Using Free/Libre Open Source Software Is A “No-Brainer”

It’s obvious but there are still some people who don’t understand that FLOSS is the right way to do IT:

  • Using software you can run any way you want is the right way to do IT.
  • Using software you can examine in detail to see how it works is the right way to do IT.
  • Using software you can modify is the right way to do IT.
  • Using software you can distribute is the right way to do IT.

These four fundamental properties of FLOSS lower costs, increase reliability and make the best use of hardware and people in IT. What were people thinking when they chose a monopolist as supplier?

Another region of France gets it. “The prefect informs the department’s public administrations that free software provide credible and safe solutions for managing databases, computer operating systems, office suites and email. The development and support of free software has created some 30,000 jobs in France, the prefect writes. "The annual turnover in this sector is around 2,5 billion euro, which is almost entirely benefiting the local and national economy."”

See French Isère department encourages open source use.

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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29 Responses to Using Free/Libre Open Source Software Is A “No-Brainer”

  1. bw says:

    Microsoft is still receiving regular letters from the SEC complaining

    What you cite is not a complaint at all. It is just an announcement saying that their review is complete. It isn’t complaining about anything.

  2. bw says:

    sounds like…if you ask me.

    Not if you ask me. I think it sounds like the SEC, always on the lookout for a wrist to slap or a pocket to pick, could find grounds for neither in whatever brouhaha was stirring in 1998. The weight of the cites here only goes to show that Microsoft agreed to change some accounting practices 15 years ago that may or may not have had an effect on clouding their financial picture.

    The question for today, 15 years later in 2013, is whether Microsoft’s continuing yearly record performance is a sign of weakness, as you want to claim, or robustness, as I assert.

    Why can’t they just come out and say how many licences they sold each quarter?

    They do, but not in their SEC filings. Investors are not interested in such counts, I think, but rather in the financial results of those operations. The “trick” you are concerned about is that Microsoft is only recognizing revenue when it is earned, for example a contract to supply software services is recognized quarterly as the contract runs rather than at the very beginning. Most other businesses do the same. To recognize revenue before the obligation is fulfilled is a way of deluding investors, too. That’s what Exxon was doing, if you look a little into it. Microsoft, on the other hand, has more money than it is showing, which to me is a better situation for an investor.

    They should be able to tell how they are doing compared to their competitors, shouldn’t they?

    Not in an SEC report. The SEC frowns on that. Rather they go to lengths to dream up situations where they might be harmed by competition so as to show how they are diligent in warning about such things.

    Who are their competitors anyway. Their main business is selling OS and office software to a wide variety of customers, private and public and commercial. Who else even does that?

    Apple sells systems, but doesn’t really sell their OS software. Maybe Canonical, but they don’t even disclose their financial results. Red Hat? They have very little business compared to Microsoft.

  3. oiaohm says:

    http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/789019/000000000012008654/filename1.pdf

    bw Microsoft is still receiving regular letters from the SEC complaining about the quality of Microsoft reporting.

    Really Microsoft has got more please explains from the SEC than any other still operating company.

  4. dougman says:

    M$ is all about the NDA’s.

  5. bw wrote about the SEC and M$…

    M$ reported…
    “On June 3, 2002, Microsoft and the Securities and Exchange Commission entered into an administrative settlement resolving a non-public investigation of certain of Microsoft’s accounting and record keeping practices during fiscal years 1995 through 1998 (SEC File No. 3-10789). The settlement provides that Microsoft will not violate securities regulations that require companies to make accurate filings and maintain sufficient records and controls. The settlement has no impact on the Company’s financial results. “

    That sure sounds like the SEC could have fined M$ for accounting problems if the SEC had not been a bunch of pansies. Further, that action/inaction was up to 1998 when M$ was growing rapidly. Since then they have averaged out a lot of income despite that settlement. Essentially they are using a weighted average to hide the details of their performance, which does seem unfair to shareholders, if you ask me. Why can’t they just come out and say how many licences they sold each quarter? Too easy? Too informative? Who would it hurt? OEMs? They should be able to tell how they are doing compared to their competitors, shouldn’t they? Consumers? M$ loves to keep them in the dark. Nope. This is about a publicly traded company getting away with murder.

