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!

Open Source Victories of 2008

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the brief-look-back dept.

GNU is Not Unix 378

Meshach writes "Ars Technica has an interesting run-down on the major open source victories of 2008. Some, like Firefox 3, we can probably mostly agree on. Others — KDE 4 comes to mind — will be more controversial. And Mono 2? What else should be on the list?"

cancel ×


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

I like KDE 4 (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26316823)

Others â" KDE 4 comes to mind â" will be more controversial.

How is that controversial? Oh, the Gnome heathens? Well, they'll be dealt with in 09.
2009 will be the Year of the Linux Desktop...Wars.

Re:I like KDE 4 (4, Interesting)

3vi1 (544505) | more than 5 years ago | (#26316919)

KDE4's fine... once you're talking 4.1 and later. The 4.0 stuff was very alpha quality, though a necessary step to get developers to actively start supporting it.

They probably meant that the controversy would be because 4.0 was a temporary step backward from 3.5 in features and stability.

Re:I like KDE 4 (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 5 years ago | (#26317149)

4.1 is a lot better than 4.0 but still hasn't caught up with 3.5. I'm really hoping 4.2 gets us closer. Should be just a few more weeks.

Re:I like KDE 4 (2, Informative)

3vi1 (544505) | more than 5 years ago | (#26317199)

I'm using the nightly releases now; it's much closer to 3.5 in stability and has addressed all of my feature concerns.

Re:I like KDE 4 (5, Informative)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 5 years ago | (#26317331)

I take it you are not very demanding with features or stability? Things that are completely broken in 4.1:
  • SSL -- There is no SSL configuration tool, poor documentation on where SSL certificates are stored or how they are stored, and bugfixes are barely even on the horizon right now.
  • Keyboard shortcuts -- not only are global shortcuts still not working, but KDE4 seems to kill shortcuts set by other applications, even when those shortcuts are working when I run the application not in KDE.
  • OLE -- 3.5 had solid OLE system that worked exceptionally well. 4.1 has an OLE system that is flaky, poorly unified, and poorly used. Maybe 4.2 will fix it? Maybe we won't see a fix until 5.0.
  • Bluetooth -- I should NOT be using Nautilus for browsing Bluetooth filesystems.
  • ArK -- I should not have to extract files from an archive to view them. Assuming that ArK will even get me that far, which it sometimes will not.
  • Samba -- Samba support should be integrated with Dolphin, or supported by embedding smb4k using the OLE system; see above.
  • Configuration -- I should be able to rely on my configuration settings remaining set. Over and over, I see my settings being forgotten when I hit "Apply," even for things that should be a no brainer: setting the default application to open a text file.

You can check the KDE bugzilla if you are curious about just how many things need to be fixed. KDE 4 is a complete mess, and was completely mishandled. It is getting to the point where, embarrassing as it would be, they should probably scrap it and start over by porting KDE3 to Qt4.

Re:I like KDE 4 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26317463)

But apart from that, you love it.

Re:I like KDE 4 (5, Insightful)

lord_sarpedon (917201) | more than 5 years ago | (#26317699)

A few years ago...I never thought I'd use GNOME, what with its child-proofing mentality.
But now its the only choice that's both functional and actually supported.

(Functional is a relative term. The release that shipped with Intrepid has entirely broken session management, which is a regression from even the ancient releases)

Listen to yourselves! (5, Insightful)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#26317239)

Disclaimer: I am using KDE4. I like it for what it could be. As it is, I'm looking at alternatives.

Replace "4.0" with "Vista", "4.1" with "Vista SP1", and "4.2" with "Vista SP2" -- and, for good measure, "3.5" with "XP Pro", and you have a fair sense of what's going on here.

In fact, Microsoft has handled this better -- they still fix bugs in XP.

In KDE4, and in some of the bigger KDE4 apps (like AmaroK), there's this completely new, exciting, amazing version which almost has all the features you needed from the old version, in a very cool-looking but annoyingly different way, and sometimes crashes. Then there's the old, boring, unsupported version, which does everything you want it to do, but has some annoying bugs and deficiencies -- yet whenever you point them out, people close the bug "wontfix" as development has stopped on that branch, and the KDE4 version will be done so differently the bug is irrelevant.

At least Windows has a mostly-working version -- XP. KDE has no working version.

An example of something that worked in 3, but is broken in 4: The panel. Everyone always said, "Don't mind that, it's fixed in 4.1." Well, I'm running 4.1, and I can tell you, it's not even close. How do I make the panel thinner vertically? How do I adjust its translucency -- how do I give it a completely transparent background, but solid foreground?

An example of something that doesn't work anywhere (wontfix in 3, not done yet in 4) is encoding scripts in AmaroK. There's no longer a GUI option to tell AmaroK what your preferred format for a device is -- if you've got an iPod, it's going to give you mp3s, whether you want them or not, even if you can handle AAC just fine. Yet the KDE4 version of AmaroK doesn't yet support encoding scripts in any way, so my choice is mp3s, or no encoding at all. WTF?

Maybe I'm just using the wrong distro? I was pretty appalled at Kubuntu's handling of Intrepid. Bluetooth is broken, due to conflicting versions of a few packages. The only available solutions are, use the commandline (I tried, didn't work), go back to Hardy, or use the Gnome bluetooth GUI.

