Robert Pogson

One man, closing all the windows.

FLOSS, A Better Way To DO IT

  • Sep 18 / 2011
  • 67
technology

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

67 Comments

  1. oiaohm

    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

    “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. Contrarian

    “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.

  4. Robert Pogson

    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.

  5. D-G

    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.

  6. Robert Pogson

    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.

  7. D-G

    “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.

  8. ch

    “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*

  9. Robert Pogson

    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.

  10. ch

    “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 !

  11. Robert Pogson

    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.

  12. oldman

    “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.

  13. Robert Pogson

    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.

  14. RealIT

    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?

  15. oldman

    “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.

  16. Robert Pogson

    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.

  17. Robert Pogson

    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.

  18. oldman

    “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.

  19. D-G

    @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.

  20. Rambunctious Mole

    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.

  21. oldman

    “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.

  22. Rambunctious Mole

    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.

  23. Rambunctious Mole

    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?

  24. Robert Pogson

    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.

  25. Contrarian

    “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?

  26. Rambunctious Mole

    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.

  27. NT JERKFACE

    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.

  28. Robert Pogson

    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.

  29. Robert Pogson

    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:

  30. owning your own data/getting off the file-format treadmill
  31. having less feature-bloat means having easier training/more productivity
  32. having open standards for the file formats
  33. fewer vulnerabilities
  34. There are more but I am not going to waste more time.

  35. Contrarian

    #johnmc, OO and LibreOffice hardly matter. Companies that buy and re-buy MS Office are using it for much more than word processing or spreadsheets. It is integral to their business systems. A few hundred dollars for enabling an employee is nothing compared to their overall fixed costs and to the perceived cost of changing anything that has been in use for such a long time. No one truly gives a darn about any replacement.

    MySQL is kind of an odd ball, I think, and FOSS advocaates do not seem to realize that there are free versions of SQL Server and (I think) Oracle. You can use SQL Server Express for free and even distribute it with your own application software. It handles databases up to 2GB in size and, unless you have a big business or a bank to run, that covers almost any situation where you might be tempted to use MySQL or whatever you think is similar in the FOSS world.

    Red Hat sells a service that many people eagerly pay for. Red Hat is providing their IT support where it was a unix issue in the past. Sun sold hardware as its main business and they were murdered by Intel as it became more capable. Linux is just a side issue where the OS is not as important as the applications running on the computers, such as at the London stock exchange.

    You talk of “recent events in the EU permitted what was in the public domain to be usurped by commercial interests”, but there is no detail. What was usurped? It didn’t make much news, whatever it was that you are on about.

  36. JohnMc

    Contrarian,

    Couple of points –

    * Oracle has blown it. They have for all intents handed over Open Office to the Mozilla Foundation having failed to provide the support necessary. The fork to Libre Office did not help their cause as a mass exodus of the develop team left with them.

    * MySQL is not so much being properitized as it is facing the same fate as Open Office. Want a FLOSS of MySQL? Try MariaDB. Its a plug replacement for MySQL from the same guy, Widenius, who wrote MySQL, built MySQL AB the company and is doing it again. With enhancements.

    * Stuff no one cares about commercially? If so, then explain RedHat? RH had better earnings then Sun before its demise with one eighth the capitalization. Or that Google would not even be here without Linux. Or that the London Exchange has chosen Linux. Or that of the 500 HPC clusters all but one run Linux.

    * Why bother with licenses at all? Well recent events in the EU permitted what was in the public domain to be usurped by commercial interests again. Licenses like the GPL are a defense against such actions. Least here in the US, one can take a public domain concept, add additional bells and whistles and privatize what was once free. Licensing is vital.

  37. JohnMc

    Reading through the comments two things come to mind. A) Most are flogging the wrong dog. B) Many are missing the obvious. Lets take an except from one of the comments –

    “Customers do not care about F(L)OSS.

    Those that do care that Android is F(L)OSS are a minority.”

    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.

    But lets for the sake of argument assume that the average consumer does not care about the OS and FLOSS. But that minority of those that DO care about an OS happen to make up a decent component of the DEVELOPERS and MFRs of cellular smart phones. That little minority happen to end up deciding for the masses what THEY will have available to purchase. So in the end, the concerns over OS’s do matter.

    But then, I look at the matter from the basis of who blows the horn rather than who listens to the music.

  38. Contrarian

    I think that you have to look beyond the labels to see what is really going on here, #pogson.

