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The Street shifts to Linux

By Refrag in News
Tue Aug 28, 2001 at 09:53:58 PM EST
Tags: Technology (all tags)

Linux may be the next big thing on Wall Street. Securities Industry Automation Corporation (SIAC) is moving to Linux as it's platform of choice. Their systems currently handle 4 to 5 billion trades daily. IBM and partner Javelin are moving to make Linux-based trading software available to financial institutions. SIAC will also be using hardware, software, and services from IBM for their Linux efforts. Analysts estimate the deal is worth millions of dollars, depite the Free Software being used.

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The Street shifts to Linux | 41 comments (34 topical, 7 editorial, 0 hidden)
One thing to remember (3.83 / 6) (#1)
by wiredog on Tue Aug 28, 2001 at 10:03:54 AM EST

Before you say "Cool! Now we can get jobs at banks that don't involve maintainence of 30 year old COBOL code" remember that COBOL runs perfectly happily on Linux.

If there's a choice between performance and ease of use, Linux will go for performance every time. -- Jerry Pournelle
Doesn't this strike anyone as odd? (2.16 / 6) (#4)
by spacejack on Tue Aug 28, 2001 at 12:10:45 PM EST

Wall street gets free software, hard-working open-source volunteers don't get paid. What a great moral win for Open Source!

Who said they don't get paid? (3.00 / 1) (#5)
by twodot72 on Tue Aug 28, 2001 at 12:35:08 PM EST

Nowadays, many of the major contributors have full time paying jobs writing open-source software.

Also, in this case IBM earns wads of money from associated hardware and services, which likely means IBMs Linux push will continue, which likely means more software contributions from them.

Growth for Linux should benefit all users, including the non-paid developers, no?

[ Parent ]

Ha (1.60 / 5) (#6)
by spacejack on Tue Aug 28, 2001 at 12:37:30 PM EST

1 Hard-working open source volunteers contribute code

2 IBM sells code to Wall street, makes millions

3 Open Source developers get... squat.

IBM is raping your butts people. I guess you just like it.

[ Parent ]
Huh? (3.00 / 2) (#7)
by twodot72 on Tue Aug 28, 2001 at 12:49:28 PM EST

Hard-working Red Hat employee writes Open Source software, gets salary. Hard-working Microsoft employee writes proprietary software, gets salary.

The difference is?

(and no, I'm not a software developer of either kind...)

[ Parent ]

And (2.50 / 2) (#8)
by spacejack on Tue Aug 28, 2001 at 01:01:18 PM EST

How much did Red Hat get for the deal?

Anyways, look, I'm not saying that no open source developers are getting paid. But IBM is behaving like the worst sort of middleman imaginable -- taking the finished work of others, selling it, and basically giving back whatever they feel like. They need favourable media? OK, they'll throw a few pennies your way. If they don't, well tough (any word on them opening up their patents to the OSS community yet?)

I know the GPL license permits IBM to do this. I know everyone knows this. But I still think it's idiotic. I think a lot of people are going to regret this. IBM invented the idea of the "big bad" computer company, and don't think they wouldn't take that role back in a heartbeat when they get the chance.

[ Parent ]
*sigh* (2.33 / 3) (#10)
by regeya on Tue Aug 28, 2001 at 01:19:32 PM EST

I can't even begin to describe what a moron you're making yourself look like.

The peaceful workers of Microsoft are probably pleased with your drivel, though.

Look, what do you know about IBM? Have you missed the amount of software they're sharing? That they're porting stuff to Linux? And, of course, this is stuff that could potentially be ported to other OSs...look, I won't do your research for you, but I suggest you check out IBM's website to find out more about what they're doing in the Linux world...and learn a bit about how things work in the open-source world before mouthing off about how open-source authors are getting screwed.

[ yokelpunk | kuro5hin diary ]
[ Parent ]

You just don't get it (2.25 / 4) (#14)
by spacejack on Tue Aug 28, 2001 at 02:06:00 PM EST

Maybe I should've let Lee's comment speak for me (whether or not he agrees with my position). So the stock market adopts Linux. Big whoop! Who cares? My friend bought a Windows box. A company I do work for just bought a few new Macs. So what? They're companies. They pay for the software not you.

