surely not

Discussion in 'NZ Computing' started by Peter, May 26, 2004.

  1. Peter

    Dumbkiwi Guest

    Can we assume that one of the "needs" of government, is to have access to
    their data at any time in the future. If they buy closed source software,
    with proprietary data formats, then the government can't guarantee access
    to their data. They are at the whim of the vendor. To me, that seems
    like one of the most important considerations. Another important
    consideration is to be able to inspect the source code to ensure no
    spyware, when dealing with sensitive information, including the ability to
    modify and compile said source code to ensure that the source code you
    have reviewed is the source code you're using.

    Dumbkiwi, May 28, 2004
    1. Advertisements

  2. Peter

    AD. Guest

    It's not as black and white as that. I think the press, large commercial
    software vendors and large enterprise customers have a tendency to view
    software as a monolithic vertical software stack.

    One great aspect of the open source world I like is that software is
    broken down into loosely coupled independent layers that interoperate via
    open standards wherever possible. It allows small projects to stay
    focused and competitive in their own small part of the world, while
    minimising the duplication of effort between layers.

    In this world, giving back to the community for a GPLed project isn't
    incompatible with a closed source company if their product works at a
    different layer in that stack of products.

    A smaller software company might rely on a set of open source projects as
    'infrastructure' for their product. They wouldn't have the resources to
    maintain their own fork of that infrastructure, but they would be happy to
    send in bug fixes or improvements to that project knowing that other
    companies (even their competitors) are doing the same and that they don't
    get to keep the IP of their bug fixes (why would they want to?).
    Again that view is too black and white, and nobody really argues
    that it is purely altruistic anyway. Of course they are after the money,
    but wouldn't future money also depend on the greater good of the community?

    It is in their interest to keep the community healthy. It's not a case of
    altruism vs parasitism - it's symbiotic (like all other sponsorship
    arrangements). If they only wanted the code, they could fork it.

    I'd dare say that once one of these corporate sponsors has committed to a
    project, the sponsor needs the project more than the project needs the
    sponsor. What I mean by that is that the benefits to the project (eg
    funded code and raised profile etc) from the sponsor tend to stick around
    while the benefits to the sponsor (eg goodwill, and community code
    maintenance) seem more fleeting.

    Anyway, thanks for the well thought out post Brett.

    AD., May 28, 2004
    1. Advertisements

  3. Ditto. A very well-argued post and I agree 100% with your comments about it
    not being a black and white topic.

    Brett Roberts, May 28, 2004
  4. Peter

    brundlefly Guest

    It hasn't changed my point of view Brett
    I have nothing against Microsoft, and I also have a lot of paying uses for
    The opening paragraph is just outright dead wrong self serving propaganda.
    Open source software stays within the software ecosystem for the benefit of
    the users and developers, the developer that initates the project gets back
    an improved version after the iterations of others, and does not have to
    spend resources defending and marketing their product to realise those
    Its not altruistic, its quid pro quo.
    brundlefly, May 28, 2004
  5. The ones that are not paid are receiving income from some other

    The contradiction of open source development is that its proponents and
    adherents tend to attack the proprietary software development model on
    the grounds of the cost of software - while defending their own right to
    profit from their work.
    Patrick Dunford, May 28, 2004
  6. Many of those involved in development of open source software are part
    timers, earning money elsewhere. Apparently there is something repugnant
    and morally corrupt about making money out of software.
    Patrick Dunford, May 28, 2004
  7. How many people have read and would understand the source code of a big
    project like Linux?

    The regular discovery of security holes and other serious bugs in
    operating systems like Linux is sufficient proof that no one person has a
    complete understanding of all the code of one of the world's biggest open
    source projects.
    Patrick Dunford, May 28, 2004
  8. Peter

    Peter Guest

    You are not compelled to give back to the community. You can use GPL
    software at home or in your business without having to "give back to the
    community". You can even modify the GPL code for your own use, without
    having to disclose this or having to "give back to the community".
    What you can't do, is convert the work someone else did under GPL, and
    distribute it (except under GPL).

    And you don't *have* to use GPL for your own work if you don't want to.

