Freedom DOES Matter

Many enemies of FLOSS trumpet the fact that end-users are not aware of software freedom and take for granted their computing environment. Their conclusion is that FLOSS cannot thrive because the bulk of the IT industry does not really care about using, examining, modifying and distributing code. They also scoff at mechanisms for paying for FLOSS, but that is another matter until VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) comes around.

Intel, which wants to sell lots of powerful processors, wants VDI to fail. They helpfully point out that the licensing model of “commercial”/non-free software depends on recipes for charging for use of software. That becomes impossible in a complex VDI system. In the thick client era, one licence could apply to one copy of one piece of software on a hard drive somewhere. In the VDI situation, servers and clients may be virtual and uncountable. For instance, depending on what an end-user is doing, a client PC may be used to access one local app on one local OS or an unlimited number of apps on local and non-local OS running in virtual machines all over a plant. That is, “use” can no longer be well defined and countable. Software could have meters built in but there is no standard way of doing that. The businesses buying all the licences could just accept a bill from suppliers of software according to their meters but be unable to verify the cost/benefit from their end.

Enter FLOSS to the rescue. If you know that the cost of each of your licences is $0, then you know your total costs of licensing software is also $0. FLOSS may not be a complete solution to the problem as support costs may still be related to installations, instances, processes, processors, users, or whatever, but suppliers will be more flexible with support because copyright is not a part of it. It is simpler and easier to charge for support according to “billable hours”, per user, per client or per server or per virtual machine… No need to define use at all as support involves making something available, not use.

The idea that FLOSS is irrelevant in licensing collapses under its own weight when the complexity of IT systems makes the valuation of licences impossible. VDI does that. It expands the problem that already existed with virtual machines on servers and compounds it. One does not need a licensing regime as complex as one’s IT system. FLOSS rationalizes the problem of accounting for licences by trumping complexity with four simple freedoms: use, openness, modification and copying. Use FLOSS.

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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120 Responses to Freedom DOES Matter

  1. twitter says:

    Reality, Contrarian? Anyone who thinks that the internet could be built on Windows or that C is useless is crazy. I’m not about to go looking at your link to an image in the middle of a trolly child porn conversation. Ick, just ick.

  2. Contrarian says:

    “so cut the crap already!”

    Well, we could talk about the Linux file system developer guy who murdered his wife a couple of years ago instead.

  3. oldman says:

    “Reading comprehension there oldman, I didn’t say anything about FOSS. ”

    Then what are you pursuing this. This is a debate about FOSS, not one about Stallman or pedophilia.

    Neither of which IMHO need to be debated here.

    At any rate, IMHO it is kind of stupid to think that Pog would have anything to do with pedophilia. and his observations about the wandering nature of legal definition of the age of consent do not as far as I am concerned constitute an endorsement of pedophilia.

    so cut the crap already!

  4. Richard Chapman says:

    Well, that takes care of that subject. I guess it’s time to turn our attention to thespians.

  5. You are the one suggesting I support anything to do with that.

  6. Ivan says:

    Oh, and because you asked for a definition: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/448575/pedophilia

    “pedophilia, also spelled paedophilia , psychosexual disorder in which an adult has sexual fantasies about or engages in sexual acts with a prepubescent child of the same or the opposite sex.”

    “A clinical diagnosis of pedophilia also requires that the affected individual be at least 16 years of age and at least 5 years older than the child (or children) at the centre of the individual’s sexual fantasies.”

    If you are blindly willing to support Dick’s support of that, you may have serious issues that need to be resolved.

  7. Ivan says:

    Reading comprehension there oldman, I didn’t say anything about FOSS.

    Oh and Bobby, no one will think less of you if you disagree with Dick Stallman’s politics. I think you’ll find that most normal people do. You’ll also find that most normal people don’t accuse others of trolling just because they disagree.

  8. oldman says:

    “He wrote a license and copied some code, if you really believe that gives him a pass for the above quoted statements, maybe you need to sort out your problems with a therapist.”

    No it doent give him a pass, but as far as I am concerned and I am no fan of FOSS, it is bushwah to try to tar FOSS with this brush.

    All you succeed in doing IMHO is making yourself look even more extreme and more marginal that the “zealots” you are debating.

  9. Someone says:

    This started off as a discussion about software freedom. Now people are talking about peophilia. This is one of the oldest tricks taken right out of the proprietary shill book–if you can’t win based on facts and logic, throw enough garbage into the debate to sidetrack it and bury any points made and/or toss in plenty of ad hominem all around.

    Don’t feed the troll, guys.

  10. Define pedophilia. If it is sex with 14 year old children then it was legal in Canada for many years until 2008. That does not make him particularly eccentric or supportive of pedophilia. That makes him fairly mainstream. Ivan and Bobby, OTOH, are trolling.

  11. Ivan says:

    ‘We all know RMS is “eccentric”.’

    Seriously? He advocates for pedophiles and you pass it off as eccentricity? The full quote:

    “I am skeptical of the claim that voluntarily pedophilia harms children. The arguments that it causes harm seem to be based on cases which aren’t voluntary, which are then stretched by parents who are horrified by the idea that their little baby is maturing.”

    If that is just “eccentricity” then you are just being obtuse for the sake of supporting him.

    Dick Stallman also advocates for bestiality:

    “I’ve read that male dolphins try to have sex with humans, and female apes sollicit sex from humans. What is wrong with giving them what they want, if that’s what turns you on, or even just to gratify them?”

    http://stallman.org/articles/extreme.html

    Of course, you can support that kind of behavior, but in doing so, you are just marginalizing yourself for the sake of someone that doesn’t deserve that level of support.

    He wrote a license and copied some code, if you really believe that gives him a pass for the above quoted statements, maybe you need to sort out your problems with a therapist.

  12. Amen.

    We all know RMS is “eccentric”. It is his eccentricity towards Free Software which is relevant here. He set a lot of good things in motion by coming up with the concept of Free Software. He created a lot of good code and helped others do the same. He gives inspiring speeches around the world by invitation. What has Bobby ever accomplished except slinging FUD?

  13. oldman says:

    Pog:

    Whether you like it or not Stallman was by anyones measure out of line with this statement, and while you are indeed correct about the realities of what is called “babies making babies”, it is a slippery slope in extremis to do anythiing other than reject the notion that there is anything acceptable about relations with children under the age of concent, whatever it is.

    This having been said, Bobby Browns tying of FOSS to pedophilia because Stallman is a jerk is IMHO pure bushwah, as is his “reporting” of you to these authorities.

    There is plenty about FOSS to zrgue about without this kind of crap.

  14. Richard Chapman says:

    The Bobby Brown attack. So Bobby, you’re pretty obvious in your attachment to a particular subject. It makes you out to be a little bent.

  15. Richard Chapman says:

    “Yes, but is there any FLOSS item so essential that it could not be replaced functionally with a proprietary item?”

    Any single item? Who the hell are you trying to snow? But since you asked, yes. The “L” in LAMP (Linux is licensed primarily under the GPLv2 so that puts it under Libre). No dear Contrarian, no one in their right mind would believe WAMP would work to the extent that Linux does. Other than that I’m sure there are many proprietary replacements for FLOSS components of the Internet. Why aren’t they being replaced? Good question. It may be that if it’s free and isn’t broken don’t throw a bunch of money at someone to fix it.

  16. Nut-case. 🙁

    Quoting stuff out of context is old, very old. For the record, I do not support pedophilia. Children deserve a proper childhood. I have taught in many communities where teenage girls as young as 14 years become pregnant. Is it pedophilia, child abuse, neglect, or promiscuity? I don’t know. Probably some of each.

    I was mistaken about 18 being the age of consent in Canada:
    “What is Canada’s age of consent?

    The age of consent for sexual activity is 16 years. It was raised from 14 years on May 1, 2008 by the Tackling Violent Crime Act.

    So, it appears, the Government of Canada is also “skeptical”. The age of consent does not apply to exploitation of children by parent, teacher, person in authority etc.

  17. Bobby Brown says:

    Providing a link to news about politics around the issue is about all he wrote. I would not call that “support”.

    Stallman’s statement:

    “I am skeptical of the claim that voluntarily pedophilia harms children.”

    So you just casually read over this, correct? He’s supporting pedophilia. Richard Stallman supports pedophilia or as he calls it “voluntarily pedophilia”.

    That’s like claiming there’s such a thing as voluntary rape. That’s support and you’re an idiot.

    Are 17 year olds harmed by pedophilia? I doubt it. These days many teenagers are promiscuous.

    Thank you Robert Pogson, out-of-work school teacher. I’ve submitted a link and the text that you wrote to several school trustees and directors at:

    http://web16.gov.mb.ca/contacts/ContactsController?action=ViewAllContacts

    With your quote supporting pedophilia. I’ll also consider submitting a link to the CBC in Manitoba in how you’ve said that “teenagers are promiscuous”, which implies it’s their fault for being taken as sexual objects by pedophiles.

    Enjoy your day Robert Pogson.

  18. Yep. Running without certification by M$.

  19. Contrarian says:

    “Those are FLOSS in that one can download them with full freedoms”

    But they are not FLOSS in the sense that an improvement or derivative program cannot be made proprietary by the author of the change. I thought that was essential to the “community”.

    “Not to worry though, there is plenty of FL in the Internet today”

    Yes, but is there any FLOSS item so essential that it could not be replaced functionally with a proprietary item? Windows, IIS, SqlServer, and ASP.NET substitute functionally for the LAMP array. Is there anything else?

  20. Richard Chapman says:

    No Contrarian they are not FLOSS in the Libre sense. They are FLOSS in the OSS sense. When will you people get a brain in your head! Not to worry though, there is plenty of FL in the Internet today. Thank you RMS. No thank you Bill Gates.

  21. Those are FLOSS in that one can download them with full freedoms. What others do with the code is of less concern to the user of FLOSS. There are also options. Check out NGINX. It can run PHP and is BSD licensed.

    boa is another web server. It’s GPLv2 or higher but needs to use PHP via CGI.

  22. Contrarian says:

    “rebuild the Internet without FLOSS”

    It occurs to me that Apache and PHP are not FLOSS in the “libre” sense of the GPL either. The corollary is that the internet may not be able to run at all entirely on FLOSS.

  23. Contrarian says:

    “I don’t know if anyone has done it, but it would certainly be an interesting thought experiment to rebuild the Internet without FLOSS.”

