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How To Make Money With Free Software

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the actual-money dept.

Graphics 187

fons writes "Dutch Python hacker/artist Stani took part in a contest organised by the Dutch Ministry Of Finance to design a 5 euro commemorative coin. And he won, using only free software: 'The whole design was done for 100% with free software. The biggest part consists of custom software in Python, of course within the SPE editor. For the visual power I used PIL and pyCairo. From time to time also Gimp, Inkscape and Phatch helped quite a bit. All the developing and processing was done on GNU/Linux machines which were running Ubuntu/Debian. I would have loved to release the coin under the GPL, which could maybe solve the financial crisis. However for obvious reasons I was not allowed to do that.'"

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Fuck Python (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25576127)

C# for life!

Re:Fuck Python (1, Insightful)

John Sokol (109591) | more than 5 years ago | (#25576663)

C#!?!?!

If you think that's a step up, you really have a lot to learn.

Why don't you learn a real language. C, C++, Assembly, Java, Perl, forth, pascal, fortan or COBOL even, before criticizing Python.

But coming back with C# is just beyond lame.

Re:Fuck Python (4, Funny)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 5 years ago | (#25576743)

The GP makes a post, saying "Fuck Python C# for life!", and you make a post essentially saying "Fuck C#, real languages for life!".

It's a real battle of wits, isn't it?

How dare someone prefer one programming language to another!

Re:Fuck Python (4, Funny)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 5 years ago | (#25576771)

Yeah, it's just the kind of petty small-mindedness that I would expect from an emacs user.

Re:Fuck Python (4, Funny)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 5 years ago | (#25576859)

I hear you.
Fuck emacs, vi for life!

Re:Fuck Python (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25576929)

Damn, that was funny! Where are my mod points at?

Re:Fuck Python, no, Fuck C# (3, Insightful)

John Sokol (109591) | more than 5 years ago | (#25577847)

I am a VI user not an Emacs user.
Why? Because emacs often requires installation, where VI is by default on almost every Linux and Unix system, it's also an extended version of "ed" that is a very useful tool.

Anyhow it's not small mindedness, because C# is closed and proprietary it very limited in it use.

For example you will not see developers porting the language to new systems. Only Microsoft can do that!
Hence it's not a real language in that respect.

How about project usage? Can you write an OS with it. Or program set top boxes or other embedded applications?

real languages can go anywhere. it's not some petty personal bias. It's a real fact, C, C++, Forth, Java can be counted on as running on almost even known CPU and hardware device ever developed.

C and Forth are almost university the first languages to run on any CPU!!!

Where C and Forth goes, Python, perl, php, java, pascal and many other languages are easy to port over on top of the C compiler. Except C#, J++ and other proprietary solutions.

Try that with C#. Oh you don't have the language source code... Oooh too bad. You don't have source for all of your libraries or even a clean spec on how things are supposed to work. Oh well call m$ and see if they can help.

vi for life!
see my site http://www.churchofbsd.org/ [churchofbsd.org]

Re:Fuck Python (1)

Stauken (1392809) | more than 5 years ago | (#25577547)

C#!?!?!

If you think that's a step up, you really have a lot to learn.

Why don't you learn a real language. C, C++, Assembly, Java, Perl, forth, pascal, fortan or COBOL even, before criticizing Python.

But coming back with C# is just beyond lame.

Really? Why not just include Actionscript on that list too. You know, Java and C# are nearly interchangeable. Why don't YOU learn what real languages are, and Pascal? Come on I figured out pascal when I was 12, I was still struggling with C/C++ At the time. It's not hard. Jesus christ almighty, man.

Re:Fuck Python (1)

hjf (703092) | more than 5 years ago | (#25577795)

Come on I figured out pascal when I was 12, I was still struggling with C/C++ At the time.

So the fact that a language is "hard" to figure out, means it's better?

Re:Fuck Python (2, Insightful)

John Sokol (109591) | more than 5 years ago | (#25577891)

> Java and C# are nearly interchangeable
yes I know.

So then why bother with something closed source?

> Actionscript
This is it's own beast, I'd have the same gripes with flash, except it's getting much more open, and they have done an excellent job for what it is, but it's very limited in it's use again and so it's not a "real language" by my definition.

I am sure there is some compsci student out there that can come up with a better term for it, but it's a Niche Language and as such has limited use.

How to Make Money with Free Software (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25576137)

"How To Make Money With Free Software"

Just send eight bits to the next eight posters on this Slashdot thread. Within five iterations, you'll have 32 kilobytes of source code!

Here. I'll start.

