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When heroes fail

By Builder in Technology
Mon Dec 17, 2001 at 02:47:41 PM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)

The Free Software movement has its share of heroes. The people who stand guard over our continued freedom in choosing software. The people who spend a large portion of their lives writing the software to provide the software.

Unfortunately, heroes fail. Lofty ideas eventually give way to profit and a need to survive in a corporate world defined by rules that were made by companies who will NEVER understand the concept of Free Software.

When the KDE project was started, a decision was taken to use the Trolltech QT libraries for technical reasons. The problem that many in the community had with this though, was that these libraries were licensed under a licence scheme that gave the libraries away to Free software developers, but charged for them to companies selling software. This meant that at any time they could withdraw the free licence and render the KDE project dead.

Miguel de Icaza led the charge to fix this. Gnome was originally (Rebel Code - Glyn Moody) formed as a way of placing pressure on the KDE team to work under a free licence. Of all of the Gnome project's goals to date, this can be considered to be their most successful. First, Trolltech formed the KDE Free QT Foundation to guarantee the availability of QT for current and future free projects. Later, they went one step further and released QT under the GNU GPL. This solved the problem that Gnome was set up to deal with.

However, by this time Gnome was quite far along the development road, and a decision was made to pursue the project. Flame-wars continually erupt about which of these projects has the better technical and usability solution, but I really don't care about that for the purposes of this paper.

Fast forward to 3 December 2001. Ximian announce Evolution 1.0. This is the mail client that will bring mass acceptance to the GNU/Linux desktop. As a project, it is a fantastic example of what can be achieved by using the collaborative development model under the GNU GPL.

On the same day Ximian announce a project that will offer interoperability with Microsoft Exchange 2000. This will be a plug-in for Evolution that will allow people to use the e-mail, calendar, address books and task-lists on a Microsoft Exchange server. This will be a closed source, proprietary product that we will not have the source to, and will have to trust that Ximian stays in business in order to provide updates.

From everything I have read and from everything I believe, this goes against what the Free Software Foundation have stood for from day one! The Free Software Foundation and the GNU licence were formed to give us our freedom. Merely allowing us to interoperate with non-free products allows the manufacturers of these products to subvert the software and tie users further to their standard.

The fact that we can't see the code means that if Microsoft change the communication protocol between the client and the server (and they have done this in the past, see the Kerberos debacle), we have to wait for Ximian to catch up. The fact that we don't have freedom with regards to the code means that we can't use that code-base as a stepping stone to replacing Microsoft Exchange. If we were able to see the code, we would know how Microsoft clients communicate with an Exchange server. This would allow us to build a server to replace the functionality of the Microsoft Exchange server that could be dropped into existing organisations. Ximian have taken these opportunities from us.

Miguel de Icaza wasn't satisfied with a licence that allowed users to see and modify the code, but didn't guarantee its freedom. Now his company is releasing closed source, non-free products where we not only don't have any freedom, but can't even see the code! This seems like a step back to me. I understand that Ximian are a company, but they are a company founded by a man who once had the loftiest of ideals.

So now what? I don't have the answer in this case. I still can't see a way for the bulk of Free software companies to generate a sustainable income. I've pondered that for many long hours and decided to hope that people such as Bob Young of RedHat can come up with better ideas than me. I do know that the answer is not to get into a position of trust and power on the back of championing the cause of Freedom in software for everyone, and then abusing that position of power to sell closed source, non-free products.

I, personally would happily pay for the plug-in if I was going to use it. I have spent as much money as I can afford buying both GNU/Linux products and literature to enable the community and the companies therein to thrive. I guess Ximian have decided that they just can't trust the people who put them where they are. This is a sad time for me. This is a sad time for anyone who believed in the changes that we would see from the rise of Free Software companies.


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Are Ximian doing the right thing in releasing closed source, non free software ?
o Yes 71%
o No 28%

Votes: 59
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When heroes fail | 35 comments (35 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
Greedy bastard, aren't you? (3.46 / 15) (#1)
by theboz on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 11:27:50 AM EST

I don't understand why you expect these people to make only open source software. They should be allowed to do whatever they want to do, especially when they are already offering so much for free.