    Peter, May 28, 2004
  9. Peter

    AD. Guest

    You are confusing 'open source' with the views of the FSF - who are
    minority extremists IMO.

    AD., May 30, 2004
  10. Peter

    AD. Guest

    Well, duh!

    Before you were arguing that they were ALL part timers. Then when told
    otherwise changed it to NOT ALL were full timers.

    Although some might still be living off their RedHat IPO ;)
    I think you are lumping together different viewpoints held by different
    groups of people within the open source community.

    It's easy to claim a contradiction or hypocrisy when you aggregate the
    opinions of a diverse community. I bet you could come up with some doozies
    with nz.comp. It gets harder to show that on an individual level though.

    AD., May 30, 2004
  11. Not if the views of local Linux user groups are anything to go by
    Patrick Dunford, May 31, 2004
  12. Peter

    AD. Guest

    Is that based on their official position, or just a few squeaky hinges?

    What do the BSD groups say then? What do the Apache groups say?

    The open source community is a lot wider than the FSF and a few loud
    mouthed supporters.

    Those views aren't 'anything to go by'. You are tarring a lot of people
    with the same brush.

    AD., May 31, 2004
  13. Peter

    brundlefly Guest

    Apple OSX uses quite a lot of component software from the Free Software
    Foundations Gnu project.
    The Free Software Foundations GPL is a popular licence, which includes the
    Linux kernel amongst its users
    Perhaps both of you are wrong, the Free Software Foundation is not extreme,
    and no one has a problem with the use of GPL software to make money.
    brundlefly, May 31, 2004
  14. Peter

    Cheetah Guest

    Being somewhat of an authority on the subject of open source and the
    community perhaps I could clear this up for you.

    Ninty percent of software development expense is in house development,
    rather than software for sale. Open source provides in house development
    with tools which are open and essentially free. It allows these in house
    developers to cooperate with each other.

    This has been going on in the Delphi community since Delphi was released,
    with a huge number of very good components available, although the Delphi
    free component community was never political in the same way the Linux
    community is.

    Open source is now a community and movement in itself. Will it give all the
    big software vendors a good kick up the bum? Hell yeah! The Microsoft,
    Oracles, Suns, and even IBM's of the world will need to come to terms with
    the fact that developers are helping each other out for their own selfish

    Yep - selfish. Its all a matter of balance. I have a tool I am using to
    develop web applications. The applications themselves are all closed
    source, and there is no way I would release them. However many of the tools
    I have developed are open source - and we spend clients money on developing

    How can we do this? Well we have to develop the tools - and there is no way
    we have the resources to turn the code into something people would buy.
    However, releasing it as open source may result in someone improving it for
    us. Since we won't earn revenue from the code anyway there is no cost to
    us, and there is a very real upside.

    Open source was never touted as midas touch for software products companies.
    It won't make anyone into a Microsoft. In fact if anything it gives power
    back to the users. So in future you will see open source development
    companies sponsored by big non software companies, and small software
    companies making money developing spec software on top of open source
    tools. The days of big software products vendors and monompolies are

    Oh, and on the FSF - the community is a wide variety of people. However I
    don't know anyone who believes there is anything wrong with people making a
    living from writing software. Hell, I'm the President of the NZOSS and I
    own a software company writing closed source applications.

    I know people like to paint us as puritans and zealots, but the world isn't
    that black and white.
    Cheetah, May 31, 2004
  15. Peter

    Cheetah Guest

    Brett Roberts wrote:

