Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

IBM Exec Bemoans Lack of Industry-Specific Linux Apps

timothy posted more than 6 years ago | from the windows-lacks-compiz-fusion- dept.

Linux Business 302

Ian Lamont writes "Bob Sutor, IBM's vice president of open source and standards, used his keynote appearance at LinuxWorld to complain about the lack of industry-specific open source apps. Despite some encouraging signs in the educational field with Sakai, Sutor said that he was 'tired of waiting' for specialized applications to appear in other sectors, adding that the proliferation of different licenses — and changing legal requirements for using the same software over time — is holding some businesses back from using open source applications."

cancel ×

302 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Just a thought... (5, Insightful)

amazeofdeath (1102843) | more than 6 years ago | (#24522609)

Maybe IBM might wish to consider throwing some money at someone developing those apps.

Re:Just a thought... (4, Insightful)

fork_daemon (1122915) | more than 6 years ago | (#24522645)

Ah.. I was about to say that.

In the world of open and free software, people develop software only becuase they are motivated to make one usually for personal gain.

Unless someone motivates them, you wont expect them to make softwares that they do not plan to use. There is no lack of talent.

We could have seen a GTA clone on the Linux front by now, but we don't for two reasons, no one is sponsoring any project and no one really is motivated enough to start one.

If someone throws in enough money, they will get what they want.

Re:Just a thought... (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24522711)

http://happypenguin.org/show?OpenGTA

Re:Just a thought... (1)

antirelic (1030688) | more than 6 years ago | (#24522713)

The major problem with the "throw money at it" argument is that ALOT of money is going to be needed to effectively bridge the gap between M$ and Open Source. If we could go back in time (say, 1994) and get Open Source the same level of support as it has today, without a doubt, we would be living a completely different world.

The major problem is as follows: If I spend money to build application X for an Open Source platform, will anyone switch when that same application is also being built on Windows (which still runs more applications).

The major solution would be for a group of major industry players to put some big time money into porting dozens of key applications to run on Open Source platforms (here's looking at you Video Game industry). I think Ubuntu has done a lot to make the Linux desktop very usable right out of the box, but lets face it, Wine just doesnt cut it for your run of the line, regular computer user.

Re:Just a thought... (4, Interesting)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 6 years ago | (#24522999)

It's not a major problem. Businesses can make sweeping statements about how they don't wish to deal with license proliferation. But they have been riding all this time on the tail of an install base that was funded by a lot of consumers, and reducing their costs because someone else has been footing the bill. That isn't going to last. When these closed source companies are maintaining an increasingly complex codebase for a shrinking segment of the market, the cost to the shrunken segment is going to increase until there is no longer a business case for using it. When that point is reached, businesses that refuse to get with the program will go out of business.

If IBM wants to see more people using open software, they should send their legal guns in and start tearing down the tyrannical legal structure that prompted this license proliferation in the first place. After all is said and done, they helped build those legal structures that created this situation in the first place. If we had a system that enshrined the peoples right to have access to ideas, rather than one that enshrined the right of individuals and corporations to erect barriers, this wouldn't be happening, and people could stop funding the rich lifestyles of jet-setting lawyers and get down to the business of being productive and making the world a better place to live in.

The lawyer bills are, at the end of the day, what they're complaining about.

Re:Just a thought... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24523295)

I'm you are so fucking smart why don't you invest your life savings in an industry-specific open source app? No, I didn't think so either.

Re:Just a thought... (4, Interesting)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 6 years ago | (#24523477)

I'm you are so fucking smart why don't you invest your life savings in an industry-specific open source app? No, I didn't think so either.

I don't have a life savings. I don't trust economies or currencies and I don't like participating in modern capitalism, so I don't keep large amounts of liquidity or financial investments. But I have been investing years of my effort and surplus income into creating an industry specific infrastructure to support artists who release Creative Commons so there will be alternatives to copyright available for people to turn to. And of course, once it's ready and live, I'll release the technological advances I've made to the community. If you want more details, you'll have to wait till I'm ready to handle the load of a slashdotting. But I put my time and money where my mouth is, and I always have. So, fuck off.

Re:Just a thought... (1)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | more than 6 years ago | (#24522807)

Actually, you might see a GTA clone some day. There is already an Elite clone (http://vegastrike.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net] ). Development on Vega Strike is slow compared to commercial projects but there is a handful of hobbyists who keep the project going.

Now industry specific software is far less fun and enticing (read: boooring). In that case, I believe it will take real money in the form of salaries for the developers ;-)

How about porting? (0)

SgtChaireBourne (457691) | more than 6 years ago | (#24523097)

...

We could have seen a GTA clone on the Linux front by now, but we don't for two reasons, no one is sponsoring any project and no one really is motivated enough to start one.

Why a clone? Are you so assimilated into the MS religion that you cannot fathom a market for software on normal systems?

Besides, that in general is a dying market. No one plays games on the desktop anymore. That's for work, or at least surfing and e-mail and such. Games do much better on the console. You're better off spending money on a mid-range desktop and a good console and then use the savings for a lot of beer and pizza. Top three selling consoles (Wii, PS3, PS2) have a lot of games available.

However, something seems to be holding that back just like with work-related applications. Adobe's been receiving requests for years and years about porting its apps to Linux. There's a market, but somehow the normal rules supply and demand appear to be interfered with here...

Re:How about porting? (3, Insightful)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 6 years ago | (#24523237)

Games do much better on the console.

Some games do better on the console. Some games are unplayable on a console.

Adobe's been receiving requests for years and years about porting its apps to Linux. There's a market, but somehow the normal rules supply and demand appear to be interfered with here...

No, your ability to reason has been interfered with. There is no market for Linux versions of Adobe apps. There cannot be a market for what doesn't exist. There can be a demand. Demand does not create a market. Only the combination of supply and demand create a market.

If you wish to say that Adobe does not feel the demand is great enough to bother creating the market, than say so. Don't try to insinuate that Adobe hates open systems or that they are in bed with MS.

Re:Just a thought... (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 6 years ago | (#24523263)

If someone throws in enough money, they will get what they want.

