[Ilugc] Re: Are you serious? - summary (hopefully) :-)
- From: ksriram@xxxxxxx (Sriram Krishnan)
- Date: Fri, 2 Apr 2004 05:24:42 +0530
Finally, we get to the end. Well, I would like all of you to read the
last section of my mail carefully. But first, let me get to responding
some of Sudharshan's points
Trying to say GUI belong to windows is like saying the
gifts of nature like Basmati/neem belongs to america,
it does not belong to anybody!! It belongs to nature!!
The concept of having a visual representation is GUI
and it cannot belong to people of Microsoft just bocs
they did a wonderful GUI. They might have contributed
but not own it.
You know what? Frankly , I think Windows GUI su**s when compared to
Apple's. However, I think it is better than what Gnome or KDE currently
has to offer. I was talking about the lack of a 'usability' culture in a
lot of OSS products.I'm a big usability/HCI buff...so trust me, I find
Windows bad on this front quite often too. Trust me, if Gnome or Kde
work together with people like Jacob Nielsen (www.useit.com) or Bruce
Toggazzini (www.asktog.com), you'll be giving Bill Gates sleepless
Having said that, I'll be surprised if someone tells me that KDE or
Gnome totally ignored Windows when they developed their GUI. If you look
at the history of GUI, Windows is quite different from Mac (common menu
bar). I find Gnome /KDE (and do I need to start on Lindows) eerily
similar to Windows...especially stuff like the taskbar, start button
which is very much MS specific. If this is a coincidence, fine. But I
really doubt it. However, the Gnome /KDE guys have innovated on MS
GUI...well..for that atleast, kudos to them. However, what's the shame
in admitting where you got your inspiration from? Don't be like Deva or
You argument favoring MS seems to come more out of
fascination than facts!! You might have to dump ur
processor/monitor/graphics card in the not-so-distant future, I sure
presume u will do >that to see the "Long-Horn". No counter-plan for OSS,
just design a much more friendlier GUI, constant improvisation -as we
Very true...I find MS fascinating. But unfortunately, this thread never
gave me the chance to talk about other companies of which I'm a bigger
fan , namely, Google and Apple.However, I've tried to back up my
arguments with facts whenever possible...unfortunately, when we get into
philosophical debates, it isn't possible for me to link to
surveys/stats, is it?
As for Longhorn, yes, I wouldn't mind upgrading my comp. I'm sure my
current comp would be in a unusable state by then. I'm sure very few of
you would be using the same config three years from now as you're using
Regarding IBM and Sun (sorry, couldn't find something small enough to
With IBM and Sun, I agree with Eric. S. Raymond when he says Sun needs
to make Java open-source. You can't pay lip service to a set of
principles and happily ditch it when it suits you. For example, the
members of this group have been prepared to defend OSS very passionately
just as I've tried to defend the 'other side'. However, I really don't
agree with people supporting one side when it suits them and then
happily forgetting about OSS when it comes to their cash cows.
I say make Java open source. Make it a project on SourceForge. Stick it
to MS and .NET :-) Then , we can all have fun.
Regarding Intel and AMD
The principles of GNU extend beyond software . I remember reading of
some Open Hardware projects recently but I can't find the link on
slashdot. Anyway, the point I was trying to make is...by your argument,
Microsoft doesn't trust its customers with the secrets behind Windows.
Ok...point taken. Then, why don't you say Intel doesn't trust its
customers with its processor technology? I'm sure AMD would like to look
at how hyper-threading works. Maybe one of us can improve it. How does
this argument relate only to Microsoft? All I'm saying here is...don't
blame Microsoft alone of something. There are a lot of companies who
believe in the same stuff as MS does but doesn't talk about it openly.
They have been doing it for decades together!! What is
that going to result in?
called Longhorn?? We`ll see that!!
Hmmm..the first Windows OS came out in 95. Error reporting came only 2
years ago. So I don't see the 'decades' timeline. As for the results,
they're coming in the form of service packs and upgrades. Do look at
what's coming in XP SP2.Longhorn is over 3-4 years away.
Anyway I have a question to ask, is ur Windows
XP bought, or just simply 'loaded and installed'? Have
u bought ur Windows XP CD from a "Windows certified
vendor" or just one of ur friend`c CD like almost all others(including
me) and most of them who open this mail in their "Windows".If u say >u
bought it for 6000 odd rupees...:)) haha. I`ll be waiting for a honest
answer from you!!
I was waiting for this question :-). Anyway, let me say that atleast for
the last 3 years, I've been running genuine copies. The truth is, I get
Windows from 2 places. One is from my college which has a MSDN Academic
subscription which lets students install software at home(which means I
have legal copies of Visual Studio.NET,Office,etc). Another one is the
copy I've got from Microsoft for my Student Ambassador-ship.