Isn't that why you use a distro in the first place? So bullshit like this doesn't happen?

Here's hoping by 4.5, they'll finally attain the functionality of 3.5. Maybe they'll still have some users left by then. Meanwhile, I'm going to take a long, hard look at going back to Fluxbox or straight Compiz.

Re:Listen to yourselves! (2, Informative)

AceofSpades19 (1107875) | more than 5 years ago | (#26317401)

At least Windows has a mostly-working version -- XP. KDE has no working version.

Is kde 3.5 not mostly working?, or did I misread most of your rant? Have you actually thought about trying any other distros that have kde 4 and see if they have those problems?

Re:Listen to yourselves! (5, Informative)

The Master Control P (655590) | more than 5 years ago | (#26317819)

KDE4's panel is one of those things that you figure out and then say "WhereTF was the tutorial for this?" That is, after you figure out that you have to manually add it because it's not there by default. You can right-click where it doesn't have any programs or on the edge, and there's a rectangle you can click+hold and drag to change size I think.

I've got my fair share of complaints about KDE4. kwrite's tabbing - dude, WTF went wrong here? Konqueror's default icon view - Tiny icons AND shitloads of whitespace - sucks, and my sane settings won't seem to save Its file-management performace is heartbreakingly bad. Konq 3.5 and 4 both take some time to generate previews for the 4000 lolcats floating around my documents dir; 3.5 smoothly scrolls while doing so - I right well expect OpenGl-accelerated 4.2beta to. And please, God, make it so that when I switch to konqueror tab Y typing resumes going where it was if I had a textbox selected.

And since you mention Amarok 2 I'll join you in crying about that disappointment. 2.0, to be blunt, stunk, and it really turned me off to KDE4 since 1.4 won't start due to different audio architectures. In hindsight, I think it was the dealbreaker. mp3blaster is nice and mplayer -loop 1000 works, but I like being able to hit meta-z/c/b to go through things.
  • A full third of the window is taken by an about-song panel with no obvious way to get rid of it. 1.4 does it right by letting you click an unobtrusive context label on the sidebar.
  • Totally screwed up playlist display. Different entries are different sizes? They look like they're vaguely trying to group themselves, but failing. WTH, over! One song = one 12-point bar with name, serial number and rank. And due to the aforementioned about-song taking 1/3 of the screen, I can't get my song info all on one line.
  • Gives up too easily. I recently pulled half a gig of random classical MP3s down and tossed 'em into Amarok so I could get a feel. Knowing how p2p is, several were corrupt. Amarok 1.4 will keep trying to play (skipping whatever it can't) until hell freezes over. 2.0 pops up a "too many errors" message inside its window (which will not be seen if it's minimized) and gives up. If it's going to give up that easily, at least make it grab my attention and say why my music keeps stopping.
  • My pause button doesn't work! How in the fuck did it get to alpha, let alone release, with a broken pause button? I hit pause, it blinks and goes right back to playing.

Now, I really like KDE 3. I've been using it since whatever came with Mandrake 8.2 was new. I knew KDE 4 would be different, it being a total rework and all. And there are a lot of things I really like that were done really well. The windowing system (sans a few configuration menu fubars), the scribble-on-desktop applet, the color scheme and widgets - awesome job. Konqueror 4 (as long as I don't try to save a file or browse my porn) - awesome job. Yep, that plus Konsole covers 9/10 of what I do. But until at least some of the issues I join SanityInAnarchy in ranting about are fixed, I'm not going to make the full leap (marked by copying my email from ~/.kde to ~/.kde4.

In short, my KDE4 trial left me with the same handful of "If they would just fix this damn annoying thing" complaints that so many would-be Windows users walk away from Linux with. Which is a shame, because as of 4.2beta2 they've got about 90+% of "it" nailed as well as or better than 3.5. I truly think that most of these shenanigans could have been avoided if they'd tested the final RC on 100 people who'd never used the alphas or betas before and fixed the top ten complaints, whatever they were, before going gold.

Re:I like KDE 4 (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#26317263)

About 3.5 more weeks [] .

Re:I like KDE 4 (5, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 5 years ago | (#26317195)

Uhm, 4.1 is only marginally better than alpha quality. Perfect example: yesterday, I needed to import a CA public key for use in all my KDE apps. There is no tool for this, and I actually had to use 'cat' to append the certificate to the system certificates file. That is an embarrassing oversight, and forces one to question just what sort of design practices, if any, were adhered to by the KDE 4 team.

You say that 4.0 was a temporary step backward from 3.5? 4.1 is still a step backward, just slightly less of one. 3.5 derived a lot of its power from a very solid, well refined OLE framework, and 4.1 has yet to even approach that. In 3.5, it was seamless to browse a tarball, because the ArK component would embed right into Konqueror. ArK does not embed into Dolphin or Konqueror in 4.1, and in standalone ArK, you cannot open most files without extracting, which is annoying and basically defeats the purpose of a tool like ArK. Many users, myself included, use (or used to use) keyboard shortcuts for various actions -- yet that is still completely broken in KDE 4.1, and worse yet, some application shortcuts are broken if you run the application with KDE as the WM, but work just fine if you use something else.

