2011 Was a Good Year for FLOSS. 2012 Will Be Better

I read an article with the grim title of “2011: The Year of Linux Disappointments”. I disagree with most of it but found a nugget that was news to me. It is not beyond the realm of possibility that OpenOffice.org may collapse into LibreOffice. The idea is that LibreOffice has picked up so much momentum and that OpenOffice.org has had so many problems that OpenOffice.org may die after a single release, just a code-cleanup.

LibreOffice actually was great news for FLOSS applications in 2011 and is rapidly becoming the flagship of desktop applications. FireFox may be in some decline but Chrome is ascending. Does it matter? Choice is good. The only slight disappointment is that IE is rebounding a bit above ~50%. Clearly, M$ has cleaned up its act and is competing on price/performance at last. That is a victory for FLOSS. Only a few years ago, IE was over 80%.

Other issues categorized as “disappointments” I see as opportunities. I am confident */Linux and FLOSS will shake off legal issues, including the cursed software patents (which are a burden for all software, not just FLOSS), and the wandering of Ubuntu/Canonical into the GUI swamp.

see Bruce Byfield – 2011: The Year of Linux Disappointments

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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18 Responses to 2011 Was a Good Year for FLOSS. 2012 Will Be Better

  1. oiaohm says:

    aardvark I really wonder what you guys are going to complain about.

    Systemd removes bash as a requirement to start a Linux system. system v side of Linux is dieing.

    All cloud providers have to support Linux since majority of services will be provided from Linux servers not windows ones. Mostly due to lack of legal restrictions on making a image locally and replicating it up to servers also fast to change cloud providers if there is a cost benefit to move hosting.

    “The Cloud is only going to bring Microsoft’s costs down and emphasise the management benefits of something that doesn’t depend upon throwing silly little random config files around via SSH.”

    I have not used SSH for years with Linux. SSH is primitive out of date method. aardvark. Current day well managed systems use cfengine or puppet or equal systems. Reason these system receive list of commands that are secuirty checked and can perform more complex operates like restarting network stack that ssh cannot perform.

    Really you are out the loop aardvark. Linux is currently dominate in cloud and shows no sign of that changing any time soon. In fact with items like samba4 and openchange coming on-line MS will face competition like they have never faced before.

    “They could, quite honestly, blow the Linux kernel away with this. You get a rock-solid kernel (with fifteen years of security improvements)”
    Tell me when NT passes the DOD rainbow books. They are only 30 years old. Linux kernel with selinux can pass all the requirements of the DOD rainbow books. Current day Windows kernels cannot.

    Systemd is a radical change. Systemd brings what Linux world calls cgroups what solaris calls zones what Windows has nothing equal to at all.

    The best features of the rainbow books will after 10 years of having them in selinux are now becoming always on features of Linux. Yes no option at all to turn them off. Funny that MS still does not have them to even consider always on.

    “Oh, and once you come to the Cloud” Sorry no. The cost reductions here MS is ripping the feet out. aardvark. Window server 2012 license change completely stuffs you complete idea from here on.

    Combining all your servers on one computer. On 2008 this saved you licensing costs. Since hyper-v instances were free to a point. 2012 you have to pay for active instances.

    “Don’t want to pay $1,000 (guesstimate) per seat for a Windows license?”

    guestimate is way light. Replication for windows to perform it well you have to pay for data-centre version.

    With the saving cost of hyper-v removed you are looking at 200-300 dollars min in licensing costs per instance on a shared server. Upto a max of about 15 000 per instance with windows. In licensing this is no support or tech work in the datacentre. Offsite image replication of the complete OS most likely will be forbin due to MS licensing restrictions. Requestion your image to be transferred between datacenters also most likely will not be allowed either.

    Sorry I do cloud hosting aardvark.

    There is more than LAMP. You are forgetting nginx and other changes. So A becomes N a lot. M for Mysql is become P for Postgresql or a O for Oracle a lot. The P for PHP even has odd changes like PHP out and Hiphop in that converts PHP to native code.

    So now LAMP is not really defines the world at all any more. Only people with heads in sand will use the term Lamp to describe Linux web solutions platform.

    There are other services like xmpp services hosted. There are getting more and most services existing in pre-packaged ready to go to cloud Linux based solutions. Some are done PaaS.

  2. Apache does not abuse the Apache licence but people who take the software from Apache, modify it and distribute binary-only are abusing the licence IMHO. Those people get the benefit of FLOSS but do not pass it on. Apache chose that licence so that could happen but I believe that is a mistake. What good comes of giving source code to the first guy but not the second? That does less good than letting the source code flow to the first and subsequent people in the food-chain.

    “Abuse – To put to a wrong use; to misapply; to misuse; to put to a bad use; to use for a wrong purpose or end; to pervert; as, to abuse inherited gold; to make an excessive use of; as, to abuse one’s authority. [1913 Webster]”

  3. Viktor says:

    The Apache licence is open to abuse. I don’t think Google is abusing it.

    Care to enlighten us how Apache (the inventors of the Apache license) are abusing the Apache license? It’s one of many licenses which is more free than the GPL, which is not a truly free license.

