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[P]
New "Halloween Memo" leaked from Microsoft

By Paul Johnson in Op-Ed
Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 11:15:53 PM EST
Tags: News (all tags)
News

Eric Raymond (ESR) has published another leaked Microsoft memo, dubbed Halloween VII. It summarises the results from some market research into how Open Source Software (OSS) is perceived by people in the IT industry.

For those who don't know, the first two Halloween documents were internal memos leaked from within Microsoft. In them Microsoft talked candidly about "decommoditizing" standard protocols as a method for locking competition out of the market.

ESR has posted these memos with interlined comments and his conclusions and recommendations. In addition to pointing readers at these I'd like to add a few of my own.


The main finding of Halloween VII is that OSS now has strong positive brand awareness across the IT industry. The strongest reason given for preferring OSS was "low total cost of ownership", with "an alternative to Microsoft" coming second.

ESR says that "Abstract arguments about intellectual property rights, [...] have served Microsoft just as poorly as they have served us." Whilst I agree that purely abstract arguments about the evils of "software hoarding" will be seen as irrelevant by most people, I believe that there is an exploitable strength in the idea of freedom for the end user, and hence in Richard Stallman's original ideal of Free Software.

Microsoft Licensing 6 moves from a license purchase metaphor to a license rental metaphor. The IT industry has just gone through a massive exercise of deciding whether to accept this change or stick with conventional license purchase. This has made IT people right up to the boardroom very aware of the power that Microsoft now has over them. Tellingly the "alternative to Microsoft" reason for liking OSS scored second only to "low TCO".

Therefore a key soundbite for OSS is "Freedom to run your business the way you want to run it, not the way your supplier wants to run it". This applies to all closed source software, not just Microsoft. A more detailed message should expand on:

  • The freedom to select your own support contract in an open market rather than being constrained to what the supplier (or their agents) will offer, and also the freedom to change that support without having to change software.
  • Freedom to carry on using obsolete versions if you want to, rather than upgrading merely because the supplier wants you to.
  • Freedom to install software wherever you want without having to pay extra. This doesn't just save money directly, it also avoids the opportunity cost of those who could benefit from the software but can't find space in their budget. Avoid arguing that there is no need to monitor installations to ensure license compliance: IT departments want to keep control of installation because they get landed with the support headaches when something breaks. But you might be able to suggest a lighter regime with less overhead for approvals.
  • Freedom from the risk of disruptive audits that assume you are guilty until proven innocent. This only really works if an institution is considering dropping proprietary software altogether. However Microsoft has acquired a bad reputation in this area, creating Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt about the use of Microsoft software in particular.

Another important finding is that OSS awareness and approval ratings are high at all levels of the industry, much higher than actual installation rates. This suggests that OSS proponents will find themselves pushing at open doors. The days of "We use Windows here, so shut up" are over. You can also point out that a Microsoft poll found an 86% approval rating for Linux.

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Poll
Best argument for OSS?
o 86% approval of Linux 2%
o More secure 1%
o More reliable 9%
o Lower TCO 7%
o Freedom to run your own business 39%
o Software should be free 14%
o So what? Advocacy is irrelevant 15%
o Inoshiro uses it 9%

Votes: 177
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Halloween VII
o Free Software
o disruptive audits
o Microsoft poll
o Also by Paul Johnson


Display: Sort:
New "Halloween Memo" leaked from Microsoft | 104 comments (83 topical, 21 editorial, 0 hidden)
Can I be the first to say.... (2.61 / 13) (#3)
by infesticon on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 06:17:55 AM EST

So what?

Microsoft is scared of Linux. Who cares? Linux is dead on the desktop anyway.

And might I add that the actual article and the survey results are pretty uninteresting, repetitive and vague...can anyone tell the difference between the following nations views about open source:


The French are looking for an alternative to Microsoft, have high familiarity and favorability of OSS and Linux, and a strong belief that Linux has a lower TCO than proprietary software. This geography, while not yet ready to broadly deploy Linux with their businesses, is very interested in OSS and its potential. The vast majority of this audience had not heard anything about Shared Source, but was more positive than negative towards the idea. They do not feel, however, that Shared Source will provide better benefits than OSS.

The Germans are not as familiar with OSS and Linux. However those that are aware have very high favorability of both OSS and Linux, and are very interested in broadly deploying Linux. In addition, a large majority believe that Linux offers a lower TCO. This audience had heard little about Shared Source, and was mostly neutral to the idea. However, after hearing about Shared Source, the majority felt that it could provide `about the same' or `better' benefits as OSS.

The Japanese are very familiar and favorably predisposed towards OSS and Linux. This geography is interested in broadly deploying Linux and does believe that it offers a lower TCO than proprietary software. While many Japanese respondents have heard something about Shared Source, this audience was mostly neutral on their feelings towards shared source and most felt it would provide `about the same' or `worse' benefits as OSS.


---
There is no such word as 'impossible' in my dictionary. In fact, everything between herring and marmalade seems to be missing.

Sorry, but (2.50 / 6) (#10)
by kholmes on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 07:13:25 AM EST

"Linux is dead on the desktop anyway."

Are you insecure or in angst about something?

If you treat people as most people treat things and treat things as most people treat people, you might be a Randian.
[ Parent ]

Linux is dead. Long live Linux (3.42 / 7) (#21)
by Paul Johnson on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 08:13:41 AM EST

Linux is dead on the desktop anyway.

Linux on the desktop is in the same moribund state as Linux on servers was in 1999: a fraction of a percent market share, and lots of commentators saying its not ready for prime time.

survey results are pretty uninteresting, repetitive and vague

They are trying to sum up a complicated situation in a form that enables action to be taken. Even your quote (the most complicated and unreadable bit of the entire document) provides useful information to advocates in those countries.

Microsoft paid for this survey to find out what advertising messages would sell its software the best, and it got useful information from it. Open source advocates can also take useful information. My article is not an OSS advocacy piece, it is information and opinion aimed at those in a position to advocate OSS within their organisations: what messages to push and where to push them.

Paul.
You are lost in a twisty maze of little standards, all different.
[ Parent ]

Linux on the Desktop (5.00 / 2) (#55)
by Matrix on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 02:31:04 PM EST

The interesting thing is that everyone and their kid brother goes on at length about how Linux is dead on the desktop, how it can never compete with Windows for anything...

Yet just last week, I was visiting two prospective employers. During a tour, I noticed something interesting. 90% of the engineers, although they were running Windows, were doing all their work using KDE or Solaris programs over a remote X connection. A sizable percentage were even using it full-screen, and running everything there. Not only that, but a couple of the managers were using KDE full-screen.

Its amazing how things creep up on you, isn't it?


Matrix
"...Pulling together is the aim of despotism and tyranny. Free men pull in all kinds of directions. It's the only way to make progress."
- Lord Vetinari, pg 312 of the Truth, a Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett
[ Parent ]

Yesterday i would have agreed. (4.00 / 1) (#81)
by Ranieri on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 08:54:23 AM EST

Linux is dead on the desktop anyway.

Yesterday I would have more or less agree with this statement, but after hotplugging a new USB printer into a mandrake system and printing to it from openoffice without any extra configuration, I think the Linux desktop side is definately not lost.
--
Taste cold steel, feeble cannon restraint rope!
[ Parent ]

What's that? A big fucking tangent! (4.26 / 26) (#4)
by gazbo on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 06:18:58 AM EST

The Halloween memo was originally of importance because it described, in writing, plans to use unpleasant tactics to lock people to Microsoft. This story (probably in no small part thanks to ESR) is about how OSS is better than Microsoft and how the OSS community can use some of the points in the memo as a marketing initiative.