I see it as you are a bum going into a soup kitchen and eating some free soup. You really are happy to eat all the free soup you can get, but when you find out that one of the people volunteering to work there runs an Italian restaurant you get mad because you're not getting free Italian food too. It all just seems pretty selfish in my opinion.

Also, while this plugin may not be open source, the open nature of the gnome project allows you to go out and make your own open source plugin for it if you wish. I don't think anyone is stopping you from figuring out how to do it.

Another point to consider is that perhaps they had to work with Microsoft to build this plugin. If so, maybe they had to sign some NDAs or contracts of some sort not to disclose the information. The think of it as for the greater good to actually have a working product, so they went along with it. There are many reasons I can think of for it to be necessary for it to be closed source. Whining about it, however, can only have one reason. That's selfishness.


Not greedy. Just ethical (3.85 / 7) (#2)
by Builder on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 11:33:41 AM EST

I'm not saying that people have to produce open source code. All I'm saying is that people should practice what they preach. Miguel started Gnome because he wasn't satisfied with the QT licences. That at least had available source code.
Be nice to your daemons
[ Parent ]
OSS ethics and sustainable businesses (4.25 / 4) (#7)
by twodot72 on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 12:40:44 PM EST

They do practice what they preach...most of the time. Ximian has contributed more to gnome than anyone else, including the complete and fully functional Evolution. The plugin is needed only for people who want to build a heterogenous Windows/Linux network, in which case they already pay for and use proprietary software anyways.

It might not be the greatest solution if you look at it strictly from the free software-philosophy angle. But in real life they have to earn money to stay in business, and as you might have noticed, strictly open source companies have had a rough time doing that lately. I for one prefer having them staying in business with a mixed open/closed source product portfolio than having them go out of business and cease development of all their products.

[ Parent ]

I agree (4.50 / 6) (#14)
by rusty on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 02:26:14 PM EST

I agree with you, but I think what this article is trying to underscore is the fact that back in the day, when KDE was trying to strike the same balance, Gnome was started with exactly the attitude that everythng must be Free. KDE said "well, whatever" and kept on keeping on. Eventually QT did GPL the library, so all's well. But now Ximian is in the same position as TrollTech, and look what decision it makes.

I don't think the goal is to castigate Ximian for their choice, but to point out that they're now doing essentially what they started the project to fight against, back when they all worked for universities and didn't realize how impossible it is to make money with OSS. I think it's probably worth pointing out.

And I too think Ximian has made a good choice. Course, I always though TrollTech had a pretty good view of things too.

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Two quibbles (4.00 / 3) (#19)
by Otter on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 04:26:49 PM EST

Ximian has contributed more to gnome than anyone else...

IMHO, Red Hat has contributed far more to Gnome than any other entity, including Ximian. I'm not sure why they're the forgotten member of the Gnome world.

It might not be the greatest solution if you look at it strictly from the free software-philosophy angle. But in real life they have to earn money to stay in business...

Sure, but you can understand how the people who had to make that compromise a few years ago might remember what was said about them before real life set in in the North American free software world.

[ Parent ]

Ximian is more than Miguel. (3.00 / 4) (#10)
by FattMattP on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 01:59:54 PM EST

Ximian is more than Miguel and I'm sure he doesn't make all the decisions. Stop being greedy -- people have to pay their bills somehow. They can do what they want with software they wrote. If you don't agree with it, you are free to write your own Microsoft Exchange plug-in for Evolution and release it however you see fit.

I am capable of masturbating for twenty-seven hours before achieving climax. This does include breaks for meals. -- Michael David Crawford

[ Parent ]
Get real (2.00 / 8) (#3)
by MicroBerto on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 12:15:42 PM EST

Well, here's the deal. YOU go ahead and cut Miguel and all the Ximian developers a nice check so that they can sustain their lives. At that point, I'd say you would have at least an ounce of bargaining power.