I am intrigued by your ideas and would like to subscribe to your newsletter, signed A Deranged Venture Capitalist.

Re:Just a thought... (2, Insightful)

LatePaul (799448) | more than 6 years ago | (#24522837)

Thing is even if they did (are?)

a) we're talking about a lot of money to fill even a small proportion of the missing apps

b) for the health of the Linux software eco-system there needs to be many developers of such apps, not just IBM and a few other big corporations

Thing to realise is this is a keynote speech at a conference. Despite the tone of "I'm tired of waiting" he's not really talking about what applications he personally, or IBM as an organisation want/need, he's trying to throw out a challenge to the community in general. I'm sure if there are specific apps that IBM need on Linux they are willing and able to develop them.

Indeed "I'm tired of waiting" sounds to me like an attention-grabbing phrase rather than anything else.

Re:Just a thought... (4, Insightful)

pionzypher (886253) | more than 6 years ago | (#24522875)

I agree, but with a caveat.. I've had the opportunity to attempt to transition some of our scada systems at work to linux. One issue though, linux is sorely lacking in this area. There are a few pieces of software out there, but nothing that can hope to begin to compete with win32 solutions. I'd argue that this isn't due to lack of interest or talent; but more of a confidentiality concern. The best solution I've found for mudbus TCP interfacing is at tuxplc.net. It's by no means an optimal solution, however. I'd be very surprised if I were the only one considering this. But I'll never be able to contribute.. I've been working on my own implementation to log and control the mbTCP devices available. I'd love to give my work away in the hope that it would help others.... but there's no way in hell my employer would ever allow me to release the code or binaries.


I guess my point is, this is one point where FOSS seems to break down. A lot of industry specific apps are (at least viewed as) highly proprietary and simply won't be prolific in FOSS. This isn't simply a case of no one being interested, or a lack of financial support. More of a NDA / confidentiality / trade secret realm issue perhaps.

Re:Just a thought... (2, Insightful)

christoofar (451967) | more than 6 years ago | (#24522919)

Most package managers aren't going to be happy with handling distribution packages for COTS software that is mostly pre-compiled binaries.

That's a burden for COTS distribution unless you're Java-based.

Plus, there's that whole Gtk/Qt mess (which one should I use), testing in multiple languages, and the COTS package having to support multiple platforms.

In the COTS space, for industry-specific apps... Mac is finally getting some attention. However, plain jane dumb users (the kind in OfficeSpace) aren't going to be dropping to the shell and running sh configure, make, make install as root.

COTS developers need to be convinced that it is worth their while to go through the pain of multiple distributions.

Maybe in the OSS world, someone could write a better autoconfigure wrapper (maybe at the dist level?) that can let users know whether their systems meet the minimum requirements to run a COTS app, and COTS developers can "trust" implicitly that requirements checker is always going to be there; and to take care of shortfalls [user is missing some commercial or OSS libs, or needs to upgrade].

A secretary can't understand the output from sh configure and then run to rpmfind or her disto to get libfsckinguselessblahblah.1.4.so

She needs the kintergarden interface that holds her hand and gently walks her through installing missing libs that a COTS developer linked into his/her project.

Re:Just a thought... (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 6 years ago | (#24523239)

Total bullshit.

The challenges for running COTS software on Linux are the same as they
are for Windows. If you want to be in the business of managing the
customers system level pre-requisites then you need to actively
manage those. Running on top of Windows doesn't make these magically
go away.

Have you really ever actually installed any Windows software ever?

Nevermind actually writing the installers.

This is just another aspect of the usual fear mongering.

Re:Just a thought... (1)

barzok (26681) | more than 6 years ago | (#24523325)

Just throwing money at "someone" to develop the apps often isn't enough.

http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/001158.html [codinghorror.com]

Perhaps IBM should start writing these apps themselves instead.

I am a nigger (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24522613)

vote for me! [youtube.com]

Awesome! (0, Redundant)

Krishnoid (984597) | more than 6 years ago | (#24522633)

Sutor said that he was 'tired of waiting' for specialized applications to appear in other sectors,

So he's got an itch to scratch and in the hallowed tradition of open source, will start writing these apps that he desperately feels the absence of? Impatience [wikipedia.org] is one of the traits of a good programmer, after all.

Re:Awesome! (3, Insightful)

ThomsonsPier (988872) | more than 6 years ago | (#24522653)

One would hope so.

So, he's 'tired of waiting', eh? I find that waiting for code to appear in front of me is a very poor method of production.

Re:Awesome! (1)

fbjon (692006) | more than 6 years ago | (#24522957)

I find that waiting for code to appear in front of me is a very poor method of production.

Hey, it works for me. Admittedly it's all in green and falling down.

Open Source and Business together (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24522661)

its like matter and anti-matter

Re:Open Source and Business together (1)

amazeofdeath (1102843) | more than 6 years ago | (#24522673)

I know that you are trolling, but tell that to Red Hat, Novell, etc.

Yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24522693)

those cheap reliable WIndows and unix boxes are the ones that drove the net when it was good. yeah, thats the ticket.

GPL not strong enough. (4, Interesting)

wisty (1335733) | more than 6 years ago | (#24522675)

A company might spend hundreds of thousands on an industry application, then turn it into an industry standard (or consortium developed) open source application. This gives them a slight advantage (as they already know the program), and allows them to focus on core business, not programming. The problem is, the GPL doesn't stop a competitor forking the project and gaining a competitive advantage developing extra features in house (obviously not distributing back to the world). There are other licenses, (RPL) that fix this, but FSF says they are too free or something.

Re:GPL not strong enough. (2, Interesting)

fsmunoz (267297) | more than 6 years ago | (#24522707)

I think that the GPL actually always had that advantage over non-copyleft licences: while it doesn't stop a competitor from taking the code it pretty much guarantees that any "competitive advantage" that arises is smoothed out since they must make that available. This makes it somewhat preferable for a company that wants to release some in-house developed code ans is concerned about that angle.

