Open Source optimize

Iron Man vs. Open Source


First, I must apologize. I know this is old news. But today I saw the Iron Man movie (quite awesome, I must say) and was inspired when I came home and did a search, "Iron Man open source" on Google. I was surprised that I actually had a lot of hits. One hit, in particular, was titled "Iron Man Now Comes With Proprietary Software." This article quoted Matt Fraction (the series writer) saying: "Zeke is a post-national business man and kind of an open source ideological terrorist... He has absolutely no loyalty to any sort of law, creed, or credo. He doesn't want to beat Tony Stark, he wants to make him obsolete. Windows wants to be on every computer desktop in the world, but Linux and Stane want to destroy the desktop. He's the open source to Stark's closed source oppressiveness."

What strikes me as odd is that, after seeing the movie, Tony Stark doesn't seem like the kind of guy that would go this route. Okay, okay - it's just a comic (and a movie) but seriously here...I'm torn. Tony Stark is big business...but he's big business that realizes that he has a more important mission than making money. And I realize it's a stretch but couldn't that idea be applied to open source? Because, ultimately, the biggest dilemma open source developers face is that they have a skill and they would like to make a living using it, but their hearts lie in open source software where they can't make any money. It's Tony Stark facing his father's legacy and his new-found need to make good on what that legacy has done.

Now, back to Iron Man : So basically they are taking the tact that Iron Man (aka Bill Gates - Microsoft - proprietary software) is good and Zebediah Stane (aka open source software) is bad. How is that?

Now, before you grouse, I think Bill Gates is one heck of a human being (his philanthropy alone gives him A-okay status with me), but these days Bill Gates and Microsoft aren't necessarily one and the same (just like Linus Torvalds and Linux are not one and the same). But taking this metaphor into the land of comics just doesn't make sense to me. Really.

Comic book fans (I am one myself) tend to be nerds. Nerds tend to be computer geeks as well. Computer geeks tend to think (regardless of what operating system you use) that Microsoft is not "good." Microsoft represents that ugly side of capitalism that goes to 11 (on a scale of 0 being Ben and Jerrys and 11 being Walmart.)

So yeah, I have a problem with Iron Man representing a monopoly. Even in the movie he didn't have a monopoly on the power suit. His second in command (bad guy Obediah) managed to get his hands on his very own power suit.

What I am trying to get at is that I am shocked to see open source indirectly played off as the bad guy in a comic book. I realize I am stretching it a bit but, seriously, any time you portray proprietary software as the good guy, most geeks immediately cast the opposite end of the spectrum (open source) as the bad guy. Wouldn't it make more sense to have a maverick millionaire cum super hero represent open source?

What happens when Tony Stark is fighting the ultimate bad guy and his power suit software gives him the blue screen of death? You think that nasty bad guy is going to wait while Stark reboots his suit? If he were using open source he would just have to hit Ctrl-Alt-Backspace to quickly get him out of X and drop into command line where he could run /usr/bin/ultimate_death_to_baddie and win the fight.

I know, I know - I'm talking comic books when you were expecting to learn something here. Well it's nearly the end of a three day weekend and I've spent the better part of my time working on a Techrepublic-branded Linux distribution. So I needed a little "fun time" at the keyboard. But I know you're all geeks just like me and you love good discussions about operating systems and comic books. So here's your chance to have at them both at the same time!

Go!

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

32 comments
Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

For a suite like the Ironman powerarmor, your probably wanting something very specialized like writing your own OS in assembly. No, it's not easy but it can be cusomized to the specifics of the suite and it runs damn fast; NASA didn't use it for there computers on a whim after all. Linux, Windows, osX, Amiga - os400, plan9, Dos, .. nah.. something like that definately needs IronmOS specially crafted in the lowest fastest language available. (ok, I could have said hex or machine code but Assembly is pretty damn close.)

