FLOSS Is Not Just Mainstream – It Is The Stream

Black Duck software has just published their analysis of a survey of 1300 companies who use FLOSS, Free/Libre Open Source Software.“Sixty-four percent of companies currently participate in open source projects – up from 50 percent in 2014– and over the next 2-3 years, 88 percent are expected to increase contributions to open source projects.
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Open source has become the default approach for software with more than 66 percent of respondents saying they consider OSS before other options.”
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See The Ninth Annual Future of Open Source Survey.”
It used to be said that FLOSS was the “alternative”. That’s no longer the case. That Other OS and non-Free software are now the “alternatives” to FLOSS.

One screen, 32, of Black Duck’s analysis is interesting. The respondents ranked the importance of FLOSS projects this way:

  1. OpenStack
  2. Docker
  3. Drupal
  4. LibreOffice
  5. Linux
  6. Ubuntu
  7. PostgreSQL

Clearly, most are seeing the server as the “Green Field” for FLOSS but LibreOffice being right there is amazing. I questions why those server applications are listed ahead of GNU/Linux, Apache or Nginx… and where’s Android/Linux? I guess there are so many choices it’s rather random what the ordering will be in any sample. Still, it’s an amazing report. I think this shows the writing’s on the wall for That Other OS in 2015, The Year Of The GNU/Linux Desktop. M$’s most loyal customers, businesses, are mutinying and putting the old captain and loyal officers into a lifeboat ready to be cast adrift. The purveyors of non-Free software will have to paddle hard to have any possibility of keeping up. I don’t think they can keep up. FLOSS is the right way to do IT and the world knows it.

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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26 Responses to FLOSS Is Not Just Mainstream – It Is The Stream

  1. oiaohm says:

    oiaohm’s comment about higher end PC hardware being used as servers is correct.
    ram not just the higher end motherboards you have added something I did not say.

    Some of the motherboards for 1U cases in server rooms are found in your entry level computers.

    So everything from a sub 100 dollar motherboards to a 1000+ dollar motherboards in a desktop computer could be a 24/7 rated server motherboard. Of course not all boards are rated. Same with power-supplies and the list goes on. So yes you can open a PC from any price bracket and find that everything inside is in fact server rated as long as it is in a standard ATX case. Part of the reason is keeping costs down. The longer the run you can do the better the costs work out.

    Some gamer boards have 24/7 rated for the insanity that some competitions go 96 hours straight. Yes 4 days without sleep. Yes boards rated to-do those competitions have to be just as highly rated as normal server boards.

    Those who have never been inside servers and desktop computers have no clue how identical the two system can in fact be. I remember taking a Office computer and turning it into a server and having the contracted client get up me until I showed him that the exact parts I was ordering for the server were in the Office computer. So since I had the server case from the prior dead system was faster to convert the desktop computer than wait for new parts. Yes it all about downtime.

  2. ram says:

    oiaohm’s comment about higher end PC hardware being used as servers is correct. Many of the “game” motherboard manufacturers discovered that when they went to UEFI (made their motherboards Linux hostile, thinking gamers were mostly using Microsoft, and that the hardware they were selling was mostly being used for online gaming) discovered that despite their “gaming marketing” the boards were really being bought to use as cheap medium performance Linux servers. They should have talked to their customers!

  3. Deaf Spy wrote, without evidence, “When you save on production-increasing tools that will pack back within an year, you doom yourself to poverty. “

    OMG! Google, FaceBook, and Munich are all bankrupt! [NOT!]

  4. oiaohm says:

    You don’t get it, Pogson. When you save on production-increasing tools that will pack back within an year, you doom yourself to poverty. It is simple as that.
    Really what tools. From a server point of view there are a lot of production increasing tools that come at zero cost.

    Something high interesting is some intel and gigabyte motherboards you find in desktop computers are used in rack mount server cases. Yes some desktop PC vs Server the only difference is the case it is in and the number of hard-drives.

    Ok I would not say use some random PC as a 24/7 server. But you can inspect under the hood of a normal desktop PC and find 24/7 server hardware sitting in there. In the case that it is server handware then the only other difference is installed OS.

    Local instance of a web server on Windows desktop is for sure not a Server. Local instance of a web server on a Ubuntu/Debian… could be a real server if the hardware under it is also server grade.

