Linux

Proprietary Linux software: A big dilemma for many Linux users

Jack Wallen re-visits a very touchy topic among Linux users - open vs. closed source. It's always been a hot debate and he wants to know the opinion of the TechRepublic community.

Recently something came up with one of the other sites I write for. I proposed an article about the Hamachi VPN client which had an outstanding version for Linux. The setup was incredibly simple, the software ran well, it was free, and it could save many a admin a lot of headaches in the setup of VPN servers. Problem was, the software was proprietary. Although there was no cost attached to the software, it wasn't possible to download the source and do with it what you will.

I understand the point and, after a bit of argument, I relented. Of course I understand that, when given the choice between an open source and non-open source solution, the open source solution will almost always be more appealing. But this stance has one major catch: It hinders companies trying to make a living by creating software for the Linux operating system from doing just that. Let me put it more simply:

You have the choice between using Software A or Software B. Software A is free of charge and open source, but requires a bit of work to get up and running. Software A also has no support (other than forums and community). Software B is also free of charge, not open source, but allows you to purchase a support plan and offers a paid version with more features. Software B is also much easier to get up and running.

Which software do you choose? Are you a purist and refuse to install anything that is not open source? Or are you willing to thrown down a few bones to purchase a piece of software knowing you will never see the source? Which is more important: Quality of service and ease of installation or seeing the source?

You see - after nearly fifteen years I am very torn on this issue. I want Linux companies to make a profit. I am more than willing to drop coin to help a company out. That's one of the reasons I do things like purchase extra space on my Ubuntu One account and purchase most of my music right out of Rhythmbox. I also buy T-shirts or make donations to projects like Elive. And I can openly confess there isn't a single piece of "paid software" on my system. But there is proprietary software. I use the proprietary NVidia drivers because I find the open source version not up to speed (yet).

But for many people out there - this is a big dilemma. Over the years I have noticed this issue rise up and never go away. Why? What's the solution? This black and white world open source has been living in could be a constant torment. It seems, however, no matter how hard you try, this issue is never going to go away. There have been so many possible solutions for the problems:

  1. Companies with proprietary software must focus on business and/or enterprise.
  2. Companies selling software can make the source available only for the paid versions, with a modification that the source can not be used to create a fork of the software.
  3. Companies can have two versions of their product: A free, open source version with fewer features and a paid, closed source version with more features and support.
  4. Companies can claim to be either one or the other and try to beat the odds.

It is my suspicion that solution 3 is the best option for a company trying to make a living at producing Linux software. But even that has problems. There are users out there who will refuse to use a piece of software on the Linux platform if 1) there is a price attached and/or 2) the source can not be had.

This reminds me of the mid 90s when a gaming company called Loki began creating Linux ports of famous games. The products they produced were outstanding (I still have all of the game CDs that I purchased from them). These games were quality and very much on par with their Windows counterparts. Problem was - no one was willing to, gasp, pay for Linux software! After all...Linux software is supposed to be all free right? Wrong. Had those users ponied up the cash for games, Loki might still be in business and the age-old war cry "Linux has no games" would be irrelevant. I remember speaking with the CEO of Loki before they went under and he mentioned how he couldn't figure out the Linux community and their unwavering inability to pay for something they desperately wanted.

Oh sure, Linux has a cornucopia of games that are free. Have you played them? For the most part these games look and feel like they are nothing but cast-offs from the late '80s to early '90s'. And it's a shame. But it's the way it is. And it is the way it is because Linux users have become so spoiled by free and open source software. I'll be honest, I'm not a developer, so it's only been very rare that I have needed or wanted to see the source for a piece of software. And I think I am in the majority - even with Linux users. Only developers really care to have access to the source of a product. I would like to think that developers make up the minority of Linux users across the planet.

From my vantage point there is no reason why both open and non-open source software can't survive and thrive on the Linux platform. If end users (and admins) are willing to open up there minds and wallets, more Linux companies will be able to create more and better software. With more and better software flooding the landscape, Linux will begin to enjoy more and more success.

So...to that end, I want to hear from you. I want to know why this has been such a thorn in the side of the Linux community for so long. Why are so many so unwilling to accept good software that has a price and closed source. Is it all just about the spirit of the community and what it was built upon? Or is it something far greater that that?