    This is an interesting game - which I think some have fallen for. The
    validity of open source isn't how many millions it is making some company
    somewhere. It is how effective the software is at doing its job. End of
    story. I'm first to agree that having a business plan based on distributing
    software under the GPL is probably a bad idea.
    The GPL was designed this way. Only I should be more specific - it prevents
    companies from making money from the efforts of others. The GPL does
    exactly what it was designed to do. It does not stop companies developing
    and releasing commercial software as they see fit.
    Who said they were alturistic? I don't think anyone is under the impression
    that all these companies are doing it for the "common good". They are
    driven by shareholder value - and in the context Linux makes good business
    I've already posted a pretty long message to Patrick Dunford about this :-
    the basic thing is that software products don't work under open source
    (there are exceptions, but there won't be too many of them). What we will
    see is communities of professional developers providing help with projects
    they personally use and benefit from. Large companies may even dedicate
    staff because the value of contribution is less than they would expend on
    commerical licenses for commercial products.
    The NZOSS has not taken a position of giving special treatment for open
    source. However it has taken a position that open source should be
    considered alongside commercial offerings. It is no secret that many
    government tender documents specify (among others) Microsoft products
    directly in the requirements. While we should not be forcing open source
    onto people, we should discourage quasi-tenders were the vendor is selected
    by default.
    I'm not sure if I can keep a straigh face Brett. Windows unreliability is
    legend. I'm still getting swamped by emails from peoples comprimised
    Windows machines pumping out spam. Last week I spent a couple of hours
    trying to get a Windows box to install modem drivers - Linux (duel boot)
    recognised and installed drivers automatically.

    Yes, Win2K is a great improvement over NT, and MS have cleaned up their act
    in terms of reliability. However, MS "trusted computing" remains a bad
    joke, and while you might claim that market share is the cause of worms
    like Sasser we still do not see widespread infections from Apache which
    continues to have about a 70% market share under the same theory.
    Good to see you here. I don't spend a great deal of time in here, but I'll
    keep an eye out.


    Cheetah, May 31, 2004
  16. There are a good number of free Delphi components available but it's not
    a significant percentage of the total componentry.
    Sometimes it is, and in the Linux local user group I encountered a
    considerable degree of hostility to the idea that some people would find
    Microsoft applications more suited to their needs.
    Patrick Dunford, May 31, 2004
  17. Peter

    Cheetah Guest

    Patrick Dunford wrote:

    We are not attacking anyone. We are simply pointing out that our open source
    won't cost you anything, and the commercial solution will. We are doing
    people a favour pointing that out.

    Some of the FSF people get carried away with the "All source must be free"
    message. I believe that its up to the owner/developer. If you want to
    release your source for the benefit of others you should be free to. If
    that wreaks some closed source company - tough - they don't have a god
    given right to make money.

    For me writing OSS is symbiotic with closed source. I charge clients for
    writing code, but the tools and libraries I use are open source, and we are
    active in developing those libraries and tools. The benefit is that we
    don't have to buy the tools, and don't have to worry about upgrade fees.

    Before you quibble about the cost of commercial tools - last time I looked
    Delphi cost about $8000 for enterprise, and about $4500 for a upgrade, with
    upgrades coming every 18 months. Assuming I kept up to date I would be
    looking at a months salary for each developer just keeping them up with the

    Instead we spend time as required adding functionality we require and
    releasing it to open source tools we use. It doesn't cost us anything more
    than we would do otherwise - since the client needs the functionality, but
    we add to the pool of open source.
    Cheetah, May 31, 2004
  18. Peter

    AD. Guest

    The typical view of the FSF is a bit more extreme than that of the average
    GPLed project. But that's probably a little harsh as well, maybe I
    should've used RMS as an example instead of the FSF as a whole.

    Actually that would've actually bolstered my argument that it is only a
    very small minority of 'open source' people that think that commercial
    software is 'morally repugnant'.

    AD., May 31, 2004
  19. Peter

    AD. Guest

    No shit - I bet some users in the Apple users group or the OS/2 group
    probably also would've expressed some hostility towards suggesting
    Windows solutions (or Linux ones for that matter).

    Did you take a poll, or just take note of the dissenting voices? Newsflash
    - the members of that group that don't care what is used, probably aren't
    going to reply. Just because the majority of the replies say one thing
    doesn't necessarily make that the majority view.

    And how does expressing hostility towards the use of MS applications
    automatically equate to finding commercial software 'morally repugnant'?

    AD., May 31, 2004
  20. Depending on how the reply is made, I could see how one may form that

    As in say "That morally corrupt software company is ruining it for the
    rest of the world, I just wish that M$ and Billy Boy would shrivel up
    and die".

    "You may find that Open would be a better option than using
    MS Office 2003".

    It's all in the wording :)
    Dave -, May 31, 2004
    1. Advertisements

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.