If you read the memo (skip past ESR's ramblings and go for the actual document) and you'll find it's a simple report on market research etc. It is of little significance unlike the original Halloween document on whose reputation this is being hyped. Now fine, I can understand why people in the OSS community may be interested in this memo as it has interesting statistics. However, both ESR and the story's author have tried to make it sound more impressive than it is. In the story's case, the line:

For those who don't know, the first two Halloween documents were internal memos leaked from within Microsoft. In them Microsoft talked candidly about "decomoditizing" standard protocols as a method for locking competition out of the market.
Here we see the author immediately placing it in the context of unethical business practices. It is a fucking survey!

And now, for no purpose other than my own amusement, some random and pointless ESR bashing. For great justice I shall use his own inline comments style. This is from the Halloween FAQ

Some have accused me of hating success, of envying Bill Gates, even of "software socialism." Well, a net-worth of fifty-eight billion dollars doesn't equal success in my terms
Well, Eric, it seems like you're a fucking hard man to please.
, not when it was bought with crappy engineering and unethical business practices. I'd rather be me, thank you.
Eric, you are truly unique. In that I cannot think of anyone else in the world who would at any time think "Gee, I'd really rather be ESR" for any reason.

End attack.

-----
Topless, revealing, nude pics and vids of Zora Suleman! Upskirt and down blouse! Cleavage!
Hardcore ZORA SULEMAN pics!

And your point is? (3.00 / 2) (#25)
by Paul Johnson on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 09:17:55 AM EST

you'll find it's a simple report on market research etc

Yes, thats what I said in my introduction. I agree that its not the smoking gun that Halloween I was, but it is still valuable intelligence about what Microsoft is planning.

Here we see the author immediately placing it in the context of unethical business practices. It is a fucking survey!

I mentioned the other Halloween documents to describe the context that this new document already exists in. I didn't put it there.

Paul.
You are lost in a twisty maze of little standards, all different.
[ Parent ]

The article is pretty clear (3.00 / 2) (#34)
by dachshund on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 12:04:32 PM EST

If you read the memo (skip past ESR's ramblings and go for the actual document) and you'll find it's a simple report on market research etc.

The first sentence of the article pretty much sums that up:

Eric Raymond (ESR) has published another leaked Microsoft memo, dubbed Halloween VII. It summarises the results from some market research into how Open Source Software (OSS) is perceived by people in the IT industry.
If you can read through that and still expect something different, I suggest that the problem lies with you and not with the article.

[ Parent ]
See No Evil (5.00 / 1) (#48)
by Sloppy on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 01:21:38 PM EST

The original Halloween documents exposed pure evil, and that's what made them so interesting and noteworthy.

None of that seems to be happening here, or at least not explicitly. The implication is that MS wants to compete on TCO by lowering their product's TCO.

An interesting angle (which others have mentioned) is that my inference is wrong, and MS will compete on TCO by raising their opponents' TCO through litigation (e.g. patent suits). That would be more in line with the original Halloween documents. But there's nothing explicit in this stuff that suggests that, and I don't think ESR brought it up in his commentary.
"RSA, 2048, seeks sexy young entropic lover, for several clock cycles of prime passion..."
[ Parent ]

Write in vote: (3.25 / 4) (#7)
by kb5 on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 06:50:31 AM EST

Advocacy in the wrong forum is irrelevant.

Or, as the Borg say... (none / 0) (#44)
by jd on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 01:06:23 PM EST

Advocacy is Irrelevent.

Your code will be disassembilated.

(Early edition Borgs had not yet acquired a dictionary.)

[ Parent ]

Write in: (4.00 / 9) (#8)
by barnasan on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 07:02:15 AM EST

The best about open source is....

        ...that the source is open.

(duh)


I assume . . . (none / 0) (#53)
by hardburn on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 02:27:49 PM EST

. . . that is what the "software should be free" choice means.


----
while($story = K5::Story->new()) { $story->vote(-1) if($story->section() == $POLITICS); }


[ Parent ]
+1 Just can't wait (2.00 / 5) (#13)
by starsky on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 07:40:06 AM EST

for the OSS / MS flame war... :)

Ever noticed (3.00 / 18) (#16)
by Rogerborg on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 07:46:47 AM EST

How some proponents of open source - which relies on copyright as an essential  mechanism to enforce itself - are so comfortable with ignoring copyright when disseminating content produced by Big Business?

It becomes even more illegal ironic when opensource.org not only ignores Microsoft's copyright (perhaps even redacting a © symbol, but it's irrelevant whether it was every there), but then slaps its own © on the bottom of it.  I wonder how they'd report on Microsoft taking a stack of GPL code and switching the copyrights?  Actually, I don't wonder at all, I know exactly how they'd react.

I mention this not because I'm pro-Microsoft / anti-open source but because I'm exactly the opposite and it leaves a bad taste in my mouth when this kind of double standard is observed.

"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs

Fair Use (3.71 / 7) (#20)
by Paul Johnson on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 08:05:58 AM EST

I can't cite exact case law, but I believe ESR has looked at this. From the related FAQ:

[...] my defense against a copyright-violation suit by Microsoft would have to make rather creative use of the exemptions in copyright case law relating to journalism, satire and commentary.

So it sounds like ESR is sitting somewhere in the grey boundary near the edge of Fair Use.

I gather that its certainly possible for investigative journalists to publish private memos relating to matters of public interest. ISTR that Watergate was an important test case. Since Microsoft has been found guilty of monopolistic behaviour, information about how it intends to perpetuate its monopoly is certainly of public interest. I think ESR is in the right here.

Paul.
You are lost in a twisty maze of little standards, all different.
[ Parent ]

Fair point (4.50 / 2) (#24)
by Rogerborg on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 08:49:53 AM EST

I know it's not a black and white question.  But what about slapping on that big old explicit "Copyright © 2002 by the Open Source Initiative", with only an implicit attributation to Microsoft?

While I believe opensource.org will get away with this, I'd far rather that they were explicit that this memo was copyright of Microsoft and was reproduced under fair use doctrine.  They may have thought deeply about the rights and wrongs of it, but it doesn't show on the page.  A blase approach to copyright ("{Well. I guess I qualify as a person who "can clearly gain value". Nice to know I'm legally in the clear!}") is the last kind of attitude I want associated with open source.

"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs
[ Parent ]

FWIW, ... (2.50 / 2) (#31)
by aziegler on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 10:37:10 AM EST

OSI is correct to put their copyright on the composite work, but it implies no copyright on the individual pieces of the composite.

-austin

[ Parent ]

Watch the magic... (none / 0) (#40)
by Rogerborg on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 12:44:59 PM EST

OSI is correct to put their copyright on the composite work, but it implies no copyright on the individual pieces of the composite.

-austin

% perl -e "print scalar(reverse('nitsua')) . '@' . reverse(scalar(reverse('ca')), '.', scalar(reverse('halostatue')))"

Really?  Watch the magic unfold.  Note that a derivate work can remove as well as add.

© 2002 Rogerborg.  Licensed under The Open Software License
v. 1.0

"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs
[ Parent ]

FWIW, ... (none / 0) (#41)
by Rogerborg on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 12:46:14 PM EST

OSI is correct to put their copyright on the composite work, but it implies no copyright on the individual pieces of the composite.