If the KDE team does not get their act together fast, and give people some sort of hope with the 4.2 release, KDE is going to die.

Re:I like KDE 4 (5, Insightful)

scruffy (29773) | more than 5 years ago | (#26317343)

I agree. Frankly, KDE 4 sucks. KDE 3.5 was polished and efficient. KDE 4.1 is well, not even close to where KDE 3.5 was. To pick one example, panel hiding is still buggy. Sometimes it hides, sometimes it doesn't. The number of options on panel hiding are now yes or no rather than a gradation of possibilities. I'm wondering if we'll get to KDE 4.5 where things are good again, and then we'll come to some screwy KDE 5.

Re:I like KDE 4 (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26316999)

KDE, the K stands for Krap.

Re:I like KDE 4 (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#26317405)

No, that's just the name for the trash bin. Or maybe the user's documents folder.

Re:I like KDE 4 (3, Informative)

Asic Eng (193332) | more than 5 years ago | (#26317169)

I dunno - I've been using KDE for years, recently I gave Kubuntu a try (using it to setup the Christmas gift for my dad), and it came with KDE 4.1. Either there is still so much functionality missing that it's not usable yet, or the usage concepts are so far from my expectations that I couldn't get the hang of it. Looking around on the message boards seemed to indicate the former, so I switched back to KDE 3.5.6.

One thing I found particularly puzzling are the plasmoids - I couldn't see the point. They seem to be basically applications which can not be re-sized, brought in the foreground or moved around. They are not in the task panel either. So why would I use a plasmoid instead of a application window? To see it, I would need to minimize every other window on the desktop.

Then again - it didn't seem possible to add an application to the panel - only plasmoids. So no quick access to the 3-4 apps I need the most.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking it - it had a nice look to it, the eye-candy was neat. (The icons were damn hard to read though.) However I just didn't get the hang of it. At the time I couldn't find a general usage guide either, so I'd be curious for any insight you could provide.

Re:I like KDE 4 (1)

PrescriptionWarning (932687) | more than 5 years ago | (#26317189)

plasmoids are supposed to be like the widgets in OSX or the widgets in Vista. As far as I'm concerned they're all pretty, but worthless no matter which you're talking about for any OS.

Re:I like KDE 4 (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 5 years ago | (#26317209)

Plasmoids can be embedded in the taskbar, and could be useful for something like a little weather applet. Since Plasmoids use SVG, they fit well no matter what size you choose for your taskbar. There is potential there for something useful, but really, potential will only get us so far.

Re:I like KDE 4 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26317557)

Kubuntu has been my primary desktop OS since Edgy. I've liked it a lot, and even come to depend on several KDE apps.
When Intrepid was released, I decided to try the LiveCD for a while first. I'm glad I did; KDE 4 is not ready for prime time. It may end up killing Kubuntu. If they don't get their shit together by the time support ends for Hardy, I'm changing distros. And I know I'm not the only one.

We won already. Geez. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26316843)

Honestly, I wish people would just sit back, relax, and realize that there mere EXISTENCE of open source is the real victory here. Do we really need more than that? I have a choice in software. I have a freedom to choose. Neither Microsoft nor Apple dictate how I execute personal computing tasks.

We won. Let's give it up with the smug articles about how our sh*t doesn't stink. It's really tiresome.

Re:We won already. Geez. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26317201)

WTF? Open source has been around a lot longer than you know, n00b. You guys just finally have a little mascot to worship.
What's up with people around here who can remember poke codes for a Vic-20 but seem to think that open source never existed prior to linux?
Are people really that lost or would the realization of what really happened in computing history bring them down to the point that they'll realize that there is no good fight to fight and that there never has been?

Re:We won already. Geez. (1)

theillien2 (1426175) | more than 5 years ago | (#26317333)

AC didn't even mention Linux. Perhaps AC was referring to FreeBSD. Or perhaps you are one of those that thinks because you did it long before so many others that you are better than the next geek.

Re:We won already. Geez. (5, Insightful)

theheadlessrabbit (1022587) | more than 5 years ago | (#26317521)

Honestly, I wish people would just sit back, relax, and realize that there mere EXISTENCE of open source is the real victory here. Do we really need more than that?

yes, we do. we need software that actually works.
some of us have work that needs to get done. (that's why i use gnome and winXP.)

Nokia ad (4, Insightful)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#26316845)

Of the 7 "victories" listed, 3 involve Nokia:
Their opening up of Symbian
Their purchase of Trolltech
And the unveiling of Maemo 5

Yay. 3? (1)

Bordgious (1378477) | more than 5 years ago | (#26316859)

What about 3? I know for the Mac version, it was a dramatic improvement (at least as far as aesthetics are concerned)...

Python 3 (3, Informative)

dmomo (256005) | more than 5 years ago | (#26316897)

Pretty exciting stuff. Another notable open source victory was that of the release of Django 1.0 in November.

Sadly, Django is not written in Python 3, and python 3 breaks backwards compatibility [] .

Since both the Django and python communities are very active, I suspect this will be remedied soon. I cannot wait.

Re:Python 3 (3, Informative)

ubernostrum (219442) | more than 5 years ago | (#26317139)

Since both the Django and python communities are very active, I suspect this will be remedied soon. I cannot wait.