    You should also stop being Google’s pitiful spokesman. “Oh, it’s Google, they’re not evil.” Give me a break.

  4. Over the last 17 years, M$ has made few friends and lots of enemies. I don’t know any person who likes M$. They see it as a “necessary evil” and are ready for change.

  5. aardvark wrote, “The Cloud is only going to bring Microsoft’s costs down”.

    It will reduce M$’s revenues and increase M$’s costs because with cloud, M$ actually has to deliver service unlike the client division where M$ shuffles paper-equivalents/licences. So, M$’s margin plunges.

    Q4 2011 operating income/revenue for client was $2850/$4736 = 60%

    Q4 2011 operating income/revenue for server was $1996/$4772 = 42%

    Q4 2011 operating income/revenue for business was $4152/$6279 = 66%

    There’s no indication that M$’s cloud is working for them. The office suite is the main cash cow in the business division. The online services division is actually losing money. M$ just isn’t committed to the cloud for fear it will kill their office suite. M$ is locked in its own cage.

    “We are devoting significant resources to developing cloud infrastructure, platforms, and applications including offerings such as Microsoft Dynamics Online, Microsoft SQL Azure, Office 365, Windows Azure, Windows Intune, and Windows Server.”

    That development is costing them money and if it takes off will cost them more. Investing in hardware is not the same as replicating licences. They have to pay up front and pay the mortgage/earn a return with revenue. With the client OS they break even in a year or so. With the cloud they may never break even.

  6. aardvark says:

    (Not to mention that you are, for purposes of your own, concentrating on the Client Division.)

    Now, let’s consider the Server Division over the last ten years, shall we?

    Starting from not very much, it now covers roughly 70% of the “mainframe” server market, according to IDC (Clarence Moon, passim) and is in very good rude health.

    Meanwhile, Gnu/Linux (oddly enough, very rarely Debian) is stuck serving up the same old LAMP stuff with no added value.

    Frankly, I’m mystified as to why M$ doesn’t just release a nasty bit of L^WAMP on top of the NT kernel (which, as you know, is simply the basis of the actual desktop and server products).

    They could, quite honestly, blow the Linux kernel away with this. You get a rock-solid kernel (with fifteen years of security improvements) and a “personality” of your choice. Anything that runs a Bash shell, basically. Which NT can do.

    I’m not much of a one for predictions (I leave that to my betters, such as Mr Pogson), but let’s be honest about this. We’re talking low-end servers. Five dollars a pop would be worth it, in licensing terms.

    Oh, and once you come to the Cloud, LAMP is toast. One thing that Linux apologists fail to realise is that the thing about the Cloud is, it spreads the cost. Don’t want to pay $1,000 (guesstimate) per seat for a Windows license? Well, a large part of that $1,000 is support cost and data replication and reliable networks and so on.

    The Cloud is only going to bring Microsoft’s costs down and emphasise the management benefits of something that doesn’t depend upon throwing silly little random config files around via SSH.

    I take it back. On the presumption that The Cloud is going to take over within five years, my prediction is that 80% of it will be based on Microsoft software.

    After all, Linux killed Solaris, HP-UX and AIX. How very considerate of them. What’s left?

  7. aardvark says:

    And over the last 17 years?

    I believe that was the original assertion, Mr Pogson.

  8. Clarence Moon wrote, of M$, “Revenues have increased more than 10 times what they were then and still increasing yearly”

    No. They are not. Check out the last few quarters:

    Client division by calendar quarter:

    Q4 2011 Q3 2011 Q2 2011 Q1 2011
    $4.709b $4.832b “declined 1%” $4.393b

    2011 versus 2010: $11.968b/$12.253b = 97%, down 3% Operating income down 6% (10K, Fiscal years).

  9. aardvark says:

    Mr Pogson:

    “It’s not a linear relationship, ie. y=kx but it eliminates or reduces one of several forms of lock-in that M$ uses.”

    I’m willing to accept that this is not intentionally a straw man argument, even though I said no such thing. I assume you are equally willing to accept that my assertion that “there is no correlation at all” is not a straw man either, even though you clearly implied that some sort of correlation exists.

    A linear relationship (you omit the “+c”) is hugely improbable under the circumstances, don’t you think? At least with correlations, you have something that is statistically measurable.

    I think the question of “lock-in” is a bit of a red herring when it comes to browsers. Microsoft are hamstrung by the fact that IE will only ever work on Microsoft systems. Mozilla, Google and Apple are under no such limitation.

    Consequently, I think, it is obvious that the choice of browser is entirely independent of the choice of operating system, except in the crucial case that you would theoretically be making a horrible mistake by picking IE. Pick one of the others, and you are free to choose whichever OS suits you best.

    Currently that OS appears to be Windows 7.

  10. Clarence Moon says:

    Now, 17 years later…

    It seems to me that, 17 years later, Windows is still going strong, Mr. Pogson. Revenues have increased more than 10 times what they were then and still increasing yearly. If that is gloom and doom for Microsoft, you must live in a fantastic world!