Until then, get your head out of your ass. Businesses need to make money, or they end up like this.

- GAIM: MicroBerto
Bertoline - My comic strip

Eazel (3.00 / 1) (#4)
by twodot72 on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 12:26:51 PM EST

I think you meant to say they may end up like this.

[ Parent ]
sniff (3.00 / 1) (#22)
by MicroBerto on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 11:05:15 PM EST

Wow, sorry for the all-around awful comment! I'm rusty since I've been at school and then k5 got rebuilt!

- GAIM: MicroBerto
Bertoline - My comic strip
[ Parent ]
Learn to read (3.00 / 2) (#6)
by christianlavoie on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 12:38:52 PM EST

The story is not about criticizing Ximian's business, it's about criticizing the stupid attitude that brought GNOME around.

From day one the only idea was to teach KDE the GNU ways. Even once that was achived, it wasn't enough.

Miguel and others are the direct cuase of countless flamewars, harsh critics and other stupidities against KDE, things KDE did certainly not deserve.

Now, oh surprise, Miguel and others are _less free_ than the 'non-free desktop' they always attacked.

Get real yourself. The story should have been titled: "Miguel and others: worthless hypocrites"

Maybe Computer Science ought to be taught in the school of Philosophy
   -- Christian Lavoie [modified from RS Barton]
[ Parent ]

Guys like you... (2.80 / 10) (#5)
by wji on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 12:35:29 PM EST

...are the justification for those 'free software is unAmerican!' remarks we get from Microsoft.

Arguing over whether it's 'right' for Ximian, or anyone else, to put their own licence on their own software is idiotic. Yes, it would be nice if everything was GPLed. That doesn't mean we should go around villifying companies for exercising their right to license their own software. Get over it...

In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.

Free software _is_ unamerican (2.50 / 4) (#8)
by christianlavoie on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 12:43:24 PM EST

Free software is unamerican. Deal with it.

The GNU definition of free software is about removing the strangle hold corporations have on their customers. It's about bringing back freedoms to users.

And that's unamerican. And that's the best thing that could ever happen to this world.

Maybe Computer Science ought to be taught in the school of Philosophy
   -- Christian Lavoie [modified from RS Barton]
[ Parent ]

please (4.00 / 2) (#18)
by spacejack on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 04:12:26 PM EST

Free software is just one more organism that grew out of the petri dish that is capitalism.

[ Parent ]
philosophy (none / 0) (#31)
by kubalaa on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 10:51:50 AM EST

Call me crazy, but I love computer science precisely because it's like grounded philosophy. You get to work with abstract ideas, and think about information structure and flow and mathematics and all these things. But when it comes down to it, your code either works or it doesn't. So it cuts most of the bullshit. Beautiful.

[ Parent ]
What do you mean by American? (4.00 / 1) (#33)
by scanman on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 02:17:10 AM EST

Do you mean American as our Founding Fathers saw it? An idealistic dream of freedom from oppression?

Or do you mean American as it is today? A plutocracy, in which nothing is more important than money, not even freedom from oppression? In which the stupid masses are pacified by the illusion of democracy? In which people who do not seek power and wealth are villified?

"[You are] a narrow-minded moron [and] a complete loser." - David Quartz
"scanman: The moron." - ucblockhead
"I prefer the term 'lifeskills impaired'" - Inoshiro

[ Parent ]

You could see that one coming from a mile away... (3.81 / 11) (#9)
by pnambic on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 01:47:41 PM EST

I have to admit it: I couldn't suppress a chuckle when I first read this story. 18 months ago, when Qt was not yet under the GPL and the license wars were raging (with the Gnomes of course holding the moral high ground), I posted a comment attached to a frustrated Debian developer's editorial on freshmeat.net.

To quote myself back then:

As you can see, the two licenses [GPL/QPL] are about as close as you can get. The intent of both is to make sure that everyone "plays nice", i.e. shares with others if you share with them. [...]