Personally, I just want to see Linux grow beyond what anyone ever dreamed it could be. I want to see the operating system I have used for the majority of my computing life rise above all of the doubt so the electronic world can be a safer more reliable one. And for this to happen more companies developing more Linux software must succeed.

What's your take?

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.

59 comments
KT0
KT0

I'll go take a look and see if the GPL powers that be have different scenario types I can refer to.

KT0
KT0

Let's say I was looking to create a product in order to make a living. Ideally a product that will not require much if any support so the notion of selling support for it is not in-scope and so the only other option I can see is to sell licences to use the product. The idea of giving away the custom source of that product (because of the GPL) would make me worried that someone else would just copy and rebadge it. As I'm not looking to be 'big' commercially and just a mom/pop outfit that earns a wage I doubt I'd be able to afford to chase other people legally etc. If instead I look at the BSD Licensed world it seems to me that that concern wouldn't exist. 30 years ago when I wrote a dialup BBS (originally in BASIC hehe) I sold licenses to use it, it paid for some of my tuition fees. One day I found that one of my customers had done exactly as I mentioned above, they just changed the name of the software and started selling it. I couldn't afford to take them to court. I appreciate that there are people who produce useful software for free but presumably they have other sources of income. My point here is why would I (with bills to pay) choose to target Linux over say FreeBSD. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to target Linux, I just can't afford to.

Dbwolf
Dbwolf

Curiously no one mentions that Ubuntu or RedHat actually charge for tech support.So technically yes the OS is free but the support is not.So whats the difference between them and Microsoft?Not all that much.I can buy software made for windows and im up and running for as long as it takes to install the software.Linux ,having this running battle with MS, ive got to install third party software just to get the software i really want to use, running.Why bother? Most folks dont have the time to be configuring an OS every time they buy new software.Thats the kicker as to why Linux hasnt become as popular.So unless most of the world become hackers(not happening btw) ,then plug and play will be more popular. Ive heard great things about Linux servers and many indeed do you use them.Thats a good thing in the marketplace.Not everyone owns a business though.Just a thought.

LeonBA
LeonBA

As a long-time Windows user who (mostly) converted over to Linux a few years ago more or less on principle, I still feel the same way about proprietary software as you. Yes, open source is preferable to closed--but I have no problem with using proprietary software either. I too use the proprietary NVidia drivers--they work impressively well. I also don't mind paying for the occasional software item I really want: e.g., Nero Linux. I'm still way ahead of where I was when I was trapped in the Microsoft world.

eriksank
eriksank

It is actually simple. We did not like the other playground (that is, windows, and so), and so we made our own playground (that is, linux) -- which indeed looks much better -- and what next? To turn linux back into the thing we have spent so much effort to leave? If a company wants to sell us proprietary software according to proprietary rules, why don't they look for customers in windows, or some other platform, instead of complaining about the lack of access to the linux market? How welcome can anybody be, if the first thing they want to do, is to complain about, and insist, that all of us change the rules of the place they have just arrived in? Anybody who wants to join, must simply accept the rules of the place. And if they do not like it, why do they want to come over? Furthermore, complaining does not help. The free and open-source world (FOSS) is the result of millions of people publishing their software under a FOSS license, out of free will. They can get my software and source code, freely. Why would I not get theirs freely too? Aren't they a bit too self-serving? Lastly, in order to change the rules, you would need to convince all of us to stop publishing our work under a FOSS license. It is not going to happen any time soon.

sonicsteve
sonicsteve

But isn't that what this is about? I can't see a day when proprietary closed source will ever become extinct. That's the bottom line. Let's call a spade a spade. Sharing is not instinctive to the capitalist mentality. This is one of the many flaws of capitalism. Yet I don't think that capitalism is the root of the problem it has to do with the heart of all mankind. So with that in mind Linux must find a way to hold true to it's open source ways, but include the software that is mainstream and closed. This will be a huge challenge since the big boys of proprietary are constantly trying to kill linux, diminish it, patent it to death. Linux is trying to co-exist with entities that would rather see it dead. Not all proprietary companies feel this way but it will be an uphill battle. Personally I would buy a closed source piece of software for linux, especially if there is no open source project that can meet the need. I think the cost free open version and premium paid/ supported model is perhaps the best idea.