"00101111"

Re:How to Make Money with Free Software (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25576455)

00101111 00101110

Re:How to Make Money with Free Software (1)

fireman sam (662213) | more than 5 years ago | (#25576497)

Wow, that died quickly.

Re:How to Make Money with Free Software (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25576753)

I take it you don't know your ASCII table by heart? 00101111 00101110 is far from dead.

Uh.... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25576141)

Oh, I get it.

Wow (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#25576145)

that's a ice looking coin, well done.

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25576795)

Agreed, it's very well done and like the best art it has a lot of depth and thought put into it. Congratulations!

More like... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25576157)

More like "How to prepare a contest entry using only free software"

Re:More like... (0)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | more than 5 years ago | (#25576199)

Yeah, this is pretty ridiculous. You could have the same title for an article about an author that wrote a book using OpenOffice.

Re:More like... (4, Funny)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 5 years ago | (#25576381)

You could have the same title for an article about an author that wrote a book using OpenOffice.

Slashdot actually rejected my submission when I did just that. It's a pity, too; Return of Macbeth is an instant classic.

Re:More like... (2, Insightful)

burndive (855848) | more than 5 years ago | (#25577543)

I believe you mean, "Return of the Scottish Character".

Re:More like... (1)

TheModelEskimo (968202) | more than 5 years ago | (#25576443)

It's the title the linked blogger chose for his blog post on this subject. Geez.

Re:More like... (4, Insightful)

lahvak (69490) | more than 5 years ago | (#25576713)

But he was *making money*, get it? Coin - money...

Anyway, the interesting thing here is not that he designed something with free software, people do that all the time, but that his design won. Of course I didn't read the article, but A assume his was not the only entry, and that at least some other entries were prepared with proprietary software.

So it wouldn't be "an author wrote a book using OpenOffice" but rather "a book written using OpenOffice won some prize". Of course books created by free software regularly win top places at typography contests, so it would still not be that unusual.

There is, however, certain feeling among both professionals and public that in the area of graphics design, proprietary software rules, and using free software gives you a serious handicap. That is what makes this interesting.

Re:More like... (5, Insightful)

woot account (886113) | more than 5 years ago | (#25576355)

Or the purpose of the article is to bring light to the fact that he won the contest using only FOSS software, and they chose the title of "How to Make Money" as a pun, where you would assume they meant "how to profit", but they literally meant "how to design money".

Re:More like... (1)

shmlco (594907) | more than 5 years ago | (#25576621)

Yeah, I followed some of some of the links and it appears that he won the contest, not that he made any money in doing so.

Re:More like... (1, Insightful)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 5 years ago | (#25577041)

Yes but instead of the word "with" they could have used the word "using" and then it would have made sense and been a better pun at the same time.

Re:More like... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25576393)

More like "How to prepare a contest entry using only free software"

You don't get it... He made money. He really MADE the money!

Re:More like... (2, Funny)

apathy maybe (922212) | more than 5 years ago | (#25576601)

I've always wanted to work in a mint. And then go on strike. To make less money.

(Not the original quote, and I can't remember who said it originally. But relevant for this context.)

Re:More like... (0, Troll)

shmlco (594907) | more than 5 years ago | (#25576661)

No, he designed the money. The Dutch mint will actually MAKE the money.

BTW, this just reinforces the fact the F/OSS people can't design. That coin, especially the back, has to be one of the ugliest things I've ever seen.

Re:More like... (2, Funny)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 5 years ago | (#25577477)

That coin, especially the back, has to be one of the ugliest things I've ever seen.

The distended anus of the child of tubgirl and Rick Astley?

For bunnies sakes. (2, Insightful)

jotaeleemeese (303437) | more than 5 years ago | (#25577707)

He won a design contest, the logical conclusion? He can't design.

Only in Slashdot ...

Re:More like... (1)

spike2131 (468840) | more than 5 years ago | (#25577899)

The dutch actually have a long history of ugly modernist coinage.

Making money (3, Insightful)

homer_s (799572) | more than 5 years ago | (#25576159)

I would have loved to release the coin under the GPL, which could maybe solve the financial crisis.

Actually, people printing too much money was how this crisis started in the first place.
(and they are going to solve it by ... issuing more credit).

Re:Making money (2, Funny)

Kjella (173770) | more than 5 years ago | (#25576423)

Actually, people printing too much money was how this crisis started in the first place.
(and they are going to solve it by ... issuing more credit).

Is that what they call the XML solution?

Re:Making money (1)

dkf (304284) | more than 5 years ago | (#25576715)

Is that what they call the XML solution?