You might end up in trouble, then; as explained by the FAQ [] , it'll be a while before Django officially supports Python 3.0.

Remember: even the Python developers themselves are talking about a migration timeline of years, rather than a simple "next version of every library will be on Python 3" (which just isn't possible with any kind of responsible release process). See this summary I posted on django-developers [] for some more information.

Re:Python 3 (1)

wisty (1335733) | more than 5 years ago | (#26317165)

For a lot of projects I would be skeptical of the value of Python 3 (as Python 2.6 has those cool multiprocessing and json modules); but Python 3 really fixes a lot of Unicode warts. In a web framework, I guess that's pretty important.

Awfulbar (0, Troll)

gumpish (682245) | more than 5 years ago | (#26316907)

Some, like Firefox 3, we can probably mostly agree on.

Not really. I mean, intentionally making your product less [] functional (with no way to restore the stripped functionality) generally isn't a good thing. []

Re:Awfulbar (2, Informative)

rdwald (831442) | more than 5 years ago | (#26317021)

What, the extension that restores the original functionality doesn't count as a "way to restore the stripped functionality"? And saying "adding features I don't like counts as making your product less functional" is kind of cheating.

Re:Awfulbar (1)

AceofSpades19 (1107875) | more than 5 years ago | (#26317059)

I really don't understand why everyone hates the awesome bar so much

Re:Awfulbar (1)

Inner_Child (946194) | more than 5 years ago | (#26317393)

Nor do I. After a short period of time using it, it's gotten quite good at predicting what I'm looking for. I'm not sure I'd want to go back to Firefox 2.x after getting used to it.

Re:Awfulbar (1)

AceofSpades19 (1107875) | more than 5 years ago | (#26317531)

I think its a case of "OMG SOMETHING DIFFERENT I HATE IT", rather then a rational reason of why people hate it

Re:Awfulbar (4, Insightful)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 5 years ago | (#26317825)

No, simply that it's new isn't a problem. A few reasons:

1) It's big, ugly, and distracting, mixing a variety of font sizes, italics, etc. (That's my subjective opinion).

2) It is unpredictable, hence less useful. It used to bring up URLs that were previously typed in the field, that began with the letters typed. Now it searches other places and other fields, in a way that is not obvious, and can change unpredictably. My son was complaining about how the webcomic he reads keeps on turning up multiple times in the "awesomebar", because every strip has a different title.

3) It can pull up results that were never typed into the bar. That's non-intuitive; it should use the same 'type-ahead' system of selecting from previous entries that would work for other fields, such as html input fields. Don't make a crazy new interface for one field; make a interface that works sensibly for all fields.

4) It's marketing-driven. It was given a ridiculous name, and seemingly was at the top of a 'new 3.0 feature' bullet list that Mozilla wanted to 'push'... Then they removed options (which existed in the betas) to switch between the new and old configuration. That's skirting close to BIG BAD COMPANY behavior.

Doesn't it remind you of how the search feature in every MS OS has been getting worse and worse every version, despite the added features?

Re:Awfulbar (1)

Mr_eX9 (800448) | more than 5 years ago | (#26317835)

I rarely use it but I don't understand the hate either. It's easy enough to ignore when you don't need it.

Re:Awfulbar (0)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 5 years ago | (#26317077)

that and broken/less functional extensions, some buggy, broken and others that the creators don't bother to update, not mozilla's fault but still, most of the reason a lot of us geeks use FF is due to the extensions it has... Oh and on a completely unrelated note, the KDE3.5.x branch isn't even in the ubuntu repos any more, though there are unofficial repos for the branch [sorry but KDE4 although pretty, is otherwise crippled] here is the repo for KDE 3.5.x Ibex in case anyone wanted it: [] [total of two one for each main and source] although something of note is boxee and songbird which are pretty new [boxee being in alpha] both are worth a look.

Re:Awfulbar (1)

AceofSpades19 (1107875) | more than 5 years ago | (#26317089)

Have you even actually tried kde 4.1? or are you still going on, on what it was like in kde 4.0?

Re:Awfulbar (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#26317259)

Not sure about GP, but I have. Here's a rant. []

Re:Awfulbar (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 5 years ago | (#26317611)

yes i've used it, and KDE 4.2... the menu is broken [on 4.1 and 4.2 menu editing doesn't work properly], misc little annoyances mostly to do with the removal of certain customizations... plasmoids... pretty but why is it that I can't use the original desktop layout? nothing to whine about but it seems to me that KDE4 tried to herd people into a new way to use the desktop for no good reason. No matter, the menu bug is what annoyed me, I build my desktop for efficiency and I tell you that having menu entries very nearly randomly placed is annoying after lanching programs a few hundred times... I chose KDE3.5 over other desktop environments because it was the most customizable [without going into the text files dang it] and had a few neat things to make the desktop a nice place to be, now it's KDE4 trying to be very pretty [which is nice but I'd rather it be efficient and hideous than where it is now] Even the KDE devs admit that it still isn't there yet [a bit of functionality was restored with the 4.1 and 4.2 releases however] What was done with KDE4 I think was a mistake. trying to rewrite from the ground up with the Qt4.x should have been the first step with each new release adding functionality *not removing it*
I'm sorry to say that it isn't just me that took issue with the KDE4 trunk, a lot of people don't like where KDE is going and for [I believe] good reason.

