FLOSS, A Better Way To DO IT

If there ever was evidence that FLOSS is a better way to do IT, the smart phone is it:

  • lots of choices for the consumer
  • Android/Linux (FLOSS OS from Google) shipments at 47.1% of the market, up 105% over last year
  • iOS (Apple) down 26% at 20.8%
  • Phoney “7” (M$) at 1.7%

Of course, there’s more to a smart phone than the OS but all of these smart phones are made by people who know what they are doing and they advertise and have sales channels that know how to sell things. Certainly, Android/Linux is acceptable to consumers just as GNU/Linux or OpenOffice.org or LibreOffice are. Given a level playing field FLOSS works. It is a better way to do IT because it keeps costs down, is very flexible and can give makers and consumers what they want. FLOSS is good for everyone except those who cling to the out-moded non-free software.

see Android market share doubles while Apple IOS falls eight per cent

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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67 Responses to FLOSS, A Better Way To DO IT

  1. oiaohm says:

    Contrarian Please go read volume license conditions on windows installs. Yes evil they are only upgrades. So machine must have a pre existing copy of windows.

    Volume license of windows allows you to deploy single image inside you business kinda. kms server is kinda now are requirement that it works.

    D-G funny enough you need to look closer. The real price is not 20 dollars. The ones that are 20 dollars are pre shipped with crapware.

    This is a nice black mail job to businesses to buy volume as well. The reinstall discs with a lot of oem machine are pre coded to reintall the crap. Solution that is quick pay extra for volume.

    Linux on average breaks less often than Windows. This has been repeated many times over in studies D-G. The most insane was where 90 percent of one business machines were Linux 5 percent Apple and 5 percent Windows. Guess what. Windows was taking 90 percent of the support time. 8 percent was going to Apple and 2 percent was going to Linux. But that is the outer edge.

    Main reason why Linux was so low was solid and effective configuration management(if done by someone who knows how to use Linux correctly). So the Linux machines were either all perfect or all stuffed exactly the same way. Please don’t underestimate staffs means to cope with this. Since when they had issues it was all the same the staff simply worked around the problems most of the time with very little disruption to operations.

    Windows and Apple higher support issues were coming from both OS’s nature to end up with system to system unique configuration state. So when staff changed machines they were running into problems they were not expecting. So more downtime more strange issue.

    Yes support local support letting your staff do their job so you make more money so you have more to spend locally so do they.

    How Linux helps your local economy is the means to employ locals with skills todo work for you extra. Staff vs Software licenses. Ie more staff to service your customers better maybe. Or more terminals so you staff don’t have to be waiting and stacks of other options.

  2. D-G says:

    “Therefor, I deduce that other OS costs $140.”

    You merely looked for an offering supporting your world view. Look again. This time at the consumer market. For example, the price difference between a computer with Windows and a computer with no OS in Germany is on average 20 Euros. That IS negligible.

    “Well, there’s even more money that can be pumped into the local economy instead of going to Redmond.”

    You still haven’t answered my question: how does switching to Linux support the local economy? Will my computer break so often that I need to buy support?

  3. Well, there’s even more money that can be pumped into the local economy instead of going to Redmond.

  4. Contrarian says:

    “I deduce that other OS costs $140″

    You deduce incorrectly, then, #pogson. Lenovo has to provide first level support for the Windows OS when they supply it under the OEM agreement. Thus there is a service obligation and cost to Lenovo when they ship a Windows machine. Not so when they ship nothing at all. The customer can install their own Windows under their own volume site license contract, as many companies do, and thus realize a price savings over those who do not do that.

    You seem to think that Linux service and support is not worth $140, at least to you, so you attribute the cost to the Windows license, but that is not the case.

  5. D-G lied when he wrote, “Price? The difference between computers with Windows and Linux is either negligible or doesn’t exist at all.”

    M$ has carefully forced OEMs and the retail channel to never supply GNU/Linux and that other OS on exactly the same hardware. That makes it hard to compare but there are a few lone wolves who do quote prices.

    e.g. Lenovo D20 with DOS (not installed) $1324

    D20_Lose (OS installed) $1464

    Therefor, I deduce that other OS costs $140. You can support your local economy by buying the DOS system and paying a local person to install GNU/Linux or installing it yourself and buying lumber for a doghouse at the local lumber yard. Be creative. I know you can do it.

  6. D-G says:

    Yes, Pog. Sing us a new tune. Oh wait, it’s an oldie.

    “Price, freedom from lock-in, the local economy, open standards, etc. are all valid reasons to switch quite separate from availability of apps.”

    Price? The difference between computers with Windows and Linux is either negligible or doesn’t exist at all.

    Freedom? I’m not locked in. Windows allows me to do what I have to. By and large this means running the applications I need.