jmhalloy
jmhalloy

I thing Linux is an operating system on which you are able to run any software deveopped for it. I'm an I.T. pro and have developped mainly into the IBM mainframes era as system programmer. I used to use Linux as my main PC system since 1993 when I worked very hard during two weeks to be able to print graphically on my deskjet 510 hp printer, at that time I used a distribution called "infomagic Linux" and, I had to buy a mitsubishi double speed CD reader which was the only CD drive recognized by the OS. From that time, I always buyed my Linux distros in order to be able to obtain support for them and... I never really had to since I obtained help more quicky from the forums. I suppose to have (very little) financially participated to the developpement of the drivers actually available for about any current hardwares etc... If you don't want Linux to die, do it yourself since new OS like windows7 became as efficient and stable than Linux on the desktop!!

mikifinaz1
mikifinaz1

The Linux community has a number of issues to deal with and this is one of them. I think there should be three levels of software, just like closed source. 1. Free use it, change it, let your dog play with it. 2. Shareware with a basic standalone version for the poor. The pay version closed source. 3. Industrial pay up the yingyang full on closed products.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Look at the multimedia arena. Users are so used to having 'free' access to content (either via advertising support or questionable file sharing) that a majority refuses to acknowledge the right of content creators and providers to make a profit.

Orodreth
Orodreth

Nothing would be better than to be able to play Call of Duty, Star Wars, Medal of Honor, Star Craft, etc. natively on Linux for the same price as an Xbox or Windows version, and with the same performance and clarity. As the article mentioned, so many Linux users gripe over the lack of proprietary support from nVidia or ATI each Kernel release. I'd hate to see a full scale entrenchment that turns open source or currently free software into proprietary and expensive software. That would kill Linux.

mwclarke1
mwclarke1

Not a problem, depending on the context. I prefer to have a distro that is based on completely open source and can have the option weather to stay open source or load an app that is closed. I do believe that the kernel and any development that is distributed open. I am torn weather a specific distro should ship with added closed code. I think if the distro can keep the closed software separate enough to have the option weather to load the close software add on or keep just install open only components, would not care if a distro then ships available closed options, drivers, apps, etc. So it really depends, what is being closed sourced and how is distributed ? It is a given, if distributing existing Kernel/GNU apps, etc, Then modified or not then source has to remain open and available. But for sure, if a company develops an app that is installed on a Linux system after the fact, does not contain other code that is already open, then does it really matter, not really if want to use their app, you have the choice not to but if I want that app and only closed source available, then I would like to have that option.

Justin James
Justin James

The "freemium" model that you describe really is not a good way to make money. Why? Because there is a very fine line between "enough free features to keep people interested" and "too many free features to get people to pay for the product". The fact that people make *business* IT decisions based on personal, political beliefs such as open source astounds me. If I found out that an employee was making decisions taking personal politics into such high account, I'd have a serious discussion with them and let them know that it isn't how we do business. If they wanted to do that, they can do it for another employer. Businesses have to be about getting the best tools for their needs. Now, sometimes there is a serious advantage in open course tools, such as price, or the ability to mod it as needed (hint: you most likely won't, and if you do, you may well regret it when you can't upgrade without losing your mods). J.Ja

JimboNobody
JimboNobody

Well said. I'm an end user, though a well-informed one. Need Linux to do the job, not be pure.

vandammej
vandammej

Most people are used to paying for software. If there were higher-quality choices in apps, more people would choose Linux, if they could. Well, of course you're not allowed to, now.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

on a Mandrake system (not mine) and being impressed by the quality of the graphics and game-play. Two or three years later, when I finally got my first Mandrake install running, I was sorely disappointed to discover that Loki was no longer in business. No reason for me to stick with Linux then. Win2K, here we come again. (That was a few years ago...)

WDMilner
WDMilner

Not a dilemma. It depends on what one wants - like everything else. The dilemma is perceived since so many computer users are weaned on proprietary software, and the rebels decry anything but free software. Open-source doesn't necessarily mean free, only that the source is available. As for utility; If an open-source (preferably free) solution is available that reliably suits my needs or those of a client that is the one I'll recommend. If the only way to solve the problem or get the job done is with a proprietary solution, well, then that is obviously the way to go (at least till a comparable or better open-source solution appears).