-austin

% perl -e "print scalar(reverse('nitsua')) . '@' . reverse(scalar(reverse('ca')), '.', scalar(reverse('halostatue')))"

© 2002 Rogerborg.  Licensed under The Open Software License v. 1.0

"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs
[ Parent ]

Get my point? (4.00 / 2) (#42)
by Rogerborg on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 12:50:29 PM EST

What was yours has - so far as a reader of the 2nd derivative work is concerned - has now become mine, using the wonders of The Open Software License and, rather neatly, your own argument.  If I don't have to explicitely attribute your copyright on each derivative work, I can rapidly redact it, all the while following the letter - but not the spirit - of both fair use and the OSL.

"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs
[ Parent ]

Actually... (none / 0) (#87)
by aziegler on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 01:27:27 PM EST

Your example doesn't deal with what I said at all; further, your copyright claim on the composite doesn't change the reality that I still own the copyright on my original comment, and my copyright stands even though you have the copyright on the composite comment which includes mine. You haven't obtained my copyright on my work at all. (And that's why I've marked your post on this down.)

A composite/collective work (I'm using the wrong legal term here; I can't think of the proper one offhand) is a copyright on the creativity inherent in the composite work. It doesn't change the copyright on the collected works at all.

Look at SF anthologies, for a good example. The copyright on the works collected is unchanged, but the anthology itself has a copyright, too, covering the creative work in collecting the items in the anthology.

Should OSI's webpage state that the document is copyrighted by Microsoft? Probably. However, it's still appropriate for the overall page to say that it's copyrighted by OSI. (Look at the kuro5hin pages on copyright.)

-austin

[ Parent ]

you confuse orthogonal concepts (4.25 / 8) (#23)
by nex on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 08:32:51 AM EST

> (perhaps even redacting a © symbol, but it's irrelevant whether it was every there)
what you are implying here is that (a) it is perfectly normal to put a copyright notice with a © sign on internal memos and (b) that you are required to add one yourself to a source you quite if it doesn't contain one. while (a) is just not true, (b) is ridiculous. the article just quoted another text and clearly stated its source and where emphasis was added by the editor. the whole page is still something several opensource.org editors, web designers and technicians made, so they have the copyright.

this has absolutely nothing to do with "switching the copyrights" or "double standards". and it has even less to do with GPL code, because every microsoft developer has the right to take GPL code, alter it, and attach his own copyright notice to the derivative work. the GPL just states that he also has to preserve the original copyright notice and that the code must remain open source, among other things.

[ Parent ]

erratum (3.33 / 3) (#29)
by nex on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 10:00:13 AM EST

> ... to add one yourself to a source you quite if it doesn't contain ...

oh, and i just noticed that you have to decide if you either want to quote or to cite something. quite isn't quite right.

[ Parent ]

Yerrrs (none / 0) (#45)
by Rogerborg on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 01:06:56 PM EST

If you like, although that's quite a strawman you've built up there.

(a) "Perhaps" != "perfectly normal", but that said, my employer appends an © to everything that I send through their email system.  YMMV.

(b) OK, I was unclear, but that's not necessarily what I mean.  That's one of the options, but my objection is to opensource.org not making any explicit attribution of copyright to the parts created by Microsoft and then licensing the whole lot under the OSL.  See this thread for why that's shoddy.

[implicit (c)] Careful, you changed "switching" a copyright notice after "taking a stack of GPL code " to "attach[ing]" a notice to a "derivative work", which isn't the same thing.  Your example is indeed closer to what's happened here, but please point out that my example is flawed, don't twist it to something that it isn't.

"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs
[ Parent ]

Fundamental misunderstanding (2.75 / 4) (#26)
by marx on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 09:20:29 AM EST

open source - which relies on copyright as an essential mechanism to enforce itself
You've totally misunderstood the point of open source. Open source was born out of a world where ownership of intellectual property did not exist. Then some idiots came along and started claiming ownership to software and enforcing restrictions on its distribution and use. Fine, people said. If you attack us with silly laws, then we will turn them back onto you.

People don't care if you distribute binary-only versions of their open source software. However, if you distribute binary-only versions of their software, and at the same time claim legal ownership of that software, then expect to have the law turned back on yourself.

Open source existed well before copyright for software came to life, and it will exist after its death. All the open source community does is use it as a weapon against itself.

Join me in the War on Torture: help eradicate torture from the world by holding torturers accountable.
[ Parent ]

I don't think he misunderstands at all (4.25 / 4) (#28)
by fluffy grue on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 09:54:13 AM EST

You're confusing "purpose" and "mechanism." The purpose is an absence of copyright, but the mechanism is itself a form of copyright.
--
"Is a sentence fragment" is a sentence fragment.
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Then it makes no sense (3.50 / 4) (#30)
by marx on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 10:09:04 AM EST

Of course there's a difference. However, if you look at the whole original statement, then it appears he's claiming the open source community has copyright both as a purpose and a mechanism.

If he understands that the open source community is against copyright, then why would they not be "comfortable with ignoring copyright when disseminating content produced by Big Business"?

Join me in the War on Torture: help eradicate torture from the world by holding torturers accountable.
[ Parent ]

Uh, as fluffy grue said (4.00 / 1) (#43)
by Rogerborg on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 12:57:40 PM EST

Please don't read between the lines.  I understand perfectly well - and I actually said - that copyright is the mechanism used to keep open source open.  In an ideal world, it wouldn't be needed (and people would, like, just respect the vibes), but I gauge our progess towards an ideal world by counting the number of laywers.  On that measure, we're getting further away from there every day.

If you don't grokk why it's a good idea in practice for open source proponents today (not, like, back in the trippy 60's, man) to respect other people's copyright, then I doubt that we've got much common ground for debate.

"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs
[ Parent ]

Fundamentalism (none / 0) (#49)
by marx on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 01:53:09 PM EST

Please don't read between the lines

If you don't grokk why it's a good idea in practice for open source proponents today [...] to respect other people's copyright

If what I "read between the lines" was actually exactly what you meant, why was that bad?

If you take that fundamentalist stance, then you're right, no one will want to argue much with you. The problem with that stance is that most people in the open source community do not share it with you. Just take Napster or Gnutella as a very "in practice" example.

Join me in the War on Torture: help eradicate torture from the world by holding torturers accountable.
[ Parent ]

Huh... (none / 0) (#70)
by delmoi on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 09:56:20 PM EST

How some proponents of open source - which relies on copyright as an essential mechanism to enforce itself - are so comfortable with ignoring copyright when disseminating content produced by Big Business?

That's like saying that the DEA needs to have drugs coming into the US to survive. Its true, but that doesn't mean people at the DEA are going to be pro-drug.

In any event, copyright is not a 100% thing. There's this thing called 'fair use' and one of the markers of fair use is to do something to inform the public or 'in the public good' or the like.
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
pro-drug? (none / 0) (#73)
by 5pectre on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 11:21:01 PM EST

Its true, but that doesn't mean people at the DEA are going to be pro-drug.

I would have thought that they would be pro-drug. Considering that they wouldn't exist if there weren't any drugs to catch :)

"Let us kill the English, their concept of individual rights might undermine the power of our beloved tyrants!!" - Lisa Simpson [ -1.50 / -7.74]

[ Parent ]

-1 dump it (2.16 / 6) (#27)
by dvchaos on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 09:35:50 AM EST

this is obviously yet more evil FUD campaigning (Fud, fear uncertainty and doubt) so please don't lower k5 to that level. Theirs a time and a place for everything. k5 is not it.