    Local economy? Care to tell me how I support my local economy by switching to Linux?

    Open standards? I can use these under Windows, too. Nobody hinders me. Because, you know, open standards aren’t exactly OS-dependent. Then they wouldn’t be open.

    And the best for last: it’s all about the apps, stupid! Your constant denial of this easily understood fact is heartbreaking. If I can’t do my work with Linux because it lacks the necessary apps, it fails as a platform. It’s that simple.

  7. My clipboard works. I use Klipper and have the default length pretty well down the screen.

  8. Well, that’s just it. While naysayers hammer on the availability of apps, all the apps most people need are available on GNU/Linux. It’s not always about switching. It’s about buying the first PC and smart thingy. There are plenty of reasons to migrate and millions do. Price, freedom from lock-in, the local economy, open standards, etc. are all valid reasons to switch quite separate from availability of apps.

  9. D-G says:

    “Nope. An office suite and a browser take care of most tasks on the web. With LibreOffice and Chrome browser I can read, write, listen, view, present, etc. Occasionally I need some other tool and I find it in the GNU tools, sox, ffmpeg, vlc, gimp, imagemagick, MySQL, Swish-e or freepascal.”

    Oh my god, Pog! Now you want to redefine what people SHOULD be doing with their computers. Ever heard of industry-specific software? For the most part it doesn’t exist on Linux.

    But there’s an interesting thought right there, Pog. Why should anyone actually switch to Linux based on your definition of computer work? Because…

    LibreOffice exists for Windows.
    Chrome exists for Windows.
    GNU exists for Windows.
    Sox exists for Windows.
    FFmpeg exists for Windows.
    VLC exists for Windows.
    GIMP exists for Windows.
    ImageMagick exists for Windows.
    MySQL exists for Windows.
    Swish-e exists for Windows.
    FreePascal exists for Windows.

    You get all that for Windows, plus thousands of F(L)OSS, freeware, shareware, commercial tools not available for Linux.

    That’s one hell of a win-win scenario.

  10. ch says:

    “I don’t know anyone in the flesh who does as much as I do with a PC.”

    That’s the problem in a nutshell. If I ever manage to come to Canada, we should meet ;)

    Yes, I know a lot of people who do need more special stuff: Musicians, my dentist, stuff in the company I’m working for, … and some of us just want a working clipboard, something you obviously don’t need *eg*

  11. ch wrote, ” a lot of people need at least one special applications for what they want to do, and that special application more often than not is commercial.”

    Nope. An office suite and a browser take care of most tasks on the web. With LibreOffice and Chrome browser I can read, write, listen, view, present, etc. Occasionally I need some other tool and I find it in the GNU tools, sox, ffmpeg, vlc, gimp, imagemagick, MySQL, Swish-e or freepascal. I don’t know anyone in the flesh who does as much as I do with a PC. I have worked for years in schools and know most of the tasks teachers and students do.

  12. ch says:

    “I don’t need it and most others don’t either.”

    YouDontNeedThat(TM) is just about the lamest excuse. No, not everyone needs Autocad (e.g.), but
    a) those who do tend to need it bad
    b) a lot of people need at least one special applications for what they want to do, and that special application more often than not is commercial.

    “Some people drive Cadillacs but I hear the Beetle is coming back…”

    So what I can get on Linux is the equivalent of a Beetle ? Well, on that at least we can agree ;)

    “When reading an ODF spreadsheet, MS Office Excel 2007 strips out formulas”

    That’s because Excel adheeres to the ISO standard ODF which doesn’t contain a format for formulas ! (Later versions of ODF do include a format for formulas, but as yet they are not an ISO standard.) So MS merely exposes a glaring omission in the standard. Of course, they could have done it like OOo does, but then again ODF is supposed to be “open” and not merely “the file format of OOo”, right ?

    “MS has not implemented “native” support for ODF in Office 2003 or its predecessors”

    Big surprise: ODF became an ISO standard in 2006 !

  13. GNU/Linux is a general purpose OS. It manages devices, processes and resources. It can do anything any OS can do. The diversity of real-world instances proves that, desktops, notebooks, thin clients, routers, gadgets, tablets, smart phones and servers.

  14. oldman says:

    “Nope. Not interested.”

    Whats the matter Pog, Afraid of what you might find?

    “People love GNU/Linux because it works for them.”

    Linux is a tool that worlds for some things and not others, period.

  15. Nope. Not interested.

    I have introduced thousands to GNU/Linux. You cannot undo that with a few words. People love GNU/Linux because it works for them.