If it were "IBM releases free Linux desktop distro for newbies, newbies like it!" maybe there would be a point to this article. Why the fuck should I care that the Wall street is getting into free software? What's the "win" here? What's the point? Why do people jump up and down about it? You think IBM is going to become all benevolent and donate work to benefit the public? All they care about are big-spending corporate customers that need specialized large-scale applications that no one else will have any use for.

IBM is going to use their brand name to own free softawre. For all intents and purposes, the rest of the community can go hang themselves for all they care.

[ Parent ]
Well... (4.00 / 3) (#16)
by slaytanic killer on Tue Aug 28, 2001 at 02:38:54 PM EST

The analysis usually used is that it is important to see if GPLed software can sustain a business. That would mark a turning point in increased public acceptance of Free Software, since it means that you don't have to give up one ideology (better economy = less poverty) for another (free software advances people).

[ Parent ]
yeah (2.00 / 2) (#18)
by spacejack on Tue Aug 28, 2001 at 03:04:53 PM EST

I just don't see any incentive to do anything besides specialized tweaks for big-spending clients.

Look at it this way; IBM is in the position to re-capture the glory days of yore, before the PC market confused the hell out of them. Back in those days a lot of the code running on mainframes was open and free -- only because it only had a few specialized uses within big corporations. i.e., it was worthless on its own and besides, IBM made its money from hardware & service. You can be sure that if Joe Public had any need for stand-alone software they would've been selling it right alongside the earliest PC software developers.

[ Parent ]
What I find amusing... (4.00 / 2) (#24)
by Xeriar on Tue Aug 28, 2001 at 05:25:06 PM EST

Is the rather interesting 'balance' we have now - if XP gets an injuction, for example, the community gets time to breath, and Microsoft may end up eating it.

In which case, Linux becomes a viable selling market simply because 99% of the comsumer market doesn't care to build their own system.

In which case, comments by people like spacejack here fall into the history books as one of the 'great ignorant quotes in history'

Of course, I could end up eating my words too, but the difference is that Microsoft is fighting the clock, Free Software isn't.

When I'm feeling blue, I start breathing again.
[ Parent ]

But... (3.00 / 2) (#25)
by stuartf on Tue Aug 28, 2001 at 05:35:56 PM EST

The analysis usually used is that it is important to see if GPLed software can sustain a business. That would mark a turning point in increased public acceptance of Free Software, since it means that you don't have to give up one ideology (better economy = less poverty) for another (free software advances people).

Take a look at the comments about IBM's strategy here, most notably this: "Merrill Lynch analyst Tom Kraemer said in a research note Tuesday that IBM's strategy is to use Linux to make server profits come not from operating systems, but from hardware, services and the "middleware" software such as databases that are the foundation for other programs". IBM are not going to, nor will they ever make a profit from open source software. They just hope it will drive their hardware and services sales. You absolutely must have an alternate revenue stream to profit from Open Source software

[ Parent ]

This thread is really funny (5.00 / 4) (#17)
by Anonymous 242 on Tue Aug 28, 2001 at 03:01:56 PM EST

The argument that a good number of GPL fanatics use to attack the BSD-style license fanatics is now being used to attack the GPL.

This is a riot.

I think that you, spacejack, are forgetting the cardinal reason behind why most people hack on software in their freetime and release their labors to the world: they like making software useful.

Free Software hackers realize that big business can and will eventually make money off of the labor of love of the peon hacker. They also don't care because, thanks to the GPL, the source code of that labor of love will always be available in its currently used version from whatever company is making the big bucks off of it.

This knowledge makes many of the GPL fanatics feel superior to the BSD-style license fanatics who don't even have that much of a guarantee. One could take a BSD-style licensed programs, such as the source code for ftp.exe, and incorporate it into a proprietary program and release absolutely nothing but the binary.

I suppose we could show this argument for the absurdity it is by looking at what happens when we apply it to something like WWII. All those nice young men and women that volunteered (the ones that got drafted don't pertain to this scenario) got shafted by the big corporations that wanted the US to get mixed up in the war so as to sell lots of tanks and airplanes.

Someone always gets shafted in the market. That's just the nature of the beast, spacejack. Your argument isn't with Free Software hackers, it is with capitalism. The programmers that brought Linux to the world are content to have released their work to the world on the terms that they wanted to. They consented. They are adults (mostly) and knew what they were getting into. No one was holding a gun to their head, they spent their time doing stuff that they liked doing, hacking, and the end result just happened to also benefit other people.

In the end, like I mentioned in an editorial comment, who cares?