Slayer_
Slayer_

Might as well just keep it the way it is, we already have the free only distros and the make it work immediately easily distros.

st5vJVC2um
st5vJVC2um

I hate to confess my ignorance, I haven't been able to install and run Ubuntu to install on my computer. It makes me hesitate to pay for the CD or DVD Rom. [Intel Pentium 4, 2266 MHz (17 x 133) Dell OptiPlex GX260 Intel Brookdale-G i845G 1024 MB (PC2100 DDR SDRAM) BIOS Phoenix (09/24/02)]

sylerner
sylerner

There are many excellent packages on Windows and Mac that you will never see on Linux. These are programs of a size and scope that you will will not see an equal developed in open source. Those of us who need these packages would rather pay for a Linux version than a Windows version, but we will never get a chance if the purists of the world continually raise a storm and harass companies and users who choose proprietary software. And this is a key reason why many corporations that would like to move their desktops to Linux can't. They need proprietary packages that aren't being ported because of the hostility received by a vocal minority.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

writing it. There are already a lot of commercial software products that work on Linux. Now you may need to get a legal check of the full GPL licence, but my understanding is that it only comes into play when you incorporate existing code that uses GPL INTO what you write. So if you have a program that does NOT use actual Linux code in it, but has output to the Linux OS and input from the Linux OS, then it is NOT using existing code under the GPL. So an application that sits on the OS need not have the GPL applied to it. Thus you can sell or licence it and make money, the way Crossover and Cedega do - for two companies doing that - the same way some games do.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

" Curiously no one mentions that Ubuntu or RedHat actually charge for tech support.So technically yes the OS is free but the support is not.So whats the difference between them and Microsoft? " Retail products and service offered are two separate things; neither requiring the presence of the other. The concern is not who derives profit from services rendered. It's a consideration of motivations and results when the software is the product versus when the software is sponsored work that enables the product. Close source wants it's inner workings to be trade secret; only a select few can ever see the source and fix it and only at the behest of accounting and management unless marketing has to calm public outcry. Where possible, one must minimize expenses; the goal is quantity over quality, good enough to meet the marketing launch date - long as it's not buggy enough to have too many returns after sale. Even with closed source companies that have the best intentions and highest QA screening, one must wait for them to research a bug then develop the patch within time and budget constants. Because it's close source, researchers can only provide results of binary analysis for discovery reports and developers can not provide accurate patch suggestions with bug reports or fix their own until an official update becomes available. But, the reason no one is digging on Red Hat and Canonical for selling support services is because such services are seporate from producing the distributions. It's about the strategies, motivations and affects that differ between the development models. " Not all that much.I can buy software made for windows and im up and running for as long as it takes to install the software.Linux ,having this running battle with MS, ive got to install third party software just to get the software i really want to use, running.Why bother? " "Why bother" was the exact strategy used when bundling IE into Windows; customers will get Windows by default with the computer and it'll have IE by default so they won't bother looking at our competition's products. It's a remarkably effective anti-competitive strategy when one holds a market monopoly. Being pre-installed on the majority of retail shelf computers is a heck of a benefit when your goal is moving units. One can't deny that at all. It's been a heck of a struggle for retail distributions trying to get shelf space and big vendor deals. In the old days, MS contracts actually required OEMs like Dell only install Microsoft OS on there consumer computers; offer the customer choice and loose your MS contract. These days, I think MS just yanks the deep discount which keeps all but a few of the bigger names and smaller independents in line. When offered in equal shelf space, a major distribution's store returns are about equal to Windows returns. Naturally, a crap distribution delivers a higher return rate. In terms of benefits, it may simply be to rejuvenate older hardware instead of reinstalling an outdated and now unsupported Windows version. " Most folks dont have the time to be configuring an OS every time they buy new software.Thats the kicker as to why Linux hasnt become as popular.So unless most of the world become hackers(not happening btw) ,then plug and play will be more popular. " Unix type OS tend to be much more plug and play where hardware support is available. I can yank a drive, drop it in another machine and boot the OS without it having a fit because the chipset, processor and ram suddenly changed. Focusing on Linux based distributions specifically, Mint and other's provide very complete hardware support; more so than the Ubuntu/Kubuntu distributions. If the distribution has support for the hardware; it just works. When something doesn't just work, it's normally thanks to the hardware vendor; my own fault from buying hardware from a crappy vendor. So, it's very mobile; when I get a new machine, I could just the hard drive in and resolve any outstanding hardware issues. I could instead just make a backup, drive image software isn't to hard for average users to figure out, then restore it to the larger new hard drive and resolve any outstanding hardware issues. I could just grab my install script and have the reinstall done in about two hours; bare metal to all software installed and updated with user data restored. Given your mention of Ubuntu; the liveCD installs in about twenty minutes in the background while your using it if you so choose. I don't expect huge problems for a user, having used the liveCD to install on the current computer, then having to spend twenty minutes installing on a new computer when they get it three or more years later. Maybe they buy from one of the more service oriented retail outlets who offers a choice of preinstalled and Linux ready machines with a liveCD install service. " Ive heard great things about Linux servers and many indeed do you use them.Thats a good thing in the marketplace.Not everyone owns a business though.Just a thought. " Depends on one's need. General needs are covered by any major OS family these days; documents, email, browsing, multimedia. Specialty needs will still dictate what OS one may choose from. If you want to run a specific game, you need what OS or console it runs on. AutoCAD; Windows for that too. Adobe CS; Windows or osX. OpenSSH; BSDs, Linux Distros or osX. I personally have some Windows games and specific application titles that keep a bootable Windows partition around. If not for the games needing full direct hardware access, I'd probably only have a VM running required applications. (well, in addition to what special purpose installs I have license for.) Stability, security, easy software management and availability of titles in the software library are not really business-only benefits either. If the user required functions are covered then whatever OS works.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