I've read the RPL briefly, and it seems that the main difference is that it requires that everything related to the code must be distributed (scripts, auxiliary programs not directly related with the program, etc), which is a bit to much IMO since it becomes very unclear what must and must not be shared - but perhaps I'm not reading it with the necessary attention

Re:GPL not strong enough. (4, Insightful)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 6 years ago | (#24522787)

Anything for which they don't distribute binaries they don't have to distribute source. Improving the code only for in-house use means not needing to give any improvements back.

Re:GPL not strong enough. (1)

frodo from middle ea (602941) | more than 6 years ago | (#24522709)

That argument doesn't make sense. If they develop extra features in house and don't distribute it, then how are they getting a competitive advantage ?

Re:GPL not strong enough. (3, Informative)

smellotron (1039250) | more than 6 years ago | (#24522759)

I believe the GP is referring to another company developing extra features for in-house use, then distributing the app in-house. AFAIK the GPL licensing requires the company's developers to provide the source modifications to the company's users, but the company as a whole can keep those modifications private.

Re:GPL not strong enough. (3, Interesting)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 6 years ago | (#24522909)

IANAL, but I don't think placing the binaries on company-owned computers for use by company employees is considered distribution. If the company gives an employee a copy for their own PC to work from home, that's a whole new can of worms.

Re:GPL not strong enough. (1, Insightful)

Dracker (1323355) | more than 6 years ago | (#24523205)

If they "distribute" the binaries to their employees, they must also make available the source to those employees. I don't see how this weakens the original point. If they're not publicly distributing binaries, they don't have to publicly distribute source.

Re:GPL not strong enough. (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 6 years ago | (#24523363)

Unless you're a lawyer (I know I'm not one), please forgive me for not taking your word that placing software on a computer I own and paying someone to use that computer in my place of business is "distribution" in the sense used in the GPL. A company is generally considered a single entity in the practice of its business, and you can't very well distribute something to yourself.

If the GPL actually required that a computer's owner provided source, a compiler, and access to install software to every employee using the software, then nobody would be using GPLed software in business. A business desktop user has no business compiling and installing things on the business machines.

If the employee is given a copy to take home, they probably do need to get the source. That, as I said, is a completely different issue.

Re:GPL not strong enough. (1)

frodo from middle ea (602941) | more than 6 years ago | (#24523305)

And what's preventing the employees from releasing the said source code to the outside world ? apart from getting fired of course ? From what I know of GPL, the company can't say "Here's the source under GPL, but don't distribute it".

So the employees or for that matter any party which obtains the source code from the company is perfectly within their legal rights to distribute the code to the outside world .

Or am I missing something ?

Re:GPL not strong enough. (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 6 years ago | (#24523267)

It also puts then a a big disadvantage: the few hundred thousand they spent to develop it that their competitors don't have to pay. I don't understand why OSS advocates can't understand this very simple point. This is the primary reason why there will never be very many industry-specific OSS applications.

I can't understand your inability either (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24523487)

This company paid a few hundred thousand to develop something that helps their processes. Their processes are now better.

That is why they wrote the code.

That is still true if it's GPL'd.

Someone ELSE making progress off it doesn't make your process WORSE.

I don't understand why CSS advocates can't see this.

Re:I can't understand your inability either (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 6 years ago | (#24523521)

And the processes of their competitors are better as well, except that their competitors spent $0 to get there. Duh.

Very true (5, Insightful)

markdavis (642305) | more than 6 years ago | (#24522715)

This is extremely true. We are a 95% Linux site- servers and clients, and it is nearly impossible to find industry specific Linux applications. The kicker is- we would be happy with even CLOSED source, commercial applications. There are needs for specific types of software for just about every industry: medical, dental, car repair, musician, distribution, auditing, education, scientific, etc, you name it.

But what is worse is the lack of applications for NON industry-specific business applications. EVERY business needs payroll, GL, AP, and AR. At least there are some choices with those, but surprisingly few. When you are trying to use Linux on the server AND client side, it is quite a challenge. I know. We are trying to get payroll, GL, AP, and AR *right now*. Fortunately, we found Southware- impressive stuff, although it is expensive, and text-based only.

And no, WINE doesn't cut it- we need real support. And no, we are not able to develop such apps ourselves. And no, we don't have the time or resources to start such development projects. But we have money and want to spend it on something that allows us to use the platform of our choice.

What is needed is a COMPELLING, modern, cross-platform, open-source, GUI, business application development environment. It is 2008. It shouldn't be difficult anymore for existing vendors to port their software to all major platforms and support them. Eventually this will happen, at least with a few major vendors. But in the meanwhile, Linux is suffering horribly in business outside of being web/file/print/compute servers.

Re:Very true (1)

nawcom (941663) | more than 6 years ago | (#24522775)

What, you want a Visual Basic for X11?

What is needed is a COMPELLING, modern, cross-platform, open-source, GUI, business application development environment.

Like the one Google Earth uses? Qt4 [trolltech.com] .

The truth is that "Free Software" is still on the bottom of the need-to-be-compatible list, as of now. Plus, for some people the fact that it is free makes them hate it (strange, but true).

Re:Very true (1)

markdavis (642305) | more than 6 years ago | (#24522823)

I won't comment on "Visual Basic".

As for Qt4: Is it compelling and appropriate for business software vendors? (I don't know).

Of course, having the tools is a major plus, but getting business application vendors to use them, I suppose that is the real challenge.

Re:Very true (1, Informative)

segedunum (883035) | more than 6 years ago | (#24522887)

We are a 95% Linux site- servers and clients, and it is nearly impossible to find industry specific Linux applications. The kicker is- we would be happy with even CLOSED source, commercial applications.

For industry specific and niche applications it is doubtful whether you will ever get a set of open source applications for a lot of set purposes. What is required are reasonably straightforward development frameworks for application developers to pick up, create a wide variety of software and be able distribute those applications easily to you. Linux and open source software has various parts of this in place, but the main problems aren't being solved. If we get that then maybe open source developers from the Windows world will chime in as well and create a snowball effect.

What is needed is a COMPELLING, modern, cross-platform, open-source, GUI, business application development environment. It is 2008.