Lee Malatesta

[ Parent ]

The difference (2.00 / 1) (#20)
by spacejack on Tue Aug 28, 2001 at 03:16:15 PM EST

IMHO, is that BSD developers know exactly what they're doing.

[ Parent ]
Yeah, right. (4.33 / 3) (#22)
by Anonymous 242 on Tue Aug 28, 2001 at 03:29:39 PM EST

If that is indeed a true difference it is only because of the higher prevalence of the GPL. If high profile projects carried a BSD-style license there would be no difference.

I would contend that most programmers understand most of the GPL. Point out widespread disapointment and resentment among programmers that have used the GPL in projects like the Wall Street/IBM deal over businesses making money. Until you can show me such discontent I'll continue to believe that your just blowing smoke at best and holding a pissed off double standard at worst.

Have a day,


[ Parent ]

getting shafted (3.50 / 2) (#21)
by spacejack on Tue Aug 28, 2001 at 03:28:16 PM EST

Someone always gets shafted in the market. That's just the nature of the beast, spacejack. Your argument isn't with Free Software hackers, it is with capitalism.

IMHO, copyright (the ability to restrict distribution and resale of your work) is an individual or small company's only defense against getting shafted by giants like IBM.

Sure, I can get shafted without GPLing my code. I can sell it to a shitty publisher who drops the ball in marketing. I can get paid peanuts to write software for a company that pulls in millions off my work. But I do have the freedom to look at the situation and take my software elsewhere if I so desire.

And in case this has gotten lost in this thread, I'm not saying that GPL is bad in all cases, hell I've released and contributed to GPL projects that I thought suited the license. But the attitude that "any win for GPL is a good win"... this I find this disturbing and short-sighted.

[ Parent ]
Bah (3.50 / 2) (#26)
by regeya on Tue Aug 28, 2001 at 06:30:17 PM EST

What I found interesting is that an institution that relies on solid performance is going with Linux. Speaks volumes about that unreliable, hackish OS that BSDers love to disparage.

In short, the only way you could have surprised me more is to run a story titled "Artificial Heart Runs on Linux."

[ yokelpunk | kuro5hin diary ]
[ Parent ]

sure (4.00 / 1) (#27)
by spacejack on Tue Aug 28, 2001 at 06:39:32 PM EST

That wasn't my angle in this thread though. If you have an interest in making a profit as a middleman as opposed to writing software, then this is a big win for you.

[ Parent ]
Apparently, you do. (5.00 / 5) (#28)
by regeya on Tue Aug 28, 2001 at 06:40:37 PM EST

Maybe I should've let Lee's comment speak for me (whether or not he agrees with my position). So the stock market adopts Linux. Big whoop! Who cares? My friend bought a Windows box. A company I do work for just bought a few new Macs. So what? They're companies. They pay for the software not you.

Apparently, you're the one who cares, because you're shouting from the rooftops that open-source authors are getting shafted from IBM. Or have you forgotten the original argument already?

The reason I care is that you don't seem to "get" the possible reasoning behind open-sourcing projects, and why it's (usually) not a big deal that companies like IBM profit from it.

Hell, I can honestly say I've never contributed to any open-source project of note, code-wise. Every time you read one of my comments (I don't know how OSDN's advertising system works) there's the possiblity that people at OSDN and rusty/Inoshiro make money off that page. Does that piss me off? No. Hell, it helps keep the 'site here, I'm enjoying this right now, it's okay.

I have themes and background on themes.org. Again, that's an OSDN partner, and someone's making money off of advertising, and I'm making squat off of the themes I've put together. Do I care? No. Why not? Because, damn it, sometimes I borrow from copyrighted material. If I wanted to try to profit from that work, I'd have to set up a business, get the copyrighted material I've used cleared, etc. I don't care to do that, so I share my stuff with the world anyway.

Take a look at Penguin Command, a cute little Open-Sourced clone of Missile Command. See that opening screen? That's my work. Did I charge the author? No. Did I care? No. When I grabbed a copy of Mandrake 8 at my local Staples, I saw that the game was part of the distribution (and I can only assume is part of other distributions. Do I care that I'm not getting a (tiny) cut? No. Why the hell not? Well, it wasn't code; it was art! Lots easier than coding. :-) Plus, dealing with such formalities is a pain, man. I'd rather give away such a thing, especially since it's free for the download anyway. :-D

So if anyone's bitter, they weren't aware of what they were getting into. Okay? Sounds like you weren't. So sad for you. Now move on, produce your closed-source software, and live a happy life, and realize that not everyone feels screwed by IBM making a profit off of distributing open-sourced software.