Granted, these are hypothetical questions, but bear with me. If proprietary software is required for you to do your job, do you then tell the vendor "No, you can't play in our playground."? If that vendor is the only source for that (or equivalent) software, do you then tell the vendor "No, you can't play in our playground."? If the lack of that software will shut down your employer because the OEM wrote the assembly line management software to run under Linux, do you then tell the vendor "No, you can't play in our playground."? An OS is a tool. It makes it possible for us to run applications that create, store, and retrieve data, control manufacturing machines, and perform other essential work. You choose the OS that meets your needs, regardless of the philosophy behind that OS.To act any other way in a business environment leads to inefficiency, excess cost, and, eventually, business failure. For my personal use, I prefer free or open source software simply because I'm a cheap SOB: if FOSS can meet my needs, I will use it over proprietary software. But if I can't do it except with proprietary software, I will buy the proprietary solution.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

who use Closed Source Software on their Main Production Servers for their End Users and I really do not see an issue with this. After all Open Source means that it's Open not Free and the software in question is some very specialized software that is highly developed and there is nothing else capable of doing the same job in the same time frame. The OS and everything else in these cases is a Tool to do a job nothing more and nothing less. OS are just that not a religion. Col

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I think the media content debate gets complicated quickly. Sure, there are people who where not ever going to pay for content. I believe there are far more people who are happy to pay reasonable prices for content that retains fair use and arrives through a preferred distribution channel. I also believe the media companies have done most of the damage themselves in driving away consumers.

zach.winchester
zach.winchester

...at all with using a non-open source program, driver, suite, whatever, if it will allow me to do what I need it to. If I had some better funding, I would be happy to pay for some of the not-free software that's been developed for Linux - which in my case isn't much that applies, but for others it may be different. I've installed distros (I think, specifically Ubuntu) that gave me the option of installing free open source or free proprietary closed source drivers for my networking and graphics before. I figured the drivers that came from the developers of the hardware would stand a better chance of working since they were written and compiled specifically for the devices. Had those drivers had a price tag, at the time, I might not have had a problem purchasing. Right now, though, even a tiny amount might cause an issue. I would love for Linux software devs to have a way to make a living at doing what they're doing. Maybe they could create seperate software tiers like Home, Office, and Corporate, and charge for the Office and Corporate tiers and stagger the price plan. The Home would be free, but you don't get the source code or tech support except for through the forums, and would have almost full functionality but not have options not necessary at the Home tier. The Business tier you might get more features than the home tier, you have to pay for the software, but you get the tech support and source code at an office package discount. The "Corporate" tier would include software, install & backup media package, printed documentation, source code media, full onsite tech support, site license, and the cell phone number of the CEO just in case. (J/K about the cell phone...) Of course, with the Corporate tier there is going to be a significant cost relative to the type of software package, but it would be gauranteed and backed up by personally in-touch people. Well, just some thoughts I've had. Maybe its nothing, but maybe I might have a worthwhile idea, just sayin'... Zach

