[Ilugc] Are you serious?
- From: ksriram@xxxxxxx (Sriram Krishnan)
- Date: Thu, 1 Apr 2004 20:05:53 +0530
I've been thinking about my replies to this thread and I think I've been
guilty of confusing two separate things - Linux as a product and the
whole philosophy behind OSS. So I thought I'd split my arguments from
First of all, Linux (the product)
Trying to say UIs are bad in all OSS is a spurious argument in itself.
It all depends upon the user, and present day if u consider
proprietary Windows and OSS Linux the UI does not differ to the 'bad'
Usually, sweeping generalizations are bad form. But in this case , I
think I'm more than justified. Apart from the Mozilla guys, I can't say
that there is a single OSS project out there that dedicates itself to
usability. Do understand that usability does not mean adding a bunch of
wizards to your software as an afterthought. People like Microsoft and
Apple have whole labs (buildings with hundreds of people) working on
usability....measuring,testing,imporoving,etc. Do you think Google would
be where it is today without the help of Jacob Nielsen?
I find it interesting that you say that the GUI doesn't differ from
Windows to Linux. Though MS licensed a lot of GUI concepts (like
overlapped windows) from Apple and Xerox, stuff like the start button is
solely a MS innovation. And what do I see today? Both Gnome and KDE
shamelessly ripping them off...In fact , nowadays, both KDE and Gnome
look like a skinned version of Windows. Where is the innovation? Soon,
MS will come out with Longhorn(which has a mind-blowing interface...I've
been lucky enough to see sneak previews which are not available on the
net). Where is the corresponding OSS plan?
GUI is a concept and a technology in itself and trying to say that GUIs
in OSS are 'bad' very well applies to Windows which also believes >that
GUI is the best thing promoting it`s 'quality'. Trying to compare two
OSs on the same technology of GUI and saying one is 'bad' isn`t >a
healthy argument in itself.
Why not? I was comparing the ease-of-use of both Oss and I found the
GUIs as the easiest barometer. As for CUIs, you're right...Linux kicks
Windows' behind. However, that'll soon change with Longhorn (google for
I think IBM and Sun know better abt this than both of us do - They r
talking abt freedom to tweak with ur code
Tell me...has IBM released the source to DB2? Or Sun its Java
implementation? Sun and IBM want to get involved with Linux purely
because that's the only hope they have of competing with MS. You would
be deceiving yourself if you though they really believed in the
principles of OSS.
Tell me one company which has reverse migrated bcos it hasnt found the
performance of Linux/OSS satisfactory!! But as for all the other
migrating stories, u`ll be hearing it all over!!
I didn't have to look far.Just read the thread titled 'Success story' on
this group a few days back :-)
What r they going to do with the several TBs of errors resulting due to
OS problems? Trying to say Win is error-free wud be a big joke!!
Linux handles almost all such things u have mentioned with a simple msg
which prevents u from carrying on further than let the whole
platform on which all the applications r resting to crash and having to
do the 'holy' act of restarting the system.
They analyze the errors. They figure out what is causing the errors.
They look at ways of fixing it ( a lot of which is making its way into
SP2). Saying that Win is error-free is a joke...but so is saying the
same thing about Linux. About the error message, I'm not sure whether
you've seen XP. XP pops up a message box about whether you want to
report the error(and users have the option of turning off this
notification) and then shuts down the app. You get the 'Abort,Retry..'
message only if you have a debugger like Visual Studio installed on your
comp. When was the last time you saw a blue-screen with XP(mind
you...you should have MS-certified drivers. I don't think even Linux can
do much about bad kernel-level stuff). I once wrote an app to allocate
over 2gb of memory(in small increments). It took a long time ...,but XP
was stable once I shut down the app. Don't compare the 9x series with
2k,XP or 2003. These new Windows based on the NT kernel are rock-solid.
Now, for Linux - the process(FSF,GNU, Bazaar et. al)
You feel having the source code as an Engineer it`s a luxury but the
whole of the OSS community and even the programming world wud
consider it as a requirement.
The OSS world - yes. The programming world - no. Tell me, why don't you
ask Intel or AMD to give up their processor making technology? Why apply
a different barometer to MS? Or why don't you ask IBM to give up the
source code to DB2? Why go after MS alone?