--
RAR.to - anonymous proxy server!
Hah! (3.83 / 6) (#32)
by MoxFulder on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 11:35:38 AM EST

Well I use Linux on the desktop. And I'm typing this in a new computer lab in the physics department at Cornell University. Yesterday they just installed about 50 brand spanking new Linux white boxes, gorgeous little small form factor boxes with 21" monitors running Debian.

Around me, I see that people are browsing the web, reading email, printing things, using Octave (a free Matlab clone), and typing something in Abiword. Linux sure isn't dead on the desktop in here! Oh yeah, and a fellow physics major is gonna bring a projector in here so we can watch DVDs on the big projector screen in the room...


"If good things lasted forever, would we realize how special they are?"
--Calvin and Hobbes


To Whom is this of Benefit? (4.00 / 6) (#33)
by gauntlet on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 11:49:47 AM EST

I am a computer professional, like most of us. I run a Linux server next to my Windows box at home, and a Linux workstation next to my Windows box at work. I appreciate Linux for what it allows me to do. It gives me access to an operating system with a much more rich set of tools with which I can do what I like.

But I am not a Linux advocate. This survey shows that TCO is an effective argument in favour of Linux and OSS, but I don't know whether or not it's a valid one.

I have nothing to gain from saying that Linux is an effective replacement for Microsoft products. I do not hold Microsoft as an evil to be defeated like some dragon on a hoard, nor do I own shares in a company that provides linux support services.

So I'm wondering, why do any of us care? Why is it not a simple question of using OSS to enable us to make Linux do what we want it to do? Why do people portray it as a fight between good and evil? And if it is a battle between good and evil, and we win, what have we accomplished?

Into Canadian Politics?

We won! (4.00 / 2) (#36)
by bithir on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 12:17:43 PM EST

We have already won and we can never win. :-)
So I'm wondering, why do any of us care?
Probably because not everyone of us is so luckily entitled to have their preferred OS an option. They might just own one machine at home and that is used by the SO/kids/other relatives, so it can't run the favorite OS. Offcourse multibooting can solve this, but that would involve turning the machine on and off, a hassle.
Why is it not a simple question of using OSS to enable us to make Linux do what we want it to do?
It is! :) That is why we won. If Microsoft forces the "sales" of linux down to 0.0000000001 %, we still won. I will have my linux doing what I like to do with my linux. No one can never take that away from me, except by blowing up the whole world, which would take away Microsoft too I belive.
Why do people portray it as a fight between good and evil?
Probably because we are frustrated by any monopoly. Take any country where the telco have been/is stateowned? Who is the baddie? Telco! Anything that forces us into one choice is considered evil. We just love cheering on the small guys, even when the small guys might be multimillion multinational Telco's offering a decent choice.
And if it is a battle between good and evil, and we win, what have we accomplished?
We can't win, if winning means the elimination of the opponent. If the opponent is eliminated, we are left into square one, where linux would be forced upon us, the little guy (BSD?) would be the hero and the good vs evil would start again.

/Peter, wondering why this discussion arrived now, not 02.00 AM Saturday morning over a few beers.
Rot13 for email.
[ Parent ]

Almost there... (none / 0) (#65)
by Lord Snott on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 08:40:32 PM EST


Dude, I mostly agree with you, mostly.

But I think you've argued yourself in a circle.
Why do people portray it as a fight between good and evil?

Probably because we are frustrated by any monopoly.

How can Linux zealots claim MS has a monopoly if they aren't using Windows themselves? Petrol stations generally use proprietry systems, developed just for them. Game consoles (excluding the Xbox, of course) have proprietry OS's to take advantagae of their proprietry hardware (I know NetBSD and Linux are ported everywhere, but you get my point).

BSD zealots don't whinge about MS, they know they can do things Windows users can't do. Why should they care if other people don't need to do those same things? Do Windows users care? Not likely. These people have a life. I love my FreeBSD server, but I have Win2k on the desktop. Am I a traitor?

Why does it appear Linux people think Open Source means either them, or the GPL? Almost like they're doing what they accuse MS of. Closed Source doesn't necessarily mean MS, either.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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registration number 2,347,676.
Bummer :-(

[ Parent ]
a long way off (none / 0) (#84)
by Wah on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 11:15:19 AM EST

How can Linux zealots claim MS has a monopoly if they aren't using Windows themselves?

Because when they ask 100 people on the street what OS they use, they will probably have to ask which version of Windows they use, otherwise the question will make no sense to most people.   Monopoly is not a description of total 100% market dominance.  One can have less than that and still control a market.

I love my FreeBSD server, but I have Win2k on the desktop. Am I a traitor?

Not really IMHO, but we won't "win" until the software that you have to boot to Windows to use is available for Linux, or at least most of it.  This is the problem caused by the market dominance that is commonly referred to as monopoly.  I'm not sure if that day will ever get here, but it would be nice.
--
The aim of an argument or discussion should not be victory, but progress. -- Joseph Joubert. ...
[ Parent ]

That's not what monopoly is (5.00 / 1) (#91)
by bruce on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 06:59:26 PM EST

How can Linux zealots claim MS has a monopoly if they aren't using Windows themselves?

A monopoly isn't restricted to the absolute extinction of all competition. Economically (and legally) speaking, a monopoly is a majority market position strong enough to:

  • squelch competition, thereby maintaining itself, and
  • extract excess profits, due to the consequent unavailability of adequate competition

A related misconception is the idea that "a monopoly is impossible in the free market". This is absolutely untrue -- in fact, monopoly is a well-known point of failure for free markets; once you have a monopoly situation, a free market is no longer an efficient market, and the effect doesn't suddenly appear when you hit 99.44% market share...

Standard economic theory (and practice) shows how the nice "invisible hand" properties of a working market fail noticeably at as low as 70% market share. Even with fixed double-digit market competition, a monopoly will make more money raising prices and consequently selling less goods. Although, in the long run, a monopoly will make more money by using its clout to achieve a more absolute monopoly, which lets it squeeze its customers much harder.

The computer business, with its network effects, is much more vulnerable to monopoly destabilization than the network model. And, as others have pointed out, having a mostly non-economic base doesn't make BSD orLinux immune to the network effects. You can act complacent if you like, but we still have problems getting the hardware specs necessary to build adequate drivers.

Unlikely as it may seem, OSS seems poised to seize a substantial proportion of the desktop. And yes, in this case, OSS means Linux, due to the abovementioned network effects. Once that happens, Linux (not BSD)will get the benefits (and the problems) of a much greater user base. And, while BSD will still have its current benefits (and undoubtedly will be happily used by many-in-an-absolute-sense people), Linux will have the resources to achieve things we don't yet dream of.

And, yes, the MS monopoly is evil. High prices are only one way to extract monopoly rents from the market place.

[ Parent ]

Professional IT people must care. (none / 0) (#68)
by Tezcatlipoca on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 09:42:53 PM EST

Otherwise they are unprofessional and should not be earning a salary doing IT related stuff.