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

That's my preference. For the activist feel-good angle then stick with the libre code only default repositories. For the rest, make it easy to opt-in to the non-libre repositories. PLF for Mandriva, Metaverse for Canonical, Non-free for Debian; users retain the choice of remaining free-source only without limiting those who just want their nvidia and broadcom to work.

seanferd
seanferd

if you are at all interested in installing Ubuntu or whatever other distribution or OS you might like to try. First hint - don't try to install from Windows with a regular OS install CD. You have to boot from the CD. You can't install Windows that way, either, if there is no uprade path between versions.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

As the others mention, it should just be a file download and few minutes with a cd writer. To confirm though, what steps have you taken so far or how far have you gotten? Did you download the .ISO (disk image) from the Ubuntu website? Where you able to write it to a CD or DVD using your choice of cd writer software? Where you able to boot from the disk and get the Ubuntu desktop (it'll run without installing so you can confirm if it works). If you where able to boot from the disk into the usable desktop, could you browse websites (network card is working)? One of the regulars can probably suggest the next step from as far as you've gotten.

zach.winchester
zach.winchester

...Ubuntu was still sending out free discs, and that was as of the 10.4 release. I haven't bothered checking into 10.10 yet as I don't even have my system set up and might not until 11.4. But yes, you could order a free set of install media, only real issue was how long would it take to get there. You can also download the .iso image from the Ubuntu website, burn the image to cd, and install off your own media. If you're having trouble with your self-burned media, I suggest you set your burning speed via software down to its slowest setting, probably 2x or 8x, or the lowest it supports. That could be your problem if you haven't been doing it that way. Hope that helps... Zach

eengnerd
eengnerd

You just need a little help from a Linux enthusiast. You can download the ISO image from the Internet, burn a CD, and install. The only cost is for Internet service and the blank CDR. Sincerely, Arthur

seanferd
seanferd

the next time there is an outraged mob raising a storm and harassing companies and users who choose proprietary software. I'd like to be there to see it.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Rumour is that Adobe actually produced a *nix native Photoshop years ago. It sold for, well, the price of Photoshop. They then discontinued it claiming that there was not enough interest; it didn't sell cause those FOSS users won't pay for software. What Adobe didn't bother to mention was that the feature difference between Photoshop and other competitive software did not justify cost difference. It's not just companies with hurt feelings because of a vocal minority of "code free or die" types. I'd like to see more cases of proprietary software succeeding or failing and why though; the few I've seen, like the Adobe example, failed due to the vendor rather than the FOSS community.

eengnerd
eengnerd

They don't choose to develop under the GPL because they believe they can't make enough money doing it. In some cases, this might be true. But I have found the opposite is true. There are many, many apps for Linux that are GPLed that you will never have equaled in Windows!

KT0
KT0

Interesting .. I thought that any program that makes any call to any system function or library that is under the GPL has to be GPL'd itself since it would be considered a derived work.

JuliaX111
JuliaX111

I haven't paid for a film or music in .. well.. last time I bought a film it was on VHS tape.. and the last music I paid for came on a large black round thing that you had to scrape a sharp point across.. I won't pay the cartel to rent something from them.. ever!!

seanferd
seanferd

Basically, it's support and advanced enterprise features you pay for, in many cases. (See Red Hat for an OS distro example.) Source code only has to be available by some method, and providing it doesn't cost anything aside from server time and network use, which is the same whether you choose to download a distro containing all the source or you download it at another time.

seanferd
seanferd

No one ever says where whatever-it-is failed to do whatever-it-was-supposed-to-do. Just, "it doesn't work", plus maybe a list of unnecessary and unrelated facts or some wild theory hypothesis incoherent and made-up idea about the possible problem.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

It was a Mob of M$ Executives who brought into Corel and at a AGM moved a Motion to stop Developing for the Nix Code Base. The rest of the Shareholders thinking that M$ must know what they are talking about agreed and went along for the ride killing off something that could have developed into something quite interesting. Who ever said that M$ doesn't know how to feather it's own nest doesn't know what they are talking about. ;) Col