It has one. It's called Qt (yes, it works everywhere well on Linux, Unix, OS X and Windows), it really works and it even has a modern desktop environment developed with it called KDE with frameworks being developed that are trying to solve some of the more pressing problems we've had for years - easy desktop scripting and development, easy installation, integration of the OS with the desktop etc.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of the Linux companies seem to be fannying about with stuff that isn't going to work or move forwards this side of the next ice age.

Mod parent up (2, Insightful)

TheLink (130905) | more than 6 years ago | (#24522963)

I agree. It's not the lack of industry specific apps that should bother people that much.

It's the lack of non industry specific apps - HR, Finance/Accounting. You mentioned that sort of stuff. Stuff that every fair sized company needs.

Then there's also stuff like calendaring/scheduling.

Lots of people are resorting to MS Outlook and Exchange because the OSS options just aren't compelling.

You need an OSS client AND server that work well together for email, calendaring, etc AND the client must run on Windows/OSX - because that's what Microsoft Office runs on.

Because OpenOffice sucks. It does - it takes ages to launch, and there are plenty of WTF bugs - just having some normal character at the end of a line messed up formatting on my OpenOffice Impress presentation - I had to _downgrade_ to an _earlier_ version to have that work right - but that means accepting OTHER bugs.

Say what you like about MSOffice, but the 97 and 2003 versions are still better than OOo. The latest? Well let's say the latest MS Office is an opportunity for OOo to gain significant market share if they get their act together.

And Vista should be a dream come true for Desktop Linux. But..

Re:Mod parent up (1)

a_real_bast... (1305351) | more than 6 years ago | (#24523413)

Regarding calendar/scheduling apps, the Mozilla Foundation's Sunbird is a very nice program that allows subscribing and publishing of calendars. Have a look, at least. I've had it open on a workspace for at least three weeks by now, with not an ounce of trouble. Chandler also looks kinda interesting, but I wouldn't recommend it if your machines don't have plenty of spare grunt. I use an older laptop, and Chandler regularly attempted to set fire to the processor.
Anyway, this particular question has come up before. [slashdot.org]

Maybe it depends on your industry (1)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 6 years ago | (#24523067)

This is extremely true. We are a 95% Linux site- servers and clients, and it is nearly impossible to find industry specific Linux applications. T

Maybe it depends what you do. In math/science fields, there's a ton of Linux stuff. Many applications have unix/windows versions, but many open-source applications are pretty much unix only - or at least, you're on your own if you want to do it in Windows.

If you're talking about polished, high-end business apps, then the problem is the article itself - companies like IBM are sitting on their hands, thumbs pointed north, when they should be making that stuff.

Re:Maybe it depends on your industry (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 6 years ago | (#24523283)

Maybe it depends what you do. In math/science fields, there's a ton of Linux stuff.

That's because those apps are written by academics.

Re:Maybe it depends on your industry (1)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 6 years ago | (#24523369)

That's because those apps are written by academics.

And your point is....

Re:Maybe it depends on your industry (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 6 years ago | (#24523495)

Academics aren't profit driven. Any for-profit company is not going to spend money and time to develop software then give it away to competitors. That is not only stupid, but it's illegal, and warrants a lawsuit by the shareholders.

Re:Very true (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24523367)

GL, AP, and AR.

Maybe if non-business people knew what the hell that stood for, a non-business person could write you some software that did whatever that was. Until then, it's not going to get done because it's not like a free software programmer can afford to hire accountants and force them to explain it.

If you want your itch scratched, do it yourself or explain to someone else exactly where it is.

Hire someone to develop it for you (1)

someone1234 (830754) | more than 6 years ago | (#24523387)

Then resell it, or open source it.

Funny thing how not many want to slave for nothin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24522717)

I mean, I'll slave for love (I swear I'll kill the bitch if she ever cheats on me), and I'll slave for country (God Bwess the Queen), but I'll be damned if I'll slave for IBM.

Re:Funny thing how not many want to slave for noth (5, Funny)

ettlz (639203) | more than 6 years ago | (#24522877)

I'll slave for love (I swear I'll kill the bitch if she ever cheats on me)

I take it you don't use ext3, then.

Holding me back (1)

Evildonald (983517) | more than 6 years ago | (#24522721)

Moaning IBM execs are holding me back from liking IBM.

Re:Holding me back (4, Funny)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 6 years ago | (#24522903)

He's not a moaning exec, he's a man with a vision :
"Either it's going to happen or it's not going to happen." (Bob Sutor, vice president of open source and standards at IBM)

It's because of this kind of insight that he's a VP at IBM and you're not.

Re:Holding me back (3, Insightful)

kraemate (1065878) | more than 6 years ago | (#24523051)

Either this is going to be modded up or its going to be modded down.

Re:Holding me back (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24523277)

No, he is a VP at IBM because he came from a wealthy background.

Notes? (3, Insightful)

linuxpng (314861) | more than 6 years ago | (#24522723)

Can you run notes without wine?

Re:Notes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24522923)

>>Can you run notes without wine?

Give me enough wine and I can run your notes anywhere you want.

Re:Notes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24522985)

Can you run notes without wine?

Yes, both the Notes client and the Domino server natively support Domino.

Re:Notes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24523037)

You can, but you'll want something nice and strong to replace the wine. Whiskey, vodka, rum, whatever floats your boat.

Myopic execs (2, Insightful)

sleepyfox (946245) | more than 6 years ago | (#24522725)

I would suggest that Bob visits his optician, for there are many open-source industry-specific enterprise applications out there, should he care to look. In Healthcare IT two high-quality FOSS enterprise applications that I've come across recently are Mirth ( http://www.mirthproject.org/ [mirthproject.org] ) a cross-platform standards-compliant interface engine, and Tolven ( http://www.tolvenhealth.com/ [tolvenhealth.com] ) an EHR solution. I can't comment about other verticals, but I suggest that the parable of 'look, and ye shall find' is appropriate here.

Re:Myopic execs (1)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 6 years ago | (#24522867)

There aren't many. There are a handful. At best. For people who try to run Linux shops it's indeed very difficult.