With XML, you can just mod the syntax -1 Redundant. It doesn't work like that with financial crises...

Re:Making money (3, Insightful)

Tawnos (1030370) | more than 5 years ago | (#25576963)

Wasn't really caused by printing too much money (especially since a lot of the money was never printed, but just given out on paper). The issue is more that the money loaned out was secured in a way that didn't correctly model the risk of giving out that money. When it was found that the assumptions made were faulty and began to unwind, a whole ton of shit hit the fan. I'm not going to suggest (in this post) who caused the problem, loaners or takers, and if the problem is being best resolved, but the problem wasn't caused by loaning out too much.

Re:Making money (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25577223)

Wasn't really caused by printing too much money (especially since a lot of the money was never printed, but just given out on paper).

Printing too much money is a metaphor for creating too much one through one means or another.

The issue is more that the money loaned out was secured in a way that didn't correctly model the risk of giving out that money. When it was found that the assumptions made were faulty and began to unwind, a whole ton of shit hit the fan.

Sounds like a fancy way of saying "created too much money."

but the problem wasn't caused by loaning out too much

By your above statement, it was. What do you think "didn't correctly model the risk" lead to? Too much money being loaned.

Re:Making money (2, Interesting)

fm6 (162816) | more than 5 years ago | (#25577221)

You seem to be under the impression that all the banks just failed had the ability to print money. If they had, do you think they would have failed?

Printing too much money doesn't cause this kind of crisis, which is actually about a shortage of money. What printing too much money does is cause inflation. That's how the German hyperinflation [usagold.com] happened. During that period, the German economy roared right along, and everybody was employed, even though they were paid with worthless paper.

Uh.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25576175)

I would have loved to release the coin under the GPL, which could maybe solve the financial crisis.

Whats next, printing your own cash? Too bad the governments got the market on that cornered.

easy (0)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 5 years ago | (#25576185)

1. Use free software to collect poop^W^W create porn
2. ???
3. Profit!!

And Have More Revenue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25576221)

than Canonical.

Gnomes know how to make money with free software (1)

freegeets (1036022) | more than 5 years ago | (#25576279)

Step One: Collect Free Software Step Two: ????? Step Three: PROFIT!!!

Re:Gnomes know how to make money with free softwar (1)

jalet (36114) | more than 5 years ago | (#25576383)

More like :

  - Step one : collect coins
  - Step two : collect more coins
  - Step three : ???
  - Step four : PROFIT !

Books (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25576283)

Wonder if he got permission to use the side of the books.

Yes, runaway inflation would solve the crisis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25576309)

Excellent plan. Let's devalue everyone's cash.

This is an excellent example (5, Insightful)

femto (459605) | more than 5 years ago | (#25576401)

This guy won due to superior design, not due to the fact that he used free software. The free software is in the background, contributing but almost incidental to the final product. That's how is should be though. Free software released the artist from the constraints of having to fit in with someone else's idea of what software or technology he should be allowed to use, leaving him free to be creative and follow his own unique path.

Re:This is an excellent example (5, Insightful)

elashish14 (1302231) | more than 5 years ago | (#25576625)

Nevertheless, it's good publicity for FOSS. If you show that you can be productive with it, more adoption.

In fact, if more people that use FOSS say it, it will remove the stigma that such software is substandard to the business alternatives.

Re:This is an excellent example (5, Insightful)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 5 years ago | (#25577065)

Uhm, there is an excellent chance that he would NEVER be able to afford all that software if he actually had to buy it at commercial going rates. So the free software was a great tool which was also an enabler in this situation.

Re:This is an excellent example (3, Insightful)

femto (459605) | more than 5 years ago | (#25577661)

I agree with you but for different reasons. The judges would have been oblivious to the fact the free software was used to design the coin. They gave the award based in the design in front of them, uninfluenced by its means of production. The artist won 100% based on his design. Hence the first part of my comment.

Tool selection is part of the behind the scenes design process. The free software tools contributed to the artist's ability to realise his design. He might have been able to do it without free software, but would have had to divert effort from being creative into forcing the tools to do his will. Being able to afford the tools for the job is part of it, but I think a larger issue is that free software provided the customisability to get the job done.

This is why I think it's an excellent example: he won the prize entirely though his own resourcefulness, but free software allowed his resourcefulness to go places it otherwise could not have.

Observation: Funny that I just came out with words to the effect of "where do you want to go today?", the old MS slogan. The important thing is not the question, but the answer. Some software will let you go lots of places. The excellent case in point, the example of the coin, has demonstrated that free software's answer is "wherever you want to go".