Totohydra
Totohydra

...he would be subject to a lot of vulnerabilities on a monthly basis.

tinyang73
tinyang73

It's all at this website here in the below link, selected excerpt quoted below: http://artlung.com/smorgasborg/C_R_Y_P_T_O_N_O_M_I_C_O_N.shtml Imagine a crossroads where four competing auto dealerships are situated. One of them (Microsoft) is much, much bigger than the others. It started out years ago selling three-speed bicycles (MS-DOS); these were not perfect, but they worked, and when they broke you could easily fix them. There was a competing bicycle dealership next door (Apple) that one day began selling motorized vehicles--expensive but attractively styled cars with their innards hermetically sealed, so that how they worked was something of a mystery. The big dealership responded by rushing a moped upgrade kit (the original Windows) onto the market. This was a Rube Goldberg contraption that, when bolted onto a three-speed bicycle, enabled it to keep up, just barely, with Apple-cars. The users had to wear goggles and were always picking bugs out of their teeth while Apple owners sped along in hermetically sealed comfort, sneering out the windows. But the Micro-mopeds were cheap, and easy to fix compared with the Apple-cars, and their market share waxed. Eventually the big dealership came out with a full-fledged car: a colossal station wagon (Windows 95). It had all the aesthetic appeal of a Soviet worker housing block, it leaked oil and blew gaskets, and it was an enormous success. A little later, they also came out with a hulking off-road vehicle intended for industrial users (Windows NT) which was no more beautiful than the station wagon, and only a little more reliable. Since then there has been a lot of noise and shouting, but little has changed. The smaller dealership continues to sell sleek Euro-styled sedans and to spend a lot of money on advertising campaigns. They have had GOING OUT OF BUSINESS! signs taped up in their windows for so long that they have gotten all yellow and curly. The big one keeps making bigger and bigger station wagons and ORVs. On the other side of the road are two competitors that have come along more recently. One of them (Be, Inc.) is selling fully operational Batmobiles (the BeOS). They are more beautiful and stylish even than the Euro-sedans, better designed, more technologically advanced, and at least as reliable as anything else on the market--and yet cheaper than the others. With one exception, that is: Linux, which is right next door, and which is not a business at all. It's a bunch of RVs, yurts, tepees, and geodesic domes set up in a field and organized by consensus. The people who live there are making tanks. These are not old-fashioned, cast-iron Soviet tanks; these are more like the M1 tanks of the U.S. Army, made of space-age materials and jammed with sophisticated technology from one end to the other. But they are better than Army tanks. They've been modified in such a way that they never, ever break down, are light and maneuverable enough to use on ordinary streets, and use no more fuel than a subcompact car. These tanks are being cranked out, on the spot, at a terrific pace, and a vast number of them are lined up along the edge of the road with keys in the ignition. Anyone who wants can simply climb into one and drive it away for free. Customers come to this crossroads in throngs, day and night. Ninety percent of them go straight to the biggest dealership and buy station wagons or off-road vehicles. They do not even look at the other dealerships. Of the remaining ten percent, most go and buy a sleek Euro-sedan, pausing only to turn up their noses at the philistines going to buy the station wagons and ORVs. If they even notice the people on the opposite side of the road, selling the cheaper, technically superior vehicles, these customers deride them cranks and half-wits. The Batmobile outlet sells a few vehicles to the occasional car nut who wants a second vehicle to go with his station wagon, but seems to accept, at least for now, that it's a fringe player. The group giving away the free tanks only stays alive because it is staffed by volunteers, who are lined up at the edge of the street with bullhorns, trying to draw customers' attention to this incredible situation. A typical conversation goes something like this: Hacker with bullhorn: "Save your money! Accept one of our free tanks! It is invulnerable, and can drive across rocks and swamps at ninety miles an hour while getting a hundred miles to the gallon!" Prospective station wagon buyer: "I know what you say is true...but...er...I don't know how to maintain a tank!" Bullhorn: "You don't know how to maintain a station wagon either!" Buyer: "But this dealership has mechanics on staff. If something goes wrong with my station wagon, I can take a day off work, bring it here, and pay them to work on it while I sit in the waiting room for hours, listening to elevator music." Bullhorn: "But if you accept one of our free tanks we will send volunteers to your house to fix it for free while you sleep!" Buyer: "Stay away from my house, you freak!" Bullhorn: "But..." Buyer: "Can't you see that everyone is buying station wagons?"