For something that impacts pretty much every business, finding a proper accounting package that will be accepted during yearly audits (in Europe) is pretty much impossible at the moment.

More specialised packages for innumerable industries simply don't exist although in many case you can hack something together fairly easily from what's out there (but most businesses aren't too keen on that kind of thing).

i dunno (3, Informative)

nawcom (941663) | more than 6 years ago | (#24522727)

but I think a company could get open source programmers to work on open source industry-specific apps by *shocked* paying them for it! I sure as hell would take time out of working on my own apps to do contract work for IBM, as long as a check is coming to me in the mail. No money? I'll just continue to put my heart into my own open source applications. Heh, no, I did not RTFA yet.

Whine without cheese? (1)

guttergod (94044) | more than 6 years ago | (#24522733)

Open Source is bad because there's no app to control our $8billion supermodular nanotech construction droid freely available?

IBM Has a Lot of Nerve (1, Interesting)

curmudgeon99 (1040054) | more than 6 years ago | (#24522751)

If you have been in the job market in the last ten years, you know that IBM has gone from being a great place to work to a huge source of off shoring. They really do not hire any Americans in significant numbers. And, duh, where do you thing a large number of open-source enterprise apps would come from? The United States. So, they have themselves to blame for his mess. If you want to harvest the fruits, you have to plant seeds. The last remaining benefit of American culture is our tendency to foster creativity in our kids. In the US, we build things, we have junk drawers, we make tree forts when we are kids. These habits of creation then aid our imaginations and we take those imaginations with us when we enter the IT field. Hard as it may be for the Indian workforce to accept, their culture does not work the same way. I cannot explain it but over the last several years I have yet to see an Indian developer who was trully creative and innovative. They are just not raised in a culture that fosters it. I do not want to sound like a racist--this is not a racial thing--it's a cultural thing.

Re:IBM Has a Lot of Nerve (1)

guttergod (94044) | more than 6 years ago | (#24522769)

I do not want to sound like a racist--this is not a racial thing--it's a cultural thing.

So you're an occultist then?

Re:IBM Has a Lot of Nerve (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24522827)

But IBM is doing open source a favor by making us all unemployed so we can write open source code all day long. Then when all software is open source, there will no longer be a need to outsource to india. See makes perfect sense ;-)

Here in India (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24522881)

Here in India, we make tree houses ... to live in !! It's better than most of the places, and the rent's noto to bad, either !!

Re:IBM Has a Lot of Nerve (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24523015)

You do not want to sound racist, but you do, and ignorant as well...

Re:IBM Has a Lot of Nerve (1)

Fierlo (842860) | more than 6 years ago | (#24523061)

The last remaining benefit of American culture is our tendency to foster creativity in our kids.

I cannot explain it but over the last several years I have yet to see an Indian developer who was trully creative and innovative.

And, in the last several years, I haven't seen any truly creative kids. Just a bunch of fat kids who have an enormous sense of entitlement, and watch TV and play videogames in their environment that fosters creativity so much.

Looks like our anecdotal evidence says different things.

INTERNATIONAL Business Machines (5, Informative)

sjbe (173966) | more than 6 years ago | (#24523233)

They really do not hire any Americans in significant numbers.

Yeah funny how a company called International Business Machines which operates in 170 countries and gets 63% of its revenue from outside the US [ibm.com] would even think to hire someone anyone but Americans. I can't fathom why they want to hire locally in BRIC [wikipedia.org] countries where IBM's revenue grew 26% in 2007. Apparently no one informed IBM that they have a responsibility to only hire Americans who know little to nothing about the countries where IBM is seeing the highest growth.

I cannot explain it but over the last several years I have yet to see an Indian developer who was trully creative and innovative.

Right, because a nuclear power like India with a billion citizens must not have a single creative person. I'm sure all the incredibly talented Indian engineers and doctors I've personally met must really be from somewhere else. After all, according to you they have no imagination or creativity if they are from India.

Why Sakai? (4, Insightful)

Flambergius (55153) | more than 6 years ago | (#24522757)

I wonder why the example mentioned is Sakai? Anyone working with Open Source Software in the education knows very well that the real success story is Moodle [moodle.org] . Unfortunately the article doesn't go into details in this regard, so I'm left just thinking that it's another case of Big Organization Blindness.

Re:Why Sakai? (1)

Dan East (318230) | more than 6 years ago | (#24523029)

I'm also curious about Sakai. It is a java-based web app, so it's not really specific to Linux at all, and those that "use" it don't even know that Linux is powering the back-end. I assumed he was referring to Linux desktop apps.

Just Do It (IBM Still Doesn't Get it After OS/2) (0, Redundant)

segedunum (883035) | more than 6 years ago | (#24522761)

Rather than moaning about the fact that other people aren't putting in the effort into pushing development frameworks forward to allow developers to create lots of great applications, and helping them distribute said applications to users, maybe IBM should, you know, put in a tiny percentage of its overall costs and resources and bloody well do it?

Even more ironic is the fact that Bob Sutor (I believe) is one of the open sorce people at IBM who has pontificated about the evils of OOXML and the promotion of ODF. Well Bob, applications rule and if you want to help out, rather than lobbying the mess that is the ISO process and moaning in blogs, get out there and help produce some kick-ass ODF-using applications that people feel that they just have to use above Microsoft Office. No, creating yet another version of Open Office, but proprietary, and calling it Symphony, is not the answer. Meanwhile, as the main problems don't get solved, he then talks bullshit about cloud computing, that huge bullshit about how operating systems are less visible and matter less and software as a service.

The open source world is full of armchair moaners willing to pontificate about the deficiencies of Linux and open source software as a platform. Worryingly, these are sometimes quite large companies who profess to use Linux and open source software as a main source of income. They might moan about the current situation, but IBM's past history with OS/2 and Windows shows that they still have no clue whatsoever what needs solving.

Legal requirements to *use*? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24522767)

What on earth is he on about?

Surely "freedom 0", the right to run the software, is allowed by *all* free software licenses.