This is a compiled example (1)

Ostracus (1354233) | more than 5 years ago | (#25577339)

"Free software released the artist from the constraints of having to fit in with someone else's idea of what software or technology he should be allowed to use, leaving him free to be creative and follow his own unique path."

Uh huh, and exactly what constraint was he under that a piece of paper and a number 6H pencil wouldn't solve? I know we all like to cheer on free software but in this example his "unique path" was constrained only by himself.

Re:This is a compiled example (2, Informative)

femto (459605) | more than 5 years ago | (#25577819)

The same could be said of the designers of the A380 jumbo jet. They could have used a piece of paper and a 6H pencil but they they would have come up against the constraint that it is physically impossible to do the required calculations in a reasonable time. It's why people use automated tools. While not in the same league as an A380, the coin still embodies calculations which are involved enough that they could not be done manually. For example, the calculations involved in rendering the illustration using a variable width font on a curved path. Sure he could have licked his finger, held it up in the wind and guessed at a correct rendering, but he would not have achieved the same effect as he did with the tools he used.

Re:This is an excellent example (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 5 years ago | (#25577469)

This guy won due to superior design, not due to the fact that he used free software.

I disagree. I'm not saying the judges said "Ooh, this guy used Python, let's give him the prize." But they must have reacted to the unusual nature and the playfulness of his design, and that's very much a reflection of the way he went about designing it.

And the way Stani went about designing it is very unusual for a graphic designer. But not for a member of the Open Source community. The members of that community are motivated by their love of a clever hack, more so even than the desire to create useful software. This sort of creative algorithm fiddling showed in the final design, and must have struck the judges as fresh and different, whether or not they understood where it came from.

Re:This is an excellent example (1)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 5 years ago | (#25577525)

Free software released the artist from the constraints of having to fit in with someone else's idea of what software or technology he should be allowed to use, leaving him free to be creative and follow his own unique path.

Because he could fix gimp bugs in a snap and pay me to design and implement for him his own half-gimp-half-emacs-half-manbearpig tool.

This is a story about how free software simply does the job and gets out of the way, not about how the starving artist is also a programmer or can afford one.

The story about why the free software simply does the job and gets out of the way, that's probably an interesting one.

Re:This is an excellent example (1)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 5 years ago | (#25577573)

I just love making abundantly clear through my actions that I didn't even bother to read the summary.

I blame the editors ;)

Re:This is an excellent example (1)

xTantrum (919048) | more than 5 years ago | (#25577579)

Once again another misleading title on /. I'm actually developing some software which i will be releasing to the open source community. I honestly feel i owe it to them, because FOSS has given me a lot. However i still am earnestly searching for a solution whereby i can make money from it. Right now its looking something like a business model similar to Sun's JAVA or alternatively something like MySql. We'll see maybe I'll get some helpful hints off /. *shrugs*

Re:This is an excellent example (1)

ozphx (1061292) | more than 5 years ago | (#25577677)

Release it open source if you can't maintain it yourself and will need help you can't afford, or that the majority of your income will come from selling support.

Otherwise, keep that shit to yourself. OSS is a pretty damn weak contract for making sure people give back to you.

Bugger the "owing FOSS". You don't owe shit. Unless you are using a project that has licensors regret. (Had that before - "Why don't your release source for your product?"... "Its internal"... "But its not in the *spirit* of the GPL")

Re:This is an excellent example (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25577647)

No, he won DESPITE the fact that he used FOSS. He is supposedly an artist - yet he had to code up the biggest part himself in Python. So, we are saying - instead of using normal software, finishing the design, then heading to the beach - he had to spend hours and hours developing something that let him create and render his winning design. This is winning DESPITE the handicap he had of having to do all that extra work. Imagine if your normal artist had to learn to write code just to do their work.

Maybe he'll create for our edification a (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25576427)

WikiWiki CoinCoin?

(just MY 2 cents..., less depreciation and currency exchange rates)

Re:Maybe he'll create for our edification a (1)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 5 years ago | (#25576885)

(Damn Post Anonymously Button.....Thought I was hitting "No Karma"... frack me... blew it!)

I don't get it.... (2, Insightful)

HerculesMO (693085) | more than 5 years ago | (#25576451)

What's the big deal?

I've seen people recreate entire scenes from "Lost" in MS Paint, but it doesn't mean it's the easier or faster way to do it.

Just means it can be done. I'm not devaluing the work done here, or the benefit of open source software but seriously... I don't see the big deal in this article.