catseverywhere
catseverywhere

The laws governing not-for-profit "foundations" like Gates' were an integral part of the "federal reserve act" which was the last nail in the coffin of American independence. People like Gates and Warren Buffet do not set up foundations out of the kindness of their heart. There are forced into it at some point of critical mass, for reasons it would take me an hour to spell out. In short, the funny-money federal reserve note needs to be erased as fast as they create them, lest they inflate to near zero 'value.' These foundations are one way of removing large quantities of money en masse. You and I are told Gates has a huge endowment, a nest egg, and uses interest gathered from the principle and uses that for whatever the foundation does. But although on the bank's books (public side) it does appear to be the case, the federal reserve actually does not book that principle, officially speaking. They do everything they can think of to hold down the inevitable devaluation of their funny-money, should they fail to erase it as fast as they print more on the other end of the conveyor. Wiemar Germany failed to erase bank notes. The federal reserve is the most clever crime ever committed on this globe, very elaborate. But please tell me you know it is NOT any part of any government... it is a private, foreign owned, for-profit corporation, a subsidiary of the bank of international settlements, world bank and IMF. Anyway, your "income tax" is likewise purely a method of keeping the perceived value of the "money" up. Think about it, they "book" (e.g. as part of "GDP") the fact that you make $20,000/year, but right off the top they do not allow you to "compete" in the market to the tune of $20,000. They reduce your buying power before you have a chance to dump the $$$ on the market. About 20% of the erasure of frns is accomplished this way. All taxation is obsolete, IF you have an honest money supply. Another trick is separating what they call the "budget" off the books and publicly behaving as though this is A) everything they take in and spend, and B) that taxes pay for any of it. It is a fact that governments are awash in assets, and could easily restructure to eliminate all need for a revenue stream in the form of axes, within a couple years depending on the location. On average the "budget" is around 30% of the entirety of the actual books. See here: http://cafr1.com/

DanLM
DanLM

roflmao, sorry... Just too funny By the way, can't wait to go see that movie... Want to see speed racer too and the last indiana jones. So, here is the question. The car that speed racer drives is all computerized... I say its powered by FreeBSD, what say you? Dan

kron1109
kron1109

I hear you man, but think about this. Money (unfortunately) makes the world turn - So if you don't have the cheese your ability to impact the world is limited. I think Bill Gates figured that one out - thats why we are only thinking of what should be done (Open Source) Vs actually doing something (Billy and M$). So with that in mind, which side would you rather be on? You can either do something or only voice about doing something. And if anyone would like to say "Google" on this one - try to ask them for their "secret sauce".

mwclarke1
mwclarke1

I have seen VxWorks used for dedicated processing, real time operations, etc and really works great. it is really stable and really secure if programmed correctly.

apotheon
apotheon

A lot of development for something like the Iron Man suit would probably be done in a language like Ada.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

He'd have all the time in the world to wait for POST and boot; right until the ground, out of curiousity, came up to see what the delay was about. ;) (Lose not thy airspeed lest the ground come up and smight thee. - the first commandement for glider pilots)

apotheon
apotheon

I never saw that movie. It just didn't really grab me when I saw the trailers. Maybe I should knuckle under to the MPAA for a change and rent it.

jlwallen
jlwallen

do you remember the year that was out? i'd love to see it.

apotheon
apotheon

FreeBSD, definitely -- or NetBSD, or OpenBSD. FreeBSD is kinda like Linux for grown-ups, after all, and as "free software" goes it's more free than any Linux distribution. edit: I was kinda disappointed that the poll didn't have an option for BSD Unix, or at least that it wasn't more inclusive of open source OSes than Linux. There's a joke entry for Amiga in there, but they can't be bothered to realize there's more to the world than Microsoft, Apple, and the Linux kernel. In fact, all things considered, I'd think the Iron Man armor would probably run on OpenSolaris -- even if NetBSD would be a better choice.

seanferd
seanferd

Is that something good, worthwhile, or well done? Why is the second choice not, "Do something else", as opposed to, "...Voice about doing something." No open source project actually does something? Odd.