The OSS world - yes. The programming world - no.
Sorry, my mistake here. What I meant was 'OSS World - yes. Non-OSS world
- no). I was basically trying to make the point that in the non-OSS
world, people don't feel that they need access to source code. Now, I'm
saying this is what they 'feel' . Feel free to flame me on whether
they're right :-)
But what r u trying to tell
me, there arent anybody involved in 'paid' OSS work.
Absolutely not. But are you sure that there are more job opportunities
with developing OSS than 'proprietary' software? If you say 'yes', then
you're sadly mistaken, my friend.I'm saying that compared to
closed-source, OSS has far lesser employment avenues (I'm talking of
hardcore development - not administration,etc). However,a caveat
though...I find it interesting that no one replied to my open question
on whether they make money by developing OSS software. I'm very curious
to know of possible employment avenues through OSS...so I'll be really
happy if some professionals on the group could tell us about the cool
OSS work they do . (I'm being sincere here...after all, I'm a geek too
What do u mean 'expose'?
When I say 'expose', I mean taking the risk of people copying your code
and making money of it with you ending up with nothing. As you say,
developers might need it. But how do you protect yourself from
plagiarism(I'm not sure what the correct term is when it comes to
software).? Is copyleft good enough?
Ok..one small request. I've been trying to Google and see incidents
where the GPL has been brought up legally. Does anyone know of any
incidents where the GPL /copyleft has been brought to a court of law
other than with SCO?
What if OSS followed MS there in MIT?? You wud have
said OSS guys r trying to counter MS with their
"shameless rippings"(as u wud call them). I`m sure u
Come on...you can't guess at what I would have said. And, please, like
I've already stated, MS at MIT was due to the students of MIT.If the
students want MS there, why deny them?
That`s bcos ur busy restarting MS!! :-)
Fine ...fine. I'm trying to think of something funny to say regarding
recompiling your kernel to get sound from your computer.....but anyway,
I'll stop myself :-)
If it`s wrong information that Ms is spreading it`s
word on seeing somebody else spread their 'gospel'
then the point can be accepted. As again, it wud have
been seen the other way around!!
I'm happy to see that you're actually admitting that there was wrong
information in the first place. However, it is not possible to
contemplate the 'would-have-beens'. I'm not saying that it is totally
out of the question...If the roles were reversed,I'm sure there are
clueless people on my group who would say that LUG is following
MS....but I guess they exist everywhere , don't they? (And no jokes
about me being one of those clueless people :-) )
Alas ur coming in terms with OSS!! Welcome to the
club, my dear friend!!
Signs of me spending way too much time on this group. I'm probably going
to do badly in my sem labs today because of these mails...I think I'll
blame OSS. OSS is evil...look...it made me flunk my exams ;-) I wonder
whether my examiners would take kindly to the idea of the other students
in the exam hall 'sharing' their knowledge. ;-)
<disclaimer> Ok..that was a joke. A very bad joke..but a feeble attempt
at one nonetheless</disclaimer>
Ok...this has gone on long enough. Let me try and summarize as
Sudharshan has asked me to.
First of all, I've not been clear as to MS's attitude with Open source.
Let me try and explain.
When you guys say 'Open Source' , you mean the GPL. However, when MS
says open-source , they mean anything but the GPL. Basically, its like
this. MS believes in releasing parts of their code to selected people if
they believe that the act would be mutually beneficial. Some times, they
chose to release it to the public as well. However, MS is very staunchly
against the GPL..especially what they call the 'viral' nature.
However, what they do believe in is that not ALL code should be open
source. MS wants to have a choice as to which code can be made visible
to the public and which code stays secret. This choice doesn't exist in
the OSS world(as that would go against the very tenets of the FSF).
So please do understand, when MS says 'open source', they mean the act
of releasing source code and giving you the ability to do anything with
it (without having to make public your changes as well). If you offer
suggestions /improvements, it is upto MS to take it in or not. However,
you're free to make money out of it...and keep your modifications
I hope I cleared up some of the confusion surrounding MS's principles on
OSS.If you still have any doubts, please do post questions about that
only (MS views on OSS licenses) in a separate thread and I'll try to get
people more informed than me to reply.
Now, like Sudharshan said, I've both said that I use Linux and at the
same time , criticized parts (the GUI,etc). Now, criticizing does not
mean that I don't like Linux. At no point have I actually said that I
don't Linux. My criticisms stem from my views on flaws that exist in the
current-day Linux world(whether they're perceived or real is left to
you). As for my act of criticism, I would like you to read
http://aroundcny.com/technofile/texts/kde_react99.html. I genuinely want
Linux to do well. I don't want to see Microsoft as the only OS vendor.