    I do not disagree that the classic open source “LAMP” collection is widely used on the internet and may very well even dominate there. I am not a web app or site developer, but it seems to me that there are plenty of proprietary alternatives to each of the LAMP components. Is there anything that you know of that would be a showstopper in regard to preventing a FLOSS-less internet?

    “Because I don’t do C”

    Lucky for you, the C language ship sailed several decades ago and, the last that I heard, sank with all hands off the Ivory Coast back around 1988. C++ was, up to a few years ago, the workhorse for development, but sandboxes and managed code and C++ derivatives like java and C# now rule the roost.

    “If IBM had promoted two or three OS on the IBM PC at the time, there would not likely be a monopoly …”

    If my failing memory serves me still, I remember that I had the choice of PC-DOS, CPM-86, or a version of UCSD Pascal interpreter. If you didn’t want to spend any money for these, you had a ROM BASIC to play around with. I bought the PC-DOS because it was cheap, $50 IIRC. In a very short time, the only real choice was PC-DOS since nobody knew Pascal and nobody could show anyone why they should pay $300 for CPM-86 instead of $50.

    “Monopoly on the desktop…”

    The reality is that Linux has been pretty much able to be used effectively on the desktop for more than a decade now and there is no real monopoly in the conventional sense of a single company controlling the means of production and distribution of a commodity. Thirty years of experience will naturally create a preference and an expectation in the minds of the computer buyers of the world, but there is nothing that can be construed as direct control of the market.

    At the time of the USA vs Microsoft trial, it was a fact that Apple did not run on the x86 processors and Linux was judged to be a server OS not applicable to the desktop. Hence Windows had monopoly power and Microsoft had to meet various restictions on their business practices that were appropriate to having a monopoly. Today, however, that is not the case at all and I doubt that any such case could or would be brought by the anti-trust agencies.

    Linux today on the desktop continues to suffer in terms of public acceptance, not because there is any effective control being exercised by Microsoft, but rather because the entrenched inertial in the system is too great to be easily moved by any price advantage that may accrue to Linux.

  24. M$ is not reality. M$ is a monopoly created by a band of evil men being in the wrong place at a certain time. If IBM had promoted two or three OS on the IBM PC at the time, there would not likely be a monopoly and such comments would be moot. There is a lot of diversity in IT on the server and it is a strength. There is no magic that makes a monopoly on the desktop useful, good, helpful or positive in any way.

    Monopoly on the desktop

    • – raises the costs considerably in the absence of competition on the OS and many old codes,
    • – makes us much more prone to malware, and
    • – allows very inefficient practices to become “standard”.
  25. It’s pretty trivial to get some idea of where a problem lies in an app using a debugger/tracer. Because I don’t do C, I rarely do that but I will run strace to look for clues or to include in a debugging report. Does M$’s EULA even allow that? I don’t think so. That would be examining the code/reverse-engineering it.

    Good code is modular and a normal programmer can examine/follow the logic of a piece of well-documented code pretty easily. In my early years of programming, debugging and modifying imported code was a big deal. Later on I wrote more of my own stuff. Depending on the situation modifying code may be more or less difficult than replacing a module. Bugs created by one programmer and invisible to him may leap off the page for another programmer.

  26. Richard Chapman says:

    “Today’s programs are extremely complex and developers have to work continuously and at depth to maintain their understanding of the processes at work.”

    Hey, I hear you there buddy. In the “old” days you just wrote code. Now you need to be a freekin’ lawyer *and* a coder if you expect your code to make it through the patent thicket. That’s one reason why Richard Stallman, (remember him?) hooked up with Columbia Law Professor Eben Moglen to write the GNU GPL. Much of the Internet is built on GPLed code. I don’t know if anyone has done it, but it would certainly be an interesting thought experiment to rebuild the Internet without FLOSS. Let’s say Bill Gates succeeded in his Internet standards takeover in 1995. What kind of Internet would we have today?

  27. Pedophilia is a term which needs to be defined. In Canada, for instance, teenagers as young as 14 were legally able to give consent until a few years ago when the age of consent was changed to 18. If sex with under 18s is considered pedophilia, pedophilia was rampant in Canada for decades… Are 17 year olds harmed by pedophilia? I doubt it. These days many teenagers are promiscuous. So I can understand Stallman being skeptical. Clearly he could have been more detailed in his response. Providing a link to news about politics around the issue is about all he wrote. I would not call that “support”. I link to M$ sometimes and I surely don’t support M$.

  28. Bobby Brown says:

    Richard Stallman supports pedophilia:

    http://www.stallman.org/archives/2006-mar-jun.html#05%20June%202006%20%28Dutch%20paedophiles%20form%20political%20party%29

    Supporting FOSS supports Stallman which supports pedophilia.

    You are all sick.

  29. Contrarian says:

    “fruits of Richard Stallman’s labors”

    Not much meat on that bone anymore, I think. A visit to Stallman’s website shows a rather extreme view on almost any subject, so it is not surprising that he became such an audacious advocate for freebie software.

    In the old days, when Stallman formulated his doctrines, software programs were a lot less complex and much more easily understood by anyone conversant in the computer languages which were themselves items of wonder. In the late 1960’s FORTRAN IV was the subject of a series of courses at MIT even. Software was in its infancy and the emphasis was on the hardware.

    Today’s programs are extremely complex and developers have to work continuously and at depth to maintain their understanding of the processes at work. If you are a developer, just think of something that you did a year or so ago and have not looked at for some time. To get back into a functional understanding of the code, say to fix some newly discovered defect, takes hours if not days of review.

    To suggest that some outsider with no direct knowledge of what went into the design can simply peruse the code and find and fix potential problems just seems completely unlikely to ever happen. Also, I know that it is very common for something that fixes one problem to cause other problems that may be worse than what is being fixed. Regression testing is mandatory whenever any change is made to a large codebase. None of that is likely to happen due to the “libre” aspect of open source software.

    The times have changed a long time ago and have passed “St Ignucius” on by.

  30. Contrarian says:

    “Why would such a user show so much dedication to Microsoft that they spend their days and nights trolling here?”

    I am not so much “dedicated to Microsoft” as I am to reality. I made much of my living and all of my retirement from software development and I am still very much interested in what is going on in the business. You, OTOH, seem to be a fanatic on a soapbox ranting about some evil empire and looking absurd in the process.

    Pogson makes a variety of assertions that I find interesting and see where there is room for an opposing point of view or counter interpretation of the facts as presented. You just rant.

  31. Richard Chapman says:

    Bitter hippie or not you enjoy the fruits of Richard Stallman’s labors as much as anyone else “oldman”.

  32. Richard Chapman says:

    “They will in the end not stop you from using whatever software you wish Mr. Chapman as your comments will not stop me from using the software that I wish to use.”

    When have I tried to get you to stop using whatever software it is that you are using? What I would like you to stop doing is distorting how others might view FLOSS. You and your buddies here have already given us a peek at your “vast” knowledge of FLOSS. So I don’t care what software you use “oldman” and talk all you want about the GPL and FLOSS as long as it isn’t FUD and we’ll get along just fine. If you can’t do that then I’ll consider it an invitation to join in your discussion.

  33. Unlike a disease, GPL does no harm and does a lot of good.

  34. Bobby Brown says:

    GPL is like herpes, once it’s in there, you can’t get rid of it which causes you to be isolated from everyone else.

    FOSS is a cancer that should be stamped out, and it will, very soon.

    😀

  35. twitter says:

    Contrarian, unable to discuss basic ethics, software freedom or facts resorts to insults,

    I did not suspect that you were a complete fanatic until I clicked on that link! It looks like you are beyond any hope of redemption. … Be a little more careful with the English language. Otherwise people may catch on that you are a fanatic!

    I insist on ownership of my computer and know that I don’t have that with non free software. Software that violates any of the four software freedoms demands ownership of your computer directly by restricting what you can do with it. Because such software can not be checked for malicious features, any of it immediately compromises all user privacy and control. These issues are unimportant only to people who have failed to think things through or who believe they are on the side of power and wealth gained by this injustice.

    To complete the picture of Microsoft troll, Contrarian tells us a generic Dell with a few pieces of non free software is all he ever needs, even as he brags about how sophisticated he is:

    my latest laptop, a 1510 Dell Inspiron that I got as a refurb for just over $400 including shipping came with a perfectly fine free copy of MS Office 2010 Word and Excel. I have the full version on my desktop as allowed by my (now expired) subscription to MSDN, but the free one is really all that I would ever need and more. … I consider my PC usage as fairly sophisticated vis-a-vis the general population and I still have next to no need outside of some employment to buy anything significant beyond what comes with the computer already or else is a free download somewhere …

    If this is true, the rest of the conversation is essentially meaningless. Why would such a user show so much dedication to Microsoft that they spend their days and nights trolling here?

  36. Someone says:

    There’s also something to be said for not reinventing the wheel countless times over. Companies can often take what is there as FLOSS and build on top of it for their own internal software without needing to build their own from scratch, saving development time and licensing costs.

    And as for the newly graduated student, there may be some fumbling around regardless, if the school had one version of MSO and the interview site has another version with a completely different interface. Because, really, how is the difference between MSO and LibreOffice any different than the difference between MSO 2003 and MSO 2007/2010? For that matter, how is the difference between Linux and Windows any different than the difference between Windows and OSX? Yet people make that transition just fine.

    Honestly, a little uncertainty at first sight of a new interface is fine, but if the student can’t adapt to something as simple as slightly different interface, Linux or Microsoft isn’t the problem. The student is.

    Or do you think maybe I’m just giving people more credit for general intelligence than I should?

    Oh, and another thing. If that student decides to go into a STEM field, odds are good that he will be required to have some working knowledge of Linux sooner or later.

  37. Contrarian says:

    “I still recommend FLOSS as the best development model.”

    Not much good for making one’s fortune, though. If hyou have something that everyone wants, it is better from a financial point of view to sell it rather than give it away. Or if you have some wonderful program to pick horses in a race or stocks in an exchange, you would want to keep it to yourself in order to avoid contamination of the betting pools.

  38. Contrarian says:

    “We all win indeed, at lease so long as the FOSS true believers don’t succeed in ramming FOSS only environments down our throats.”

    That, according to my belief, is not ever going to be possible. A lot of the FOSS/OSS/FLOSS work is what I personally class as “hobbyist” efforts where the doers are the users themselves and do what they do for the interest that it brings. One could just as easily do the NYT Sunday crossword as solve some sort of database access. Most of what I myself do today is in this category.