LBiege
LBiege

Can't believe this one needs discussing: To develop the best product, a company gotta hire the best talent, lots of them. While all the proprietary companies are waving their check books, FOSS guys go around asking for donation and volunteers. Where would the best talent go at the end of the day? I know I'd love to make some money. Ah yes, you have to go proprietary to keep an edge. Don't believe me? Go ask Google to open source their search engine so that M$ could find out all their tricks, and see how soon Google tell you to get lost. That's just the way it is. Don't fight it.

apotheon
apotheon

"[i]You can either do something or only voice about doing something.[/i]" Microsoft talks the talk. Open source software walks the walk -- especially in the BSD Unix world. There's this motto amongst open source developers that is used to suggest someone should just shut up and accomplish something: "Show me the code." I don't see Microsoft doing anything like that.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

His workstations and servers apear to run his own BSD, Linux or similar posix like OS if the cusom UI is anything to base a guess on. The boot sequence in the suite looks very posix like also so I'm guessing whatever BSD or Linux homebrew he's used throughout the rest of his gadgetry. - He's coded an AI so writing his own software is not an issue - He was into robotics and mechanics at a yonge age so he's already got the code background - The AI can further refine the software code (based on speculation about 3D holo-interface) - BSD and Linux based distributions have the source code available for build from scratch - The visible source means it can be audited for security and bugs - The available source means he can put together the needed custom solution from just the prebuild parts he needs plus any additional modification At that point, it's not running a Windows, osX, BSD or Linux anymore; it's running TonyStarkOS. (we are such geeks to even consider this topic)

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

you keep doing that. keehee.. I sued assembly because it's the first thign that came to mind. I'll have to go read a bit about this Ada though; I dont' have the code skill but it's still best to know what's out there.

jlwallen
jlwallen

I actually recorded that book for a books on tape for the blind. I love that little tome. It should be read by any aspiring geek!

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

FOSS just sits there, developers take interest and decide to work on it. There is no going asking for free handouts. And, because the currency is not financial, don't think there is not any currency at all. What seems to happen is that tallented developers get a day job working for that companies cheque book then spend there free time adding code to FOSS projects. More lucky developers are paid to work directly on FOSS code. Don't Believe me? Go learn something about what your bashing. The Cathedral and Bizzar would be a good start though surely not the only resource you should consider reading.

apotheon
apotheon

There's a lot more to life than having the biggest checkbook available -- and the best developers tend to value the checkbook less than the most dull-witted daycoders. There are ungodly high numbers of extremely good developers working on open source software. If you've never been very involved in open source development communities, I guess you might not know that. Not knowing things can lead you to make all kinds of silly statements. For instance, not knowing that Google employees are encouraged to contribute heavily to open source projects and manages a gigantic open source development effort every year called Google Summer of Code might lead you to try to use Google as an example of how open source development can never compare to closed source development.

$$$$$$$$$$
$$$$$$$$$$

Somebody, somewhere, holds opposite opinions of the same genres. You cloak truisms in awkwardness, attempting to seem profound. You only find this funny, because you know you don't belong in these threads. I believe only losers resort to [i]argumentum ad hominem[/i]. You seem to concede defeat every time, from the outset.

apotheon
apotheon

Where can I get a job reading excellent works like that to help others read it as well? I mean, without also ending up reading some kind of harlequin romance crap somewhere along the way, too.

seanferd
seanferd

was similar. It stated out with two unpaid dudes coding in a dorm room.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

" Whoever wanna claim to be open needs to put both feet in there, say the RedHat way. Dancing w/ it while keeping your core product close sournce != OPEN, pal. " Oh come now.. first your saying FOSS can't compare to a cheque book. Now your complaining that closed companies can't be half and half; which point are you trying to make? Doesn't even RedHat keep some of it's code closed for upper tier customers. I thought it was rather common for FOSS based companies to provide a free community edition while keeping non-community pieces for business needs. You may know a lot but the points your echoing are the same tired and untrue points echoed by those who don't know a lot. If your mistakenly responded to like someone who doesn't know what they are talking about; that might be why. " That's why they buy Apple's OSX which, albeit being a late comer as the X-flavor desktop OS, out-populars all FOSS Linux distos put together. " I wouldn't mind seeing the complete data on installed distributions and the percentage blends of what other OS they are installed along side. If you happen to have that complete data which proves a conclusive market penetrations then fire that on over. You must also have the true usage data for Windows and osX versions for comparison; we'd naturally like those included. Otherwise, it seems we're just as we've always been; without a conclusive basis for discussion of market penetration comparisons. It may be worth avoiding penetration comparisons (yeah.. it's a pissing contents after all right?) until actual data can be analyzed. ? Can FOSS people code me a search engine half as good as, say M$ LiveSearch? Why not if FOSS can attract "the best developers"? They cannot beat M$' "dull-witted day coders" or sth?! LOL, what a joke. ? Can Microsoft provide me a version of Windows where IE can be completely uninstalled? - see, I can cheery pick examples and talk like the empirical prove my point too. With Google being coded by a very FOSS supportive company, I?d also dare say that you already know of a search engine coded by FOSS developers and ?half as good as, say MS LiveSearch? (spelling correction mine, the M$ thing is long past tired).