[ yokelpunk | kuro5hin diary ]
[ Parent ]

That was beautiful. I think I'm gonna cry. (4.00 / 2) (#33)
by Anonymous 242 on Tue Aug 28, 2001 at 09:40:31 PM EST

I don't usually rate up comments that agree with mine in a discussion in which a dispute is taking place as a matter of form, but that was beautiful, regeya, just beautiful. It almost made me weep.

Way to put the smackdown down on spacejack!

Have a day,


[ Parent ]

Funny (4.00 / 2) (#36)
by spacejack on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 12:09:05 PM EST

I ignored it because he started inventing theories about my experiences with the GPL.. so, I thought he ran out of argument.

Oh well, in retrospect it was a kind of silly thread. I think I should've just dropped an innocuous remark more like delmoi did.

Anyhow, if you can't argue an unwinnable argument once in a while, what good is a weblog? :)

[ Parent ]
Inventing theories? (4.00 / 1) (#41)
by regeya on Mon Sep 03, 2001 at 02:04:08 AM EST

Who was inventing theories about your experiences?

I only took exception to your assumption that, once they knew the error of their ways, that people releasing their software under the GPL would just...um...what the hell was it you wanted, anyway? For them to stop using free licenses?

[ yokelpunk | kuro5hin diary ]
[ Parent ]

No different from economic model of closed source (4.00 / 2) (#19)
by magney on Tue Aug 28, 2001 at 03:09:13 PM EST

From a financial perspective, closed source development works exactly the same way as this - the programmers get a modest salary and the company makes out like a bandit.

This thing IBM's doing, though, has a fundamental difference - the code IBM's paying for goes into the Open Source community instead of staying locked behind IBM's doors.

So the people who are writing the code get paid some, IBM gets paid a lot, and the resulting code isn't sealed behind a closed source license. This may not be the best of all possible worlds, but it's a great improvement over closed source development.

Do I look like I speak for my employer?
[ Parent ]

Rape? (3.33 / 3) (#12)
by FriedLinguini on Tue Aug 28, 2001 at 01:39:21 PM EST

It's an odd rape where the victim consents beforehand and the perpetrator does nothing to violate the letter or spirit of that consent. If you're an open source developer looking to get paid when somebody makes use of your free product, you need to do a little rethinking. I don't think most open source authors are particularly upset that the code they wrote and decided to share with the world is actually getting used for something.

[ Parent ]
ok (4.00 / 1) (#15)
by spacejack on Tue Aug 28, 2001 at 02:32:00 PM EST

But what's the intent of a OSS developer? To benefit other developers or people with limited funds, or to benefit IBM and Wall street?

[ Parent ]
I wouldn't try to speak for all of them... (4.00 / 1) (#29)
by FriedLinguini on Tue Aug 28, 2001 at 06:56:02 PM EST

...but I imagine that they did want to make the code available to anyone and everyone, subject to whatever license restrictions they dictate. I don't know of many popular licenses that have a "no making lots of money" clause. If their purpose was to restrict release of their code to certain classes of users and developers, they should have used a license that said so. Why should it upset anyone that IBM makes money from this deal? They were obviously selling something in addition to open source code, or else the SIAC could have done all of this themselves and kept the money. IBM is contributing code to the open source community as well. I just don't see what injustice you see here. Nobody got screwed out of something they were promised; no licenses got broken; the SIAC wins, IBM wins, and the open source community wins. Isn't that how it's supposed to work?

[ Parent ]
You completely miss the point. (5.00 / 2) (#37)
by UncleMikey on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 12:49:42 PM EST

If those volunteers wanted to get paid for writing the code they write, they'd have jobs as programmers. Actually, many of them DO. Some of them even get paid to write Free Software, as strange as that might sound to someone who doesn't actually understand the GPL and its cousins.

The GPL is not about denying companies commercial use of Free Software; it's about denying companies the right to bottle up improvements to Free Software.

[ Uncle Mikey | Radio Free Tomorrow ]
[ Parent ]
Another way to look at this... (4.00 / 1) (#39)
by richieb on Sat Sep 01, 2001 at 12:24:33 PM EST

SIAC starts using Linux computers for real production work. SIAC will need some programmers/support people who know Linux. Linux hackers who just fiddled for fun now can get jobs and continue fiddling with the stuff they like.