Now, given the above, what's the REAL problem? I can only speculate here, but it seems to me that even a GPLed Qt wouldn't satisfy the needs of those behind this constant bickering. What they REALLY seem to want is an LGPLed Qt, just like they have an LGPLed GTK. In other words, they want to bully Trolltech into giving their work away, even for closed-source development.

So much for the spirit of GNU, huh? Mark my words: the day that Eazel or Miguel's company come up with their particular version of "Sendmail Pro", you'll see the light. The threat hails not from Norway; the threat - if you see one - is the LGPL.

Boy, did I get mail after that one. ;)

And that's the problem with Ximian's announcement discussed here: all the people who flamed me (and many others) back then are going to feel cheated. And they'll be right. This is not a matter of whether developers have a moral right to choose their license in whatever way they wish; what we see here is a company that was built on volunteer work for a project founded on purely moral issues acting against the spirit of its very foundations.

Congratulations, Miguel - maybe we can all get back to work now.

A GPLed QT is as usefull ... (3.00 / 2) (#12)
by marevalo on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 02:09:39 PM EST

...as a GPLed GLibC.

But at least this guy has told the truth, this is not a article but a flame-war starting troll. And I do really like flame-wars.

You can read this. A good explanation on why to use LGPL and why not.

[ Parent ]

Thank you! (2.00 / 1) (#24)
by Builder on Mon Dec 17, 2001 at 04:15:21 AM EST

Thank you very much! It appears that you are one of the few people who understood the point I am trying to make here. Possibly I didn't make it in the right way.
Be nice to your daemons
[ Parent ]
Reality and hypocrisy (3.75 / 12) (#11)
by tmoertel on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 02:04:54 PM EST

The reality is not the hypocrisy that you make it out to be. The uproar about early-day KDE being based upon a non-free Qt is not comparable to the present-day "Ximian Connector for Microsoft Exchange" for the following reason: While the former threatened to reduce drastically end-users' freedom over the everyday use of their computers, the latter does not. The Connector is useful only in an environment where the end-users' freedoms are already curtailed by virtue of reliance upon Microsoft's restrictively-licensed Exchange. Adding Connector to this environment does not reduce users' freedom, i.e., original freedoms are preserved. In summary, early-day KDE/Qt threatened original freedoms; present-day Connector does not.

Threats against freedom should be vigorously resisted. Miguel was right to shout out against the threat of the early KDE/Qt licenses. However, no such threat exists in the Connector license. While the license doesn't grant new freedoms, it doesn't take them away, either. It's a different set of circumstances, and it's not unreasonable for people to respond differently to different circumstances.

My blog | LectroTest

[ Disagree? Reply. ]

Close, but no cookie (3.33 / 3) (#13)
by christianlavoie on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 02:25:11 PM EST

Early KDE didn't remove anything from the users' freedom, since no UNIX desktop, comparable to the breadth of KDE, existed. Motif-based CDE was worse in all respects, especially in terms of licensing.

Agreed, there's a huge world between the foundation classes and a stupid proprietary protocol proggie.

But it's not white and black as you put it. And the backlash against Miguel and its extremist bunch is exactly that: They granted no compromise whatsoever to KDE, yet they allow themselves more slackness than they allowed others.

Maybe Computer Science ought to be taught in the school of Philosophy
   -- Christian Lavoie [modified from RS Barton]
[ Parent ]

;-) My cookie, please (4.00 / 3) (#16)
by tmoertel on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 03:31:38 PM EST

Early KDE didn't remove anything from the users' freedom, since no UNIX desktop, comparable to the breadth of KDE, existed.
No, early KDE did remove freedoms: Its license provided substantially fewer freedoms than its underlying operating environment, commonly GNU/Linux or an open-source flavor Unix. These underlying environments provided rich guarantees of freedom, but if you built applications on top of KDE, you and your users lost those guarantees. KDE effectively formed a filtering layer that removed the guarantees granted by the underlying layers by making your applications dependent upon a more restrictive license.

By contrast, Ximian's Exchange Connector does not filter out a rich set of freedoms granted by Microsoft in its Exchange licenses. Further, since the Exchange Connector is not useful outside of an environment in which a Microsoft Exchange server license has been agreed to, Connector, unlike early KDE, cannot threaten unrelated freedoms across the breadth of the user's operating environment.