JuliaX111
JuliaX111

The same can be said for Nero-Linux .. costly and compared to the already free alternatives like K3B a pile of junk. Proprietary software needs more than just it's name to sell it to open source users. I for one don't really care so much about the open source nature of an application as long as it works and has a feature advantage over the free competition.. and theres the problem.. the proprietary competition expects to release junk (for real money) and that savvy users will buy it because of their name.. of course what do we do? .. we grab cracked versions and test it out.. find that it's rubbish and warn everybody else off. They have to get over themselves and start producing good products if they want us to pay for them.. (we will pay, but it has to be at least as good as the competition, or the windoze version, if not better) just because windows users are brainwashed into paying for rubbish doesn't mean FOSS users are.. in fact we aren't.. I don't even pay for proprietary software for my one and only windoze box.. Bottom line.. if it's good and has features nothing else has that I need then I will pay for it.. if not then it deserves what it gets... ignored and left to die out.

Badge3832
Badge3832

I'm not aware of "many, many" apps that can't be equaled in Windows. If you tell us what they are we can start porting them.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

a number of government agencies. The last time I went through the GPL it was best summarised as - This code is free to use how you like, and if you use this code in anything then the code you make must be made available free to others. Now issuing a call is NOT the same as using the code in your code, nor is taking the data feedback from the call. It can get a bit messy of you don't make the calls right etc. But sending data off to the OS with a request to process is NOT the same as using the OS code within yours to process. Sure using the existing code inside yours makes it easier to write something, but it doesn't HAVE to be that way. With any luck one of the License gurus here at TR will wade in on this soon. You can always direct an enquiry to the relevant powers that be about the GPL and ask where they draw the line for you to be able to sell your own app as against it being under the GPL. edit to add - I often have to think about the GPL in regards to some images that have been made available under the GPL and CCC. If I take Joe Blog's image, cut it, paste another in, and put text on it it's a derived image. But if I take his image and use that as inspiration to create something similar it's not a derived image. In short, to be a derived image I MUST use something of the original in what I end up with. Now to apply that to the GPL OS: If I write a program where by I incorporate the full print command function code in my program then I'm using part of the code and it's a derived image. But if I write my code so I out put the command 'Print this data' along with a data stream, then I'm NOT using their code in my program and it's not a derived image. - Well, that's my understanding of it.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Why does anyone do anything they are not directly drawing a paycheque for doing? Some people volunteer to teach little legue. Companies come together and contribute to FOSS projects where the company benefits. Microsoft contributed code to the kernel for VirtualPC compatibility (think it was the server virtualization app actually). Several big companies contribute to the kernel because it benefits there hardware business; HP, IBM, Dell. The kernel being a little scewed towards server use (eg. scheduler) reflects the benefits the server retailers gain by contributing. Businesses who sell FOSS developed code may be using a community based R&D version from which they include the best ideas into the production targeted retail version. Red Hat does this with Fedora -> Red Hat Enterprise Linux. The first is the community version; the melting pot of new ideas. The second is the stable version meant for production server rooms. You get the same at the application level; a free version and a more enabled or closer supported retail version. Splunk has a freely available version (4 nodes or < 500 MB of logs per day) but once you go over that limit your into paying enterprise pricing. Virtualbox; free for personal use with a more enabled retail version for professional use. In terms of the individual, motivations differ. For some, writing code may simply be recreation; enjoyment outside work hours. I spend all day playing admin at work only to come home and spend my free time at home in front of my own machines. Maybe one is modifying an existing program to fit a new need; eg. modifying a program that counts beans so it shows separate counts by colour in addition to the total. In economic terms, it is not a retail economy; a developers value is not measured by how much money they can produce. It is an information economy; a developers value is measured by what skill they demonstrate in their coding. It is a meritocracy; one is measured based on what they do; write shoddy code and your economic value drops with "oh, yeah, that guy's code is a mess." A good source is Eric S Raymond's essays including Cathedral and the Bazaar and a few other discussions of FOSS social structure and potential business models. The Magic Cauldron is probably where you want to start though. http://catb.org/~esr/writings/homesteading/ " The Magic Cauldron This paper analyzes the economics of open-source software. It includes some explosion of common myths about software production economics, a game-theoretical account of why open-source cooperation is stable, and a taxonomy of open-source business models. "

just1opinion
just1opinion

I've never really understood the business model for free software. If someone spends 5000 hours developing something, how is it that it doesn't cost them anything? I can't pay the bills on sweet thoughts and sunshine, which is all one gets for gving away the product of their skills; and it undercuts everyone's ability to survive.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