    MS Office soars yet while the FOSS products such as Open Office and Libre Office are caught up in an internecine war that seems to have no real purpose other than to define the sort of cultism that has plagued open source since its beginnings.

    What is next in this silly season?

  11. OpenOffice.org is now a planet too close to Sun, LibreOffice. LibreOffice has sucked up most of the potential developers leaving very few for OpenOffice.org. Such a project needs hordes of developers to remain vibrant. LibreOffice will leave OpenOffice.org in its dust.

  12. The Apache licence is open to abuse. I don’t think Google is abusing it. OpenOffice.org is being buried by Apache as far as I can tell. They have wasted many months “purifying” code instead of releasing code. Changing the licensing of OpenOffice.org seems to me to be an unnecessary waste of time.

  13. Viktor says:

    There’s more, Pogson. You endorse Android like hell, even though it is licensed under the very same permissive Apache license as Apache OpenOffice. So, what exactly rubs you the wrong way there? They stand against LibreOffice. So what? You think a project is better because it carries “Libre” in its name?

  14. Viktor says:

    Hmm, why would Apache OpenOffice collapse? They cleansed it of all things GPL! That’s what you call a good start. And competition is good, is it not?

  15. aardvark wrote, “There’s no correlation at all, is there? Just look at the numbers for the last three or four years.”

    IE was used as a weapon by M$ to warp the web so that web applications could only be accessed by machines running that other OS. IE6 was the pinnacle of that abuse. As M$’s share of browsers declined, M$’s leverage that way has declined and so has market share of that other OS. It’s not a linear relationship, ie. y=kx but it eliminates or reduces one of several forms of lock-in that M$ uses.

    “The Web is an application platform (complete with APIs, data formats., and protocols) that threatens Windows —
    1. many corporate developers and ISV: could develop and deliver their solutions more quickly, to a wider audience, with the Web than they can with Windows or MSN as it exists today.
    2. If Microsoft is to influence the Web, we must have broad., standards-based Web support in our products — we have to be the product supplier of choice for all key existing Web technologies — clients, servers, and publishing tools, at a minimum.
    3. Once we have market and mind share on the Web with our products, we can take a leadership role in expanding and shaping the Web.

    Why is the Web a Threat to Windows?
    The Web today is a rapidly manning application deiiverjr platform — you can shop for and buy: wine, play hangman, Rubik`s cube, and chess, read and augment conversation threads, check up-to-date weather forecasts and stock prices, read the latest news headlines, get dealer costs for ears, look up l-800 phone numbers, download movie trailers, music clips from major recording labels, look up zip codes based on addresses, get real-time photographs from San Fransisco and U. of Washington, and order food from restaurants in 8 different cities. And these are all done with s simple HTML 2 6 web viewer (like Netscape, Mosaic, or our Internet Explorer)!
    You can also conduct a phone call with anyone anywhere else in the world (“internet phone”,just CB radio quality now, but that will improve), read USENET news groups (NNTP), join a chat session (Internet Relay Chat), join a 3D chat session (Worlds Away), and hear streaming, low quality audio…
    My nightmare scenario is that the Web grows into a rich application platform in an operating system-neutral way, and then a company like Siemens or Matsushita comes out with a S500 ‘Web Machine“ that attaches to a TV. Ihis Web machine will let the customer do all the cool Internet stuff, plus manage home finances (all the storage is at the server side), and play games. When faced with the choice between a S500 box (RISC CPU, 4—8Mb RAM no hard disk, …) and a $2K Pentium P6 Windows machine, the 2/3rds of homes that don`t have a PC may find the if S500 machine pretty attractive! “

    M$ 1995

    Now, 17 years later, small cheap computers are running Android/Linux on ARM for less than $100 and Google is available to do anything for many users. The nightmare is real.

  16. aardvark says:

    Mr Pogson:

    “As IE’s share goes, so goes the OS.”

    There’s no correlation at all, is there? Just look at the numbers for the last three or four years.

    But IE is only available on Windows, so let’s reverse this argument (you can replace “Chrome” with “Firefox” if you like):

    “As Chrome’s share goes, so goes the Linux desktop.”

    Clearly this is even less of a correlation. There must be at least three times as many installations of Chrome on Windows as there are on Linux.

    Oh, and IE has been notching up 1% gains every third month or so recently. Does this mean that the miserably failing Windows is due for something of a rally?

  17. Clarence Moon wrote, “they are still using Windows and that is, at the end of the day, all that matters to Microsoft”.

    From the top to the bottom in M$, everyone knows that the web is a vibrant place that M$ must be functional. Without a monopoly on browsers, M$ is in danger of losing the monopoly on the desktop. That’s happening. As IE’s share goes, so goes the OS. IE is the #1 lock-in by M$. They started losing that a few years ago and now they are losing the OS.

  18. Clarence Moon says:

    M$ has cleaned up its act and is competing on price/performance at last.

    IE is free, Mr. Pogson, haven’t you noticed? It comes with Windows, free for the taking, and is used by many people right out of the box. Others choose to use Firefox or Chrome or even some other programs instead. If they are replacing IE, though, they are still using Windows and that is, at the end of the day, all that matters to Microsoft.

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