By debugging other`s code u can see what`s essentially wrong, what is
right, what can be done!! Anyway OSS programmer are not debuggers.
They dont get error reports and debug their previous versions and
re-release them under a new 'jilpans' name. All people in the OSS
community are rightly credited and they r as famous as the tool they
have developed or contributed to. They get their due share of name and
fame and r not unpaid programmers. They get their share of fame and >are
Now, you really got me wrong here. I never called OSS developers as
'debuggers'( if I did,a couple of friends of mine in the Bangalore LUG
would chop my head off :-)) . I'm saying that the scope for employment
developing so-called proprietary code is much higher. I want to ask the
people on this group...how many of you make a living by *developing* OSS
software? No, administering a Linux network/server doesn't count. How
many of us can be like Miguel Icacza and get paid by Novell?
As for people making money of OSS, I want to point you to another raging
thread on this very thread....where someone asked about making money off
the GPL...and people advised him to use some other license ! Say you've
spent two years with a team of 20-30 people developing an app. You make
it open-source...and then bang! Some one else comes along....takes your
code...makes a few modifications and starts making money. How do you
The Godforsaken code had to be leaked and not given out fairly to the
programming community. This seems to prove the point.
What point? That code has now been in the open for almost a month and
I'm sure thousands of people have looked at it. And all they've found is
one vulnerability in IE which had been fixed 3 years ago. In fact, there
was an article on www.kuro5hin.org reluctantly admitting that the code
was of very high quality.
When I say innovation I very specifically mean what lies beyond the
Do plug-ins or the hundreds of other extensibility mechanisms. You
mentioned the Lens filter in Adobe Photoshop. Well, Photoshop exposes a
plug-in mechanism which lets you write your own filters and what not.
And I could go on for years about .NET's extensibility and flexibility.
Yes, I'm sure that there are a few fringe cases where the extensibility
mechanisms won't be sufficient. But I perfectly understand Microsoft not
wanting to expose their work(which has cost them a LOT of time and
money) for this miniscule minority ( If you disagree, I would like you
to show some stats proving that this is not miniscule).
OSS is not against MS company and Bill gates` fortune, it`s against the
"MS policies" which does not allow a user/programmer to do what he
wants. Well, that just sums up 'our' OSS policy.
Ok....2 things here. One, like I've already repeated ad nauseum, why not
ask IBM to let you work on the code to one of their software? Or ask AMD
to let you help out with their technology? Why pick on MS? If MS is so
evil, why haven't they sued the Mono guys yet? (who implement not only
the ECMA part of .NET but also a lot of MS - patented stuff)
Two, I would really like some examples of *mainstream* Linux
modifications not possible with Windows not possible due to the lack of
source code. This is the core disagreement...whether the source is
necessary for the average user/programmer or even if it is necessary for
the majority of the users.
OSS programmer are not people in Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanam who do
honorary work - they r very much programmers who program every day >for
their daily bread
Please see the other thread on this group regarding making money using
But be magnanimous enough to accept that the OSS programmers are also
'great' programmers and not 'debuggers' as u had said.
I never said that!!! If I met Eric.S.Raymond on the street tomm, I would
be too speechless to even pull out my autograph book :-)
OSS programmers are just as good as any other programmers. The question
here is on philosophy...not on skill or talent.
Anyway this has definitely been a good quality argument where newbies
have come to know so many things!!
Finally,...something we both agree on :-)
Anyway, I think a debate between Windows vs Linux is pointless. The
answer always lies in how good the user is and what the task required
is. You are right when you say that you and I are not going to end this
debate here. Anyway, I'm not comfortable with talking about Windows on a
Linux user group...off-topic posting is never good. If you remember,
this thread started because somebody posted some wrong information about
MS presence in Chennai colleges...I never wanted it to get into a
traditional MS vs Linux debate. If anybody feels offended, I apologize..
As for the argument regarding the philosophy, I believe the core
question is one of IP (Intellectual Property ) rights. MS believes that
you use what you've developed however you want...make money if you want
to...keep it to yourself if you want to. That's the core difference
I blog at http://www.dotnetjunkies.com/weblog/sriram
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