  16. RealIT says:

    Pog, the fact that you try and somehow correlate mobile phone OS statistics with enteprise and consumer PC/Server statistics shows what a twit you are. How on earth is Android any indication of the direction PC/Server OS’s will move? Your constant death knell’s of Windows are amusing and remind me of say, oh I don’t know, the last 20 years of Linux’s existence. Forever the “next” big thing. It will NEVER be. Why? Because of you. You are the reason Linux is a failure. You are the reason no major 1st world country will move to Linux. You are the reason enterprises ignore Linux. You are the reason why Linux’s “pro’s” are mostly lies. Infact, you are the Muammar Gaddafi of operating systems. A crazy old man with a skewed ideology, imposing your dictatorship of what you WILL use, fighting those that oppose your views regardless of how wrong you are and refuse to admit that no one wants you around.

    Tell you what, I’m going to Tech-Ed in October. That means I get another year’s free full access to TechNet and 10 licenses of EVERYTHING Microsoft produces. I’ll throw you a bone, and sponsor you a license key for whatever you want. I’ll do the honorable thing and help you become more credible. Slap something on your resume to make you more marketable. Deal?

  17. oldman says:

    “Google’s Android 3.x is not FLOSS. Other releases are FLOSS.

    Th efact that android 1,x and 2,x are FOSS is irrelevant. Neither can handle tablets large than 7″ without modification, which no major tablet verdor is going to do as long as they can get Android 3 and 4 from google.

  18. Google’s Android 3.x is not FLOSS. Other releases are FLOSS.

  19. see GROKLAW.

    In particular see http://www.odfalliance.org/resources/fact-sheet-Microsoft-ODF-support.pdf

    When reading an ODF spreadsheet, MS Office Excel 2007 strips out formulas, breaking spreadsheet interoperability with all other ODF-supporting applications. While adequate for viewing, Microsoft’s support for ODF spreadsheet collaboration is practically worthless.

    Microsoft Office 2007 does not support encryption (password-protection) in ODF files.

    Microsoft Office 2007 does not support tracked changes in ODF.

    MS has not implemented “native” support for ODF in Office 2003 or its predecessors

    Microsoft’s announcement concerning the release of Service Pack 2 contains no promise that it will keep its “support” for ODF up to date with the latest version. “

    Pretty sad that ODF is an open standard and M$ does not fully support it.

  20. Contributors to the kernel include thousands of people from around the world, both individuals and large and small organizations. Inclusion is based on merit, not connections.

  21. Well what about the decades of non-XML files?

  22. I don’t need it and most others don’t either. Some people drive Cadillacs but I hear the Beetle is coming back…

  23. D-G says:

    Hey, Pog. How do you want to explain away this?

    Richard Stallman thinks that Android ISN’T Free Software. Yes, Richard — I created the GPL — Stallman.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2011/sep/19/android-free-software-stallman

    Cue the lame excuses — now.

  24. oldman says:

    “Because Android sells? A marvel of a proof.”

    And yet there is no FOSS equivalent of Finale, Photoshop, Autocad and a lot of outher products that are only possible when one can make a profit.

    Care to explain that>

    And BTW saying that you dont need this software is not an answer.

  25. D-G says:

    @Pog

    “Go into a store with your eyes shut when you shop, eh?”

    Ahem, what is it that you want to say? But in fact, when I was looking around in a Saturn market yesterday (one of Germany’s biggest retail chains for consumer electronics, appliances, CDs, DVDs, and so on) I did see no mention of Linux or F(L)OSS anywhere on the little fact sheets accompanying the Android phones on display in the store. They merely state that they run Android. That’s it.

    @JohnMc

    “Well first of all its wrong. Customers don’t care about the OS? Don’t tell that to the legions of Apple followers. They care very much about such matters as it relates to their overpriced look and feel. So the premise that this does not matter is inaccurate.”

    You seemingly (or willingly?) don’t want to understand what I’m saying. So, once again:

    You (or rather Grandmaster Pog) construct a reverse argument along the lines of: “People buy products powered by F(L)OSS, therefore a) F(L)OSS is better, b) people are interested in F(L)OSS”.

    Care to elaborate how this should work? Yes, there are hundreds of consumer devices out there that in some way or another use F(L)OSS. For example, I own a WD TV Live, a standalone media playback device. It’s powered by F(L)OSS. Fair enough. But here is a fact: this is not advertised. Anywhere. It appears as a footnote, that “[t]his product includes code licensed under the GNU General Public License.” The consumer by and large is not influenced in his decision just because this product contains F(L)OSS code.

    His or her goal is by and large not to obtain a device with F(L)OSS code, but rather to obtain a device that fulfills his or her needs. In that respect it is utterly irrelevant if said product is built on F(L)OSS technology. So… if there’d be another product not built on F(L)OSS technology but on proprietary technology, which is better feature-wise (let’s assume they’re priced the same), could I then say that consumers support proprietary technology? No! They’d buy the product because it’s better. Because it’d server their needs better. And therefore I also can’t say that customers support F(L)OSS, just because they’re buying products built on F(L)OSS.