Sure, there are the GPL3 provisions but they're only recent and they have a relatively limited area of effect w.r.t these sorts of apps, right?

Lack isn't a big surprise... (3, Insightful)

Urkki (668283) | more than 6 years ago | (#24522799)

It's quite understandable that a business that needs some industry-spesific application and comes to the conclusion that they must pay to have it made, won't make it open source. It's kind of against traditional business sense to pay for something, and then give it away so that your competitors get access to it for free... And even the usual open source arguments of getting "community development" benefit won't fly here. It's unlikely the competitors would "give back" their modifications/fixes with GPL, if they are just using the software internally, as they probably would with a lot of "industry specific" software. And even if they're distributing it, they probably wouldn't put any effort in "giving back", they'd do it only if somebody found out and actively requested they comply with the license.

I think a yet different kind of licence is needed... It could for example require at least read-only online version control repository for anybody who compiles the software from source and uses it in any way, and also require that the internal version is compiled unpatched from the public repository, and that if some closed code is used with it, the open code must not depend on the closed code (only the other way around). Or something like that, making sure that whatever competitors do with the open software, they can't hide their improvements easily.

Re:Lack isn't a big surprise... (1)

geckipede (1261408) | more than 6 years ago | (#24522987)

Are you really trying to invent the copyleft equivalent of DRM?

changing legal requirements... (5, Insightful)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 6 years ago | (#24522811)

This "changing legal requirements for running the same software" bit is obviously a crack at the GPLv2 to GPLv3 transition and similar license changes some projects go through.

Anyone speaking on behalf of IBM should realize that the EULAs for proprietary software change between versions all the time. Hell, many of them allow the publisher to retroactively change the terms of the EULA by posting the new wording to a website.

It isn't really fair to call one group out as being inferior for having clearer licenses that just happen to change more noticeably. It's the changes you don't notice until you're being sued that are the really painful ones, after all.

Re:changing legal requirements... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24523069)

The GPL isn't a EULA and it doesn't affect the users. It only those wishing to use another's code for their own products they in turn wish to distribute. So please spare us the FUD.

Re:changing legal requirements... (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 6 years ago | (#24523313)

It's called "juxtaposition". Look it up.

Hear hear.... (3, Interesting)

christoofar (451967) | more than 6 years ago | (#24522817)

I encounter this problem daily. I'm in a corporation that makes software.

EVERYBODY in the company knows that Linux is great, has been proven to be stable, the kernel can be adapted to run on anything, and now has a superior GUI (factoring in compiz/beryl + emerald), and you can use every programming language known to man on it.

Our particular problem is that the Microsoft monopoly has held on for so long, we're populated with a lot of Microsoft druids from the highest levels of the organization to the bottom.

We can't fire those people, obviously, and replace them with OSS-devotees; that would cut off our nose to spite our face. And besides, our clients (power industry, oil and gas) are almost always 100% windows desktop shops, with the random chance that their SAP system might be on an AIX server or HP-UX or if it's a brand new IBM mainframe... would be on a Linux mainframe.

But, I don't see anybody that wants a native SAPGUI for Linux, much less see the product I work on, which is graphics intensive, to run natively on Linux.

Shoot... imagine your average SAPGUI corporate druid that would want to run SAPGUI on Linux natively... this is what they would have to do:
http://www.linuxquestions.org/linux/answers/Applications_GUI_Multimedia/HOW_TO_Run_SAP_GUI_On_LINUX_To_Connect_SAP_R3_Systems

You think they're going to do that? Unless they're a geek... no.

And that little example is just a product I work on that is 80% Java based. Think of that huge mountain of little VB6 apps still out there.

Most corporations have tons of home-grown apps that sit internally which take care of important processes that keep the company humming. Sure, most of them could be reduced to python scripts with a CLI front-end, a Berkeley DB instead of Access and the users could just use PuTTY to get to them; but is that realistic? Who wants to do that work all over again?

What would convince companies it is worth their time to move to a FOSS platform on the desktop?

I mean, we already have a nice office suite that does most of everything you want and has that neat free-PDF generation stuff Office doesn't have (OOo), email clients galore, seamless wireless connectivity has gotten better, plenty of browsers, lots of security, every networking app and util you can think of, and every day--more native OSS clients you can shake a stick at.

These are just some of the problems that have to be worked around. I do my part where I work. My desktop at work is Linux, and so is home. Been that way for years now.

Always run the bleeding-edge version of Compiz and when other admins, execs, system architects and other geek-minded people pay a visit to my desk, I make sure they are wowed and dazzled by my desktop display [face it... candy does lure them in].

The problem out there in corporations is the population of people who are more than willing to dump and reload to a new version of Windows whenever it comes out, but mainly too afraid to run Linux on anything other than trash boxes--at best.

If you want people to embrace the desktop, you need to convince people that they love it, not argue with them when they try to compare KDE+GNOME to their old Windows installation.

Apple seems to have accepted this reality--and the market share of OSX in the desktop space has been increasing the last 5 years.

Just keep doing cool stuff on your own workstation or your laptop, and share it with.

Jealousy is the best and fastest way to spark adoption.

Re:Hear hear.... (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 6 years ago | (#24522935)

If you want people to embrace the desktop, you need to convince people that they love it, not argue with them when they try to compare KDE+GNOME to their old Windows installation.

Well said - belittling someone else's tools is not the way to win them over to your side.

Apple seems to have accepted this reality--and the market share of OSX in the desktop space has been increasing the last 5 years.

But Apple has a big advantage over Linux - a tightly controlled environment that simply works. No need to build programs, tight, consistent integration of look and feel across the environment; and a big company behind its products.

Having a dictator running the show has advantages.

Just keep doing cool stuff on your own workstation or your laptop, and share it with.

Jealousy is the best and fastest way to spark adoption.

I'd argue money is the fastest way to speed adoption in the business world.

signed tags (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24522821)

What's with all the stories being tagged as 'signed' ? Can anyone enlighten me ?

It's a chicken and egg problem (4, Insightful)

jimicus (737525) | more than 6 years ago | (#24522825)

Forget about licenses for a minute. There's no law that says "Applications running on Linux must be GPL'd".