    Serious users of software seem to fall into two categories. The best case is where an enterprise is creating some sort of wealth using software that they either wrote themselves or acquired from others. Software product companies such as Microsoft or Intui or Oracle create money for themselves by selling their software creations to others. Other companies, for example Google, derive most of their income from just using software. Google, of course, wrote their own stuff.

    This brings up the idea that the better the software, the higher the income obtained from using or selling it, and so the more desirable to evolve it into something better than it currently is. That is how Microsoft, Adobe, et al, can sell for billions of dollars when FOSS is free, namely the higher costs are offset by much higher (perceived) benefits. Naturally the payer has to have this perception or else there is no sale, which is why promotions are so important since that is the only way to get the good news to the consumer and motivate him to buy.

    The other use case is where the software is looked upon as an expense that has to be endured in order to be in some business or other. In Pogson’s world of education, income is more or less fixed by whatever the taxpayer will allow and the goal is to maximize how much benefit to the student can be wrung out of the fixed size tax turnip. As long as the taxpayer does not holler, using FOSS in this environment makes a lot of sense. Money that would otherwise go to buy licenses for Windows or MSO can be used to pay teacher salaries instead. There is no profit incentive based on results, so this view can be pretty persuasive.

    A day of reckoning may come when the newly graduated student fumbles around with an unfamiliar MS Office or Windows screen during a job interview, but my experience has been that kids seem to be pretty resilient and able to use Wintel and Macintosh without much worry, so having some exposure to Linux as well would not do any harm. As long as the taxpayer doesn’t holler, of course.

  39. oe says:

    “I think that their example is something to aspire to NOT that of the bitter hippie Richard Stallman.”

    Perhaps, but such names as Dennis Ritchie and Kent Thompson(C, and UNIX), Time Berners Lee (open HTML and the modern Web Server/Browser), and Linux Torvalds added much the commens without “making a killing”, one cannot argue that they didn’t have a profound influence on computing that had they gone for closed source and the killing may have been very much muted…..

  40. You were the one saying GPL interfered with “commercial” software production. It does not. I still recommend FLOSS as the best development model. It’s faster and more efficient than trying to hide code.

  41. oldman says:

    “I personally think that it is a good thing that open source projects strive to replace proprietary products. If nothing else it keeps the proprietary product managers on their toes looking for new things that people may want to have and that keep existing customers re-buying those commercial products. It should please Pogson and others who are thrilled by getting by on the cheap, too. Everyone wins in that regard.”

    Ironically, As time goes on I find myself more and more in agreement with this sentiment. I also would not be all that surprised if the reasons we have products like Microsofts free powershell scripting environment and the Free express versions to various commercial products is precisely because of the pressure that open source puts on all.

    We all win indeed, at lease so long as the FOSS true believers don’t succeed in ramming FOSS only environments down our throats.

  42. Contrarian says:

    #oiaohm

    “Postgresql is a direct decedent”

    I could agree with that, certainly, unless you really meant to say “descendant”! Of course, descendant is more or less in the copycat category, so maybe I agree in either case. 🙂

    In any case it is pointless to argue about the precedence of SqlServer vs PostGres or OO vs StarOffice vs MSO. Usage levels and product financial success are readily apparent for these products and the obvious conditions are that the Microsoft products are the most widely used and the most profitable.

    To insist that something else is technically superior or that the open source product is somehow leading the market only serves to deepen the mystery of why it is not recognized as such. What you should look for instead is the reasoning that the users applied when selecting the Microsoft product instead of the free product.

    If you want to simply say that Microsoft exerts some sort of mind control on stupid users so as to create a monopoly, then you have an answer that may satisfy your curiousity, but it does not hint at what a solution might be that could change the situation.

    The USA versus Microsoft trial was a decade in the past and nothing has changed in the environment other than Microsoft being some 3-4 times as large and profitable as it was before the trial. All the litigation that is ballyhooed as evidence of Microsoft malfeasance is in the past and nothing is on the horizon that suggests that anything will change.

    I personally think that it is a good thing that open source projects strive to replace proprietary products. If nothing else it keeps the proprietary product managers on their toes looking for new things that people may want to have and that keep existing customers re-buying those commercial products. It should please Pogson and others who are thrilled by getting by on the cheap, too. Everyone wins in that regard.

    But you have to have some regard for the reality. Commercial products spend lots of money promoting their advantages and educating the potential buyers in terms of the benefits that will accrue due to the new product’s use. That is where the FOSS world fails miserably. People don’t buy Linux computers because they have no idea what Linux even is and feel they are being ripped off if they don’t get Windows with a new PC.

    Google has put up a lot of money to promote ‘Droid as a brand and acceptance in the market shows that it has been effective. Their only problems is going to be how to monetize that acceptance. OEMs pay for Windows, but they do not pay for Android, it seems, so the future is still somewhat of a mystery.

  43. Linux Apostate says:

    I think my comment is still a fair one and hardly worthy of a “Sigh”. I do not dispute the fact that you can get around the GPL restrictions in various ways. I am merely explaining how libmysqlclient licencing is supposed to work.

    It is interesting to hear about libdrizzle. I was not aware of that.

    But this discussion has now taken a fascinating direction, because you are telling us that some people are so anti-GPL that they have written libraries simply in order to avoid it! I feel that this is not really a point in support of FLOSS… that people will go to some length to escape it.

  44. Contrarian says:

    “Nonsense.”

    You do have quite a propensity for ignoring the context of any statement that you find uncomfortable! Certainly there are a number of application programs that rely on a pre-installed database engine that is accessible over a local network from a common server. But that is not the totality of such programs. There are quite a few things that used a small, local database engine due to the design convenience that it affords. Such programs make up the majority of the tens of billions of dollars involved annually in commercial software that forms the basis for .NET, java, and similar business endeavors.

    This sort of construction is so common that MySQL was originally licensed with the provision that it could not be used at no cost in conjunction with such programs and its various owners over the past decade have been careful to keep its license restrictions set so as to support that revenue stream.

    I do not think that your stated experience allows yoou to recognize this fact of life. The mundane corporate grind is very different from what you might encounter teaching IT in the wilderness schools and the minimalist attitude that you have developed is not the norm in the average office.

    If you think that Oracle is being totally ineffective with its license restrictions and that you can talk your way around them, fine. If you ever were to test your theory, my opinion is that you will be sadly awakened to the reality, but there is no way to convince you of that.

  45. Sigh…

    Linux Apostate wrote, “Because the MySQL client libraries are GPLv2 rather than LGPLv2, just linking with them means that your application must be GPLv2.”

    There are several ways of connecting an application to MySQL database. One is to link to the client libraries which would have licensing repercussions. The other is to have the client libraries on the server running MySQL, e.g. through

    o libapache2-mod-php5 – server-side, HTML-embedded scripting language (Apache 2 module)
    o php5-mysql – MySQL module for php5

    or, if that is too slow, write a client of your own that uses the MySQL protocols. One could debate that the protocols need to be licensed from Oracle but you cannot copyright a protocol so the GPL protects the documentation not the implementation.

    Also, there is libdrizzle:
    Package: libdrizzle-dev (0.8-1)

    library for the Drizzle and MySQL protocols, development files

    libdrizzle is library implementing the Drizzle and MySQL protocols. It has been designed to be light on memory usage, thread safe, and provide full access to server side methods.

    This package provides the files needed for development.

    The licence for libdrizzle is BSD.

  46. Linux Apostate says:

    Because the MySQL client libraries are GPLv2 rather than LGPLv2, just linking with them means that your application must be GPLv2.

    You never link with the database itself, but you always link with the client libraries. For instance if you are using the famous “LAMP” stack, then your PHP scripts will all use the MySQL module (/usr/lib/php5/*/mysql.so), which is in turn linked against the client library (/usr/lib/libmysqlclient_r.so).

    So your application has to be GPLv2 if it’s going to use the MySQL client library… unless you pay Oracle for a commercial licence for that library.

    This is Oracle’s business model and it’s smart. (They didn’t invent it.) Basically you must either make your software FLOSS, or pay Oracle. Of course many companies will choose to pay.

    You have to really watch out for library licences if you’re using FLOSS code in a non-FLOSS application. There really is no way around it – if your application is linked to something GPL, then your application must also be GPL. Doesn’t matter if you don’t change the library at all and just bundle it in its original form. The very fact of using it is enough to taint your program.

  47. oiaohm says:

    Something else of a historic abnormality.

    Is that file assocation .doc. In fact did not own to MS. Historically it was a plain text file containing the usage documentation of the application.

    Yes MS even stole the file association from others.

    Sorry I know my history and your statements Contrarian don’t match what really happened. You statements are no better than saying mass murder did not happen in particular countries. Yes the way MS got the Office Suite market was no different to mass murder by poisoning the water supply from a market perspective.

  48. oiaohm says:

    Contrarian in fact people get it backwards.

    Star Office predated MS Office with the style if interface it had. And even today in OpenOffice lot of the interface follows StarOffice design rules prior to the existence of MS Office.

    So the only possible direction of copy is sadly in fact is MS Office copied StarOffice design rules up until 2003. 2007 and 2010 are really the first Office suites with an Interface of Microsofts own design not copied from others. Coping from others was highly common in early Microsoft history. Yes common mistake that something that is dominate today did not clone it interface from others. With MS Office its dominate today because historically it was cheep and copied its competitors interfaces. Finally MS was smart with the use of vendor lockin with formats like RTF they created for documented sharing between office suites. Yes 1 rule for everyone one else and 1 rule for Microsoft. So that documented created in MS Office would only open in MS Office yet documents from other suites could be opened in MS Office without problem.

    Yes Historic evil got MS the MS Office market share they have today. Removing them is not a simple process.

    Contrarian also postgresql is not a copycat of INGRESS. Postgresql is a direct decedent. To the point source code of INGRESS is inside Postgresql today if you know where to look from the time Postgresql was founded.

    MS SQL Server is another direct decedent.

    “In February 2006, Ingres Corporation released Ingres 2006 under the GNU General Public Licence.”

    Yes Ingres the main branch is still out there as well. So yes I can feature compare Postgres to Ingres. Can make you life simple Postgres today is closer to Oracle than it is to Ingres.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_relational_database_management_systems

    Strange for something that is a copycat to have many features that what it meant to be coping does not have.