Re:Awfulbar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26317111)

Can you describe links in the future? I thought you were complaining about removing gopher:// [gopher] support for a while there.

Re:Awfulbar (1)

sveard (1076275) | more than 5 years ago | (#26317715)

Your link does not work

Developer Laments: "What Killed FreeBSD" (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26316921)

The End of FreeBSD

[ed. note: in the following text, former FreeBSD developer Mike Smith gives his reasons for abandoning FreeBSD]

When I stood for election to the FreeBSD core team nearly two years ago, many of you will recall that it was after a long series of debates during which I maintained that too much organisation, too many rules and too much formality would be a bad thing for the project.

Today, as I read the latest discussions on the future of the FreeBSD project, I see the same problem; a few new faces and many of the old going over the same tired arguments and suggesting variations on the same worthless schemes. Frankly I'm sick of it.

FreeBSD used to be fun. It used to be about doing things the right way. It used to be something that you could sink your teeth into when the mundane chores of programming for a living got you down. It was something cool and exciting; a way to spend your spare time on an endeavour you loved that was at the same time wholesome and worthwhile.

It's not anymore. It's about bylaws and committees and reports and milestones, telling others what to do and doing what you're told. It's about who can rant the longest or shout the loudest or mislead the most people into a bloc in order to legitimise doing what they think is best. Individuals notwithstanding, the project as a whole has lost track of where it's going, and has instead become obsessed with process and mechanics.

So I'm leaving core. I don't want to feel like I should be "doing something" about a project that has lost interest in having something done for it. I don't have the energy to fight what has clearly become a losing battle; I have a life to live and a job to keep, and I won't achieve any of the goals I personally consider worthwhile if I remain obligated to care for the project.


I'm sure that I've offended some people already; I'm sure that by the time I'm done here, I'll have offended more. If you feel a need to play to the crowd in your replies rather than make a sincere effort to address the problems I'm discussing here, please do us the courtesy of playing your politics openly.

From a technical perspective, the project faces a set of challenges that significantly outstrips our ability to deliver. Some of the resources that we need to address these challenges are tied up in the fruitless metadiscussions that have raged since we made the mistake of electing officers. Others have left in disgust, or been driven out by the culture of abuse and distraction that has grown up since then. More may well remain available to recruitment, but while the project is busy infighting our chances for successful outreach are sorely diminished.

There's no simple solution to this. For the project to move forward, one or the other of the warring philosophies must win out; either the project returns to its laid-back roots and gets on with the work, or it transforms into a super-organised engineering project and executes a brilliant plan to deliver what, ultimately, we all know we want.

Whatever path is chosen, whatever balance is struck, the choosing and the striking are the important parts. The current indecision and endless conflict are incompatible with any sort of progress.

Trying to dissect the above is far beyond the scope of any parting shot, no matter how distended. All I can really ask of you all is to let go of the minutiae for a moment and take a look at the big picture. What is the ultimate goal here? How can we get there with as little overhead as possible? How would you like to be treated by your fellow travellers?


To the Slashdot "BSD is dying" crowd - big deal. Death is part of the cycle; take a look at your soft, pallid bodies and consider that right this very moment, parts of you are dying. See? It's not so bad.

To the bulk of the FreeBSD committerbase and the developer community at large - keep your eyes on the real goals. It's when you get distracted by the politickers that they sideline you. The tireless work that you perform keeping the system clean and building is what provides the platform for the obsessives and the prima donnas to have their moments in the sun. In the end, we need you all; in order to go forwards we must first avoid going backwards.

To the paranoid conspiracy theorists - yes, I work for Apple too. No, my resignation wasn't on Steve's direct orders, or in any way related to work I'm doing, may do, may not do, or indeed what was in the tea I had at lunchtime today. It's about real problems that the project faces, real problems that the project has brought upon itself. You can't escape them by inventing excuses about outside influence, the problem stems from within.

To the politically obsessed - give it a break, if you can. No, the project isn't a lemonade stand anymore, but it's not a world-spanning corporate juggernaut either and some of the more grandiose visions going around are in need of a solid dose of reality. Keep it simple, stupid.

To the grandstanders, the prima donnas, and anyone that thinks that they can hold the project to ransom for their own agenda - give it a break, if you can. When the current core were elected, we took a conscious stand against vigorous sanctions, and some of you have exploited that. A new core is going to have to decide whether to repeat this mistake or get tough. I hope they learn from our errors.


I started work on FreeBSD because it was fun. If I'm going to continue, it has to be fun again. There are things I still feel obligated to do, and with any luck I'll find the time to meet those obligations.

However I don't feel an obligation to get involved in the political mess the project is in right now. I tried, I burnt out. I don't feel that my efforts were worthwhile. So I won't be standing for election, I won't be shouting from the sidelines, and I probably won't vote in the next round of ballots.

You could say I'm packing up my toys. I'm not going home just yet, but I'm not going to play unless you can work out how to make the project somewhere fun to be again.