What's wrong with that?

The more companies use Linux the more Linux jobs will be created...

It is a good day to code.
[ Parent ]

It strikes me as good (4.33 / 3) (#23)
by jesterzog on Tue Aug 28, 2001 at 05:06:14 PM EST

because it means exposure. If businesses like what they're getting, they'll fund the development of it further.

You'd think people actually read and understand the licence before they slap it on code they release, and they'd have to be quire stupid if they didn't and usually deserve what they get for blindly following the hype, IMHO.

So what if some developers don't get paid? Open source developers licenced their programs so they could be used in exactly this way. If you want big companies to donate to you when they use your software, then put it in the licence!

But do you really think that IBM is selling open source software to Wall Street? Wall street could get that for free. IBM is selling a working system, a service, a guarantee that it'll do the job, and a committment to fix it if and when it doesn't. That's what Wall Street is buying.

jesterzog Fight the light

[ Parent ]
hardware support (none / 0) (#40)
by anonymous cowerd on Sun Sep 02, 2001 at 03:40:26 PM EST

One of the big threats to free software is that hardware manufacturers can close their specs and there's not much free software writers can do about it; if they live in the U.S.A. they can be arrested under DMCA for even attempting to reverse engineer them. So imagine some really huge software corporation which has it in for open-source developers - can't think of any particular names off-hand, but I'm sure some of the more technical types in the readership can fill in the gap - decides to pressure a few big hardware vendors into locking away their new interfaces behind non-disclosure agreements and like that. Low, sneaky, unethical, sure, but these business types are like that. With no one on our side besides the usual lineup of hippie volunteer hackers, looks like the free software camp's gonna lose.

Now throw in IBM, who probably own more computer patents than the whole rest of the industry put together. Imagine IBM has a couple billion dollars worth of contracts using Linux, and some hardware vendors decide to hold out on the Linux developers. "You don't wanna let us service our customers on your hardware, hey? Fine," sez IBM, "we own the patents to, oh let's say, your disc drive interface. You guys don't let us use your new I/O spec, and we in turn will refuse to cross-license the disc drive interface. 'Kay?"

The same goes for software patents. Even if no money changes hands it might still come in handy to have a heavyweight corporate user in Linux's corner.

Yours WDK - WKiernan@concentric.net

The one thing that really disturbs me about America is that people don't like to read. - Keith Richards
[ Parent ]

I find this mildly ironic (4.00 / 2) (#30)
by delmoi on Tue Aug 28, 2001 at 07:21:48 PM EST

Software written by Hippy Communists now powering the heart of the Capitalist system.
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
This is useful in other ways (4.00 / 3) (#34)
by RangerBob on Tue Aug 28, 2001 at 09:40:57 PM EST

I keep sending articles like this around to my tech-impaired managers at work to counter claims that no one except geeks are using Linux. Then again, they're getting their info from MCSE types who have their own Budda-Bill altars. Hopefully, articles like this are making it harder to deny the fact that quite a few companies are using it in mission critical operations.

This will be using the FIX protocol. (5.00 / 1) (#35)
by shippo on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 05:01:11 AM EST

This software will be using the FIX (Financial Infomation Exchange) protocol.

I've worked with a number of protocols over the years, and FIX is the most vaguely defined one I've ever come across. Each implementor has interpreted the specification in different ways, with often disasterous results.

Generally if two systems talk the same protocol they can be connected to each other without much effort. With FIX, however, it can take months of testing before the two systems can communicate, and even then there are limitations on the type of transactions that can be performed. It is made worse by many sites insisting that their counterparties adhere to their implementation of the protocol.

My current job entails certifying such systems, and I hate it. I feel like walking out of the building at the end of the month.

Try H.323 some time... (5.00 / 1) (#38)
by UncleMikey on Wed Aug 29, 2001 at 12:57:46 PM EST

...or, for that matter, X.400 or X.500. Hundreds of pages of verbiage, hundreds of frobs and knobs and options. Result: two implementations can be 100% compliant and still not talk to one another reliably.

There are reasons why X.400 died and SMTP still reigns supreme....
[ Uncle Mikey | Radio Free Tomorrow ]
[ Parent ]

The Street shifts to Linux | 41 comments (34 topical, 7 editorial, 0 hidden)
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