    F(L)OSS does not influence the decision making process of the majority of consumers. It’s that simple.

    And, to finally come back to Grandmaster Pog’s original statement of retardedness … care to explain:

    WHY is open source a better way of doing IT again?

    Because Android sells? A marvel of a proof.

    Keep to your delusions.

  26. Rambunctious Mole says:

    I own my own data Pog,. I have no problem getting it out of any microsoft product and have not had any problems with their main line products in over a decade.

    Since the Office Open XML format all one has to do (just like the OO format) is go looking into the zip file and extract the data there. Hell you can even do an XSL transform on the data if you are clever that way.

  27. oldman says:

    “You’re full of it, Contrarian.”

    About what Pog? It is a well known fact that all but a very select few people actually get their submissions incorporated into the Linux kernel. In fact I seem to recall the actual working team that maintains the kernal is well under 50 people.

    furthermore if you look at most of the major projects, they turn out to be almost as much of exclusive clubs submission wise as well.

    Many eyes my hiney…

    I own my own data Pog,. I have no problem getting it out of any microsoft product and have not had any problems with their main line products in over a decade.

    That is a fact.

  28. Rambunctious Mole says:

    1) owning your own data/getting off the file-format treadmill
    2) having less feature-bloat means having easier training/more productivity
    3) having open standards for the file formats
    fewer vulnerabilities

    4) There are more but I am not going to waste more time.

    On 1) You own your own data with Microsoft Office, there’s nothing in the license that says you don’t

    On 2) Feature bloat. You run OO in various OSes and compare the memory footprint to Microsoft Office? OO is actually worse in both Linux and Microsoft Windows

    On 3) Prove it

    On 4) Good idea, better attempt to back up these ones first and validate them before pulling any more out of your head.

  29. Rambunctious Mole says:

    The withholding of the code is a temporary measure. I don’t like it, but I don’t run Google. Like any software, you can choose to run only the free parts of it if you wish.

    So is this an admission that Android is not FLOSS?

  30. Android 3.1 is not Android. Android also includes 0-2.x and soon, 4.x

    The withholding of the code is a temporary measure. I don’t like it, but I don’t run Google. Like any software, you can choose to run only the free parts of it if you wish.

  31. You’re full of it, Contrarian.

  32. Contrarian says:

    “I am not going to waste more time”

    Oh, I doubt that, #pogson. OO is not very popular with the computing public. No one has the sort of problems that you rail against. People just do not give a hoot.

    “Linus needs a licence for Linux or no one would legally be able to use Linux”

    That is not true at all, #pogson. A simple declaration that the owner, Linus himself, has no interest in remunertion and will not assert its copyright would suffice. There is no law in effect at all unless someone wants to assert a copyright. That cannot be done unless the copyright is first of all registered to the party filing the suit. Look it up yourself.

    “Linus needs collaboration for which GPL is ideal. Everyone contributes and everyone shares.”

    Baloney. Very few contribute or are even allowed to contribute. You have to be part of the inner circle to do so. Millions use Linux and do nothing about “contributing” anything. What have you “contributed” to the developers who work on Linux?

  33. Rambunctious Mole says:

    From your leader/savior/master himself, Richard Stallman:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2011/sep/19/android-free-software-stallman

    Quotes from Stallman:

    Android is very different from the GNU/Linux operating system because it contains very little of GNU.

    Android 3.1 source code is also being withheld. Thus, Android 3, apart from Linux, is non-free software, pure and simple.

    So once and for all, stop calling Android FLOSS, Android is not FLOSS. Even your malevolent dictator has agreed.

  34. NT JERKFACE says:

    Oracle has blown it. They have for all intents handed over Open Office to the Mozilla Foundation having failed to provide the support necessary.

    Blown what? I don’t think they ever cared about being in the Office suite business.

  35. Contrarian wrote about Linux, “Nothing in the GPL really comes into play.”

    Linus needs a licence for Linux or no one would legally be able to use Linux.

    Linus needs collaboration for which GPL is ideal. Everyone contributes and everyone shares. If only a few were allowed to use Linux why would the rest of the world contribute?

    The fact that the licence goes with the software saves Linus a lot of work issuing licences.

    GPLv2 is a very simple licence compared to M$’s EULA, for instance. Linus values simplicity because it makes his life easier. So do the users.

  36. Contrarian wrote, “No one truly gives a darn about any replacement.”

    Wrong! There are many other reasons than cost to switch away from M$’s office suite:

  37. owning your own data/getting off the file-format treadmill
  38. having less feature-bloat means having easier training/more productivity
  39. having open standards for the file formats
  40. fewer vulnerabilities
  41. There are more but I am not going to waste more time.