= Mike


To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. -- Theodore Roosevelt

Re:Developer Laments: "What Killed FreeBSD" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26317097)

Ugh, a bit tl;dr for me but I do agree with the whole, "some fights just aren't worth fighting for" thing. Most of us have lives to lead or get back to. The fun kind of went off without us. It would be nice to get it back in the building again.

Victory! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26316933)

Open Source has accomplished its mission and conquered our economy. With no one able to afford the proprietary products anymore, it's one big step closer to world domination.

In all seriousness... (1)

bacon volcano (1260566) | more than 5 years ago | (#26317003)

It wouldn't surprise me to see the current economic climate steer more business and home users to open-source alternatives to the software they currently use.

Nevermind, I forgot about bit torrent there for a second...

Wine (5, Insightful)

3p1ph4ny (835701) | more than 5 years ago | (#26316935)

Uh, Wine went 1.0? How is this not on the list, but Google Chrome is? Chrome isn't even open source, Chromium is.

Re:Wine (0, Redundant)

3vi1 (544505) | more than 5 years ago | (#26316981)

Mod parent up!

Re:Wine (5, Informative)

martijnd (148684) | more than 5 years ago | (#26317023)

Seconded -- Wine is making amazing progress, just check the biweekly changelogs to see how much progress its making.

If this keeps up Linux becomes a solid games platform.

Re:Wine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26317191)

I thought the same thing when i saw Chrome on the list. Why is it there yeah is a nice product but its not open souce, lacked initial Linux support AND there is so many other importent milestones for the *NIX platforms this year

Re:Wine (1)

wisty (1335733) | more than 5 years ago | (#26317219)

Yep, Wine is the coolest thing since Linux. You know it's there, and you know it's geeky and patchy, and you could just buy Windows and avoid all the bother, but sooner or later - BAMM it will be the obvious choice. (I write this from a Mac, but I still say that Linux + GNU + any good package manager is the obvious choice for an operating system - I just like my iLife, MS Office, and TextMate; and I like pretending to be a member of an oppressed minority).

Re:Wine (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26317581)

You ARE an oppressed minority. There's just about barely more mac os users on the interwebs than linux users.

It's like this. You know those fashion clothes you see on TV that look really trendy that in their right mind would buy as they are madly expensive and probably not even practical. This my friend.. is you.

Re:Wine (3, Insightful)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#26317605)

You ARE an oppressed minority. There's just about barely more mac os users on the interwebs than linux users.

Since when did Linux have 8.9% marketshare?

Wine? (1, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26317507)

Okay, mod me flamebait if you want, but I fail to see how Wine is any sort of win for the open source community. Wine is a pretty good open source implementation of an ugly, broken and virtually unimplementable API that really shows its age and irrelevance in an increasingly Internet-driven world.

As another poster says, Django is a win. Pyjamas is a win. Even KDE 4 is more of a win. But Wine? No, Wine is nothing more than a legacy layer in a world that increasingly doesn't need such.

Re:Wine? (5, Insightful)

deraj123 (1225722) | more than 5 years ago | (#26317623)

Okay, mod me flamebait if you want, but I fail to see how Wine is any sort of win for the open source community. Wine is a pretty good open source implementation of an ugly, broken and virtually unimplementable API that really shows its age and irrelevance in an increasingly Internet-driven world.

No, you're not flamebait. The more applications that can work in Wine, the more options I have for migrating away from Windows. This year for the first time, I was able to get rid of my Windows box. Everything that I was keeping it for I can now run under Wine. I would say that Wine is a legacy layer that is continuously improving in a world that still needs it.

Re:Wine (2, Insightful)

cgenman (325138) | more than 5 years ago | (#26317743)

Chrome got a lot of buzz and people talking this year. It also has a pretty solid / minimalistic interface UI, and brings forth some interesting ideas in browsing (generated start pages and dynamic searching comes to mind). Also, while Google has always been supportive of Mozilla, them putting their weight behind a browser *could* become quite significant.

Also, my understanding is that Chromium is Chrome with the logo / branding stripped out for trademark reasons, similar to Netscape / Mozilla in the early days. To say that they're separate at the moment is like arguing Linux vs Gnu/Linux. One's technically righter than the other, but they still both work.

And yes, Wine hitting 1.0 needs to be on that list.

What is best in life (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26316961)

To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their fanboys!

There are no "victories"... (5, Insightful)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#26316997)

...because there is no war.

Re:There are no "victories"... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26317043)

Mod up.

Re:There are no "victories"... (1)

miknix (1047580) | more than 5 years ago | (#26317093)

please mod parent up

Re:There are no "victories"... (1)

bakedpatato (1254274) | more than 5 years ago | (#26317119)


Re:There are no "victories"... (1)

Draek (916851) | more than 5 years ago | (#26317133)

On all software projects, specially F/OSS ones, there's always a 'war' against stagnation, and things like Python 3 and Mono 2.0 are such huge advances compared to what came before, that they can easily be considered victories in such a 'war'.

Yes, it may sound a little like the "War on Terror", but at least in this case we all know it's just poetic language ;)

Re:There are no "victories"... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26317151)

Those Gaza towel-headed camel-humping mooselimbs are getting the bejeezes kicked out of their sorry Allah luvin' asses. They know there sure as hell ain't no victory. But trying telling them there ain't no war . . .