The thing is, nobody's going to develop a Linux equivalent of, say, your favourite accounting/payroll application for free. It's as boring as hell to write and doesn't really directly benefit the person writing it so it is (and is likely to remain) the enclave of commercial software houses. GnuCash and the like don't really count here - I'm talking about the kind of application used by business accounts departments with at least a couple of people working fulltime.

And seeing as porting the software to Linux costs money - you've got to pay those developers somehow - you're not going to do it until such time as you've got a reasonable number of customers saying "Do you have a Linux version available? Because if not we're going elsewhere." (And that threat needs to be credible. Migrating your entire accounting department to another application isn't something you do lightly.)

Similarly, the businesses using these applications are more concerned about being able to run them than the OS they run on. "I can save you a bunch of money on Windows licenses" doesn't sound so attractive when you add "...but you won't be able to use products X, Y and Z on which you've built your business, and right now there is no credible alternative."

It's a simple case of economics (3, Insightful)

ciw42 (820892) | more than 6 years ago | (#24522829)

I know it's very much a chicken and egg situation, but a small developer writing software for specific smaller market sectors will probably only realistically be able to afford to develop for the one platform, and that platform is going to have to be the one used by 95% of businesses - Windows.

There's the potential for this to change with the (relatively) recent arrival a number of good RIA solutions, but these are essentially platform neutral and so aren't likely to help Linux adoption.

Any smaller business trying to find a nearby support company who are fluent in and can advise them on Linux systems will often struggle to do so, and the majority of others will of course advise them (often with generous helpings of FUD) against going the Linux route, as it's not in their (the support company's) best interests.

I'm a user and huge fan of Linux and FLOSS in general, but as a software developer who's pretty much always worked in niche markets, I'm also realistic about these things. I have to be - I need to earn a living.

Re:It's a simple case of economics (1)

itsdapead (734413) | more than 6 years ago | (#24523443)

There's the potential for this to change with the (relatively) recent arrival a number of good RIA solutions, but these are essentially platform neutral and so aren't likely to help Linux adoption.

Why not?

To use RIAs you need a good, reliable web server platform plus a lightweight and economical "thin client" OS with standards-compliant browsers and low per-user licensing fees.

Does an obvious candidate spring to mind?

Motivated by reputation? (1)

theMassOfToe (1185695) | more than 6 years ago | (#24522841)

I would guess that giving your time to a prestigous project that's used by millions (e.g. Firefox) is much more satisfying than working for free on some application used by a small number of people in back offices (e.g. ?). So you'd expect a lot more people to be motivated to work on wide use things like Firefox.

Education has it's own motivations - everyone wants to help da kids right?

Telecom Apps (1)

z_gringo (452163) | more than 6 years ago | (#24522845)

Asterisk and OpenSER are leading industry specific apps.

But yes, we could use some really good Business Process Management software also. Although that isn't necesarily industry specific.

Apps (1)

methuselah (31331) | more than 6 years ago | (#24522855)

Linux will never really go beyond the secretaries desktop in business until someone does figure out ways to create applications that suit a given companies needs. Technical goes beyond silicon and software. Manufacturing, Engineering, Architecture, Construction, and Heavy Industry will never embrace an operating system. They will embrace tools that allow them to make money. Cost is so not an issue with them. No company down stream of these business will ever embrace anything that they (industry, etc.) can't or won't use. The reason is obvious these enterprises are the money pump plain and simple. One thing that all the really smart people in the IT field seem to fail to grasp is that these people are highly technical and that they communicate with pictures. Now before you sporge me with lame cad and modeling app links. I have been drawing for over 20 years. I started simply because we had the best computers in the company. I know what I need to be productive and there simply isn't anything that is even remotely usable that runs on linux. I don't really want to hear about wine either it is massive fail when it comes to the high end drawing and design packages. The ability to draw and print very precise pictures is as important as any other app and is woefully absent from the open source offering. That being said, once upon a time IBM did have an ok drafing platform. Maybe they should sell the rights to it to someone and get it ported and working in linux. That might convince the big boys to take a look at porting their stuff. No one expects this stuff to be free. No one will even consider an alternative that doesn't provide it either. Its a real deal killer, I have said it before and I will say it again.

Legal requirements for using software? (2, Insightful)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 6 years ago | (#24522873)

This is an interesting new kind of FUD about free software: that there are legal requirements for 'using it'. The GPL is quite explicit: running the program is not restricted; unless you are modifying or distributing the software, you can do absolutely what you like. Every other free software licence is the same. This message needs to be spread more widely.

Re:Legal requirements for using software? (1)

DraconPern (521756) | more than 6 years ago | (#24522997)

Actually, with GPLv3, there is now legal requirements for using it. That is, if you modify GPLv3 code and use it, but not distribute it, you are still legally obligated to made the modification public. That is the main reason why Linux is against v3.

Re:Legal requirements for using software? (1)

kipman725 (1248126) | more than 6 years ago | (#24523483)

The newton clause (he kept calculus locked up in a chest in his office for approximately 20years) he was a little nuts.

Re:Legal requirements for using software? (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 6 years ago | (#24523005)

What you say is true.

However, when you're a serious user of vertical-market software, you're always getting changes made. Even with closed-source, proprietary, commercial software the big customers who use it the most get the features for which they ask.

When you give a customer like that an open alternative, they'll have it modified by any consultant, freelance contractor, or in-house programmer they can. They then need to know what they can do with the modified versions and what they can't.

This still leaves any sort of Open Source Software in a clearer place than most closed-source software, though. Many companies don't know the exact number of licenses in use from day to day, when the EULA on their closed-source stuff changes between versions, or even how many licenses they're allowed to use. It's pretty common to forget that software product A is per installed seat but product B from the same vendor is per simultaneous use. Many shrink-wrap EULAs even have language which states the software vendor can change the terms of the license for the software you've already bought and started using without prior notice. There's nothing in any Free or Open license I've ever seen that's more difficult to keep track of than the myriad different EULAs that differ from vendor to vendor and often from product to product within a single vendor's product lines.