apotheon
apotheon

"[i]Whoever wanna claim to be open needs to put both feet in there, say the RedHat way. Dancing w/ it while keeping your core product close sournce != OPEN, pal. Again, can you show me the source code of google search engine?[/i]" I agree that Google isn't strictly speaking an open source software company. I never said otherwise. My point isn't that Google's an open source software company (because it isn't) -- it's that Google contributes a lot to open source software. Big difference. My statement contradicts what you said earlier, though -- that closed source, commercial software is necessarily better than open source software because of the resources available. After all, the resources of a company dealing in closed source, commercial software (one of the companies [b]you mentioned[/b], in fact) are used to advance open source software. "[i]That's why they buy Apple's OSX which, albeit being a late comer as the X-flavor desktop OS, out-populars all FOSS Linux distos put together despite being proprietary and carrying a non-trivial price tag.[/i]" You obviously don't know much about how operating system popularity is measured -- like the fact that there's no way to effectively measure more than a bare minimum of open source operating systems in use, and the fact that you seem to think desktops are the only places operating systems are used. . . . and are you really trying to tell me the reason more people use MS Windows than MacOS X is or open source OSes is that MS Windows is [b]better[/b]? Seriously? "[i]Can FOSS people code me a search engine half as good as, say M$ LiveSearch?[/i]" You're kidding -- right? 1. Google search is better -- and the foundations of the technology Google uses are open source. 2. The vast majority of open source developers are also professional developers working for companies like Microsft, Yahoo!, Oracle, IBM, Google, et cetera. 3. Why bother create a better web search engine for the world at large than MS Live Search, when there are so many to choose from already -- some of which are notably better than Live Search? 4. There isn't really a [b]reason[/b] to write an open source web search engine, because people don't need to run their own -- they just need to have one run by someone else to use. The needs behind developing web search engines are completely different, for the most part, than those for the kind of software that tends to be developed as open source software. "[i]They cannot beat M$' "dull-witted day coders" or sth?![/i]" I don't now what "sth" would have been if you'd typed it correctly -- but I never said 100% of MS developers are dull-witted daycoders. I didn't say anything like that at all. Period. Go back and read what I [b]did[/b] say, and try again. In fact, I'm pretty good friends with someone writing code for Microsoft, and she's not a dull-witted daycoder by any stretch of the imagination. I suspect the problems you're having with jumping to conclusions and otherwise failing to read carefully must reflect some sloppy habits of thinking on your part in general. That would certainly explain how you've arrived at such ill-considered opinions.

LBiege
LBiege

apotheon, what makes you think I'm unaware of Google's involvement in open source then? Let me just lay down the line here so there's no further spinning: Whoever wanna claim to be open needs to put both feet in there, say the RedHat way. Dancing w/ it while keeping your core product close sournce != OPEN, pal. Again, can you show me the source code of google search engine? M$ had their open source community, too. Are you ready to call them open? At the end of the day, users don't care if you are open or not so long the product is good. That's why they use Yahoo search in the past and Google now. That's why they buy Apple's OSX which, albeit being a late comer as the X-flavor desktop OS, out-populars all FOSS Linux distos put together despite being proprietary and carrying a non-trivial price tag. Can FOSS people code me a search engine half as good as, say M$ LiveSearch? Why not if FOSS can attract "the best developers"? They cannot beat M$' "dull-witted day coders" or sth?! LOL, what a joke.