plugs for all manner of thingys , then pretty much anything for windors is just left in the dust... IMHO
  • Linux the Innovator? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by miro f ( 944325 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @08:57AM (#15838822)
    Hell, don't get me wrong, I run linux myself. But an innovator? I'm sorry but MOST of the innovation on the desktop (currently) comes from one place, and it isn't Linux, nor is it Windows.
  • by Fred_A ( 10934 ) <fred@fredsh o m e.org> on Thursday August 03, 2006 @09:21AM (#15838994) Homepage
    It does 1 pass, 2 pass, encodes to whatever codecs you installed encoders for, can apply a number of filters... It does pretty much what you tell it. If you install the right tools, it can even rip to a standalone bootable movie playing DVD that will work on any x86 style PC.

    I don't know what's available on Windows but Dvd::Rip seems to be fairly feature complete to me. The only thing is doesn't seem to like being interrupted.

    There are other such tools however that are more or less specialized so you might want to shop around before settling for a given solution.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 03, 2006 @12:09PM (#15840291)
    Maybe I'm putting words in his mouth, but I would guess Hartley meant to say that the lack of easily accessible 'wider-public' aspects of Open Source is keeping it from expanding its market share. As many of you have pointed out, there is plenty of 'exciting' software on Linux, so he's obviously wrong about that. However, he's right in that it tends to require more time and effort to get open-source running and to figure out how to use it well.

    Many of you have said, 'he's not looking hard enough' but for John Q Public to install Linux and use open-source software, he doesn't want to have to go digging around a bunch of sites and links and forums just to find which is the latest stable version of his mp3 player. And before you say 'who cares about the idiots who think a shell is something you find on the beach' it's John Q Public who could be the ones pushing Linux to a level market share where, for example, game developers might consider it a valid market. And we nerds do actually like games, don't we? Wouldn't more games on Linux be a good thing? It's a bit easy to call the uninitiated 'idiots' but in fact to expand usage of open-source, the idiots do actually matter.

    I think the point of Hartley's column should have been this; recently, Apple has been learning that to lure Windows customers away, you have to meet them halfway in a sort of 'comfort zone' so that they won't mind risking their home-computing life on your OS. Perhaps the open-source community can consciously try do more to make the transition from commercial software easier?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 03, 2006 @12:42PM (#15840589)
  • by the_greywolf ( 311406 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @01:04PM (#15840774) Homepage
    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".

    For me, that has been amaroK and GNU screen. (I'm easily impressed.)

    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?

    I've heard LIVES [sourceforge.net] and Cinelerra [heroinewarrior.com] are quite good (though I couldn't get Cinelerra working at all). But I recently discovered Kdenlive [sourceforge.net], which seems nearly feature-complete. (Its media import library seems to be missing a few things, but that's ok, it's not version 1 yet.) They're probably not iMovie, but they're the best NLV editors I know of.

    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. =)

    Yeah, and unfortunately, we have to depend on Wine and Cedega for our gaming fix most of the time. (Although things like Tuxracer, Chromium, or even Singularity can be a good distraction.)

    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.

    Chances are, what you want is under development now. You'll just have to dig for it and help them out.

    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.

    Then maybe, you're ready to make the move now. It wasn't until I dropped Windows entirely for 3 months that I realized nothing truthfully was holding me back. Yeah, I kinda miss playing Tron 2.0 and Final Fantasy XI.... Even Homeworld. But I could easily leave those behind for Linux. I actually can't think of anything on Windows I need any more. Even at work, where I use Windows, the first things I installed were Cygwin and GVim.

"Oh my! An `inflammatory attitude' in alt.flame? Never heard of such a thing..." -- Allen Gwinn, allen@sulaco.Sigma.COM