Re:I don't get it.... (0, Troll)

billcopc (196330) | more than 5 years ago | (#25576569)

The big deal is that his adsense blog gets a good slashdotting this way.

Nevermind the fact that he isn't showing any code, so in theory he could have done the whole thing with commercial software, then written a few keyword-rich paragraphs to troll us.

The best part is we'll never know.

Re:I don't get it.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25576979)

Libel.

Re:I don't get it.... (5, Informative)

HonestButCurious (1306021) | more than 5 years ago | (#25576745)

Did you RTFA (or more specifically LATFC)? This coin has algorithmic outputs both on the front (the Queen made out of architect names) and on the back (an outline of Holland made out of books). I can't see how anybody could create it using Photoshop or Illustrator. The coin designer probably spent more time coding than sketching (like the book Snow Crash).

Also, it's beautiful. I want one, no, a few million of them.

Re:I don't get it.... (1)

Stan Vassilev (939229) | more than 5 years ago | (#25577365)

I can't see how anybody could create it using Photoshop or Illustrator. The coin designer probably spent more time coding than sketching (like the book Snow Crash).

A lesson to learn here is that if you can't see how, doesn't mean someone else doesn't as well :)

Photoshop/Illustrator are fully scriptable environments. By JS/VBScript on Windows, and JS/AppleScript on OSX. Every single option, action, brush stroke, whatever you can think of, is automatable, and Adobe software comes with a little IDE-like tool for writing and testing your Photoshop/Illustrator/Flash IDE/etc. scripts in.

But the truth is, it's even simpler to achieve the guts of this effect in Photoshop, with no script at all.

A simple text-on-a-path layer, a little blending mode play, and a levels adjustment layer.

This is not to put down his effort, if he wants to design with Python, by all means, he should do so.

Re:I don't get it.... (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 5 years ago | (#25576841)

Seriously, he could have saved tons of time just by using a piece of paper, a pencil, and maybe a protractor/soda can to make the circle.

Re:I don't get it.... (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 5 years ago | (#25577481)

The big deal is the creative way in which he used the software. RTFA.

That's Impressive (4, Interesting)

Phat_Tony (661117) | more than 5 years ago | (#25576473)

This guy is a master of symbolic design. He's the modern heir of the artistic geniuses who did all the dense symbolic religious iconography in early christian churches and for secret societies. It's perfectly fitting, since architecture, particularly classical architecture, is loaded with design secrets and hidden meanings, and the coin is about architecture. This coin being loaded with dense symbolism and being about architecture, I hope there's something masonic hidden on it somewhere. I assume the masons were active in The Netherlands?

My question is - did he just use open-source on principle, or did it confer an advantage on doing this project over the commercial alternatives? Or was it harder to do it with the open source software? Clearly it involved a lot of custom scripting. Did he go as far as to look at the source code to accomplish this, or dig into the software in other ways that couldn't be done with closed source? Anybody know?

Re:That's Impressive (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 5 years ago | (#25577101)

This guy is a master of symbolic design. He's the modern heir of the artistic geniuses who did all the dense symbolic religious iconography in early christian churches and for secret societies. It's perfectly fitting, since architecture, particularly classical architecture, is loaded with design secrets and hidden meanings, and the coin is about architecture. This coin being loaded with dense symbolism and being about architecture, I hope there's something masonic hidden on it somewhere. I assume the masons were active in The Netherlands?

My question is - did he just use open-source on principle, or did it confer an advantage on doing this project over the commercial alternatives? Or was it harder to do it with the open source software? Clearly it involved a lot of custom scripting. Did he go as far as to look at the source code to accomplish this, or dig into the software in other ways that couldn't be done with closed source? Anybody know?

I was thinking the same thing about his mastery of visual symbolism. However, in what sense are ancient greek and roman buildings dense with symbolism? Are you talking about the sculpture on them?

Re:That's Impressive (1)

Phat_Tony (661117) | more than 5 years ago | (#25577401)

Sorry, I'm using the wrong terminology. Not "early" Christian. I guess I just meant "old," as in, for example, Russian Orthodox churches from, I think. about 1400-1800. For example, St. Theodosius Cathedral [sttheodosius.org] isn't that old, but it's modeled after, and includes many artifacts from, churches from that time. The religious iconography is so dense you could probably pick any square yard of wall, ceiling, window, or carvings and write a 30-page treatise on the meanings contained within, both hidden and overt, and still not touch on everything. That sort of thing. The Cloisters in Manhattan are full of other old Christian art and artifacts with similarly dense symbolism.