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

    Unit testing most of the software for that is Open source. This is the way it plays out 90%+ of software development is Open Source. The 10 percent missing is only quite minor. Servers are dominate Linux because there is very little advantage to use Windows. Also server application development uses very little closed source because there is very little advantage in it.

  5. Deaf Spy says:

    You don’t get it, Pogson. When you save on production-increasing tools that will pack back within an year, you doom yourself to poverty. It is simple as that.

    A local instance of a web server is good for some debugging, but I will never call this “server”, and I will surely keep a real, properly configured server at hand. Why? Because I want a real server (virtualized or not) that matches best the production environment in terms of configuration. Without such, no dev testing is possible, no staging is possible, and these are just the first levels of proper testing after unit-testing.

  6. Deaf Spy wrote of understanding PCs, “It teaches you to be poor”.

    No, it doesn’t. Some of the wealthiest people have this knowledge. I, for instance, while ordinary in North American terms, am fabulously wealthy compared to billions of people on this planet. I got to be wealthy by carefully earning, saving and investing capital and living in a place with a great supply of natural resources including land, water, power, …

  7. Deaf Spy says:

    Just knowing that a PC is a general-purpose computer capable of being a client and/or a server is enlightening
    No, this is hideous. It teaches you to be poor, and resolve to inferior toolset.

  8. oiaohm says:

    Robert Pogson there is a lot of work on Deduplication.

    https://btrfs.wiki.kernel.org/index.php/Deduplication

    That may add something to GNU/Linux but it also makes obsolete all those machines with, say, 1gB or less RAM, probably half the world’s stock of legacy PCs. I don’t think docker is a good idea except for the latest hardware with a ton of RAM.
    Container extra ram consumption is quite minor. You have to remember programs like chrome already ship with all their own run-times.

    Deduplication does cause some strange things Robert like the possibility that it might consume less ram.

    Docker has become possible mostly because the early chroot issue of memory usage blowing out to the point the computer cannot work has been fairly well solved.

  9. LinuxGentlesir wrote, ” GNU/Linux knowledge is in demand in places like Google, NASA and CERN. It’s an incredibly valuable life skill.”

    To be fair, a few hours’ exposure in high school won’t open that many windows of opportunity right away but it certainly gives students an horizon they can choose. It makes them independent of M$ and “partners” right away and with some knowledge of hardware I passed on with CAT-5/RJ-45, ATX and so on, they are somewhat independent in hardware. That gives a lot of flexibility with ATX machines and some with notebooks. That GNU/Linux is available for ARM does open up a lot of possibilities. I think providing students a platform on which they can build is the key. I found very few students could not strip a PC to parts and rebuild it and install all the necessary software a student would likely need. We used to have competitions doing that. Students thrived. They did read GPL and EULA from Hell. It opened minds to a lot of possibilities.

    I’ve enjoyed teaching students about this stuff. Interpreting the curriculum judiciously, I prepared them for the 21st century, freed from Wintel and made them much better consumers and users of IT. At one place we had a contest setting up Apache. On ancient PCs, the record was about 3minutes from first action to a working website. Just knowing that a PC is a general-purpose computer capable of being a client and/or a server is enlightening. Such students will question the need to pay M$ $thousands for the privilege of using a bunch of PCs on a LAN. Such students will question the need to pay M$ at all for permission to run their PCs. I like that.

  10. LinuxGentlesir says:

    So, when I write that other OS didn’t work for me and my students, it didn’t. I was there. You weren’t. I’ve dealt with thousands of incidents of malware, slowing down, re-re-rebooting and BSODs on TOOS, almost nothing like that with GNU/Linux.

    Even disregarding that, GNU/Linux is superior from a purely educational standpoint. Nobody is going to hire you because “you know Windows well”. Windows knowledge will get you a job as a secretary at a law office. GNU/Linux knowledge is in demand in places like Google, NASA and CERN. It’s an incredibly valuable life skill.

  11. oiaohm wrote, “Container tech is changing the Linux world.”

    That may add something to GNU/Linux but it also makes obsolete all those machines with, say, 1gB or less RAM, probably half the world’s stock of legacy PCs. I don’t think docker is a good idea except for the latest hardware with a ton of RAM. That’s perfectly feasible but it’s not going to work on hundreds of millions of perfectly useful PCs. So, it’s a corner case or a future trend, not something that’s going to dramatically change how GNU/Linux is used in the world this year. The lifetime of PCs is increasing so it could be years before docker makes much impact that matters. I can see business with their penchant to scrap perfectly usable PCs and way too many applications, but not for many others.