    Take, for instance, Linux itself. Torvalds has set the version 2 GPL license for this project, but it really does not matter very much. Linux is pretty much what Torvalds says that it is and he sends a new version out from time to time with the source code that he has blessed for that version. He doesn’t seem to care one whit for what people do with it although he surely hopes that they use it beneficially. He has trademarked the name “linux” and only versions that are “official” may use the name. Nothing in the GPL really comes into play.

    MySQL is slowly being proprietized, it seems to me, by Oracle which now has ownership of the product. Commercial distribution is not allowed under the terms of the licenses provided by Oracle today. Is that GPL? I don’t think that it matters much here, either.

    How about Firefox and Open Office? I don’t know if either of these are actually GPL, but they are in the same category as Linux itself, i.e. there isn’t any opportunity for anyone to proprietize them since they are too big to hijack and there is no opportunity to make any money in doing so.

    FOSS itself is, at the end of the day, a vast collection of stuff that no one really cares about commercially. I think that, if someone wants to be magnanimous and give away work product that still has some commercial value, they are free to do it in a variety of ways. Why bother with licenses at all? Leave it in the public domain and we can all quit fussing over nothing.

  39. Robert Pogson

    Or not…

    Linux – GPL v 2
    MySQL – GPL v 2
    So 2 out of 4 parts of LAMP use GPL.
    “The GPL is by far the most popular FLOSS licence, used by over 62% of the roughly 200,000 projects listed on SourceForge (the largest FLOSS project repository) in February 2010. At that time, the next most popular licences for projects listed on SourceForge are the LGPL, used by 10.7% projects, and the BSD (Berkeley Software Distribution) License, used by 7.1%.”

    see Factors Influencing Participant Satisfaction with Free/Libre and Open Source Software Projects
    a PhD thesis by Brenda Lynne Chawner

    “linux” 767million hits on Google
    “GNU” 145million hits on Google
    “GNU/Linux” 21million hits on Google
    “windows” 3.3billion hits on Google
    “XP” 1.28billion hits on Google
    “windows XP” 485million hits on Google
    “windows 7″ 602million hits on Google

    There’s a lot of thunder to go around. No one has to steal any.

  40. Contrarian

    “This is a free software license, compatible with version 3 of the GPL.”

    Just a face-sving maneuver by the FSF, I think, who are embarassed by the dearth of followers of the GPL these days. Stallman’s manifesto plainly states that distribution of the source code is necessary for “free” software and the Apache license does not require that source be distributed. Ergo, it is not “free” even if the FSF woould like to bask in the glory of the Apache project.

    Similarly, Linux has some recognition, particularly in servers, so they say “GNU/Linux” trying to steal some thunder from it.

  41. Robert Pogson

    Of course one can be proud of creating a pattern or 1s and 0s but any script kiddie can do that so it has limits.

    M$ is definitely a big part of the problem.

  42. D-G

    “The commercial product with FLOSS is a better commercial product. You hatred of FLOSS is warping your brains.”

    Warping my brains? Surely not. Because I don’t even hate F(L)OSS. I may “hate” people making unsubstantiated claims with no empirical proof stating that a F(L)OSS product is BY DEFAULT a BETTER product. As I already wrote once or twice: open source is not a quality criterion. The quality of a product cannot be measured by the level of “open sourceness”. The subjective advantages one can gain from open source are a mere byproduct. If a developer decides to make something open source — so be it! But that doesn’t tell me anything about the quality of the software, or for that matter about the quality of the code.

    You conveniently always forget that Android could not have been a success without the very, very real power of one of the biggest companies on earth behind it. It has nothing to do with Android being released as open source. That’s all I’m saying.

    Whereas you are saying, like a true believer/evangelist/propagandist: F(L)OSS always makes for the better product. That may be well true if you view this from a purely ideological standpoint. As you do. But no amount of ideology will make a F(L)OSS product better or more appealing to consumers or whatever just because it is F(L)OSS.

    You also ignore something very important and very basic: for many users the important thing about F(L)OSS is the “F”. No, not this “F”, not the “free as in speech” one. The “free as in beer” one. Your view of the world is so very wrong because you always wrongly assume that users of F(L)OSS are using F(L)OSS because they are true believers. There are a lot of reasons why someone uses F(L)OSS. But you lump them all together, implying that every F(L)OSS user is a F(L)OSS supporter with the same ideology.

    Do think about it, Pog.

  43. Tea Spoon

    Nothing in FLOSS requires every modification of source code to be released.

    Spot on! The real enemy isn’t Microsoft by intellectual property. Software is a random string of 1′s and 0′s. How can you own that?