    Contrarian basically how many times are you going to prove that you are incapable of doing a wikipedia search and using some common sense? Before you learn todo homework first.

  49. The GPL is conveyed with the software.

    PostgreSQL is used by 8% of one survey. M$’s SQL Server was 78% and Oracle 55%. MySQL was 33%. That’s a pretty decent showing for FLOSS databases.

  50. Nonsense. Database servers are well known products. The applications that use them do not associate directly with the code but connect via a networked protocol.

    SugarCRM is an example of a commercial CRM applications. It works with several OS and several databases. They don’t bundle the database with the application.

  51. Contrarian says:

    Well, you can reinterpret the meaning of “combine and distribute” to only mean some sort of cross-linked thing, but that is not how relational database products are used with commercial applications and MySQL, Sun, and Oracle all knew that in due course. They put the provision in the license for a purpose and some day, if you ever tread on their notion, you will find that Mr. Ellison is every bit and more the hard case that you deem Mr. Ballmer and Mr. Gates.

  52. Right from Oracle’s website:
    “OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers), ISVs (Independent Software Vendors), VARs (Value Added Resellers) and other distributors that combine and distribute commercially licensed software with MySQL software and do not wish to distribute the source code for the commercially licensed software under version 2 of the GNU General Public License (the “GPL”) must enter into a commercial license agreement with Oracle.”

    Nothing there prohibiting MySQL with an application. That’s about linking to the software making a combined product. Anyone can still distribute some application along with/at the same time as distributing MySQL. MySQL can be distributed under the GPL with no problem.

  53. Contrarian says:

    “Did M$ clone PostrgreSQL with SQL Server?”

    Heaven’s no. They bought it from SyBase. Where have you been hiding? You seem to want to split hairs on these things, so I’ll change my use of clone to the more accurate “copycat”. It means the same thing to me, i.e. someone has a good idea that they turn into a hit product and a lot of followers come up with a look-alike/work-alike that they sell for a low price and try to steal the bottom feeders away from the original.

    Postgres is a copycat of INGRESS, AFAIK. Neither have much of a following today.

    “OpenOffice.org was cloned from StarOffice but has been completely rewritten”

    Re-written to be a copycat of Microsoft Office, of course. But it is not a clone in the identical sense of the word that you insist upon. Still, I saw a survey reference in one of your postings in the past couple of weeks that said that MSO was used by some 96% of commercial users who used an office automation product.

    “So, Oracle granted me a licence…”

    Not according to anything you posted there. You have to have some sort of offering by Oracle actually conveying such a license and what you are showing is not the terms that they use on their website.

    I am still sure that you are wrong, but since you are not a commercial product producer who is distributing MySQL with your product, it is not going to ever go to court for resolution. Believe what you want to believe. You are your own IT admin and apparently your own developer, so you might as well be your own attorney. Do you do your own taxes, too?

  54. I downloaded source code from Oracle just yesterday.


    pogson@nb:~/Downloads/mysql-5.5.13$ ls
    BUILD COPYING libmysqld regex tests
    BUILD-CMAKE dbug libservices scripts unittest
    client Docs man sql VERSION
    cmake extra mysql-test sql-bench vio
    CMakeLists.txt include mysys sql-common win
    cmd-line-utils INSTALL-SOURCE packaging storage zlib
    config.h.cmake INSTALL-WIN-SOURCE plugin strings
    configure.cmake libmysql README support-files

    pogson@nb:~/Downloads/mysql-5.5.13$ head COPYING
    GNU GENERAL PUBLIC LICENSE
    Version 2, June 1991

    Copyright (C) 1989, 1991 Free Software Foundation, Inc.,
    51 Franklin Street, Fifth Floor, Boston, MA 02110-1301 USA
    Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies
    of this license document, but changing it is not allowed.

    So, Oracle granted me a licence, GPL v2, which permits using MySQL/distributing MySQL along with commercial application. Repeating the same old FUD about GPLed software is getting tiresome. Give it up.

  55. Contrarian says:

    “When you get MySQL, you get a copy of the GPL. That is the legally binding licence”

    That is the root of your problem, I think. You do not get a “copy of the GPL”, you get a grant of license from Oracle, the copyright owner. That grant says that you may not re-distribute MySQL in conjunction with a commercial application that is not licensed according to the GPL 2. However, the Oracle MySQL license is not “GPL” per se. It is what Oracle says it is since they own the copyright.

    Interestingly enough, their license specifies that the cojoined product be licensed under version 2 of the GPL. What would they say about version 3? Linus Torvalds seems to dislike GPL V3, does Oracle

  56. Contrarian wrote, “Open source projects invariably just clone some successful proprietary product, offering much of the same functionality at essentially zero licensing cost.”

    Not so. “Clone” is an entirely inappropriate term to use. Cloning implies duplication and FLOSS is usually developed independently from the source of any other software except other FLOSS. Duplicating a functionality is not cloning. Did M$ clone PostrgreSQL with SQL Server?

    PostgreSQL evolved from the Ingres project at the University of California, Berkeley. In 1982, the project leader, Michael Stonebraker, left Berkeley to make a proprietary version of Ingres.

    M$ produced SQL Server in 1989, years after PostgreSQL.

    So, “invariably” is wrong.

    OpenOffice.org which started as a non-free project predated M$, let alone M$’s office suite and did not copy any code and developers solved all the problems on their own. OpenOffice.org was cloned from StarOffice but has been completely rewritten, first to eliminate non-free components, and later by adding features and standards. So, “invariably” is wrong again.

    How many times does “invariably” have to be proven wrong before FUD is erased?

    Linux was developed using Minix as a development platform but was not a clone of it or any other UNIX OS. Linus could not even afford the POSIX standard until later.

    FFMPEG, the Swiss Army Knife of multimedia was not a clone of anything, either and involved lots of innovation including new codecs. I used it just the other day to rotate some video. The version in Debian had “video filters” turned off so I recompiled and rotated a video for family. How does such a tool resemble anything in the non-free world? Oh, wait! The non-free world is designed to prevent converting file formats so that lock-in can prevail… It’s a good thing FLOSS does not clone such foolishness, eh?

  57. Contrarian says:

    “The developer cannot become M$ without a big brother (IBM) helping”

    What about IBM itself? Apple? Intuit? Symantec? CA? Google? All of these sell proprietary software and do not disclose their source for those products. Not all are as big as Microsoft, but they are very large; all are very much larger than Red Hat, too.

    “The typical developer would be hard pressed to develop more than 100 lines of correct code per day.”

    I bet you read that in some very old book! Consider that when the book was written things were much more simple and a line of code did not do very much. With today’s programming systems such as .NET or java, a developer can write what would have been a million lines of code in the 70s in a short time and have it autotested and verified automatically.

    “It is childish to believe the only satisfaction/reward for living is to have sole ownership of something so that the sale of it brings the most money per sale.”

    Open source projects invariably just clone some successful proprietary product, offering much of the same functionality at essentially zero licensing cost. That is useful, but do not lose sight of the fact that new stuff is developed by proprietary companies that risk their capital to obtain some sort of market lead and exclusivity. Microsoft Windows has been in the lead for so long that the followers have pretty much disappeared from view.

  58. For everyone that made a killing in software there are millions who do not. That is an extreme outlier.

  59. When you get MySQL, you get a copy of the GPL. That is the legally binding licence. What Oracle says will not stand up in court. Oracle would be very foolish to sue its users. Also you can get the code from forks if need be.

    My applications were site-specific. My job was teaching. I could have polished the code and distributed it but that is water under the bridge now. I left the code with my former employer, an oversight.

  60. Contrarian says:

    “Where, in the GPL, does it say that? I quoted from the FAQ several examples where that use is OK”

    What the GPL says does not matter. Rather it is what Oracle, the copyright owner, says in their license contract. They say you cannot do that and they would be the ones to file the lawsuit.

    “Perhaps the developers Contrarian knows are suffering from a severe lack of imagination from having lived inside a box too long.”

    Alternately, perhaps you are not thinking in any sort of practical way. You say that you created some simple personal app and did not distribute it, yet you use it as “proof” of your belief in how copyright works. Surely you must see the fallacy in that. For someone so steeped in the sense of “community” you claim for FOSS, why did you not “give back” your innovation to the world?

  61. oldman says:

    “oldman begs the question of why a developer would want to use an inefficient method. ”

    IF the cost is surrendering ones freedom to make a profit on the fruit of ones labors as one sees fit, than the so called inefficiency is worth it. Besides once can always license the libraryies one needs or take advancage of the far richer set of libraries available on either OS X or windows.

    “They can still sell licences for the product. They can still supply services related to the product. All they give up is the privilege of being a monopolist which is illusory.”

    Pog, You may wish to give up your ability to make money, but others choose not to. If they can sell my product at benefit to me and mine, that is their business not yours.

    Besides Pog, I don’t recall that you have anywhere near the business expertise to back your assertions of the illustriousness of hitting it big. Tell that to Dan Bricklin, Steve Wozniak and myriad others who old the fruit of their labors for a handsome profit.

    I think that their example is something to aspire to NOT that of the bitter hippie Richard Stallman.

  62. Modern software is so complex that if a developer wrote everything in a major application he would be very long to get to market, a severe disadvantage. Using FLOSS prevents having to reinvent the wheel and a developer can do the interesting/creative/useful parts and leave the infrastructure to the FLOSS community. If we pass by a human being beating his head against a wall, we suggest that human do something else. That’s not dictating.

    The typical developer would be hard pressed to develop more than 100 lines of correct code per day. A modern application may have 1 million lines of code, 10000 days of coding. By using FLOSS a developer may cut his contribution down to 1000 days and be more productive and finish more projects in his lifetime. FLOSS is a better way to do IT. OTOH, a developer who pays for the use of non-free libraries for his project may get the same advantage but where does he get the days to pay for those libraries? FLOSS is more efficient.

    It is childish to believe the only satisfaction/reward for living is to have sole ownership of something so that the sale of it brings the most money per sale. A house-builder, for instance, could maximize his portion of the sale of houses, if he did everything in-house but they rarely do that. They hire independent contractors to do the various trades because that is the most efficient way to build a house. No builder is likely to have the best expertise in all trades in-house. Specialization is very efficient. FLOSS allows specialization without the cost even of paying directly for those contribution, making it even more efficient than house-building with specialists.

    oldman begs the question of why a developer would want to use an inefficient method. The developer cannot become M$ without a big brother (IBM) helping. M$ was able to get most PCs burdened with that other OS at almost no cost. The vast number of developers will not be able to do that and should not aspire to be monopolists. They should share. It is a better way to do IT. They can still sell licences for the product. They can still supply services related to the product. All they give up is the privilege of being a monopolist which is illusory.