As far as architecture, I didn't mean the archeological meaning, just the colloquial (or architectural) definition of "classical" architecture as opposed to modern architecture. For example, Ida Noyes Hall at The University of Chicago was designed to be a woman's center, and the architecture reflects that in a hundred subtle ways, from the patterns in the crown molding to the murals on the walls of the theater to the overall floor plan and the look of the building. Huge amounts of thought went into every detail. The architecture of The 1893 Columbian Exposition was like that, too. Everything stood for something; often the same thing stood for many different things, like on the coin.

Re:That's Impressive (1)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 5 years ago | (#25577807)

This coin being loaded with dense symbolism and being about architecture, I hope there's something masonic hidden on it somewhere. I assume the masons were active in The Netherlands?

Are they? Are they ever!

Why, just look at the way the guy is holding his hand in the photo at the bottom of this page [minfin.nl] ! Can you believe it!? It's right out in front of everyone, there on this web page! I would think they would be more subtle about it.

Photo in question [minfin.nl]

As a Computer Graphics Instructor... (5, Insightful)

TheModelEskimo (968202) | more than 5 years ago | (#25576591)

...it made me giggle with joy to see the guy mention he won against people using Adobe products. I teach Adobe products to impressionable college students, and when they sign up to take my class and purchase their own copy of Photoshop or Illustrator, boy do they think they have ARRIVED in cool-town. Many of my new students think that once they *understand* how to use Photoshop better than most, they are now a graphic designer, creative person, illustrator, web designer, etc.

So I started doing an extra credit assignment where I tell them they are not allowed to use Adobe products, and they have to design a postcard. They use any package they want; most use GIMP or Inkscape because they're free. Without fail, they come back and say, "hey, I can't do anything with this. It's not Adobe. It sucks." So I point out to them that their Adobe software skills make them think they're pretty good at design. But what happened to their awesome design skills when they started using another software package? Does the software really suck, or do they just hate it because of its non-Adobeness? I show them nicely-done work by other GIMP or Inkscape users. Blank looks. Lesson ensues.

Relying on a specific software package is fine. *Depending* on it is risky. And *not being able* to design using anything else because of some marketing-infused mental block just means you're spoiled and/or ignorant. Bravo for the true creativity displayed in the article.

Re:As a Computer Graphics Instructor... (5, Insightful)

LandDolphin (1202876) | more than 5 years ago | (#25576923)

Adobe is a tool. Much like your key board is a tool.

That test as akin to asking someone to type with a non-QWERTY style keyboard.

Your test did not challenge their design and creative abilities, it tested their ability to use different tools.

Re:As a Computer Graphics Instructor... (4, Insightful)

TheModelEskimo (968202) | more than 5 years ago | (#25577045)

It's not a test, it's an extra-credit assignment that is optional. The assignment exposes their response when given a new tool to use. This is valuable because it answers this question: Do they discard the new tool because they've only learned craftmanship with one tool, or do they attempt to use it and seek help where required?

If a student views himself as a craftsman who uses one tool, he needs to know that he is selling himself short, that is all. Half of the student's grade in these classes is based in the application of design principles independent of any specific specific software package. So for an extra credit assignment, that's more than appropriate.

Also, If I were teaching a keyboarding class, I'd have no problem exposing my students to Dvorak or Das Keyboard in similar optional, extra credit assignments.

Re:As a Computer Graphics Instructor... (3, Insightful)

LandDolphin (1202876) | more than 5 years ago | (#25577205)

I only meant "test", as in testing their skill. I did not mean to infer that it was an in class test. Sorry for any confusion there.

I believe there is value in learning to use multiple different tools, no matter what your trade.

The reason I said something was because you were talking about their design skills. But the extra credit assignment did not tackle the issue of design skills as much as it addressed their ability to use a different tool.

At the end of the day, I think it was a wonderful extra credit assignment to give them. Something to challenge how they see the tools they use and possibly expand their horizons.

Re:As a Computer Graphics Instructor... (1)

TheModelEskimo (968202) | more than 5 years ago | (#25577263)

Thanks, sorry if I misunderstood you.

Re:As a Computer Graphics Instructor... (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 5 years ago | (#25577187)

That test as akin to asking someone to type with a non-QWERTY style keyboard.

I do that on a daily basis. My main computer is qwerty and my portable is azerty. At work my main is qwerty and my secondary is azerty.
Now it is not so bad. I used to have a French azerty keyboard, which is just a bit different then a Belgian one. Also I have worked with a German keyboard, which is different as well.

And you are right, no matter how many different keyboards I use, Shakespear it ain't (Or Voltair, Goete, ...)