But it's not white and black as you put it. And the backlash against Miguel and its extremist bunch is exactly that: They granted no compromise whatsoever to KDE, yet they allow themselves more slackness than they allowed others.
What compromise is embodied in the Ximian's Exchange Connector? Show me how Connector threatens the freedoms granted by Microsoft's Exchange licenses, and maybe I'll start to see your point. Until then, it does indeed appear to be black and white: The Connector does not threaten freedoms, but early KDE/Qt did, and there is no hypocrisy in reacting to these two different circumstances differently.


My blog | LectroTest

[ Disagree? Reply. ]

[ Parent ]
I'll hold to that cookie a bit more =) (3.50 / 4) (#17)
by christianlavoie on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 03:57:58 PM EST

No, early KDE did remove freedoms: Its license provided substantially fewer freedoms than its underlying operating environment, commonly GNU/Linux or an open-source flavor Unix.

None of these freedoms were removed using old KDEs. New applications arrived, but none of the old ones suddenly disappeared. What you're saying is like saying: "KDE2 is out, KDE1 ill automatically stop functionning in 5 seconds, 4... 3... ...". No freedoms were removed, they just weren't granted anymore on certain particular pieces of software.

What compromise is embodied in the Ximian's Exchange Connector?

Some of their products are open-source, some or not. They never allowed KDE to have any single component to be partially-restrictive (remember the QPL? It's really not that bad). Yet they allow themselves such partial openness.

My point is that many people feel that in the opposite situation, people would yell like mad, yet Ximian is getting away with it without any sort of criticism. The overall feeling is that GNOME can do whatever it feels, and KDE will be harshly criticized at every misstep. It's a perceived injustice that annoys the hell out of everyone.

Think about TheKompany that receives truckloads of bullshit everytime they pull a KDE product to make an exclusively Qt one, or simply announce a closed-source product (say Kapital) and compare this to Ximian suddenly announcing closed-source products and almost receives praise for their brilliant business models.

Maybe Computer Science ought to be taught in the school of Philosophy
   -- Christian Lavoie [modified from RS Barton]
[ Parent ]

You're dodging the point (3.50 / 2) (#20)
by tmoertel on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 05:26:33 PM EST

Your assertion that there was no threat to freedom isn't true. Freedoms were removed. Why? Because the promise of KDE was to be the ultimate end-user GUI. End users would access their GPLed software and OSes through more-restricted KDE-based GUIs -- and that was the problem. Users ultimately lost freedoms. If you're an end user who uses GPLed software via a KDE-based GUI, you do not have the same freedoms that you would have had, had your GUI also been GPLed:

+-------+                      +------+
| GPLed |                      | GPL- |
| OS &  | == full freedoms ==> | based| == full freedoms ==> USER
| Progs |                      | GUI  |
+-------+                      +------+

+-------+                      +------+
| GPLed |                      | KDE- |
| OS &  | == full freedoms ==> | based| == fewer freedoms ==> USER
| Progs |                      | GUI  |
+-------+                      +------+

The early KDE situation is nothing like the present Exchange Connector situation. KDE, had it been widely adopted under its old license, would have undermined the freedoms guaranteed by the underlying GPLed OSes and software. End users are necessarily bound by the most restrictive licensing link in the chain of software that connects them to the underlying computer hardware. In the above scenario, KDE-based apps represent the most restrictive link; they shadow the guarantees granted by other (GPLed) links. The Connector, by contrast, does not undermine the freedoms guaranteed by Microsoft's Exchange server licenses.

Get it? The substance of the debate isn't a license -- it's freedom. Any license that threatens freedoms should be opposed. Does the Connector's license threaten freedoms? It doesn't look that way. Show me how it does, and then you'll have a point.