  63. oldman says:

    “I have never done that and have written several useful applications that use MySQL. If I had distributed the code I wrote, MySQL could have been distributed alongside or independently with no issues of licensing.”

    Yet the terms stand as written in the MySQL license. IN the unlileky situation in which you were to wish to sell a binary only version of your code, you would would have to purchase a commercial license from Oracle or release the source under GPL 2

  64. Contrarian wrote, “You cannot, under the terms of the MySQL license, distribute a commercial application that is not licensed under GPL 2 in conjunction with MySQL. “

    Where, in the GPL, does it say that? I quoted from the FAQ several examples where that use is OK. Embedding MySQL code in another code is a silly restriction on MySQL. I have never done that and have written several useful applications that use MySQL. If I had distributed the code I wrote, MySQL could have been distributed alongside or independently with no issues of licensing.

    Perhaps the developers Contrarian knows are suffering from a severe lack of imagination from having lived inside a box too long.

  65. Contrarian wrote, “As a developer, I think that it is utterly useless to harp on the “libre” part of GPL open source. My experience is that this sort of thing is very restrictive of who might want to use GPL stuff and is what has kept the use of open source software in the dark ages for so long.”

    The millions of FLOSS developers would, I suspect, disagree with you. They probably prefer finishing projects on time and under budget rather than paying repeatedly for code written by others when perfectly usable code is available under FLOSS. ie. They want to be free to write code, not propping up other businesses. They may not see any merit at all in paying M$ $15billion annually for bug-ridden code which they cannot examine, use without severe/complex restrictions, modify and distribute, which cost M$ only a few $billion to produce. The world can produce the software it needs and share it quite efficiently. There is no advantage to the world to have cash-cows wandering around defecating on IT.

  66. Contrarian says:

    “That’s like saying freedom of speech is useless if you don’t plan to run a newspaper”

    Not at all. It is like saying that freedom of speech is useless to you if you do not have anything to say. Be a little more careful with the English language. Otherwise people may catch on that you are a fanatic!

    As a developer, I think that it is utterly useless to harp on the “libre” part of GPL open source. My experience is that this sort of thing is very restrictive of who might want to use GPL stuff and is what has kept the use of open source software in the dark ages for so long. Having a reliable alternative to pay-for software is a great thing, IMO, and the use would naturally proliferate save for the harassment that the FSF and SFLC have vested on the world.

    (I note that they have finally abandoned the lawsuit against Best Buy and others who had the temerity to sell products with embedded Linux and BusyBox firmware. While the case was settled with no penalty exacted from the SFLC, it puts a line in the sand that should prevent many of these worthless suits being file in the future.)

    “It is always odious when Microsoft shills promote their poison as “free”.”

    I like the way that you effectively present your incisive and balanced view, Twitter. Keep up the good work!

  67. Contrarian says:

    “I trust that is clear enough. ”

    Well, the statement from Oracle is clear enough, I think. You cannot, under the terms of the MySQL license, distribute a commercial application that is not licensed under GPL 2 in conjunction with MySQL. You can, I would agree, use an existing copy of MySQL that was installed by the user separately according to the license, but you cannot combine that installation as part of your own product install. The issue came up at my old company, which is a very large, worldwide software provider that supplies Unix, Linux, and Windows compatible products and has a big bunch of lawyers who watch over such things.

    We were using SqlServer Express imbedded in our product and were contemplating alternatives due to a tiff we were having at the time with Microsoft. The idea of using MySQL was squashed because of the licensing issue.

    “Presumably Contrarian believes one would have to link to the mysql-client stuff to access a MySQL database and that is not true. One could invoke the mysql-client stuff with forks or network connections. Lots of applications connect to MySQL over networks and the GPL is not an issue. It’s data and not software that transfers.”

    That is not at all what I believe and does not represent what I posted. I am talking about embedded relational database use within an application. That structure is very common in commercial business software. Alternate solutions are to embed an Access database file or, my favorite, to use SqlServerCE. You can’t do that with MySQL but that is what many companies want to do.

  68. oldman says:

    “Non free software teaches us that it is wrong to share with our neighbors and that we must all bend to draconian restrictions. It is always odious when Microsoft shills promote their poison as “free”.

    Is it any less odious to attempt to dictate someone else’s livelihood Mr. Twitter? If I am a developer and I work thousands of hours developing a unique piece of software, what right do you have to that work for free Mr. Twitter

  69. oldman says:

    “And in directing your attention towards Robert, if your words stray into an attack on FLOSS followers in general, as a part of that group your words will be directed at me a too. Just FYI “oldman”.”

    Pog says many things about commercial software that I feel are wrong or misleading. It is those points that i discuss with him – NOT YOU!

    You are free to ignore my comments Mr. twitter. They will in the end not stop you from using whatever software you wish Mr. Chapman as your comments will not stop me from using the software that I wish to use.

    However If/When YOU insist on injecting yourself into someone elses conversation then you will hear from me.

  70. twitter says:

    The source code is worthless if you are not going to use it for anything. … you are free to add the SqlServer Express installer to your product without paying any license fee to Microsoft. I think that is much more “free” than MySQL.

    That’s like saying freedom of speech is useless if you don’t plan to run a newspaper. We are all better off in a society that has fewer restrictions, where people who want to take the time and effort to better themselves can. Non free software teaches us that it is wrong to share with our neighbors and that we must all bend to draconian restrictions. It is always odious when Microsoft shills promote their poison as “free”.

    As for the efficiency of Microsoft databases and other tools, look up London Stock Exchange. Microsoft is worst of class and those foolish enough to trust them always suffer.

  71. Contrarian wrote, “But you do agree that you cannot distribute MySQL with a commercial product unless you pay for a commercial license?

    Certainly that is not correct. I can write some app that uses MySQL database and distribute the MySQL binary along with my programme binary. I can offer the source code to anyone who wants it, complying with the GPL. I could also pay for a non-free licence and distribute it binary-only. Either way works. A commercial app can use MySQL without linking to it but just using a network connection.


    Does the GPL allow me to sell copies of the program for money?
    Yes, the GPL allows everyone to do this. The right to sell copies is part of the definition of free software. Except in one special situation, there is no limit on what price you can charge. (The one exception is the required written offer to provide source code that must accompany binary-only release.)

    In what cases is the output of a GPL program covered by the GPL too?
    Only when the program copies part of itself into the output.

    If a programming language interpreter is released under the GPL, does that mean programs written to be interpreted by it must be under GPL-compatible licenses?
    When the interpreter just interprets a language, the answer is no. The interpreted program, to the interpreter, is just data; a free software license like the GPL, based on copyright law, cannot limit what data you use the interpreter on. You can run it on any data (interpreted program), any way you like, and there are no requirements about licensing that data to anyone.

    Can I apply the GPL when writing a plug-in for a non-free program?
    If the program uses fork and exec to invoke plug-ins, then the plug-ins are separate programs, so the license for the main program makes no requirements for them. So you can use the GPL for a plug-in, and there are no special requirements.

    Can I release a non-free program that’s designed to load a GPL-covered plug-in?
    It depends on how the program invokes its plug-ins. For instance, if the program uses only simple fork and exec to invoke and communicate with plug-ins, then the plug-ins are separate programs, so the license of the plug-in makes no requirements about the main program.

    A system incorporating a GPL-covered program is an extended version of that program. The GPL says that any extended version of the program must be released under the GPL if it is released at all. This is for two reasons: to make sure that users who get the software get the freedom they should have, and to encourage people to give back improvements that they make.

    However, in many cases you can distribute the GPL-covered software alongside your proprietary system. To do this validly, you must make sure that the free and non-free programs communicate at arms length, that they are not combined in a way that would make them effectively a single program.

    The difference between this and “incorporating” the GPL-covered software is partly a matter of substance and partly form. The substantive part is this: if the two programs are combined so that they become effectively two parts of one program, then you can’t treat them as two separate programs. So the GPL has to cover the whole thing.

    If the two programs remain well separated, like the compiler and the kernel, or like an editor and a shell, then you can treat them as two separate programs—but you have to do it properly. The issue is simply one of form: how you describe what you are doing. Why do we care about this? Because we want to make sure the users clearly understand the free status of the GPL-covered software in the collection.

    If people were to distribute GPL-covered software calling it “part of” a system that users know is partly proprietary, users might be uncertain of their rights regarding the GPL-covered software. But if they know that what they have received is a free program plus another program, side by side, their rights will be clear.

    see http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html

    I trust that is clear enough. Presumably Contrarian believes one would have to link to the mysql-client stuff to access a MySQL database and that is not true. One could invoke the mysql-client stuff with forks or network connections. Lots of applications connect to MySQL over networks and the GPL is not an issue. It’s data and not software that transfers.

  72. Contrarian says:

    The source code is worthless if you are not going to use it for anything. Using it to fix defects that you find in the product that you want to use is rather hopeless, too. It would be better to have something that wasn’t broken to begin with. I doubt that anyone who is not actively working on it daily has the ability to fix problems in MySQL anyway.

    But you do agree that you cannot distribute MySQL with a commercial product unless you pay for a commercial license?

  73. Nope. MySQL gives the source code. That is worth a lot.

  74. Richard Chapman says:

    “IN point of fact Mr. Chapman, I dont have to prove anything to you.”

    Glad to hear you don’t have anything to prove to me “oldman”. So I can also assume you will no longer be telling me, as an advocate of FLOSS, what I believe, how demonstrate that belief, any words that describe my beliefs or how I tie my shoes. And in directing your attention towards Robert, if your words stray into an attack on FLOSS followers in general, as a part of that group your words will be directed at me a too. Just FYI “oldman”.

  75. Contrarian says:

    “Nowhere does MySQL prohibit commercial distribution”

    How about on their website? See http://www.mysql.com/about/legal/licensing/oem/

    “OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers), ISVs (Independent Software Vendors), VARs (Value Added Resellers) and other distributors that combine and distribute commercially licensed software with MySQL software and do not wish to distribute the source code for the commercially licensed software under version 2 of the GNU General Public License (the “GPL”) must enter into a commercial license agreement with Oracle.”