  44. Robert Pogson

    “Apache License, Version 2.0 (#apache2)
    This is a free software license, compatible with version 3 of the GPL.

    Please note that this license is not compatible with GPL version 2, because it has some requirements that are not in the older version. These include certain patent termination and indemnification provisions.

    see http://www.gnu.org/licenses/license-list.html

  45. Contrarian

    You deviate from the sacred oaths here, #pogson! Your cite from above says:

    “The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others (freedom 3). By doing this you can give the whole community a chance to benefit from your changes. Access to the source code is a precondition for this. ”

    Thus you must distribute the source code along with the object code in order to be free, but the Android model does not require that the source be sent onward. Ergo it is not “free” in the Stallman sense and you are a heritic! Turn in your ‘L’ :-)

  46. Robert Pogson

    Nope. The four freedoms are:

  47. examine the code
  48. modify it
  49. run it and
  50. distribute it.
  51. Nothing prevents anyone from examining code, even under the ASL.

    “2. Grant of Copyright License. Subject to the terms and conditions of this License, each Contributor hereby grants to You a perpetual, worldwide, non-exclusive, no-charge, royalty-free, irrevocable copyright license to reproduce, prepare Derivative Works of, publicly display, publicly perform, sublicense, and distribute the Work and such Derivative Works in Source or Object form.”

    Without source code, you can still do all of those although it is more difficult.

  52. Contrarian

    “You hatred of FLOSS is warping your brains.”

    I don’t think that hate is the correct emotion here, #pogson. The way I read #d-g’s comments, it would be more in the way of disdain for the notion that the (L) part is relevant to the market situation. In an Eastwood spagetti western, it would be “We don’ need no steenking source!”.

    If my Android phone doesn’t work right, I’m going to complain to the carrier or maybe to the manufacturer or to the store where I got it. I’m not going to dig into the code to fix it. If I want to write phone OS code, I’ll move to silly valley and get a job.

  53. Contrarian

    “Nothing in FLOSS requires every modification of source code to be released.”

    But it must be released to qualify as “free” if it is distributed to others, #pogson, which is certainly the case with the closed versions of Android.

  54. Contrarian

    “you are putting words in my mouth”

    They are your words, #pogson. FLOSS, with an ‘L’ has been used to distinguish GPL source from other “open” source, such as the BSD, Apache, or MIT licenses. Now you say that the simply open source stuff, once also known as FOSS is FLOSS, too. But then there is no distinction and Richard Stallman will surely come to your cabin and thrash you with his sandals until you find back your religion!

    “I quoted Lenovo. You don’t believe them?”

    You cited a blogger, Matt Kohut, who is not an officer of Lenovo and not a spokesperson for Lenovo policy, so anything said there is not necessarily true. For one thing, that tale is something often claimed by support personnel as a sort of put off for people who want to buy a bare bones machine and think they should be discounted the going rate for Windows. Some time ago, the idea that Microsoft somehow forced this situation was debunked by Dell who admitted that it was just a ruse invented by their call center people.

    For another, you were suggesting that this practice was a foundation for Microsoft becoming a dominant supplier of OS software and I simply point out that Lenovo is a late comer to the market as the purchaser of the IBM biz for desktop PCs. I would further point out that DOS was mostly unbundled in the early days of the PC and Microsoft was well established as the market leader before including DOS as part of the package became a standard practice.

  55. Robert Pogson

    They have stated why they withheld the source. One could consider the binary releases that have been made on devices to be beta tests or whatever. Nothing in FLOSS requires every modification of source code to be released. That’s why we have releases, so what’s released is ready. Android 4.0 will be ready. Android 3.x will be forgotten soon. Probably all the 3.x stuff will be updated to 4.0 in the next few months.

    I don’t like the way Google dealt with this and the ASL licence but it’s their code and they can do what they want with it.

  56. D-G

    Oh, by the way, regarding your affectionate stance towards Google: as long as they don’t publish the source code to 3.0, 3.1 and 3.2, these Android versions are formally closed source. It doesn’t matter if they release it later. Right now the non-availability of the source code, while the actual product is out there, clearly violates the spirit of open source.

  57. D-G

    “Whether they know it is FLOSS or not is irrelevant. They buy what they try and what they like. It is FLOSS that they like.”

    No, Pog. They like a commercial product. They don’t like F(L)OSS. Because they don’t know about and don’t give a damn about F(L)OSS.