When I am asked to start a project my first instinct is to look for OSS alternatives because more often than not they benefit my company (and as a consequence my wallet, bonus, etc) in the long term

European? Say no to software patents.
[ Parent ]

About what? (none / 0) (#85)
by gauntlet on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 11:32:25 AM EST

Professional IT people should care more about the good of their company than they should about the marketing strategy Microsoft has taken against Linux. If where you work there is a wide enough acceptance of OSS, and there are no training requirements that might outweigh the possible cost benefits, then kudos to you. That's not the case, where I work. But either way, you're avoiding the question: What difference does it make how MS markets itself against OSS?

I'm not trying to say we shouldn't care about OSS, I'm saying we shouldn't value it based on how much it stresses out Bill Gates.

Into Canadian Politics?
[ Parent ]

all of us (none / 0) (#71)
by martingale on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 10:30:58 PM EST

So I'm wondering, why do any of us care? Why is it not a simple question of using OSS to enable us to make Linux do what we want it to do?
Simply using Linux for its strengths misses the point. What matters foremost is the knowledge and information, dating back many years, attached to the Free source code. This knowledge (which includes bug-free(!) implementations) is available to society as a baseline building block.

Commercial vendors, regardless of whether they are Microsoft, Adobe, mainframe software companies, etc., may sometimes produce better tools, but these are just blips long-term which disappear in time, when the company merges, gets bought or folds. Any benefit gained through the use of this software must then be reinvented from scratch by others, even if textual descriptions (documentation, research papers) survive.

There is an analogy I think is apt. During the sixties, NASA developed great expertise in sending men to the moon. Today, there is the space shuttle, which is more advanced than the saturn V rockets I guess, but NASA would be hard pressed if it had to send someone to the moon within six months. The original engineers, factories etc have been lost. Small design quirks which were compensated for during each mission have been forgotten. Effectively, NASA has regressed in that respect.

Software companies develop expertise which is lost to society if the source code and surrounding documentation is not published when they fold. This expertise could fuel the next generation of software companies, and is thus good for the economy. OSS is the only example (known so far) which can buck this trend.

[ Parent ]

Missing the point? (none / 0) (#72)
by Lord Snott on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 11:06:36 PM EST

Simply using linux for it's strengths misses the point? I think you missed the point.

You didn't answer the question - Why should we care? If CSS is only a 'blip', why should anyone care about MS memo's? With OSS, there is no company to go bankrupt and take the source with it, no restrictions on distribution (mostly), no restrictions on usage, and (normally) no up-front costs.

What is OSS fighting for? MS need to combat a competitor that isn't based on the same economic model to survive, OSS doesn't need to fight.

Why do we care?

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This sig in violation of U.S. trademark
registration number 2,347,676.
Bummer :-(

[ Parent ]

Whats is OSS fighting for? (none / 0) (#80)
by kholmes on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 05:30:30 AM EST

"What is OSS fighting for?"

I think the responses to your question already shows the incoherence of what open source means.

If you're interested, here's a comment of mine about the incoherence of the open source message. It may not be accurate, but its how I see it.

If you treat people as most people treat things and treat things as most people treat people, you might be a Randian.
[ Parent ]

what, you want answers? (none / 0) (#92)
by martingale on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 07:48:38 PM EST

Good to see you noticed I only addressed a particular aspect of the question (and not particularly originally, I might add). That part was the only one worth answering. If you want to know why the MS memos are interesting, ask someone else. Personally, I don't care about them.

But make no mistake: MS is an axis of evil bent on destroying Freedom around the world, whether OSS responds or ignores them. Their lawyers and marketing people must be removed from power, and if the Americans aren't up to it, OSS will do it without them.

(Hey, it worked for GW, so it must be worth something ;-)

Seriously, there is a fight which is mostly legal and PR now, but far from decided. The issue is whether consumers (and hence OSS) will be allowed to tinker with their own systems, and continue to offer Free software openly. If such efforts are forced underground because corporations fight dirty, labelling OSS programmers and users pirates and communists, much will be lost. Hardware evolves, and OSS must stay legitimate if we want wide ranging drivers and hardware support.

Simply saying OSS doesn't need to fight misses the point. Technically, authors write the programs they want, there is no need to compete with MS. Reputation-wise, OSS is vulnerable and must defend itself, lest the mud sticks.

[ Parent ]

Care (none / 0) (#100)
by Znork on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 07:13:03 AM EST

From a professional and buisness standpoint, wether you care or not is irrelevant. Your customers would probably be rather interested in hearing you say that TCO might not be valid and that you have nothing to gain from it, but that's really irrelevant too because your competitors will bring it up sooner or later.

Even if you've got a secure position and there wont be any competitors arguing that a lower TCO would make your employers more effective, even that's really irrelevant because your employers competitors will eventually be persuaded by the lower TCO argument and subsequently outcompete your employers through lower IT costs.

As long as Microsoft and others are not able to kill off free software through monopolistic practices they will eventually, inevitably, be replaced by free software simply because the lower cost and the increased ability to compete through customization. I'm not saying it will take 5 years or 10 years. It can take far longer, but as long as there is some free competition in the market (any market) eventually it will happen. Either through the proprietary vendors being outcompeted or through the customers of the proprietary vendors being outcompeted.

[ Parent ]

Abtract IP Rights arguments (5.00 / 2) (#35)
by dachshund on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 12:13:38 PM EST

ESR says that "Abstract arguments about intellectual property rights, [...] have served Microsoft just as poorly as they have served us."

I realize that we're talking specifically about market perception here, but let me point out one thing anyway: though arguments about IP rights may not be having much effect on potential "customers", they have been pretty successful with the development/advocacy community. And since those communities are the engine that drives Open Source and often gets it into use by businesses, you shouldn't underestimate the power of the rights arguments.

Just because some manager says he doesn't consider IP rights to be a major factor in his decision to use Open Source, doesn't mean that it won't be a major factor to the engineer who pushes that manager to use a piece of Open Source software. Market Research can be very misleading if it's not interpreted carefully.

In other words... (5.00 / 1) (#83)
by Wah on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 10:46:34 AM EST

...if your conversation with someone about this topic is less than 5 minutes, exploring the IP advantages of OSS is a non-starter.  Stick with the long-term price argument and don't forget to mention that the software is !Microsoft.
--
The aim of an argument or discussion should not be victory, but progress. -- Joseph Joubert. ...
[ Parent ]
At this point (4.80 / 5) (#37)
by omegadan on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 12:23:01 PM EST

At this point how can we be sure that this "leaked" document is real? I think it was written by someone other then microsoft, or written purposefully BY microsoft to be leaked. It's *FAR* to short, and it dosen't talk about servers at all.

Religion is a gateway psychosis. - Dave Foley

This is a survey analysis (5.00 / 1) (#46)
by Xeriar on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 01:12:17 PM EST

Going over perceptions of OSS vs. Shared Source and Linux vs. Windows in general.

It's like a summary of survey data. It is not in itself a strategy document.

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

Read Between the lines (2.00 / 1) (#39)
by john priest on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 12:38:57 PM EST

this is obviously fake.

Yes (none / 0) (#57)
by tacomacide on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 03:19:16 PM EST

Multi-billion dollar mega corperations do not have 2-page documents outlining their strategies against competitors. The things in this document are things that anybody with a clue already knows. I find it retarded that the only way you can get these "memos" is with ESR's lame GNU zombie propaganda attached.

*** ANONYMIZED ***
[ Parent ]

Could be fake but.... (4.00 / 1) (#59)
by drquick on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 04:02:49 PM EST

Multi-billion dollar mega corperations do not have 2-page documents outlining their strategies against competitors.
Multi billion dollar mega corperations do have two page documents outlining their strategies against competitors and even some one page memos...