  6. dougman says:

    Will BW ever stop? Of course not, your just a troll pushing your own agenda, who is too ignorant see and discuss relevant facts.

    Granted, it’s always amusing to see the lies you come up with.

  7. bw says:

    First there was “SEC fined them in the past…”

    You could not find any such thing, so you shifted gears with ”Actually, the SEC action was settled out of court, when the judge allowed the case to proceed, in turn M$ paid off the plaintiff filing the suit.”

    Of course that was a lot of rubbish, too, and, after a further challenge, you bloviate about some 14 year old case wherein your own articles show that the SEC came after the wrongful-discharge case and, further, did not result in any SEC action ever being taken.

    I get the impression that you are not very capable of understanding what you read. You first get some flavor of Microsoft misbehavior and leap in with both feet, embarrassing yourself again and again. Will it ever stop?

  8. dougman says:

    Imagination you say, eh??

    “SEC was probing allegations that Microsoft uses its financial reserves to manipulate its quarterly financial results. The allegation came from former Microsoft auditor Charles Pancerzewski, who settled a wrongful-termination suit against the company last year.

    Pancerzewski’s central allegation was that Microsoft used its deep financial reserves to smooth its earnings performance. The company, he said, manipulated its books by shifting earnings from stellar quarters into its reserves, then dipping into that fund during slow quarters. That makes the results more stable–and Wall Street rewards stability.”

    http://articles.latimes.com/1999/dec/23/business/fi-46647

    “We know that the SEC became interested after Microsoft settled with a whistleblower former employee, who funnily enough then shut up, and because Microsoft admitted that the SEC has started a “non-public investigation into the company’s accounting reserve practices”. This investigation was spurred following disclosures related to a wrongful dismissal claim brought by Microsoft’s former (internal) general auditor, Charles Pancerzewski, who had been offered a “resign or be fired” choice in 1996 after he claimed accounting practice irregularities. Pancerzewski complained that Microsoft used its reserves to pad its earnings in lean quarters, with the result that Microsoft misreported its earnings.

    Microsoft’s “unearned revenue from prior periods” in its cash flow statement shows that Microsoft recognised $5.6 billion in fiscal 2000, up from $4.526 billion in fiscal 1999 and $1.798 billion in fiscal 1998. Pancerzewski filed suit under the Whistleblowers Protection Act, resulting in Microsoft’s records being subpoenaed. The judge decided there was enough evidence to go to trial on the whistleblower charges, but Microsoft quietly settled out of court, with Pancerzewski apparently accepting $4 million in compensation, a gagging agreement, and the sealing of the court record.”

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2000/10/16/it_giants_who_dont_pay_2/

    http://money.cnn.com/1999/06/30/technology/microsoft_sec/

    http://www.uic.edu/classes/mgmt/mgmt495/downloads/SEC%20Probe%20of%20Microsoft.htm

    http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB1023119974238286320

  9. bw says:

    Still just your imagination, dougster. You reallu should have paid for a better education.

  10. dougman says:

    Nope not made up, just a slight error on my part.

    Actually, the SEC action was settled out of court, when the judge allowed the case to proceed, in turn M$ paid off the plaintiff filing the suit.

    So that right there tells you something was amiss.

  11. bw says:

    SEC fined them in the past…

    I think you made that up or did oiaohm make it up for you?

  12. dougman says:

    What Blowhard mean’s to say is, M$ is bearing the semblance of a healthy company, but in reality it is VERY good at moving money around to cover the bad years, otherwise known as “Cookie jar” accounting and is a non-GAAP accounting method.

    SEC fined them in the past for such activity, so of course the specter of them doing it again is there.

    http://globenewswire.com/news-release/2013/08/14/566621/10044928/en/Recover-Losses-Ademi-O-Reilly-LLP-Investigates-Possible-Securities-Fraud-of-Microsoft-Corporation.html

    http://www.ademilaw.com/case/microsoft

    http://redmondmag.com/articles/2013/08/13/microsoft-sued-over-surface-rt-sales-reports.aspx

  13. bw says:

    Besides the obvious uselessness of taking solace from someone else’s misfortune, you seem to ignore that overall Microsoft seems to be doing better each year. Somewhere in that complex mix of products there may be a hidden shift from one product being the profit leader to another taking on the role of the golden goose.