    It’s rather absurd how you try to twist your pathetic little reverse argument into shape. Let me remind you: when Android is successful it logically follows that open source is better than closed source. Your words, not mine. But unfortunately the one thing has jack to do with the other thing. Android being a commercial success is utterly unrelated to Android being also open source. Because people don’t buy Android phones for the F(L)OSS factor.

    To put it in the most simple terms: Android being open source is not the cause of Android’s success. However you might wish for the opposite to be true. Had Google put out a shoddy product, no amount of F(L)OSSing would’ve helped it. Open source is not a quality criterion.

    And with Google exercising much stricter control over Android in the future, Android’s being open source may very well become very irrelevant for other vendors.

  58. Robert Pogson

    My mind is clear, you are putting words in my mouth. Google does much more than release source code. That, going along with releasing the source code makes it FLOSS. M$ releases code sometimes and puts restrictions on it that make it not FLOSS. Get it?

    I quoted Lenovo. You don’t believe them?

  59. Contrarian

    I might add that, in any case, Lenovo just bought out the old IBM PC business from IBM. They were not even around when the market was being formed.

  60. Contrarian

    “Opening the source is not enough”

    But you clearly said:

    “As long as Google supplies the source code, it is open enough to be considered FLOSS in my book”

    Make up your mind, #pogson.

    “IBM did not allow Apple software on the “IBM PC”. They gave M$ a monopoly for DOS on the IBM PC which evolved to that other OS.”

    Well, Apple did not allow Microsoft DOS on the Apple II and Tandy did not allow MS-DOS on the TRS-80 either, #pogson. And it is not even true that Microsoft had an exclusive at the outset. IBM sold CPM-86 and a Pascal interpreter along side PC-DOS. They were more expensive than PC-DOS, but IBM had a paid up distribution license, so anything that they sold was pure profit.

    ““Due to licensing terms dictated by Microsoft to all vendors in the industry, a PC must ship with an operating system installed”

    Nothing to corroborate that, #pogson.

  61. Robert Pogson

    Wrong. Opening the source is not enough. Open source with a heavy burden of restrictions is not FLOSS.

    “Due to licensing terms dictated by Microsoft to all vendors in the industry, a PC must ship with an operating system installed. It can be Windows. It can be Linux. For our large customers, we’ve even shipped a few machines with PC-DOS on them. However, until those licensing terms change, it won’t be possible for us to ship anything to any customer “bare metal.””

    see http://www.lenovoblogs.com/insidethebox/2008/02/expanded-lenovo-linux-offerings/

    Domain Name………. lenovoblogs.com
    Creation Date…….. 2006-04-12
    Registration Date…. 2010-02-25
    Expiry Date………. 2012-04-12
    Organisation Name…. Lenovo (Singapore) Pte Ltd.
    Organisation Address. 151 Lorong Chuan

    IBM did not allow Apple software on the “IBM PC”. They gave M$ a monopoly for DOS on the IBM PC which evolved to that other OS.

  62. Contrarian

    “As long as Google supplies the source code, it is open enough to be considered FLOSS in my book”

    Well, #pogson, that is making progress at last! Now you agree that anything that provides source, which is the definition of FOSS, is considered “FLOSS in (your) book”. So they are equivalent and you can now drop the silliness with the “L”. Good job!

    “The point I tried to make but that you are ignoring is that M$ arranged that the PC market was not open to competition in OS with bundling, banning no-OS shipments, hiding the price of the OS, and having a monopoly granted to DOS in the beginning.”

    You seem to have totally missed the boat here, #pogson. The highest courts in the land have agreed that Microsoft was not guilty of any illegal product bundling and Microsoft never banned or even had the ability to ban no-OS shipments of PCs or clones. Nor did they ever hide the price. Rather, OEMs included low-cost OEM versions of DOS and Windows with their products and proudly proclaimed the value of the stand-alone software as a big cost savings to the consumer, which it was.

    As to being granted a monopoly, that is just horse feathers. When PC-DOS and MS-DOS were announced, the market was dominated by Apple with their own OS and Tandy with TRS-DOS on their machines. Most others used CP/M with Z80 S100 collections. MS started from scratch and quickly came to be the most popular OS in use at the time.

    “Smart phones have been open from the beginning and there is competition on price/performance on retail shelves”

    You have a truly odd view of things, #pogson. Blackberry was the cat’s meow as far as the fast lane folk were concerned and many still cling to it. But the turtleneck crowd seized on iPhones and will have nothing else. Losers who cannot muster the necessaries to get onto the iPhone choose from a variety of wannabes using Android. There isn’t a smidgeon of difference in performance, IMO, although Apple can consistently command their price while the others have to squabble with one another over price cuts. If you look at the financials for Apple, HTC, Samsung, Motorola, and Sony, you can tell that Apple is making all the money and the others are barely getting by.