Re:There are no "victories"... (1)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 5 years ago | (#26317355)

Also, Open Source shines through constant progress in bug fixing and adding feature, community support. It is seldom that there is a abrupt change within such a short time as a year. ;-)

Re:There are no "victories"... (2, Insightful)

Like2Byte (542992) | more than 5 years ago | (#26317423)

When your opponent believes that you and he are not in a war, you have achieved 99% victory. When your opponent believes no one is at war with him he is a fool.

There is very much a campaign against open source and very much a campaign against closed source.

For example: There were many office suites until Microsoft entered the arena...then most fell. The OSS answer was OO.o and probably others.

IBM vs Sun
IBM vs Microsoft
Windows vs Linux
Windows vs Mac
Office vs OO.c
IE vs Moz/Firefox

then there was

Google Chrome vs Firefox.

I think the Mozilla Foundation is very nervous that Google created Chrome as Google is a major sponser of the Mozilla project. How long will it be before Google decides the marriage is no longer viable?

No war? I have to disagree.

Re:There are no "victories"... (1)

digitalchinky (650880) | more than 5 years ago | (#26317747)

Mozilla made 75 million dollars in 2007, a little less in 2006. They have a healthy number of zero's in their bank account. I don't think anything other than fast cars, hookers, and beer are on the horizon for anyone in their executive.

Re:There are no "victories"... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26317435)

"I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies; for the hardest victory is over self." Aristotle

One not need to be at war to achieve victory, an accomplishment of a goal will do quite nicely.

1 : the overcoming of an enemy or antagonist
2 : achievement of mastery or success in a struggle or endeavor against odds or difficulties
Merriam-Webster []

Mono 2 (5, Interesting)

N!NJA (1437175) | more than 5 years ago | (#26317007)

wont feel like a victory if MS decides to pull the carpet off everyone's feet someday. to my mind, the phrase "walking on eggs" illustrates perfectly the situation of those developing or relying on Mono.

Re:Mono 2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26317309)

People are fooling themselves with mono, by helping Microsoft push .NET adoption.

A victory for mono is a victory for Microsoft, NOT for open-source.

Google Chrome (0, Redundant)

cleatsupkeep (1132585) | more than 5 years ago | (#26317011)

What about Google Chrome? I know it's currently only Windows only, but it's a very good browser and Open Source.

Re:Google Chrome (3, Funny)

djcapelis (587616) | more than 5 years ago | (#26317065)

What about Google Chrome? I know it's currently only Windows only, but it's a very good browser and Open Source.

You mean the one that's the second item on the list in the article? That Google Chrome?

Re:Google Chrome (1)

cleatsupkeep (1132585) | more than 5 years ago | (#26317121)

Yeah, didn't see anyone else had posted it, and for good reason.

Re:Google Chrome (1)

djcapelis (587616) | more than 5 years ago | (#26317125)

I know everyone says that no one on slashdot reads the articles. But the big secret is that's supposed to be a joke, not a rule.

Re:Google Chrome (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26317667)

No, it really is a rule. RTFA is hard and it takes mad clicking skillz. It's much easier to read 500 comments than RTFA, even if you have to pull the little slidy thing to "Full" and click "More" 5 times so you can get your AC nigger fix.

Re:Google Chrome (1)

cleatsupkeep (1132585) | more than 5 years ago | (#26317105)

And it's in the article. Yay me.

Whatever (1)

ARos (1314459) | more than 5 years ago | (#26317013)

Agree with the 'Nokia ad' poster. Why does TrollTech's being acquired by Nokia equate to an open source victory? Was the Sun acquisition of MySQL an open source victory? Setting milestone releases for major projects aside, the biggest news for 2009 will be the economy. Look for major government adoptions; however, be on the lookout for many more GPL lawsuits...

Agree on FF3? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26317079)

After the number of issues I've had in viewing pages between FF3 and IE7 I'm on the verge of dropping FF altogether.
It's odd but I'm starting to think I'm going to have to switch continuously between various browsers because I left IE after their problems with Flash. I was pleased with FF and suddenly they fumbled the ball too.
And the real bitch of it all? FF has decided to update itself on older machines without ever asking me first. I was told by most OSS fanatics that only Microsoft does that. WTF?

Re:Agree on FF3? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26317325)

I'd recommend SeaMonkey, if you're coming from Firefox. It comes with flash installed (or is this something that you don't want?), I've never had it auto-update on me, and it's mostly firefox extention compatible (you may have to change either the browser ID or the string in the xpi, but it's compatible). It's also much lighter and faster than Firefox.

Re:Agree on FF3? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26317347)

No thanks. I'm not dropping more software on my PC hoping for the best. IE 7 is working fine for me at this point.

Re:Agree on FF3? (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 5 years ago | (#26317761)

I'm not there yet, but it's headed that way. A year ago this would have seemed impossible, but with 3.0, it really seems that FF has changed course, and is headed in an unpleasant direction. They seem to be wanting their user to adapt to their changes, rather than continue to change for the user. Has Mozilla established a marketing group? That's what it seems (unpleasantly) like.

I'll probably switch to Opera, though, before IE.