  12. DrLoser harped on “I’m guessing that forty is an appreciably massive number.”

    It was. Typically, schools of that size had a lab of 24 machines and one teacher’s PC per classroom, say ~40 altogether. In my school, there was a pile of 20 dead XP machines in the lab when I arrived and the lab was not being used. I made the lab operational with about 16 machines and re-imaged the dead machines with XP. That made about 40 machines again working but every week I would have to delouse one or the other and re-image. About 6 machines had no “sticker” so I could not very well put XP on those but installed GNU/Linux instead. I used one for Clonezilla. Despite switching to NTFS from FAT, upgrading to SP3 from SP1, adding a router/firewall and proper anti-malware software I could not keep those machines running. Perhaps there was a trojan in the image. I don’t know. I couldn’t find it. Anyways, I discussed the problem with the principal, demonstrated GNU/Linux on a machine in the lab side-by-side with XP and GNU/Linux performed much better: faster booting, loading applications, browsing… Since 99.99% of the world’s malware is aimed at that other OS, we switched everything to GNU/Linux, even the principal’s new laptop. He had the choice to dual-boot “7” or GNU/Linux. He preferred GNU/Linux because XFCE4 was more like XP.

    The result was magical. My workload went from hours per day to minutes per day, mostly checking that everything was humming. No malware, no slowing down, no re-re-reboots. We did have issues with printing but that was the print-server, not our system. The print-server was supplied by the copier guy… There was no network-printing with XP and XP would have had the same issue.

    At one point we had 90 seats running as I donated use of 10 of my thin clients for the lab. All the highschool students learned how to install GNU/Linux, change parts, maintain PCs and set up networks. They had no issues with GNU/Linux at all. Several had GNU/Linux installed on their home PCs.

    So, TOOS did not work for my students, my teachers or me and GNU/Linux did. The licence worked for us. The uptime worked for us. The performance was great. The selection of software was better than they had with XP. The server ran flawlessly with GNU/Linux under heavy load (Xeon plus RAID1 over 4 SCSI hard drives with only 1gB RAM). I didn’t have to re-image a single GNU/Linux machine for more than a year with more file-systems in use when TOOS required more than one per week and many other complaints about malware etc.

  13. oiaohm says:

    Dependency hell on Linux is about to end.
    http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=Ubuntu-15.10-DEB-To-Snap

    Container tech is changing the Linux world. I really wonder how long until we have a Desktop Linux that is Debian, Ubuntu and CentOS in one.

  14. DrLoser wrote, “It didn’t work for my students?”

    • In 2001, uptime of Lose ’95 was about 5h, not enough to keep my students busy in our 5h day. It would rarely run an hour without a crash.
    • In 2004, uptime of Lose ’98 was better, about 30h but I had 30 students so every class someone lost their work.
    • In 2006, my school had a choice, (100 XP machines) or (136 GNU/Linux seats+six servers+6 Xerox colour printers+12HP B&W printers, 4 scanners, 6 cameras, extra hard drives and RAM, a rack full of switches and gigabit/s networking) for the same money.
    • In 2009, half the 40 XP machines in my school didn’t work. There were not enough hours in the day to keep XP working. We added a server and 52 additional machines running Debian GNU/Linux and rarely had anything to do to maintain them. Performance and reliability were awesome.

    So, when I write that other OS didn’t work for me and my students, it didn’t. I was there. You weren’t. I’ve dealt with thousands of incidents of malware, slowing down, re-re-rebooting and BSODs on TOOS, almost nothing like that with GNU/Linux.

  15. DrLoser says:

    $18 for a PC fully loaded with Windows 7 and Microsoft Office, may I remind you.

    $89 for a dumpster-dived “Symple” FLOSS alternative.

    Cost/Benefit, baby!

  16. DrLoser says:

    Although, to be scrupulously fair here, you might very well have given your students the chance to experience the full glory of a decent desktop operating system in the two hours before you wantonly took that opportunity away from them.

    “It didn’t work for my students?”

    On the basis of that two hours’ honest exposure of the alternative, did you distribute a questionnaire, perhaps?

    Or was this just your normal tendency to dictate unpleasant and unnecessary limitations to other peoples’ lives?