    Let us see if the situation changes with Nokia and WP7 once those products get some traction.

  63. D-G

    “Or not. Consumers can get their hands on these gadgets and play with them before buying. They obviously prefer FLOSS.”

    Wrong again.

    You simply are unable to understand the most basic fact:

    Customers do not care about F(L)OSS.

    Those that do care that Android is F(L)OSS are a minority.

    The rest just wants a phone that works. Google wisely chose to downplay F(L)OSS and so on. F(L)OSS is not a factor when it comes to consumers buying Android phones. Android is a success in spite of F(L)OSS, not because of F(L)OSS.

    And as I wrote: Google will be keeping Android phone manufacturers on a tight leash in the future. Therefore you could even argue that the source releases will become irrelevant.

  64. Robert Pogson

    Contrarian wrote, ” you ignore that Android is not “FLOSS” as you call it, but rather plain old “FOSS” due to Google’s favoring the Apache license model”. This is a distinction without a difference. ASL provides that the software can be used, modified, examined and distributed but does not insist that source code being passed on. As long as Google supplies the source code, it is open enough to be considered FLOSS in my book. I still have the ability to distribute source code if I wish.

    Uh,,,, 2% of martket share after months on the market? HAHA. Android/Linux started from zero not long ago and is around 50%. What was Apple’s lead? What was Nokia’s lead?

    The point I tried to make but that you are ignoring is that M$ arranged that the PC market was not open to competition in OS with bundling, banning no-OS shipments, hiding the price of the OS, and having a monopoly granted to DOS in the beginning. Smart phones have been open from the beginning and there is competition on price/performance on retail shelves. Linux, FLOSS, GNU/Linux, and Android/Linux all thrive in a fair market.

  65. Contrarian

    There is a lot of misinformation in your posting here, #pogson, and I am disappointed in your showing such disrepect for our intelligence by trying to pass off such a farce.

    For starters, you ignore that Android is not “FLOSS” as you call it, but rather plain old “FOSS” due to Google’s favoring the Apache license model, eschewing the radical GPL except where absolutely necessary to accomodte the basic bits and bytes from the Linux kernel used within Android.

    You gloss over the obvious fact that the numerology is pertinent only to the UK, which is populated with such classic cheapskates who lack any eclat for the finer quality products available.

    Finally you ignore the fact that WP7 has had a mathmatically infinite growth rate, coming from zero to almost 2% while smirking about the aggregate growth of Android usage at a mere 105%. If you think about it, WP7 has taken over more share in less than a year than classic Linux has been able to muster in almost 2 decades of trying. At that rate, WP7 will totally dominate the market within a few years.

    Even if the Android numbers were any indication of reality, it still does not follow that “FLOSS is a better way to do IT” unless you are willing to admit that Windows is the best way to do PC OS based on its market success to date. You cannot have it both ways.

  66. D-G

    Pog, Pog, Pog. Your little “Android is slugging Apple left and right” post here is miles off the mark. The problem with you is that you make up these totally baseless reverse arguments/proofs. Essentially, what you’re saying is:

    Android is more popular than Apple (in the UK which you kind of forgot to add). Therefore the FLOSS development model is better than the proprietary/closed source/whatever development model.

    That’s what you’re saying, isn’t it? Well, there’s a small problem here. It ain’t true!

    1.) FLOSS is not a quality criterion. Just because something is developed in open source fashion, it isn’t necessarily better in terms of quality. (This would be the “wisdom of the many” myth.)

    2.) Consumers by and large don’t care which OS their phone is running. They don’t care that Android is open source. They don’t care that Android is powered by Linux. They. Just. Don’t. Care! (The only people that do care are those geeks who want to install Debian and wait 60 seconds for OpenOffice Writer to start up.)

    3.) Which choice? Google running a tight ship with regards to how device manufacturers’ phones have to be. Google prioritizes certain manufacturers (one of which will soon belong to Google). Perhaps you have failed to read (seems to happen quite often to you) this sentence in your cited source: “Smartphone design is in danger of becoming too standardised …”. Which choice are you speaking of again? Yeah, I can choose from a pool of phones from different manufacturers which all have one thing in common: they’re built like Google wanted them built.

    You’re wrong again, Pog. On pretty much everything.

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