    Microsoft does not have that prohibiton and you are free to add the SqlServer Express installer to your product without paying any license fee to Microsoft. I think that is much more “free” than MySQL.

  76. Contrarian wrote, “where as MySQL only allows non-commercial distribution.”

    Nowhere does MySQL prohibit commercial distribution. If you use the GPL version you can still distribute commercial software. If you use the closed version you can still distribute commercial software.

  77. Contrarian says:

    “see some benchmarks”

    How many $34K transaction processing systems do you own? I don’t have any at all, so TPC benchmarks are not all that compelling for me. Plus, it seems to me that, overall, Windows server and SqlServer seem to rule these benchmarks in their optimal category. You carefully selected two entries to show some suggested better economy for the MySQL version setup, but you ignored the fact that MS SqlServer entries were more economic in the same category.

    See all the results at: http://www.tpc.org/tpch/results/tpch_price_perf_results.asp

    But all that is beside the point. My opinion is that MySQL is grossly inferior to SqlServer Express in desktop use cases due to both performance and the oafish nature of the development tools available for MySQL versus those in VS.NET for connection to SqlServer. Even then, the licensing for SqlServer is much more liberal, allowing for commercial use and distribution where as MySQL only allows non-commercial distribution. The only reason to choose MySQL in my opinion is if you are stuck with your app having to work with Linux where there is no opportunity to use SqlServer Express.

    “Journal of twitter (104583)”

    Wow! I thought you were kind of over the top with your “Microsoft is a mugger” kind of analogy, but I did not suspect that you were a complete fanatic until I clicked on that link! It looks like you are beyond any hope of redemption.

  78. twitter says:

    Microsoft’s partners and customers are no more willing than someone who hands over their wallet when mugged. They only surrender their rights and money because they feel as if they have no better choice. Microsoft is a coercive monopoly that maintains itself by sabotaging hardware and extortion of vendors, OEMs, developers and customers.

  79. Contrarian wrote, ” I do not see where MySQL has any performance or functional advantage over SqlServer and, for almost every sort of database application that a freebie database would every be applied to, SqlExpress Edition is a much more functional substitution and is zero cost.”

    see some benchmarks:

    MySQL on a system costing $34K did the same throughput for $0.70 per unit of work while that other OS with SQL Server cost $90K and $1.79 per unit of work. Both systems were 8 cores just under 3gHz.

    see http://www.tpc.org/tpch/results/tpch_result_detail.asp?id=108041301
    see http://www.tpc.org/tpch/results/tpch_result_detail.asp?id=109100801

    MySQL has price/performance advantages. To beat two years later one has to use a 24-core system.

  80. Nope. FLOSS can be used for corporate purposes. They just cannot distribute it without source code.

    e.g. Google uses GNU/Linux internally on gazillions of servers and they don’t reveal the source-code of their modifications.

    The burdens I was writing about are the burdens M$ and others put on users of their software. e.g. the 10 machines limit… phoning home… “activtion codes”/COAs. WIth FLOSS, if you have the software you are activated with no additional hassles. Further many non-free softwares demand permission to run arbitrary code on the user’s machine for corporate purposes of no benefit to the user. That’s a burden just like malware. The fact that they demand acceptance of the EULA before the code can run does not remove that burden; it just demands willing slaves.

  81. twitter says:

    I seem to have struck an nerve because the talk moved quickly from software freedom to trashing Microsoft rivals. Oldman is ignorant or tries to deny that free software is available for every task. It’s like trying to convince a caveman to move to Manhattan, the poor savage worries that they won’t be able to do the laborious and difficult things they are used to. Here though is his key point,

    the fact that commercial software exists that get done exactly what we need to done [sic].

    Without software freedom, users can never get exactly what they want. Non free software owners always impose obnoxious restrictions to guard their revenue streams and then expect users to bend their workflow around it without the ability to share. Perhaps, oldman, you would not pick up your compiler if you could but someone else probably has. The best a user can hope for is some kind of tinker toy arrangement that provides a shadow of flexibility. In that case, you might as well be using free software so that no one can pull the rug out from under you. That’s what the four freedoms give you, ownership of your computer and a workflow that is exactly what you want.

    Let’s step back and look at the big picture in a way that even industry shills can respect. The biggest companies in tech don’t use Microsoft. IBM, Apple and Google all avoid Microsoft’s trash. IBM and Apple are both bigger than Microsoft and Google is in striking distance as Microsoft keeps publishing bad news. While none of those other big companies give their users real freedom, they enjoy it themselves as much as they can. Why remain helpless, divided and beholden to non free software companies when you can simply download tools that do exactly what you want? Free software might need a few tweaks to suit a particular client but it’s generally less effort than non free software imposes.

  82. Contrarian says:

    “Nope. That logic fails.”

    No doubt that you think that way, and my humor was piqued by the twitter fellow misspeaking the way that he did.

    “FLOSS is where software can be unburdened from corporate agendas”

    It sounds noble, but what does that even mean? I guess you are saying that a company cannot effectively use it for their own, proprietary purposes and that may be correct. I think Steve Ballmer said the same thing anc called it a “cancer”. However, it seems to me that Google did much the same thing with Android in making Android a thing totally controlled by Google, keeping the name as a trademark and totally controlling its content.

    “Consider MySQL, a very successful product…”

    Didn’t they just get gobbled up by Oracle? After being acquired by Sun previously? As an accomplished developer highly skilled in the use of databases in application programs, I do not see where MySQL has any performance or functional advantage over SqlServer and, for almost every sort of database application that a freebie database would every be applied to, SqlExpress Edition is a much more functional substitution and is zero cost. In terms of application accessories, “MySQL blows chunks” in common developer speak.

    Also, there isn’t one developer in a million even remotely capable of effectively altering MySQL on his own and zero in a million who could profit from the exercise.

  83. Contrarian says:

    “And when the free version of a package doesnt even exist, what do you think we are going to do Mr. Twitter, stop what we need to do and pick up a compiler?”

    I had to stop and think about that a little bit, oldman. My sources of software are actually pretty varied and, for my job, I was accustomed to simply using what my employer was willing to supply which was usually determined via a consensus of us users. As a developer for a Microsoft Windows compatible product that was VS.NET and all the stuff that goes with it, including my free copy of MS Office as part of an MSDN subscription.

    For personal use, the MSDN stuff was also sufficient since a lot of my hobby use of a computer was in writing programs that aided some personal activity. Even if I had not had the MSDN subscription to start with, my needs there would be satisfied with the freebie “Express” editions of VS.NET and SqlServer 2008.

    I do pay Intuit every few years for a new copy of Quicken and annually for the base version of TurboTax. (I don’t think there is anything else that even remotely fills those needs).

    Almost everything else that I do is either freeware, such as Skype, or can be handled in a transitory way via demoware or shareware.

    So I really do not think in terms of “packages” myself, and would readily “reach for a compiler” if I had a special need that wasn’t satisfied with something readily available and either very cheap or free. Even so, what I am finding is that such a need almost never occurs anymore. For example, my latest laptop, a 1510 Dell Inspiron that I got as a refurb for just over $400 including shipping came with a perfectly fine free copy of MS Office 2010 Word and Excel. I have the full version on my desktop as allowed by my (now expired) subscription to MSDN, but the free one is really all that I would ever need and more.

    The bottom line to this long tale is that I consider my PC usage as fairly sophisticated vis-a-vis the general population and I still have next to no need outside of some employment to buy anything significant beyond what comes with the computer already or else is a free download somewhere. The “free as in beer” aspect of FOSS is way, way overrated in my opinion.

    Ditto the “libre” notion. Who is going to fuss with the innards of OO or Linux or MySQL or Apache or anything else, for that matter, in order to just fix a problem or add some missing function? Nobody. The fact of the matter is that such things just do not exist on a plane where they are addressible by 99.999% of humanity. The .001% case is covered by simply signing up the unique individual who can contribute something useful and giving them access to whatever source is pertinent. If all you want is an educatiion, then there are beaucoup tutorials and sample software examples available.

  84. Contrarian wrote, “So if you consider Navigator to have come to a sad end, you are making an admission that open source is a sort of trash heap for once promising software.”

    Nope. That logic fails. FLOSS is where software can be unburdened from corporate agendas. Consider MySQL, a very successful product. It could have been proprietary but the owners set it free for many good reasons. They distributed it under dual licensing. Consider Vista, a disaster and closed source. Then there is Phoney “7” which could not even cut-and-paste. By Contrarian’s logic, closed source must be a place where trash sells for top dollar.

  85. Contrarian says:

    “Netscape’s ill fated Navigator…”

    I had to laugh at that one. Navigator was pretty much ruined as a going concern when Microsoft made the browser a freebie sort of thing. The Navigator product passed from hand to hand through Time-Warner and AOL like the booby prize at a bunko game until it became the basis for Mozilla’s Firefox. So if you consider Navigator to have come to a sad end, you are making an admission that open source is a sort of trash heap for once promising software.

    Just my warped sense of humor at work.

  86. oldman says:

    “Now gcc build on windows shows the difference big time. Since gcc applications are dumb and don’t talk to each other. Don’t have a problem on Unix, OS X and Linux”

    I’m not seeing your point Mr. oiaohm. I would seem to me that if gcc on windows, produced inferior performing binaries, then it should not be used. That is probably the case with firefox.

    You talk about forking of processes, Mr. oiaohm, but from what I do know if windows coding, the behavior suggest that firefox is dispatching multiple threads, one for each windows instance launched.

    Regardless, It would seem to me that windows does the same thing in a different way. Memory is conserved in either case.

  87. oldman says:

    “Why bow down when there’s free software that works better?”

    Because as far as we are concerned, free software for the desktop by and large does not work better Mr. Twitter. And when the free version of a package doesnt even exist, what do you think we are going to do Mr. Twitter, stop what we need to do and pick up a compiler? Now add to the fact that commercial software exists that get done exactly what we need to done. Do you seriously expect us to check it and start building its replacement with free tools?

    “Chosing slavery is hardly a freedom.”

    Bushwah. It isnt slavery to use the best tool for the job, Mr. twitter. My choices are my choices and I do not choose what I consider inferior tools to get my job done. End of Story.

  88. twitter says:

    Aha, oldman wants to talk about software freedom. That’s a good idea. He says,

    You can’t limit freedom Pog. True Freedom includes the freedom to use ANY tool on ANY platform that suits ones need. And that includes the freedom to use FOSS on platforms that you don’t like, which includes windows and OS X.