[ Parent ]
in the future (5.00 / 1) (#63)
by martingale on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 06:01:19 PM EST

Multi billion dollar mega corporations will have a simple dialog box on the screen, with two options marked [Profit] and [Cancel]. ;-)

[ Parent ]
Bzzt. Wrong. (4.00 / 1) (#98)
by Paul Johnson on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 06:13:59 AM EST

Multi-billion dollar mega corperations do not have 2-page documents outlining their strategies against competitors.

Oh yes they do. Remember the Dilbert cartoon in which a detailed technical report is successively summarised until it becomes a single bullet point for the CEO? OK, thats a parody. But its based in real life.

In any large hierarchical organisation there is a trade-off between making decisions at a high level, so that you get economies of scale and uniformity, and making decisions at a low level so that they can be adapted to fit circumstances. A key part of optimising this is to make the higher level people aware of as much as possible without burying them in a welter of detail. So if you want to get the attention of somebody at a high level its no good submitting a 150 page report. It absolutely has to be boiled down to a page or two of key information, otherwise they simply don't have time or brainwidth to read it.

I've seen the real-life version of that Dilbert cartoon, and Halloween VII fits right in.

Microsoft has acknowledged tha authenticity of Halloween I and II, and they were far more damaging to MS. In short I see no evidence whatsoever that ESR has made this up.
You are lost in a twisty maze of little standards, all different.
[ Parent ]

Yeah it looks it, but why? (none / 0) (#93)
by Nelson on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 10:49:53 PM EST

I think why? is the more interesting question to me. Did ESR fake it? Why?

Any one remember the whole police, ESR and Bruce Perens incident a while back? Anyone remember the quote about the "tribes" and why it all happened?

I think ESR hasn't got enough pub lately and feels the need for some more attention so he sits around and thinks this crap up and then pretends some MS insider dropped it in his mailbox.

[ Parent ]

Why not ? (nt) (none / 0) (#104)
by john priest on Fri Dec 13, 2002 at 09:03:59 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Thoughts... (4.50 / 4) (#47)
by jd on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 01:14:44 PM EST

You cannot "win" a race if you're looking backwards.

You cannot "win" a race if you never enter and are busy doing something else.

You cannot do the "something else" if the wannabe competitors define it as part of the race.

The first was tried by IBM, in the 80's, and they nearly destroyed themselves in the process.

The third was tried by BeOS, and they DID go under in the process. Their "strict neutrality" bought them nothing, and deliberately niche-ifying themselves made them easy prey.

The second is the only path to survival, if you want to get out of the rat race. (And, remember, even if you win a rat race, you're still a rat.) However, you need to ensure that you can't be declared a de-facto rat. The moment you allow yourself to be defined by others is the moment that your decisions become truly irrelevent.

I believe that Open Source is not only an elegent engineering solution but an elegent psychological solution. As such, it has no business being enmeshed in the skulldugery and petty feifdoms of the commercial sector. On the other hand, a guy's gotta eat.

BeOS neutrality (none / 0) (#51)
by hardburn on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 02:05:05 PM EST

BeOS wanted to be installed along side Microsoft's OS on computers you could buy off the shelf at CompUSSR or Office Despot. The problem was, at the time, agreements between OEMs and Microsoft forbid the installation of a secondary OS with Windows. The recent anti-trust ruleing might have saved BeOS, had it come about two years ago.

Also:

As such, it has no business being enmeshed in the skulldugery and petty feifdoms of the commercial sector.

Open Source only makes sense as a commercial exercise. The only reason for the existance of OSI was to make Free Software attractive from a buisness point of view. The whole renaming to "Open Source" was to have a term that would mean almost the same thing as "Free Software", but without the quasi-hippy connotations that term had picked up over the years, thus giving the same software a new meaning to buisnesses. IMHO, they only succeeded in transfering the connotations of the older term to the new one.


----
while($story = K5::Story->new()) { $story->vote(-1) if($story->section() == $POLITICS); }


[ Parent ]
OSS(tm) (none / 0) (#103)
by Brett Viren on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 09:18:46 PM EST

The whole renaming to "Open Source" was to have a term that would mean almost the same thing as "Free Software", but without the quasi-hippy connotations that term had picked up over the years, thus giving the same software a new meaning to buisnesses.

If I recall, the main reason was to have a trademark (or namemark or some such) to control so that anyone wanting to use this mark for their software had to pass OSI's definition. It was to avoid the whole "freeware" name ambiguity as well as the "does free mean as in beer or speach" differences. But, they never got the mark so "Open Source" is ill defined an can be used by anyone.

It seems that Debian's Free Software Guidelines (DFSG) has taken up the slack in this area.

[ Parent ]

Well... (none / 0) (#67)
by delmoi on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 09:40:14 PM EST

We all know ESR is a rat, but regardless, there is not reason to say free software can't or shouldn't 'win'
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
Speaking of backlash (4.66 / 3) (#54)
by drivers on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 02:27:56 PM EST

Rule one of Dale Carnegie's book "How to Win Friends and Influence People" is "never criticize or complain." ESR seems to be highlighting the importance of the backlash against Microsoft's anti-OSS campaign. Then he turns around and uses his platform to forward his anti-FSF position. He said, "No surprise. The FSF pushed that line for 15 years and it didn't do us any damn good either." He doesn't care that the FSF has its own goals and reasons for doing what it does, and I (among others) agree with them. The say that the FSF hasn't done any damn good... that's just stupid. ESR had a lot of respect when he wrote Cathedral but he lost most of the it (that I've seen) when he got into a pissing match with RMS over the initial Apple license.

Close (2.33 / 3) (#60)
by Quick Star on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 04:40:10 PM EST

"Never criticize, condemn, or complain."

"absolutely no one can sex a lobster without cutting it open" -- rusty
[ Parent ]

Obvious missing poll option (5.00 / 2) (#62)
by salsaman on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 05:41:18 PM EST

'Full access to source code'

Obvious abstract concept (none / 0) (#66)
by hardburn on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 09:23:09 PM EST

"Software should be free" covers that.


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while($story = K5::Story->new()) { $story->vote(-1) if($story->section() == $POLITICS); }


[ Parent ]
Free as in speech or free as in beer ? (none / 0) (#75)
by salsaman on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 02:44:55 AM EST

It's an important distinction. I would vote for the former, but not for the latter.

[ Parent ]
Oops. I meant "speech" (none / 0) (#77)
by Paul Johnson on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 02:55:12 AM EST

I meant "free as in speech".

Paul.
You are lost in a twisty maze of little standards, all different.
[ Parent ]

It's already included in the poll (none / 0) (#90)
by DrJohnEvans on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 04:51:05 PM EST

'Full access to source code' is the very idea behind OSS, and thus is a foundation of a number of the poll options. These poll options themselves are just various benefits of, among other things, having full access to the source. More secure? With access to the source, your own people can go in and fix security holes instantly. More reliable? Your own people can adjust the software to your reliability needs. Lower TCO? Freedom to run your own business? Not only can you use the software to do what you like, but you can modify it to suit your needs even more.

Full and free access to source is not the only reason why OSS is more secure, more reliable, et cetera, but it's still an important one.

[ Parent ]

There is no war (3.66 / 3) (#74)
by Luminion on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 02:29:33 AM EST

There is no war between Linux and Microsoft.

There isn't.

Linux is not a commercial product.