That Linux doesn't work and is [i]BROKE[/i] and Windows [b]Just Works.[/b] How can you honestly expect a end user to say anything more that It doesn't work? OH and for the poster above you can download the Ubuntu ISO here free http://tinyurl.com/342ae6y Then use your preferred CD Burning Application to turn it into a Bootable Disc. You [b]Do Not[/b] burn the ISO to a CD you convert the ISO to a CD image with the CD Recording Software. There are also directions for doing this on the same Web Site above. ;) Or if you like for the Grand Price of $6.97 US you can buy a CD Disc with Ubuntu on it here in the US from the Linux Store http://tinyurl.com/4qhnlv6 That's hardly any form of expense for an OS and Software to make a commonly used Computer Software Load. It contains not only the OS but things like Open Office and all the other things needed by most people. They come included not as Optional Extras. Col

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

What does K3B lack that your getting from Nero? I'd actually gone the other way and hadn't thought of Nero since using K3B; my needs are pretty humble though and mostly in the disk to file rather than file to disk direction.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

"would a Linux user say the same" Yes. "Linux users" are normal people and would pay money for software provided it's benefits over competitive alternatives justified the price difference. For example, when Adobe tried to sell a Linux native Photoshop it flopped; the price asked for Photoshop did not justify the few things that alternative software didn't do. For me personally, I'd have dropped money for VMware Workstation if VMware delivered it for Debian 6 (Debian is not obscure enough for third parties to ignore supporting). I'd also drop money on games if they shipped with a *nix native install. Having to stop everything I'm doing and reboot to Windows is the primary reason I do far less gaming now. I have time to pop open a game if it'll leave the rest of my *nix stuff chugging away but the game developers don't seem to have any interest in my money. The difference between a "Linux User" and "Windows User" (used in the most generalized of meanings) is not if they will purchase software or not. The *nix user simply has a larger choice of already available software with which retail software can't or chooses not to compete with.

BrewmanNH
BrewmanNH

I think you're confused, I wasn't saying that there weren't items out there that don't have a comparable Windows version. I was trying to get my head around the obvious contradiction of the poster stating that there would never be software that equals Linux software and then going on to state several examples of ports that are out there. As to the ILM software, why should I care in the least what OS they're using? I don't have anything against Linux, it just isn't an OS that I'm going to use because the one I use now does everything that I need it to and I'm willing to pay to get that functionality. Would a Linux user say the same? According to this article I'd say probably not.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

Industrial Light & Magic's Offering for CG Rendering. Nix only and as far as I have seen it will never be ported to Windows as there currently isn't a Windows System at a reasonable price capable of running it in the same time frame a a Nix Base. I've seen this used with a 6K CPU Blade and it takes several days to render 30 seconds of Video the last estimate that I heard for a Windows system of compatible power was 3 weeks for the same thing. The Licensing for SUSE which as used on that Blade is Zilch the Licensing for Windows is too Scary to Contemplate and the Support Costs are about the Same. Which system would you chose if there was a version for each OS? :^0 Col

BrewmanNH
BrewmanNH

You stated that these will never be equaled in a Windows app, then you go and say that they've been ported to Windows. So, which is it? You're telling us that an app that is a Windows app won't be equaled in Windows? You're confusing the hell out of me.

eengnerd
eengnerd

Most of these already have a Windows and Mac version. Blender, the very best movie quality animation software in existence. OpenCV SDK, a toolkit for "Computer Vision" for teaching cars to "see and drive themselves". (has a Windows and Mac version). Grisbi accounting software...IMHO better than QuickBooks. Ruby, Ruby on Rails, Hobo, all used together for website design of database centric websites. Soon there will be a new scheduler for all versions of Linux in the 2.6.38 kernel that will far outperform any version of Windows that now exists and probably will ever exist! Time to start investigating! Arthur

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