    (Guess which alternative I believe to be the truth.)

  17. DrLoser says:

    Amen!

    Hallelujah! Say it Loud and say it Proud, Robert!
    Now, pass the Kool-Aid around the congregation, there’s a good lad.

    Relying on That Other OS is the reason I fled to GNU/Linux. TOOS did not work for me or my students.

    It’s difficult to see how you ever even tried to “rely” on Windows, Robert. By your own admission, you acquired twenty PCs from CFSL, twice over.

    And then you paved over the original operating system for all forty inside two hours (from your quote).

    Now, I am not an expert in the number of PCs one might expect to have found in a small deprived Northern Manitoban school in or around the year 2000. But I’m guessing that forty is an appreciably massive number.

    And, considering that you wiped every last one of them inside two hours of opening the box, it’s not entirely obvious that you were in any way inconvenienced by That Other Operating System, is it?

    Perhaps you were merely grotesquely incompetent?

  18. dougman wrote, “rely on Windows with peril!”

    Amen! Relying on That Other OS is the reason I fled to GNU/Linux. TOOS did not work for me or my students. Lose 3.1 and Lose ‘9x had no security whatsoever. They seemed designed to distribute malware. Personally, I’ve never encountered any malware on GNU/Linux PCs but I’ve seen a ton of it on TOOS. It’s amazing what people will tolerate when they don’t know they have a choice. When I discovered I had a real choice I took that exit immediately and never looked back.

  19. dougman wrote, “if you are needing a zero-cost product to create documents, LibreOffice is the solution. There is no need to pay for rental software “Office365″ or $100-$200 a pop.”

    Mostly true. There is a tiny cost, installation and updates take a bit of time. It think the only place openoffice.org is thriving is as a supplier of parts for non-Free software office suites and related applications. Some prefer ASL for that. For users of Free Software, just about everyone, LibreOffice is the way to go. I started writing about that back in 2011. The change of licence delayed everything and folks lost interest. see also The Right Way and the Wrong Way to Produce a FLOSS Office Suite, etc.

    It’s just a long, sad story, and now the kernel I use is managed by an employee of Oracle, surprising me with releases not documented beforehand on LKML… Sigh.

  20. dougman says:

    What’s your solution? Feel free to offer up an answer that would remedy both situations.

  21. oldfart says:

    “Linux is the solution for such problems, rely on Windows with peril!”

    Is that the best you can do?

  22. dougman says:

    http://www.pcworld.com/article/2913764/openoffice-development-is-looking-grim-as-developers-flock-to-libreoffice.html

    “The last OpenOffice release, version 4.1.1, came in August 2014, and there’s no word on when 4.1.2. will arrive. LibreOffice, meanwhile, has seen one or two new releases every month over the last year, making it the obvious choice for users who want routine updates.”

    Makes sense to me which is the better product, if you are needing a zero-cost product to create documents, LibreOffice is the solution. There is no need to pay for rental software “Office365” or $100-$200 a pop.

  23. dougman says:

    Hmmmm, with situations such as this: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/04/23/fukushima_nuke_plant_owner_told_to_upgrade_from_windows_xp/

    Also, the Flame virus and BSOD was the culprit for the Gulf Oil Rig spill.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/24/us/24hearings.html?_r=4&hp

    “blue screen of death” is mentioned 12 times: http://www.uscg.mil/hq/cg5/cg545/dw/exhib/7-23-10.pdf

    Linux is the solution for such problems, rely on Windows with peril!

  24. Deaf Spy wrote, “Open Stack is also highly overestimated.”

    The market for cloudy services seems to be sliced up by many players. I think OpenStack is the reason there are so many players, not just a few “big guys”. M$ is between Amazon and IBM and Google but all four of them have ~50% share in total.

  25. Deaf Spy says:

    Ah, and btw, Open Stack is also highly overestimated. Docker is great, though, but OpenStack is more of a fancy word, than actually working thing. Companies use different pieces from with, which they adopt to their needs.

  26. Deaf Spy says:

    I think you put too much value to LO. Postgre should come way above it. Linux, too, because it is a very valuable server OS.

    With the penetration of web-based office apps, LO is having less and less chances. It will never compete with MSO as fully-fledged office solution, and Web MSO and Google Docs are good enough for those who can go with light set of features.

    Ubuntu is also becoming increasingly irrelevant.

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