That it is viable comercially is neither its purpose, nor an important property.

A lot of people like to take pride in this war. Most of anti-M$ zealots keep yapping about how Linux > M$ and how M$ is evil and such. Meanwhile developers - the real ones - write code and dont care if it makes Red Hate or Mandrek sell more wraps.

All the mumble about the competition is bogus and serves no identifiable purpose neither to the community nor to anyone else. Windows is a product. Linux isn't. Linux is technically better than Windows, but there are non-technical concerns zealots forget about. Linux eats Windows' market, yes. Community has a monetary benefit from this, almost not. Migration to Linux is one way, yes. Windows is doomed, yes. OSS is superior, yes. Whatever. Get over it. I have an OS I like, I couldn't give less fuck about everyone else.

STFU. Start writing code.
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<spanisman> you are really a dork and I'm going to complaint against you in the undernet society for you to get lost the op status

War as metaphor (5.00 / 1) (#76)
by Paul Johnson on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 02:46:49 AM EST

Well, in the sense that Linux and Microsoft are not sending real soldiers into real battles to get really dead in order to win some more real estate, no there is no war. "War" in this sense is a metaphor, a mental model.

I think your argument assumes that even a metaphorical war requires two sides that both have a central command of some kind. This is not necessarily the case. The War on Drugs and the War on Terrorism spring to mind as counter-examples.

By analogy, Microsoft is prosecuting a War on Linux. Its probably got about as much chance of success as the other two as well.

All the mumble about the competition is bogus and serves no identifiable purpose neither to the community nor to anyone else. [...] I have an OS I like, I couldn't give less fuck about everyone else.

The size of the community matters to its effectiveness. I suspect that Linux isn't your perfect OS, its just better than the alternatives. One of the things that makes it better than the alternatives is the number of people it can draw into its development community.

If we can get lots of large companies using Linux then they will pay for support and enhancements. We ordinary Linux users will share the benefits of that support under the GPL. It really is that simple.

Paul.
You are lost in a twisty maze of little standards, all different.
[ Parent ]

I can see where you're heading (none / 0) (#79)
by Luminion on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 03:42:09 AM EST

Okay, s/war/competition/g

There is no competition. Linux is not interested to compete. Linux is developed for those who develop it. The opportunity to use it elsewhere is collateral.

Microsoft is prosecuting war on Linux? Well of course they do because Linux is going to kick their ass big time - but not in a sense of competition, rather in the sense of bringing them down to knees and kicking them in the nads with a wermaght boot.

But tell me, what's this war like? Are they going to come to my home and erase my Linux filesystems? Is Linux going to be outlawed? Will I get abducted one day? No.

There are two sides of the bridge. Microsoft doesnt want the people to cross it but once they do it cant do anything. Unfortunately, according to my personal observation, only a tiny fraction of Linux freshmen are interested in experimenting, discovering and contributing. The majority wants free as in beer Windows (see you know where to find it), and a certain part of those wants to feel l33t. It is true. The effects of the "Hackers" movie, the most pathetic attempt of lame people to look cool, is still on. People still do speak in l33t, packet each other and indicate general stupidity.

I say, we have enough of an userbase and we really should have a feature freeze. My native linux related IRC channel which once used to be a private meeting place of rather intelligent lifeforms (hosting one or two celebrities), now is full with people who come up with questions "How do I install theme in x windows!!!", "I wanna to change resolution in gnome", "I can not find the printer folder", "can ne1 help my modem doesnt work", "algueno hablas espanol?", "does mandrake 9 support mp3 & kazaa" and such. There is maybe one or two clued newbies out of each 200 visitors. They are coincidentally the people who annoy the developers with demands and "ur prog is broken" bug reports and then proceed to brag about "community values" and do the penis size thing on /.

There is "community", there is community and there is core community. The core community wouldnt give a fuck. They hack. The community wouldn't give a fuck either, because they hack too. Everyone else is just whining. And all the holy wars and crusades are exactly that. Whining.

The benefits of free software are obvious. Anyone who steps on them, on purpose or occasionally, will not refuse them. Everyone else.. who needs them? What the story of those marketing OS Linux for free to people they will never see? What -good- does it serve, god dammit? More people with winduhs background who don't RTFM.

Stay focused on the hack. Earplugs are provided courtesy Clue.
---------
<spanisman> you are really a dork and I'm going to complaint against you in the undernet society for you to get lost the op status
[ Parent ]

unless of course you are arab or muslim (3.00 / 5) (#78)
by turmeric on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 03:04:58 AM EST

in which case ESR wants you to be eradicated from the face of the earth. http://armedndangerous.blogspot.com/2002_09_15_armedndangerous_archive.html " I think he is right to see Afghanistan, Iraq, and the suppression of Al-Qaeda as phases of longer, wider war ? a clash of civilizations driven by the failure of Islamic/Arab culture (though I would stress the problem of the Islamic commandment to jihad more than he does). I think he is also right to say that our long-term objective must be to break, crush and eventually destroy this culture, because we can't live on the same planet with people who both carry those memes and have access to weapons of mass destruction. They will hate us and seek to destroy us not for what we've done but for what we are. "

I'd glad he writes software (none / 0) (#82)
by Wah on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 10:15:22 AM EST

because his political reasoning leaves a lot to be desired.  From the link...

Al-Qaeda in itself is not an exceptional threat; in a properly armed society the 9/11 hijackers would never even have tried their stunt, because they would known that the certain outcome was death in a hail of civilian bullets.

This guy wants lots of armed civilians on planes in his ideal society?   That's a great idea!!  But not quite as good as insurance company armies.

There would still be a place in an anarchist America for professional soldiers -- not many, but a few heavy troop formations would be kept on retainer by consortia of insurance companies. Yes, I said insurance companies, that's because how free markets socialize shared risks. Normal law enforcement would be funded by pools set up by vendors of crime insurance looking to reduce their payouts; national defense and overseas power projection (to the extent the term still had meaning in a stateless society) would be funded by people who bought war insurance (say, businesses with overseas assets to protect).

Riight.  Anyway, the rest of his argument falls apart, since the free market should, under his reasoning, be able to deal with terror more effectively than a state.  I can't believe he doesn't advocate wealthy Americans hiring mercenaries to go kill "suspected" terrorists and then show off to their friends how they defend the anarchist state.

./offtopicideologicalflamewar
--
The aim of an argument or discussion should not be victory, but progress. -- Joseph Joubert. ...
[ Parent ]

True, but off topic (none / 0) (#86)
by Paul Johnson on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 01:24:28 PM EST

If you want to criticise ESR's libertarian politics (and there is an awful lot there to criticise) then I'd suggest writing a separate article. Its not really relevant to the Halloween memos.

Paul.
You are lost in a twisty maze of little standards, all different.
[ Parent ]

Too bad OSS has already lost (3.33 / 6) (#88)
by Silent Chris on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 01:58:23 PM EST

I know the title sounds like a troll, but it's true: OSS has already lost if people like me (a certified geek) has stopped using it.

I originally dabbled in OSS a few years ago, in college.  My first stab was RedHat 5.0 (which, for a newbie, wasn't exactly the easiest distro in the world).  But I stuck with it.  Got my system up and running perfectly, had a web server running, converted all my music to MP3 so it could be played both in Windows and Linux, loved KDE (to an extent).