    Anyway, the comment was on the topic of whether the “party” was over or not and I merely observed that spending $20 billion on marketing expenses was a sign that the party was still going strong. They are not flying economy, I think. They are up front in the wide seats and sipping the back bar brands and tastier foods.

  14. dougman says:

    All the big name players are using Linux these days. Do you think Amazon, Google or Facebook is using a Windows server OS? LOL…heck no.

  15. bw wrote, “What do you think those sales and marketing guys are spending $20 billion a year on?”

    Operating Income, Windows Div.

    • 2013 – $8.9B
    • 2012 – $12.0
    • 2011 – $12.0
    • 2010 – $13.0
    • 2009 – $15.8
    • 2008 – $12.4

    See the trend? It’s downward, by about $1-2billion per annum. In a few years, M$ could be subsidizing their OS and giving it away in order to compete on price. OTOH, everyone in the supply-chain will know that other OS is not essential…

  16. bw, wrote, of avoiding PDFs, “Certainly avoiding ones from mysterious sources.”

    So, the malware guys add a PDF to wholesome-site.org… How is an innocent browser to know it’s infected in advance if the anti-malware software doesn’t have this week’s crop in its database???

    Essentially, it is impossible to prevent a system from encountering malware even if it’s restricted to the LAN because it is impossible for the AV guys to know everything the malware guys do in advance. So, that other OS is toast in most cases. I saw in schools that a few percent per day of clients became infected even though they were all running an industrial-grade anti-malware package. I switched to GNU/Linux and never had another infection.

  17. bw says:

    the party is coming to the end for Microsoft

    Not at all:

    http://finance.yahoo.com/q/is?s=MSFT+Income+Statement&annual

    What do you think those sales and marketing guys are spending $20 billion a year on? A very hearty party, I am sure!

  18. bw says:

    b>What simple precautions do you recommend? Avoiding all PDFs?

    Certainly avoiding ones from mysterious sources. Everyone does that. A business system account can be locked down to prevent installation of malware the same way that Linux can be. You know that.

    In any case the issue was in regard to having or not having OS source code and your example does not apply to that.

  19. oiaohm says:

    bw the party is coming to the end for Microsoft.

    http://www.networkworld.com/news/2013/120313-windows-xp-china-276547.html

    bw one way to reduce malware power on Linux is to rebuilt the kernel all in one and disable module loading completely. This is surface reduction. Something you cannot do without the source code effectively. This does not require you to understand all the source code either.

  20. bw wrote, ” I would also observe that there is little need to “struggle” with malware. Simple precautions are sufficient to avoid it these days. Avoidance is pretty automatic anymore.”

    What simple precautions do you recommend? Avoiding all PDFs?

  21. bw says:

    “revised” findings…

    Perhaps you should change your ID to “banalman”, or “hackneyer” or just “meetoo”.

  22. bw says:

    What about the millions of people struggling with malware on that other OS. How many of them get to look at the code?

    As said below, “millions of people” are a very small percentage of those who are using Windows. I would also observe that there is little need to “struggle” with malware. Simple precautions are sufficient to avoid it these days. Avoidance is pretty automatic anymore. Where have you been?

    Anyone even remotely capable of taking OS source code and doing anything about malware protection is far past the point where it should ever bother them. Do you yourself think that you could burrow into the mountain of code that is Linux source and do anything of any consequence to improve it? Be honest now.

    Yet you are certainly capable of locking down a Windows system to prevent malware intrusion. You do not need the source code for that.

  23. bw says:

    Straw Man that…has no clue…so wrong

    Doth protest too much? No argument that there are places that use Linux today that might otherwise use Windows, but when you add them all up, it is just a drop in the bucket. Certainly the bucket is very large, measured in billions of users now, and that makes the drop large, too, but even 20 million Linux users only comprise the 1% or so that register on the scales. The leftovers who stay with Windows are enough of a market all to themselves. Microsoft will party on for a long time yet.

  24. dougman says:

    BW “revised” findings of FACT.