Re:Legal requirements for using software? (1)

itsdapead (734413) | more than 6 years ago | (#24523307)

The GPL is quite explicit: running the program is not restricted

Well, as we all good /.ers know, the GPL is not an EULA, but sadly, some GPL software still presents it as a click-through, making it look like one. This could be even worse with the more legalistic and impenetrable looking GPLv3.

Perhaps, strategically, it would be better if the GPL came in two documents - a (minimal) "EULA" which just dealt with what you could do *without* committing to the full GPL and a "full GPL" describing your rights and responsibilities if you did. That might help dispel the "using GPL software means you have to give away all your work" FUD.

Throwing money at a problem isn't enough (2, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 6 years ago | (#24522925)

For example, if someone wanted to build an Open Source CAD package, it would be an expensive and time-consuming chore and the odds of other people picking it up and building on it themselves would be very low. For every successful growing F/OSS project out there, another 100+ out there have crashed and burned for a variety of reasons.

What needs to happen is a bunch of people, preferably businesses, with similar interests should hire programmers and developers to work together with a common goal in mind... and that goal shouldn't be to "sell software" either. It should be to build the tool that works the way they need it to work. They can give that tool to other people in their fields so they can read and write their files and grow on from there.

Once upon a time, when a business needed software, they hired programmers to write and maintain them. And an interesting reality is that it's quite likely that programmers are cheaper than software licenses. I could be wrong, but the price of software seems to be ridiculously high. I know my own office spends a ridiculous amount of money for an AutoCAD seat... every year. Maybe it's not as much as the cost of a drafter, but still. After enough seats are purchased and renewed annually in a large enough setting, you could keep two or three good programmers on staff. And if industry related businesses could team their smaller programming staff together, a larger team would emerge and could actually put some interesting things together for a price that is less than or equal to what they are paying now for software that doesn't quite ever meet their needs.

So if industry specific software is needed, the industry needs to get off its ass and stop wasting money on commercial software and put it into programmers.

Re:Throwing money at a problem isn't enough (2, Insightful)

DogDude (805747) | more than 6 years ago | (#24523335)

What needs to happen is a bunch of people, preferably businesses, with similar interests should hire programmers and developers to work together with a common goal in mind... and that goal shouldn't be to "sell software" either. It should be to build the tool that works the way they need it to work.

Why are competitors going to want to help each other, exactly?

Wow (1)

silentcoder (1241496) | more than 6 years ago | (#24522931)

They put the linux trolls on the frontpage now ?

Seriously though. There are many industry specific apps for Linux, but perhaps not enough. They come when somebody writes them. Everyday this problem is becoming smaller - what does he want ? A miracle ? Then put your money where your mouth is.

So, why doesn't he write them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24522961)

Sutor said that he was 'tired of waiting' for specialized applications to appear in other sectors

Well, why doesn't he start writing them then? Oh, that's right - he can't.

This guy is clueless (1)

Confused (34234) | more than 6 years ago | (#24523125)

This IBM guy is pretty clueless or just a vulture waiting for easy pickings to come around.

At the moment there are quite a few industry specific applications based on Linux, but they cost, often a lot and they come with their own servers. For those solutions, Linux was an attractive, because the development platform was easily available and the OS was free, thus reducing the cost for the vendor (but not the client).

Those companies make good money by selling those solutions and from them there's very little motivation to throw the money away.

From time to time there are open source clones started for some of these applications, but usually they don't go very far because often they lack the developer base. The potential clients are usually big enterprises who don't care much about license costs and who at the same time have no interest of letting their employees write open source software (usually because of the potential hassles with the legal department)

If Mr. Sutor wants to see more Open Source domain specific application, he should start at IBM. The whole Tivoli product line would be a good candidate.

A matter of economics (2, Interesting)

frangalista (1297219) | more than 6 years ago | (#24523141)

Echoing previous opinions that have already been written, the choice for many software vendors is limited by economics. If I have a limited number of developers and over 90% of my customers want to use windows, then economics dictates that I will allocate the majority of my resources to building and maintaining the software that I perceive that those users want. My employer faces a similar situation. We build measurement equipment (dataloggers and sensors) and write software to support communications with that equipment. The situation given above plus the decision, made years ago, to write many of our applications in Delphi with a lot of win32 specific calls makes it prohibitively expensive to properly support any other OS than windows.

"IBM Exec Bemonas Lack of Free-Beer..." (1)

Money for Nothin' (754763) | more than 6 years ago | (#24523187)

What this exec *really* is bemoaning is that OSS developers aren't writing software that he can just download for free, repackage as IBM's, then sell for-profit to their customers.

This is why it perpetually boggles my mind that OSS developers would release their code with a license under which their unpaid -- but far from costless -- work can be sold for-profit by anybody willing. Unless you truly don't care about your code, it seems stupid to me...

Depending on the industry, this could be ANY apps (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 6 years ago | (#24523321)

In my recent work experience, I've been directly involved with two different industries for which there are almost NO APPS, let alone OSS options. Your choices are either Huge Vendor A, Huge Vendor B, or Crappy El Cheapo C.

That's not exactly a sea of options. Especially when the options offered by 'A' and 'B' are only marginally better than 'C', but cost ten times more. None of these products have been developed by anyone with real experience in the industry, so your Business Analysts are forced to hack up workarounds all over the place. When your vendor says, "Oh, we didnt know anyone would ever want to do that" to an industry-wide practice it makes me want to cry.

In my mind, at least, 'industry specific' means 'lack of options' by default.

Java Swing (1)

oyenstikker (536040) | more than 6 years ago | (#24523415)

Okay okay, Swing is slower than c/gtk+ or c++/qt. So nobody is going to write graphic intensive software with Swing. But it is just fine for business applications. And quicker and easier to develop than web apps.

Why do people not use it? Because PHBs do not think "Java/Swing" sounds enterprise like "Java/J2EE" does. IBM and Sun could probably fix this with a bunch of ads in those "industry magazines" that sit on every PHB's desk.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>