AMD Anyone? (5, Interesting)

Josejx (46837) | more than 5 years ago | (#26317115)

I can't believe nobody mentioned AMD open sourcing all of the Radeon documentation. That's some of the biggest open source news this year imho.

Re:AMD Anyone? (1)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 5 years ago | (#26317177)

really? people still use the Radeon?

"Now all restaurants are taco bell."

Re:AMD Anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26317551)

All? I'm still waiting for acceleration on my rv635.

Re:AMD Anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26317619)

I can't believe nobody mentioned $PROJECT either!

free software victories (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26317187)

of the so-called "open source" victories, the important ones are the free software victories. The movement did well this year!

KDE simply isn't a factor (1, Flamebait)

Rix (54095) | more than 5 years ago | (#26317197)

KDE is a very nice desktop environment, but that's academic. QT's restrictive licensing essentially blocks all non-GPL activity on KDE.

QT is a very nice library, but it doesn't have anything over it's competitors to justify $4,000 per developer per year (or whatever it is now; Trolltech is too ashamed of itself to publicly list its fees). Until that changes, Gnome will necessarily be the de facto open source desktop.

Re:KDE simply isn't a factor (2, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 5 years ago | (#26317243)

Except that you do not need to write KDE apps or Qt apps for your program to run properly in KDE. You can run GTK applications in KDE, I do it all the time, and it is not a problem at all.

Re:KDE simply isn't a factor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26317337)

Catch up with the times, QT 2.2 was released under LGPL. The license issue is no longer an issue and is old news.

Re:KDE simply isn't a factor (4, Informative)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 5 years ago | (#26317723)

QT's restrictive licensing essentially blocks all non-GPL activity on KDE.

Qt4 has been released under GPLv3, Qt has been under the GPL since 2005, that's four years it's been free.

Sun xVM VirtualBox (5, Informative)

Eric Wayte (4583) | more than 5 years ago | (#26317205)

I know it was originally released by InnoTek in 2007, but VirtualBox has really taken off since being acquired by Sun. 3 major releases (1.6, 2.0, 2.1) this year!

Re:Sun xVM VirtualBox (3, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26317549)

VirtualBox isn't truly open source. VirtualBox OSE is crippled. For example, it doesn't support USB.

Re:Sun xVM VirtualBox (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#26317555)

3 major releases (1.6, 2.0, 2.1) this year!

Big deal. If I write a shell script, revise it twice, and label them as versions 1, 2, and 3, was it as big of an accomplishment?

That's not to say some major improvements haven't been made in VirtualBox, I am just pointing out that version numbers don't mean much

See Also:
Linux Kernel 3.0 []
Linux Kernel 0.95 []

The problem with lists (3, Insightful)

Facetious (710885) | more than 5 years ago | (#26317227)

I read the list in TFA, and generally agree that these are decent to good projects, but I think articles like this miss the point in large measure. I use gvSIG and Quantum GIS for part of my job (GIS). I use Drupal for another part of my job (web admin). Most people, even open source advocates, are likely not aware of all of these projects. They are all open source, but they cater to niches. Thus, they don't make lists. That's fine though. Open source has found its way into every dark corner of software development. I think the phrase "paradigm shift," before it was a buzz phrase, describes what has happened. That these projects and hundreds like them are thriving tells me more about the victory of open source than any top ten list.

Re:The problem with lists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26317413)

thank you!

not a fan of ff3 (1)

buddyglass (925859) | more than 5 years ago | (#26317417)

Faster = good. Regressions from FF2 = bad. Awesome bar = not so awesome.

Re:not a fan of ff3 (1)

El_Oscuro (1022477) | more than 5 years ago | (#26317595)

<Abestos>I know I am in the minority here, but I actually kind of *LIKE* the Awesome bar. I type the first few characters of the website I want and usually it appears on the list. I also use things like tab file expansion in BASH, so it is an interface I am very comfortable with. I do agree that you should be able to turn it off.</Abestos>

Re:not a fan of ff3 (1)

Symbolis (1157151) | more than 5 years ago | (#26317833)

You're not alone. I really dig the "awesome bar", too. No idea why it gets so much hate. Apart from it being something new, I mean.

Open-source database (1, Interesting)

this great guy (922511) | more than 5 years ago | (#26317545)

In 1995, Ulf Michael Widenius and David Axmark started writing an open-source database for their own needs. In 2008 Sun buys MySQL for $1B. Isn't that one of the greatest open-source achievement ?

What about open source development platforms (4, Insightful)

postmortem (906676) | more than 5 years ago | (#26317547)

NetBeans and Eclipse namely.

They cover C, C++, Java, Python, Perl, PHP, JavaScript, Ruby, UML, XML, SVN, and many more - totally free. The compilers and interpreters for listed languages exist freely on Windows, and all are open source.

The best part is - these platforms are as good, and often better than paid versions such as Visual Studio.

They are also very popular in enterprise...

Debian GUI installation (1)

millosh (890186) | more than 5 years ago | (#26317787)

While it was a small step for free software, it was a great one for Debian... And a big surprise for anyone who started Debian installation during this year.

This is a big victory for further psychological development of free software. Making a victory in the fight against yourself is more important than making a victory against someone else.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?