My point is that many people feel that in the opposite situation, people would yell like mad, yet Ximian is getting away with it without any sort of criticism.
Have you considered that the lack of mass criticism is a result of there being nothing to criticize? You failed to answer my question, What compromise [of guaranteed freedoms] is embodied in the Ximian's Exchange Connector? Until you can do so, I submit that there is indeed nothing to criticize, and that's why angry hordes aren't grabbing pitchforks and laying siege on Ximian HQ.

My blog | LectroTest

[ Disagree? Reply. ]

[ Parent ]
The point being? (none / 0) (#34)
by velex on Fri Jan 11, 2002 at 10:34:43 AM EST

Maybe I'm just thick, but what's the point? Being the quintessential end user, I really don't care. I can still download and compile all the stuff that I want, right (well, except for this plugin, but I'll get to that later). As far as I can remember, I've always downloaded and compiled QT and KDE, so what difference does it make? I can download and compile Evolution, so what difference does that plugin make?

Now, about the plugin: I think that it's a good idea. Personally, I'll probably never use it, because I don't use m$ exchange anywhere. I can just ignore it. Now, if I owned a business and the only thing keeping me from moving all my computers from Windows to Linux was my reliance on Exchange, I'd get this plugin in an instant. After a while, I suppose that Exchange could be phased out, and it would just be Evolution.

The whole problem is, I'm just not seeing any harm here. afaik, no one wants to subvert Linux into a closed-source corporate project. Not the KDE team, not Ximian.

[ Parent ]
QPL (3.33 / 3) (#27)
by Per Abrahamsen on Mon Dec 17, 2001 at 09:01:11 AM EST

Please remember that QPL was not the original Qt license. QPL was the first answer from Troll Tech to the people (like me) who wanted a free GUI toolkit, and quite acceptable (to me, and to the FSF). However, at that point Gnome was already started, and used a more practical license (LGPL). But the QPL was free enough to remove the motivation of the Harmony developers, who were writing a free Qt clone.

The threat of the early (pre-QPL) KDE was that we got a nice desktop that could not be used in a GNU system, i.e. a system based solely on free software, with no useful alternative. The QPL removed that threat.

That someone writes a proprietarty module for talking to a proprietary server is, of course, totally irrelevant to the vision of a GNU system. A GNU system will not depend on MS Exchange in any case.

[ Parent ]
*sigh* (3.40 / 5) (#15)
by regeya on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 03:08:03 PM EST

Wow, you've mixed together two situations that are hardly similar.

With QT, the mixing of QT with GPL code resulted in licensing problems; GPL by itself couldn't be mixed with QT's old licensing scheme. GNOME was started to put together a desktop that didn't suffer from a m

I've not read into the situation with the Exchange proprietary extension, but I'd be willing to bet that a.) it relies on information available only after agreeing to an NDA and b.) doesn't violate Evolution's licensing scheme. Customers want Exchange interoperability, Ximian can't supply it legally as Free Software, therefore a proprietary extension is supplied.

I mean, really, is Ximian supposed to survive solely by providing their own RPMs for GNOME?

[ yokelpunk | kuro5hin diary ]

Yadda yadda (3.50 / 8) (#21)
by X-Nc on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 05:50:40 PM EST

Personqally, I am tired of this particular debate. Software is a tool. Operating systems are tools. Programming languages are tools. I do not believe that the world is best served by making technology the center piece of political movements. Now I do believe in the fundimental freedoms that are the core of Software Libre; Open/Free is better for many technical, political & cultrual reasons. But the bottom line is getting the job done.

For the record, for no particular reason, and likely to the detriment of my comment...

KDE sucks!
GNOME sucks!
Microsoft sucks!
Distro wars suck!
BSD vs Linux wars sick!
GPL vs BSD vs Proprietary License wars suck!
Everything that takes away energy and time away from getting anything done sucks (thus the inclusion of MS).

Aaahhhh!!!! My K5 subscription expired. Now I can't spell anymore.

All software sucks ? (4.00 / 2) (#23)
by Builder on Mon Dec 17, 2001 at 04:13:06 AM EST

So pretty much all software sucks? Do you read A.S.R by any chance ? :)
Be nice to your daemons
[ Parent ]
That is it, exactly. (3.00 / 1) (#28)
by Hillgiant on Mon Dec 17, 2001 at 09:48:27 AM EST

All software sucks.
People are broken.