After I finished college last year, I created a dual-boot installation on my new computer, like I always did.  But I never used it anymore.  Konqueror didn't display pages that well.  Mozilla was buggy.  Every new soundcard was an exercise in frustration.  My main reason for programming on Linux, gcc, was gradually replaced by a cheap student copy of Visual Studio.  My main reason for leaving Windows, stability, was gradually replaced by Windows 2000 (in my opinion, one of Microsoft's best products).

Now I solely use Windows XP.  I have no need to use Linux anymore.  I like the concepts of having access to the code, but I never actually change it.  For work (and play) I want a system that just works, whether it be running an InstallShield-based binary installer for the latest games or changing permissions on a few files and folders.  My tinkering side is still there, but there is a difference between "tinkering" and wasting time.

That's a ridiculous assertion (5.00 / 1) (#89)
by GhostfacedFiddlah on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 03:00:56 PM EST

The fact that you prefer Windows shows that OSS has already lost?  How about the idea that my girlfriend (a certified non-geek) prefers Linux shows that Windows has already lost?

[ Parent ]
Indeed (none / 0) (#99)
by Znork on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 06:34:01 AM EST

So does mine, but she's rather geeky. So does my in-laws too, and they're definitely not geeky. Windows just wasnt possible to install on their new disk since the BIOS didnt find it, so they got Linux instead, and they manage just fine. And so does my cousin, again not a geek.

And rather unlike their Windows installations it "Just Works (tm)".

Not that the fact that anyone can run it really proves anything either way. The only thing it shows is that Linux is eminently usable for end users these days. And of course, they dont have to worry about the choice between shelling out $1000 for the basic software or being criminals anymore.

[ Parent ]

OSS has lost what? (none / 0) (#94)
by quartz on Sat Nov 09, 2002 at 12:38:42 AM EST

The OSS versus Microsoft "war" only exists inside the heads of a few people at Microsoft who are shaking in their pants at the thought of losing market share to some entity they can't buy out or drive out of business.

Read a couple of Linus' interviews to find out what OSS programmers really think about this. They don't give a flying fuck about what Microsoft does or how many people use Windows. They write the code because it's fun. And the people who use it do so mainly because they want to use their computers however they damn well please, not how Microsoft tells them to. This is not about money, or about "ease-of-use" or any of that marketing crap. This is about freedom.

OSS lost nothing, because there's nothing to lose.

--
Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke, and fuck 'em even if they can.
[ Parent ]

A Moot Point. (none / 0) (#95)
by Imperfect on Sat Nov 09, 2002 at 02:36:58 AM EST

OSS isn't going to ever dominate in the home environment, and to be honest, that's not what has Microsoft quaking in their booties.  The simple fact that a Linux server - once up and running - costs you perhaps $100 beyond the price of the hardware.  And that's only if you had to call tech support.  That's your final cost for your business.

An MS server, however, can start costing $1000 (or even higher, depending on what you need it to do), just for the cost of the software liscenses.  AND MS makes you pay for support, just like Linux folks do.

I mean, really.  What attracts you more when running a large, business-oriented server (legitimately)?  Saving tons of money in the long and short run or slightly easier set-up?

Not perfect, not quite.
[ Parent ]

Premature? (4.00 / 4) (#96)
by I Robot on Sat Nov 09, 2002 at 06:04:47 AM EST

Declaration of victory, that is.

My wife decided she has dealt with Windows long enough. We are now a MSFT-free zone running LTSP on Mandrake.

I have five video cards in my SOHO, 3 of which run on dumb terminals, all of which (2 meg to 32 meg, ISA, PCI and AGP-2) "just ran" at install time. Don't blame Linux if yours don't.

I have three models of Network Interface Cards. All of them "just ran". I use two sound cards. Also "just ran". Both printers, you guessed it, just "ran".

What would a 5 seat license for NT or W2K cost me? How much more for the application software? I set up one server and the workstations pretty much self-install. Does the Microsoft Terminal Server software work any better? Linux does all this for $free$ ... what's the price of admission for a 5 seat MSFT license? Five seats for the OS? Five seats for the terminal software? Five seats for the office suite? How about 5 seats for Visual Studio? That's all five at full retail, not one at student rate and 4 pirated copies.I doubt if the student copies can be remotely run anyways because they aren't made to be multi-user so you should probably plan on buying 5 copies of the "professional" version.
 
I looked up their instructions. It doesn't even look as easy as the instructions for LTSP. MSFT Terminal Server Installation instructions

Let me repeat. I downloaded a bootrom image for the workstation to boot from and copied that over to a diskette. Okay, the workstation part is done. Then I grabbed 4 LTSP files for the server and installed them by typing the single command "rpm -i ltsp*" in the directory where I saved them. They need be installed in a specific order ... but handle that detail themselves. I then started dhcp, tftp, portmap and nfs (all previously installed by Mandrake). Then I stopped into the directory where the LTSP main files were copied and initialized LTSP. That's programmer talk for "started it". You say you are a programmer but you are using a GUI to code with. (What happens when you can't get the "cheap" student copy?) Then I made entries specific to my first workstation in 4 config files and booted the workstation.

Then I grabbed the bootrom for the second machine and copied it to diskette and made additional entries in those 4 configurations files (a total of about 6 lines ... just edit the example for the first two ... after that, copy the others you have practiced on and edit them) and booted the second workstation. This sets the pattern for every workstation thereafter. And, because they are all actually running software on the server machine (the workstations don't even have a hard drive because they don't need one), they are all actually quite speedy.
 
The first workstation / server set up will take a newbie about 2 hours. Thereafter, additional machines will set up in something under 5 minutes.

I don't have a college degree in the field of computers. You do. So how come I can get Linux to whipping along like this and you can't even set up a simple dual boot?

Is your posting actually a troll? Linux just isn't that hard anymore.

PS ... I am using Mozilla 1.2 and it honks. It is fully standards compliant and quicker than a New York purse snatcher. It is a browsers job to properly display code precisely as it is written. It is the authors job to write decent code to start with.I know of perfectly valid pages that MSIE can't touch but that Mozilla handles perfectly. NO proprietary tags at all. Totally standards compliant.But MSIE chokes on it.Konqueror actually handles these pages somewhat better than MSIE.

If I, a hobbyist, can write standards compliant CSS/XML (and I can) anything less from a "pro" is simply not acceptable.



[ Parent ]

Mozilla (none / 0) (#102)
by ninja on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 03:27:19 PM EST

I was a skeptic having used IE in various incarnations since 4.0 but I was blown away by MZ 1.1! It is incredible :) In fact, I think I'm going to go and download 1.2 right now.

[ Parent ]
Certified geek? (none / 0) (#97)
by pwhysall on Sat Nov 09, 2002 at 08:01:22 AM EST


--
Peter
K5 Editors
I'm going to wager that the story keeps getting dumped because it is a steaming pile of badly formatted fool-meme.
CheeseBurgerBrown
[ Parent ]
heh (2.60 / 5) (#101)
by tokage on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 10:04:55 AM EST

Does anyone else get the impression that ESR sits up all night in some shitty dingy basement, writing up these documents then his comments at the same time, while fingering himself through his dirty boxer shorts? I think if ESR and BillG would admit to their homosexuality and meet in a loving embrace, it would benefit the technology community immensely. Take one for the team, so to speak.

You may commence the rating down and continue the wankfest, kthxbye.

I always play / Russian roulette in my head / It's 17 black, or 29 red

New "Halloween Memo" leaked from Microsoft | 104 comments (83 topical, 21 editorial, 0 hidden)
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