Re:As a Computer Graphics Instructor... (1)

apathy maybe (922212) | more than 5 years ago | (#25577335)

What really gets me when using a non US keyboard, sometimes it is just one or two letters or symbols that have been moved. Z and Y being swapped for example. When I switch I keep buggering up...

Then I use another keyboard and have to hunt for the @ symbol... (or the ~ symbol, which I still haven't found on a UK keyboard).

I can still type almost as fast, so long as I don't need to hunt and peck for that one bloody key...

Re:As a Computer Graphics Instructor... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25577869)

Adobe is a tool. Much like your key board is a tool.

So in essence, his class is where people go to get used to dealing with complete tools.

Re:As a Computer Graphics Instructor... (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25576935)

Without fail, they come back and say, "hey, I can't do anything with this. It's not Adobe. It sucks." So I point out to them that their Adobe software skills make them think they're pretty good at design.

I have few thoughts after reading your post:

1) If they think knowing Photoshop makes them good designers, then it means you're a bad teacher. Have you not explained to them typography, use of whitespace, negative space, layout, color harmonies etc.? None of this can be perceived as exclusive to Adobe.

2) I do use GIMP and Photoshop *together* every day, and I have to say, GIMP does pale as a Photoshop replacement for professionals. It's the fact. I could start listing specific reasons, but that's boring. However GIMP is still useful if you don't put artificial limitations on how and when it's used. Tools don't make the artist, but they certainly do help.

3) You can draw Mona Lisa in MS Paint [youtube.com] . That doesn't mean that not using MS Paint I have "marketing-infused mental block". It just means I have lots of free time and will to show off.

Re:As a Computer Graphics Instructor... (4, Interesting)

TheModelEskimo (968202) | more than 5 years ago | (#25577213)

If they think knowing Photoshop makes them good designers, then it means you're a bad teacher

Not really, but your comment may indicate that you're a bad reader. I was referring to my "new" students, the ones that come in on the first day with lots of presuppositions.

GIMP does pale as a Photoshop replacement for professionals

I don't see where I argue against that in my post. Also, "pales" is one of those words that doesn't exactly help anyone understand your point. More than needing to hear specific reasons, I'd want to know why you would feel the need to list them, considering the fact that you own both.

You can draw Mona Lisa in MS Paint [youtube.com].

Are you saying that you can do that? Because for many who can't, this is actually a powerful lesson to learn. Many aspiring designers learn this lesson too late; I know a few who use adobe software not because "it works and I can express myself with it" but because "it makes me look professional in conversation." In fact, I am considering dropping a subcontractor for this reason. He can use the software, but he makes excuses for his lack of design training.

Re:As a Computer Graphics Instructor... (2, Interesting)

Kjella (173770) | more than 5 years ago | (#25577395)

Many of my new students think that once they *understand* how to use Photoshop better than most, they are now a graphic designer, creative person, illustrator, web designer, etc. (...) So I point out to them that their Adobe software skills make them think they're pretty good at design. But what happened to their awesome design skills when they started using another software package?

Eh, one tool or two they can still be damn crappy designers. And a good designer could use a pencil and crayons and be completely computer illiterate. I doubt it shows anything except that without understanding how a tool works, you can't use it well.

Re:As a Computer Graphics Instructor... (2, Interesting)

TheModelEskimo (968202) | more than 5 years ago | (#25577565)

Eh, one tool or two they can still be damn crappy designers.

Actually, I've identified the one-tool-only scenario as a stumblingblock for *my* students. So an extra tool thrown in there does seem to help. Other instructors may see things differently.

And a good designer could use a pencil and crayons and be completely computer illiterate.

I don't see where I disagreed with that. But that's at a very high level, and perhaps some of these students will get tired of supporting Adobe, switch to GIMP, or find themselves in some similar situation. I was a design student once and that's how I turned out.

I doubt it shows anything except that without understanding how a tool works, you can't use it well.

As I said in another reply to a similar comment, the assignment helps me create situations in which I'm able to teach tenets of graphic design to my students. It works well at that, so I'll keep using it. You can do whatever the heck you want.

Re:As a Computer Graphics Instructor... (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 5 years ago | (#25577521)

Exactly, because everyone knows that only when you use GIMP will you become a "graphic designer, creative person, illustrator, web designer, etc".

Why don't you teach GIMP instead of Photoshop? Oh, that's right - nobody will pay you to teach it.

Re:As a Computer Graphics Instructor... (3, Informative)

TheModelEskimo (968202) | more than 5 years ago | (#25577671)

only when you use GIMP will you become a "graphic designer, creative person, illustrator, web designer, etc".