I want to know why it seems that all disagreements in the open source world seem to de-evolve into person attacks.

"It is impossible to say what I mean." -johnny
[ Parent ]

Re: All software sucks ? (none / 0) (#32)
by X-Nc on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 11:04:31 AM EST

> So pretty much all software sucks?

Well, yeah. The differentiating aspects are the degree of suckiness. That which sucks less is, by definition, better than that which sucks more.

> Do you read A.S.R by any chance ? :)

I don't know, who/what is A.S.R.?

Aaahhhh!!!! My K5 subscription expired. Now I can't spell anymore.
[ Parent ]

Clarifying the point of my article (3.33 / 9) (#25)
by Builder on Mon Dec 17, 2001 at 04:26:06 AM EST

I'd like to clarify some points that I was trying to make in the original story. pnambic and christianlavoie have made comments attached to this story that I think capture the message the article was supposed to get across.

I have no problem with companies who sell software. This is the business model that they chose to work under. My problem lies with the double standards that Miguel has chosen to support.

In the early days of Gnome, the faction led by Miguel demanded total freedom or total boycott in the KDE wars. Miguel is quoted in Rebel Code as saying that if Richard Stallman ever asked him to carry the torch for Free Software (the old 'what if so-and-so gets hit by a bus scenario') he would gladly do it.

Yet the company founded by this person (and I don't know how much he controls current day to day decisions) has chosen not partial freedom. Not a restrictive 'shared source' type licence, but complete closed source.

So when they need the headlines, it's Freedom or bust. But when they need the funding, the values that they originally stood for have to fall to the realities of corporate business.

I hope this is a little clearer now. For me, one of my heroes, a man who's stance, views and energy I greatly believed in, has failed. The corporate world won this round by forcing him to play by their rules.

Be nice to your daemons
So you need a rewrite... (1.50 / 2) (#26)
by Kaki Nix Sain on Mon Dec 17, 2001 at 04:33:18 AM EST

We'll vote accordingly.

[ Parent ]

Why would they release it? (3.00 / 2) (#29)
by japhar81 on Mon Dec 17, 2001 at 11:10:45 AM EST

The connector is a vital cornerstone to a Linux Exchange client. True. Ximian has given the community a desktop, a package management system, an absolutely kickass PIM. What do you want? They need to make money, and I, for one, can't think of a company I'd rather see cashing in on a Linux version of Exchange. Thank them for what they've given you, and buy the connector, even if you dont use exchange. If they can't make a profit, the software wont matter.

<H6>Rome is always burning, and the younger generation never respects its elders. The time of your second coming, japhar81, is no exception. -- Aphasia</H6&gt
not to be cynical (none / 0) (#30)
by kubalaa on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 10:47:17 AM EST

But you've got it backwards. You said "If they can't make a profit, the software won't matter." Actually, it's the other way around: "the software is out there, so what happens to the company is irrelevant." That's the beauty of open source; you're independent of the company.

(Note that at a personal level, we should be greatful for the work Ximian has done and try to reward them; but on a societal/economic/idealistic level, they made the choice to contribute to open source and having done so it is their fault if they go under because of it. A gift is not a gift if you are under OBLIGATION to return the favor.)

[ Parent ]

The word "Never" (3.00 / 1) (#35)
by haflinger on Fri Jan 11, 2002 at 07:25:48 PM EST

Never is often abused by software developers and other workers in the IT industry.

What does it usually mean?

At best, not anytime in the next ten or twenty years.

More often, it means "My boss won't do it, and it really pisses me off."

But really: never is just an impossible word to use in an industry which didn't even exist a century ago. I mean, think of what Gutenberg might have said "never" could be done. Now look at books today. And he's only half a millennium back. Kinda short in comparison to eternity.

Did people from the future send George Carlin back in time to save rusty and K5? - leviramsey

When heroes fail | 35 comments (35 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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