If they don't have competition, they won't bother innovating (like with
IE). Competition is always good.
Now, as for my suggestions to this group. Well..where do I start? How
about how I got into this group?
Basically, even though I run Linux at home, I'm still very much a Linux
newbie. It took quite some time for me to get familiar with stuff...and
I still struggle with simple things such as installing dependencies to
rpm files. So I thought'Hey...just as my .NET group helps people with
.NET, maybe a Linux group can help me out'. A friend of mine in the
Bangalore LUG had once mentioned this group. After a bit of Googling, I
managed to sign up.
I've been very much a passive observer (I believe the appropriate term
is 'lurking'). And trust me, I've learnt a lot.However, when I saw that
there were some false facts being spouted about my group about the stuff
my friends have been doing in other colleges, I decided to clear up a
few things. Little did I expect that it would spawn off such a monster.
Frankly, I was overwhelmed by the respnse I got. I strongly considered
not replying at all..in my early mails, I had specifically asked whether
people wanted me to stop. However, since people here seemed to enjoy the
discussion(and I've enjoyed it tremendously too), I started replying to
this thread. Pretty soon, I was replying to any thread criticizing
Microsoft or closed-source group. This was probably a mistake and I
should've stuck to this thread alone.But anyway...
Its not for me or you to decide who's going to win in the long run -
closed or open source. Ultimately ,it's the consumer who'll decide. But,
I want to see a nice fight...I want to see competition for MS. A
monopoly can never be good anywhere. However, what does pain me is the
obsession around MS in the OSS world. Guys, if you're gonna forever
think of MS as the enemy and celebrate whenever they trip up, then
you're wasting your time.
GNU/OSS is an intriguing concept by itself. Yes, I'm not convinced of it
today...maybe someone else will make such a compelling argument one day
that I'll switch over too. But whatever the case, the principles of Free
software are rock-solid and they need no MS-bashing to help them. For
every minute you spend talking about Microsoft trying to brainwash
students here in Chennai...is another minute that MS spends tirelessly
Nowehere in all I've read about OSS does it say that closed software and
OSS can't co-exist. We're gonna be using both for a very long time to
come...so might as well get used to it.
My suggestion is this. This is a 'Linux user group'. Not a 'Lets bash
Windows' group or a "M$ s**ks' group. Like I've already said, lets talk
about Linux and other OSS software. Lets talk about GNU ideology. Lets
talk about RMS meeting Kalam. Lets not talk about Microsoft getting
hacked...or Microsoft opening up a group in some Chennai college.Do
understand that not all the people here necessarily agree with the GNU
principles (such as me). However , we do want to try out Linux(the
product)...such constant talk around Microsoft turns us away.
Let me try to answer the 'core question' to the best of my ability.
Microsoft believes that GNU/OSS belittles the concept of IP(Intellectual
Property). You feel that OSS gives you chice...fine...fair enough. MS
believes that GNU takes away the ability to make money and profit from
your work though the GPL says this is not the case. Whether they're
right or wrong is not for you or me to decide...its the consumer who'll
Anyway, I hope this is the last mail on this thread.I've had immense fun
and learnt a lot. I've made mistakes and have been corrected
appropriately too. However, I'm pained to hear that a lot of people here
don't really find this thread useful (my posts have been called
'constant rubbish and nonsense'. I'm all for open debate...if not here,
I invite you all to sign up in my group at
I think both our sides have done our fair share of 'point-proving'. I
only regret the fact that MS had only me to defend
them...unfortunately,I couldn't get more informed people to sign up to
this mailing list in time. So all of you only got to hear my
opinion..while I got to hear a lot of people's opinions.
Well, this brings us to the end (hopefully). I've to admit I thoroughly
enjoyed myself and I don't regret signing up at all. I unfortunately
missed out on the last LUG meet in IIT but I'm going to make it a point
to attend the next meet. I would also like to request one of you to do
sessions on Mono/dotGnu for my group's meets. What say?
In the end, as geeks, such competition between MS and GNU is good as it
means that not only do we get opposing view-points...but we also get
some cool software and technology in the process. And I guess, in the
end, the end-user is the ultimate winner in this battle...as he should
Once again, thanks for such an enlightening discussion. I'm sorry if I
offended anybody...you won't see anymore mails from me unless
specifically asked for.
I blog at http://www.dotnetjunkies.com/weblog/sriram
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- » [Ilugc] Re: Are you serious? - summary (hopefully) :-) - Sriram Krishnan