    The four software freedoms are not a limitation, they are concise thinking. A person either has them or they don’t if a person can make their computer do what they want it to do. Non free software attacks this ability by attacking any of the four software freedoms.

    Chosing slavery is hardly a freedom. It’s obvious that people don’t have any freedom on Windows or OSX because the platforms owners reserve the right to terminate the software for any reason. A person might be able to use an alternate browser on Windows, such as Netscape’s ill fated Navigator, but they can’t be free from Microsoft’s malicious interference that comes from their ownership of Windows. The Netscape anti-trust trial is filled with examples of technical sabotage and that sabotage is exercised against other programs like Skype. If Windows was free software, users would quickly remove the parts that give Microsoft the ability to interfere with other programs and to turn itself off. OSX, is the same way. In fact, running so much as one non free program on a computer puts the user at risk of obnoxious interference and not just for that one program. Non free software will always be an injustice because its owners demand obedience and control that no one should have. Why bow down when there’s free software that works better?

  89. oiaohm says:

    oldman you did miss it. firefox detects the pre existing instance only windows if as the same user. So send a message to the pre existing instance to fork off. This require cooperation with the pre existing instance.

    So opening 5000 firefox windows is really only one prime process id. Now gcc build on windows shows the difference big time. Since gcc applications are dumb and don’t talk to each other. Don’t have a problem on Unix, OS X and Linux.

    Linux auto stacks like Unix and OS X does. So programmer does not have to bother and each started instance is an independent instance. Solve the magically window has a issue complete thing go splat.

    You load the same application same file is loaded from disk. This is the everything is a file solution. So same file only 1 copy is required in memory even if 50 plus instances are using it.

  90. Someone says:

    @oldman:
    “Linux is anything but simple Pog. It requires a fair amount of care and feeding in comparison to windows.”

    “IMHO anyone who is clueless with a windows based environment would be even more clueless with a linux based one.”
    —–

    Not necessarily true. My mother is computer illiterate, at best. She only uses the computer for web browsing and email, and even then she still requires assistance for sending an email attachment.

    Yet she not only functions just as well (so to speak) in Ubuntu as she actually greatly prefers Ubuntu because it is simpler for her to get to the applications that she uses and she doesn’t have to worry about accidentally picking up malware–which is a good thing, since she was the primary vector for computer infections to come through back before I switched the computer she uses to Ubuntu. Now she even handles the OS updates by herself.

    If this were 2005, I would probably agree with you. But for you to make a statement like that in 2011 tells me that it has been several years since you actually sat down and used a Linux distribution at all.

  91. I ran GNU/Linux on the desktop there for all of 2010. I did not need to re-image any of the client machines. In the previous few months I re-imaged several XP machines multiple times. They just would not keep running with XP. So, while the school may not know much about managing GNU/Linux, they do have a whole bunch more working PCs than they used to. They went from 20 machines working to 95 working and working well.

  92. oldman says:

    “You do it all the time “oldman”. Prove to me you don’t from now on. According to your implied proclamation you should be able to do that without breaking a sweat.”

    IN point of fact Mr. Chapman, I dont have to prove anything to you. However I shall refrain from commenting on your posts so long as you refrain from commenting on my conversation with Pog.

  93. oldman says:

    “The other was the burden of maintaining it. Just not having to keep track of machines lightened my load. Previously, I had to record the “code” and serial number for each machine in the building. When I left, that database and its printout have likely disappeared.”

    So you converted people on to an completely different operating system for your own convenience?

    Incredible…

    Linux is anything but simple Pog. It requires a fair amount of care and feeding in comparison to windows. You just don’t notice because you have an enormous amount of experience with older Unix based systems to draw on.

    Even the fact that you may have left these people with detailed instructions is potentially meaningless. The same people who would lose your administrative database could just as easily lose your instructions, and IMHO anyone who is clueless with a windows based environment would be even more clueless with a linux based one.

  94. Richard Chapman says:

    “Who ever did that Mr. Chapman. I can recall quite a number of time that you have attempted to tell US how to go about are business though.”

    You do it all the time “oldman”. Prove to me you don’t from now on. According to your implied proclamation you should be able to do that without breaking a sweat.

  95. Look. These folks go to Walmart and buy a few PCs at a time. They just plug them in and go. There is no IT guy unless I or some other teacher has that role. It’s “other duties as assigned”, like supervising the schoolyard. No special training etc.

    Where I was last year, folks were running as “administrator” and had shares all over the building with the secretary’s PC. They had no idea there was an EULA, let alone any thought of complying with it. ie. The EULA does not make much sense in the real world where most users are in their homes or working in small businesses. Having spent hours studying it, I was of the opinion we could not reasonably follow it in our school. That was probably the No. 2 reason for switching to GNU/Linux. The other was the burden of maintaining it. Just not having to keep track of machines lightened my load. Previously, I had to record the “code” and serial number for each machine in the building. When I left, that database and its printout have likely disappeared.

    IT has to be complex using that other OS so M$ can sell more licences and “get value”. IT can be as simple as you want using GNU/Linux because it just keeps working.

  96. Is that the behaviour of FireFox or that other OS?

    I first noticed that kind of behaviour with GNU/Linux around 2003 when I fired up my first GNU/Linux terminal server. I ran GNU/Linux, 30 users and their applications in 1500 MB RAM. At around the same time, tests of that other OS using “terminal services”/RDP needed thrice the RAM. Now, folks are talking about 1gB or more per user with VDI.

    Perhaps that other OS creates only one instance of the executable per user. This snippet indicates that does not work with multiple users…
    “Windows Terminal Server is a feature of Microsoft Windows that allows multiple remote users to log into the Windows system simultaneously. Each user connects from a local workstation to a central Windows server, and is then given a virtual Windows environment which appears back on the local workstation. The Windows server keeps the memory spaces and other resource allocations of these terminal server sessions entirely separate, so that users are largely unaware of the existence of other terminal server sessions. In addition, there can be a user logged in to the machine in the normal way–this is referred to as the “console session”.”

    see Sybase

  97. Contrarian says:

    “Have I missed something?”

    Not at all. There are lots of sites where Windows memory management is discussed and effective use of those facilities is an important part of a developer’s job when it comes to design of some complex application where DLLs are used to make overall performance acceptably efficent.

    For example, see

    http://www.codeproject.com/KB/threads/Memory.aspx

    If you are just fooling around with some sort of “Hello, World!” kind of application, this sort of thing does not come into play, but Firefox developers are certainly aware of what they should do as are most other “professional” developers for the Windows platform.

  98. oldman says:

    “When Windows attempts to do a ‘fork’, since it doesn’t have shared memory it’s basically launching the same application over again (duplicating memory). This is as opposed to shared memory, which GNU/Linux and UNIX utilize, which greatly reduces the amount of memory allocated per fork, making it much faster.”

    I just performed an interesting experiment.

    Launched TAsk Manager and check memory used by firefox. The listed image consumed 169Mb of RAM

    Launched second copy. No additional instance was launched, but the memory utilization of firefox increased to average of 176Mb

    Launched third copy. No additional instance was launched, but the memory utilization of firefox increased to average of 183Mb

    Launched fourth copy. No additional instance was launched, but the memory utilization of firefox increased to average of 188Mb

    It seems to me that the that fact that there is only a single instance of firefox in memory and the only difference on each succesive launch of a new instance was in increase in memory in the single instance present in memory. Does this not indicate that shared memory is in operation?

    Have I missed something?

  99. Contrarian says:

    “So a school with 20 teachers sharing text/images/video from 20 PCs is not allowed for XP yet that is a common configuration in schools”

    That is a sort of straw man at best, I think, and, as the old man has noted above, there are a lot of work-arounds available to anyone skilled in the IT admin game. I have never heard of a case where Microsoft pursued any license violations stemming from someone sharing too many files concurrently on such a network. There is a restriction in the EULA, of course, since there has to be some sort of difference between client use and server use in terms of their price schedule. Red Hat and Novelle do the same thing in terms of what they charge for their executive Linux installs.

    It seems to me that this sort of fret is just an artifice to create some FUD in the mind of an organization VIP. If all you are doing is file and print sharing anyway, it makes a lot of sense to use Linux. Even if you have a more up to date architecture providing web services and know how to do it, Linux is a great choice. AFAIK you can even provide WCF compatible web services via Linux using Mono.

    The only downside is that you need a relatively competent admin to even begin to work with Linux servrs whereas a lot of people try to do it themselves with Windows. Classically this DIY approach will often crash and burn, leaving the organization with a lot of fixing to do to recover, but people can get a long way without any real understanding and you cannot tell them that they cannot. I saw this a fair amount with customers who became customers after having such an experience and who were suddenly seeking more “professional” servers and data protection tools, having learned a sad lesson.

    That sort of brings up the question of just how well your old outfit is doing without your useful, day to day input. You had mentioned that you got the gate from some school district out in the wilderness. Do you hear any news from the old gang?

  100. oldman says:

    “Yet they still feel compelled to tell us what we think and how we go about our business.”

    Who ever did that Mr. Chapman. I can recall quite a number of time that you have attempted to tell US how to go about are business though.

  101. Dann says:

    @ oldman

    If I may pipe up for a moment, I HAVE tried installing KDE on Windows before, because a) KDE is awesome, and b) I needed Windows for some college-windows-specific behaviour.

    Needless to say, it ran quite slowly and not because KDE is heavy (which it is).
    I’m sure you know about Windows processes.
    When Windows attempts to do a ‘fork’, since it doesn’t have shared memory it’s basically launching the same application over again (duplicating memory). This is as opposed to shared memory, which GNU/Linux and UNIX utilize, which greatly reduces the amount of memory allocated per fork, making it much faster.

    Sure, I will recommend Firefox, et all, for Windows users. But you just can’t get the efficiency on Windows as you can on GNU/Linux.

    Also, what about Debian is obsolete? And since many applications in use on “7” were around in the days of XP, can you explain why “7” isn’t obsolete too?
    The new UI? New driver framework? UAC? A corporation pushing it?

  102. Richard Chapman says:

    FLOSS, Free/Linux Open Source Software. That’s a good one. Right up there with Richard Stallman as the front man for the open source software movement. Wow, these proprietary types are racking them up. Their knowledge of FLOSS is a wonder… it’s a wonder I don’t fall off my chair laughing. Yet they still feel compelled to tell us what we think and how we go about our business.