"You seem to be setting up a straw man. Can I help you with that?" -Clippy (because no, I never said what you suggest I did)

Why don't you teach GIMP instead of Photoshop?

Most of my students have no context in which to understand the difference between the two. But since you asked, I will be teaching GIMP soon, as the art faculty in my college have demonstrated an interest in helping students grasp the Open Source aesthetic. Also, you may have noticed that I *do* teach GIMP currently, as an optional item.

Oh, that's right - nobody will pay you to teach it.

I'm not sure where you heard that. The school has already shown interest in paying me more to develop a curriculum for more advanced students which would heavily involve Open Source software. We also like the idea of establishing a one-of-a-kind creative lab by spending more money on capable hardware installations than on software. You may have seen this happen at schools like MIT. But still, I come to /. to hear the old arguments against Open Source stuff, so...well played, my literal-nicked friend.

humor alert: It's a joke, and it's funny! (5, Funny)

marhar (66825) | more than 5 years ago | (#25576695)

For the humor-impaired, it's a pun:

make (earn) money vs. make (design) money

referring to the often asked question, how do you make money with free software.

get it?

Re:humor alert: It's a joke, and it's funny! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25576789)

How to make a joke with free software?

Seems to be quite difficult on Slashdot. It is like showing a caricature of Mohammed to a muslim. They shurely won't laugh and some of them want to behead you.

Re:humor alert: It's a joke, and it's funny! (1)

wzzzzrd (886091) | more than 5 years ago | (#25577127)

finally. someone. got it.

Even I could tell you that (2, Funny)

speedingant (1121329) | more than 5 years ago | (#25576791)

All you need to do is this! Its simple and GUARANTEED to make YOU money! $$$!

Pay me $500 for the right to develop my wonderful ideas, and then just recruit TWO MORE PEOPLE to develop it for you, and promise that they get money! GUARANTEED RESULTS!!!! YOU can make FREE MONEY!! FREEEEEEE!!!!!!

Whatever. (4, Informative)

sootman (158191) | more than 5 years ago | (#25576793)

The more talent you have, the less important the tools are.

Re:Whatever. (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 5 years ago | (#25576849)

Suggests that the less those tools should cost as well.

Re:Whatever. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25577445)

The more talent you THINK you have, the more of a tool YOU are.

fixed

Maybe he'll create for our edification a (1)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 5 years ago | (#25576851)

WikiWiki CoinCoin?

That's easy.... (1)

Farhood (975274) | more than 5 years ago | (#25576915)

sell it!

commemorative edition (1)

mako1138 (837520) | more than 5 years ago | (#25576925)

I'd to love buy a commemorative edition, but the Royal Dutch Mint appears not to ship outside the EU.

I really like the coin (2, Interesting)

LordFolken (731855) | more than 5 years ago | (#25577049)

and the thoughts that went into it.

I find the design pretty daring and radical. But still, without knowing anything about art or design, I can tell that a lot of thought went into it.

That it's done with free software is ++, and just goes to show how effective it can be, when put into capable hands.

congratulations.

And with the award money... (4, Funny)

Edward Kmett (123105) | more than 5 years ago | (#25577073)

Asked what he was going to do with the award money, the artist said "I'll finally be able to afford Photoshop!" ;)

Open Source Video Editor (1)

pgn674 (995941) | more than 5 years ago | (#25577083)

On the topic of open source media applications, does an open source video editor exist? Something in the ballpark functionality of Premier, After Affects, or Final Cut? All I know of is Jahshaka, and that hasn't been maintained properly in forever and a day.

And?? (2, Insightful)

dangitman (862676) | more than 5 years ago | (#25577709)

What's the significance of this story supposed to be? People have been designing things without proprietary software for centuries. Ever heard of pencil and paper? I don't see people bragging about using those tools... so what's the big deal if somebody uses Free software to do the same thing?

How is this good? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25577727)

So lets get this straight. Someone did something using free software. YAY. But had to do it with custom software using several libraries and then three more external programs?

This is far from news worthy. In fact this is worthy of sweeping under the rug before someone realises how hard this was to do with OSS, and how the creator had way too much spare time on his hands.

But is it art (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 5 years ago | (#25577775)

The biggest part consists of custom software in Python, of course within the SPE editor. For the visual power I used PIL and pyCairo. From time to time also Gimp, Inkscape and Phatch helped quite a bit.
.

To my eyes, at least, the coin looks like a technical exercise in mechanical drawing and perspective.

Ingenious, perhaps, but not necessarily emotionally satisfying:

benedick [matinmarkka.com]

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