    “It is a question of how and where you want to spend your time. If you are are a ignorant sloth and simply must spend money on IT matters, fussing with Windows and spending the time to learn how to use Windows 8 in lieu of what you may have been doing is likely to be a complete waste of your time.

    When and where the taxpayers become stingy and frugal and refuse to provide funds for educational or even governmental access to the latest IT trends and are tired of Bill Gates charity pushing M$ agenda or trying to obtain M$ vouchers, it will be the only right choice to make by instituting Linux and deploying Chromebooks.

    On the other hand, if you are in business and are successful, you would probably not want to waste much managerial time on continually using Windows.. It is much more rewarding to bring in more and more profitable revenue by using Linux and so time is better spent in that endeavor. Many people have limited vision in that regard and intensely focus on cost savings instead, but they never rise to the top of the tree by learning how to truly use a computer.

    Bill Gates and Steve Jobs and many other billionaires didn’t make all that do for nothing, they expect your ignorance to continue by cutting corners and becoming fixated by suing Linux”

  25. bw wrote, “any company with a real need for the information that is trying to make the overall experience better has total access to what they need.”

    Guess who gets to define, “real need”? With Free Software, it is the user, not M$’s “partners” nor M$. What about the millions of people struggling with malware on that other OS. How many of them get to look at the code?

  26. bw wrote, ” If you are in desperate straits and simply must save money on IT matters, fussing with Linux and spending the time to learn how to use it in lieu of what you may have been doing is likely to be worth the effort.”

    Straw Man that. Munich migrated, not to save money, but to get away from M$. Saving money was a side-effect. The costs of retraining were not much different than the cost of retraining with a new release of that other OS and applications. One can set up a targeted installation of GNU/Linux that eliminates many of the distractions of that other OS, e.g. games and malware…

    bw also wrote, “if you are in business and are successful, you would probably not want to waste much managerial time on cost avoidance. It is much more rewarding to bring in more and more profitable revenue and so time is better spent in that endeavor. Many people have limited vision in that regard and intensely focus on cost savings instead, but they never rise to the top of the tree.”

    I guess he was not writing about Google: “Google doesn’t just use Ubuntu and contribute to its development, Google is a paying customer for Canonical’s Ubuntu Advantage support program. Chris Kenyon, who is Canonical’s VP of Sales and Business Development, and was present for Bushnell’s talk confirmed this and added that “Google is not our largest business desktop customer.””, Peugeot, and IBM.

    I guess bw has no clue about what he writes to be so wrong. Business will use whatever works for them. After having been fooled into using that other OS for so long, they are in a deep hole but many continue to climb out towards the light. See, also, 50 Places Linux is Running That You Might Not Expect. There are lots of successful businesses making good use of GNU/Linux on client and server.

  27. bw says:

    Using Windows you cannot examine in detail to see how it works, as you would be a thief.

    Not if you are a genuine partner with Microsoft. We had daily checked builds with source of new Windows Server versions to use in testing our supporting software. Naturally it is always under an NDA, but any company with a real need for the information that is trying to make the overall experience better has total access to what they need.

  28. bw says:

    It is a question of how and where you want to spend your time. If you are in desperate straits and simply must save money on IT matters, fussing with Linux and spending the time to learn how to use it in lieu of what you may have been doing is likely to be worth the effort.

    When and where the taxpayers become stingy and frugal and refuse to provide funds for educational or even governmental access to the latest IT trends, it may be the only fair choice to make.

    On the other hand, if you are in business and are successful, you would probably not want to waste much managerial time on cost avoidance. It is much more rewarding to bring in more and more profitable revenue and so time is better spent in that endeavor. Many people have limited vision in that regard and intensely focus on cost savings instead, but they never rise to the top of the tree.

    Bill Gates and Warren Buffet and Steve Jobs and many other billionaires didn’t succeed by cutting corners and becoming fixated with being cheap.

  29. dougman says:

    Using Windows you cannot run any way you want, as you will violate the terms of the licensing agreement.

    Using Windows you cannot examine in detail to see how it works, as you would be a thief.

    Using Windows you cannot modify it, as you would be labeled a hacker.

    Using Windows you cannot distribute it, as you would be labeled a pirate.

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