  103. oldman says:

    “That applies equally to any OS, whether we are talking about OSX, Linux, or the newest release of Windows. It would apply even if we are talking about an XP -> 7 transition.”

    Granted. But my experience has been that the bulk of people make the transition from XP to 7 wuite easily, especially of they are bring over their applications. The last user I helped was a big FOSS user and one his apps were installed he was OK. HE wqs especially impressed when his 8 year old HP scanner and Laserjet 1200 printer were not only detected, but drivers were installed and they were available for use.

  104. Will says:

    “Issues of user comfort, user retraining, and support are also going to go into the mix”

    That applies equally to any OS, whether we are talking about OSX, Linux, or the newest release of Windows. It would apply even if we are talking about an XP -> 7 transition.

  105. oldman says:

    “That requires the knowhow to see PCs sharing files from a server rather than PCs sharing amongst themselves. Teachers and other end-users have no concept of the difference or the possibility. ”

    And you are proposing to set them up with Linux and FOSS when than can barely handle windows?

  106. oldman says:

    “Windows 7 may be the current OS that Microsoft is shipping, but XP is still in use in many, many places. In fact, a quick check shows that it still has more market share than 7. So XP is hardly irrelevant to any discussion of Windows upkeep and licensing.”

    Perhaps in absolute terms XP is still on a large number of desks, Will, but when Pog uses his experiences with this now two generations obsolete operating system to push a forklift upgrade into an OS and applications that by his own admission have their own issues, It seems quite germane to point out that that another more relevant answer is to consider the fact that replacing a computer that is 5 years older or more with a new one might be the better answer.

    “Also, oldman, while I don’t recommend doing a forklift upgrade to Linux if there are certain legacy programs still in use that require a legacy OS to run them, in many cases the things that a given computer is required to do are handled easily in Linux.”

    It is good to hear that you don’t subscribe to Pog’s theory of rip and replace. But the fact FOSS on Linux might be able to handle certain tasks is only part of the equation. Issues of user comfort, user retraining, and support are also going to go into the mix, and the fact that we are an educational institution that values choice will also weigh in.

    “If a computer is intended only to be a public web browser kiosk or to only do office document work and email, what in that requires Windows? Why not save the cost of the licensing and just put Linux on those machines? That’s just a couple of examples. ”

    We have Kiosks, but the powers that be used inexpensive Mac configurations running OS X

    “You’d be surprised how many thousands of dollars you can slash from the budget just by doing a few Windows-to-Linux switches (or even Microsoft Office-to-LibreOffice switches on Windows) where appropriate.”

    Actually it doesnt surprise me that you think so. But Nobody in my organization is looking to disrupt our users work to save a couple of bucks. This does not mean that we are not cost conscious. We purchase all of our software licenses under volume purchase agreements., which cuts the costs way down – Office Pro is $65.00 per seat for instance. We have a bulk purchasing deal with dell. We are looking to implementing virtual desktops for certain select use cases, but those will be running Windows and windows applications.

  107. oldman says:

    “Estimates are that 80% or more of what people do with PCs can be done with GNU/Linux and very few do everything with their PCs, including keeping the CPU or hard drive busy. It’s silly to pay for Cadillacs for everyone when all you need is transportation.”

    It may be silly to you Pog, but then again its not your money, but the money of those who are doing the purchasing. They are free to underspend or overspend as they see fit.

    Personally I reject the notion that anyone can determine what is the proper level of computer that I should have. Over and above the fact that it is none of their business, they have no idea of why I might be making the purchase that I make or why I might be sizing the system as I do. They dont know the applications that I run, nor do they know what I might run during the useful life of my computer.

    So If I choose to run applications and an operating system that require a more hefty computer to run, thats my CHOICE, and my money, pog.

    I am assuming that we can agree that coiuce is good.

  108. That requires the knowhow to see PCs sharing files from a server rather than PCs sharing amongst themselves. Teachers and other end-users have no concept of the difference or the possibility. I have taught in many schools and only a few actually had a server. Where I was last year, they had two Xeon-powered servers with SCSI drives and gigabit/s NICs and had no idea what they could do. They were unplugged and sitting on the shelf. There was no plan and no security. The LAN was the Internet… and they were running XP SP1.

  109. Amen. The situation in schools is quite amenable to GNU/Linux. Lots of generic reading, writing, looking, finding, and presenting stuff. Not much Photoshopping or AutoCadding or book keeping. Even large organizations can save a bundle by finding departments or groups of users that mange quite nicely with GNU/Linux. Estimates are that 80% or more of what people do with PCs can be done with GNU/Linux and very few do everything with their PCs, including keeping the CPU or hard drive busy. It’s silly to pay for Cadillacs for everyone when all you need is transportation.

  110. Will says:

    Windows 7 may be the current OS that Microsoft is shipping, but XP is still in use in many, many places. In fact, a quick check shows that it still has more market share than 7. So XP is hardly irrelevant to any discussion of Windows upkeep and licensing.

    Also, oldman, while I don’t recommend doing a forklift upgrade to Linux if there are certain legacy programs still in use that require a legacy OS to run them, in many cases the things that a given computer is required to do are handled easily in Linux.

    If a computer is intended only to be a public web browser kiosk or to only do office document work and email, what in that requires Windows? Why not save the cost of the licensing and just put Linux on those machines? That’s just a couple of examples. You’d be surprised how many thousands of dollars you can slash from the budget just by doing a few Windows-to-Linux switches (or even Microsoft Office-to-LibreOffice switches on Windows) where appropriate.

  111. oldman says:

    “Lots of schools do not have a file server since XP does it so well… and many are in breach of the EULA which most teachers have never read.”

    Making them legal can be easily done without a forklift upgrade of everything to Linux Pog. Simple take one system, and install Openfiler (or even Linux running samba if you prefer) configure it as the Share.

  112. So a school with 20 teachers sharing text/images/video from 20 PCs is not allowed for XP yet that is a common configuration in schools. Lots of schools do not have a file server since XP does it so well… and many are in breach of the EULA which most teachers have never read. Where I was last year there were more than 20 PCs sharing reports and attendance over the LAN with no file server and no CALs, etc. That other OS provides features ordinary people cannot even use legally. What’s with that? Why does M$ make IT so complicated? Is it so a salesman can drop in and suggest they buy a server and more licences?

  113. oldman says:

    “Uh… the “L” in FLOSS means Free/Libre Open Source Software, not Linux. Libre indicates freedom, not price.”

    THen I stand corrected, however you DO make it sound line the only FOSS is the linux version, and that is plain wrong!

    “Using FLOSS apps on that other OS can work for some people but there is no need to do that.”

    Why Pog, because you don’t like microsoft? Or could iot be that using FOSS on windows makes Linux less attractive to would be converts eh?

    “If FLOSS apps are what matters and they work for you, why bother with that other OS?”

    Because I don’t want to limit their freedom as you do. Someone using FOSS on windows still enjoys the benefits of being able to use a proprietary application if need be, and to add components or choose computers without having to worry if they are “linux compatable”. And most of all, because they have vendor support of their computer!

  114. oldman says:

    “I cannot even parse it for XP on LAN… ”

    As far as the 10 limit is concerned, that refer to the number of machines that can be connected to a windows XP workstation running a share. It doesnt apply if you are connecting to a Samba share of a appliance like OpenFiler (My favorite for recommending to my schoolteacher friends.)

    At any rate we are again talking about obsolete OS’s. I assume that you know that the current shipping Microsoft OS today is windows 7.

  115. Why should I or my employer be subject to a penalty for using IT in a reasonable manner? It is the licensing that is unreasonable.

  116. Uh… the “L” in FLOSS means Free/Libre Open Source Software, not Linux. Libre indicates freedom, not price.

    Using FLOSS apps on that other OS can work for some people but there is no need to do that. If FLOSS apps are what matters and they work for you, why bother with that other OS? Even EULA.txt is problematic in the virtual world. I cannot even parse it for XP on LAN… Am I truly limited to 10 machines? or 11? My employer had 20 machines running on the LAN. Was he over the EULA-limit?

    “You may permit a maximum of ten (10) (“Connection Maximum”) computers or other electronic devices (each a “Device”) to connect to the COMPUTER to utilize one or more of the following services of the SOFTWARE: File services, Print services, Internet Information services, and remote access (including connection sharing and telephony services). The ten (10) Connection Maximum includes any indirect connections made through “multiplexing” or other software or hardware which pools or aggregates connections. Except as otherwise permitted herein, you may not use the Device to use, access, display or run the SOFTWARE, the SOFTWARE’s User Interface or other executable software residing on the COMPUTER. This ten connection maximum does not apply to any other uses of the Product.”

    That restriction alone is sufficient reason to use GNU/Linux. Essentially you get the permission to connect together any number of machines, say 100, for the cost of installing GNU/Linux. If the cost of that permission is $100 per machine with that other OS, the cost/benefit of using GNU/Linux is enormous. I can get $10K worth of connectivity for a licensing fee of $0. If I believe that the power of a network increases as the square of the number of nodes, I get $1million worth of connectivity.

  117. oldman says:

    “FLOSS rationalizes the problem of accounting for licences by trumping complexity with four simple freedoms: use, openness, modification and copying. Use FLOSS.”

    No Pog, FOSS has these capabilities! Your insistence on limiting the discussion to the narrow range of Linux only FOSS does freedome a disservice.

    You can’t limit freedom Pog. True Freedom includes the
    freedom to use ANY tool on ANY platform that suits ones need. And that includes the freedom to use FOSS on platforms that you don’t like, which includes windows and OS X.

    I have helped many friends y moving them to FOSS like firefox, thunderbird, and OpenOffice (though I prefer recommending Softmaker Office for those who dont want the microsoft suite). They save money and don’t have to deal with a Linux desktop.

  118. Contrarian says:

    “Many enemies of FLOSS trumpet the fact …”

    “Enemies”? Surely that is not the case with anyone who can matter. There are definitely a lot of people who do not have much confidence in the FOSS approach to software development and there are very large numbers of people who do not care one way or another. The largest number of people are those who have never heard of FOSS per se and form the mass market for software in general. But to call anyone who disagrees with the concept as an “enemy” is overdoing things.

    As to licensing software in a VDI environment, that is simply a case of defining the limits of the license and is done today. Prohibition of use in a shared environment and limits to any permitted sharing are simply conditions of the license and anyone violating that licenses is subject to whatever penalty that the license conditions or common or statute law may dictate.

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