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How Nokia Learned To Love Openness

Soulskill posted about 5 years ago | from the deviant-corporate-practices dept.

Linux Business 180

ChiefMonkeyGrinder writes "Once Sebastian Nyström laid out the logic of moving to open source, there was very little resistance within Nokia to doing so. I think that's significant; it means that, just as the GNU GPL has been tested in various courts and found valid, so has the logic behind open source — the openness that allows software to spread further, and improve quicker, for the mutual benefit of all. That idea is also increasingly accepted by hard-headed business people: it's become self-evident that it's a better way."

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dasdas (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29745857)

dsadsa

Openess (4, Insightful)

sopssa (1498795) | about 5 years ago | (#29745869)

That idea is also increasingly accepted by hard-headed business people: it's become self-evident that it's a better way.

Of course this doesn't apply everywhere, but with things like Qt (cross-platform application and UI framework) it makes sense that everyone benefits from it. It's large things with thousands of users that do benefit from it, but if you're doing business with the the same product you cant really open it up and except still to get revenue - unless you go for the support route, but it also only works to certain types of products.

Re:Openess (5, Interesting)

Interoperable (1651953) | about 5 years ago | (#29746125)

Google is a great example of this. They have a good history of open-sourcing when it benefits them and closely guarding source when it doesn't. They manage to come across as a friendly, open organisation while maintaining a highly profitable business model.

Re:Openess (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29746143)

How come niggers hate aspirin? It's white, it works, and they're too proud to pick the cotton out of the bottle.

Re:Openess (0, Flamebait)

Hurricane78 (562437) | about 5 years ago | (#29747389)

Well, I wouldn't see a giant advertising company with a small appendage of a search engine and other experimental projects as "friendly". ^^

It's advertisement that's the base after all. Advertisement and good/honest are rather extreme opposites.

Re:Openess (-1, Flamebait)

Dog-Cow (21281) | about 5 years ago | (#29747837)

Advertisement and good/honest are rather extreme opposites.

And apparently intelligence and Hurricane78 share the same relationship.

A bad comparison (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29747439)

Huge majority of Google's profits come from Internet advertising, which has very little or nothing to do with Open Source. In fact, Google's whole business model largely depends on it closely guarding the search engine's algorithms.

Google has a lot of Open Source projects certainly and I'm not denying that but any such are - in the end - pretty much a sidetrack. "If we have a thousand nice, small projects some of them will hopefully eventually be profitable enough to justify the rest and perhaps even add a whole new sector to our income and others just manage to keep us in the headlines..." Then they opensource some of those projects and that's great.

But Open Source certainly has nothing at all to do with their core business (searching and advertising), quite the opposite.

Re:Openess (5, Insightful)

DrgnDancer (137700) | about 5 years ago | (#29746193)

This. Open Source is self evidently a better way for certain areas of software development and certain companies. It doesn't necessarily follow that it is self evidently a better way in general. Open source libraries make sens in a lot of the same ways that open standards make sense. They're, in fact, the next obvious growth of open standards. If we can all agree on the inputs and the outputs of the blackbox, why don't we all just use the same transparent box instead?

Open source also makes a lot of sense when you look at "reinventing the wheel" type problems. I need an Operating System for my device. I don't really care about making money on the operating system, I want to make money on the device. Hey, look, here's this Open Source operating system that works on lots of devices, can be easily modified to work on my device, and saves me a ton of work. Open source makes sense. I can save a lot of work reinventing the wheel on a non-monetized product by using something someone else has already done and opened for me.

Open source makes less sense when your software is your product. Microsoft is understandably reluctant to release their source code. It is not self evident that Microsoft would benefit from opening up its products. In fact, most would agrue that the opposite is self evident.

Apple looked at the same problem that Nokia is looking at and decided that since they had an operating system in house already, it made more sense to just modify it then modifying someone else's open operating system. It's worked for them and it is not self evident that making a different choice would have worked out better.

It is self evident that using Open Source is superior in certain situations and under certain circumstances. It is self evident that NOT using Open Source is superior in certain situations and under circumstances. It is NOT self evident that using Open Source is inherently superior. At least not to me.

Re:Openess (4, Insightful)

GMFTatsujin (239569) | about 5 years ago | (#29746557)

Great points. Here's my two cents.

I bought a N800 because it was the right hardware for what I wanted to do. I needed something I could write on, something I could instant message on occasionally, and something that was light enough and small enough to have on me all the time. Some phones are good for messaging, some notebooks are good for writing, but the N800 brought it together for me.

Having Maemo, the open source OS, come specially developed for the N800 was a super plus because it offered me a lot more flexibility. True, a lot of what's out there is the standard issue FOSS apps -- but that's the point. I've run SSH sessions from my N800 to diagnose headless server issues, for crying out loud.

The rest of the time, I write on it, do some twitter, and keep it comfortably out of the way but close at hand. It's a brilliant device, Nokia made some great hardware choices, but they're not in the software biz. FOSS only helps make it better, and was a solid development choice.

Re:Openess (3, Insightful)

replicant108 (690832) | about 5 years ago | (#29747171)

Apple looked at the same problem that Nokia is looking at and decided that since they had an operating system in house already, it made more sense to just modify it then modifying someone else's open operating system.

Except that Apple's operating system is based on modifying 'someone else's open operating system'.

Re:Openess (2, Interesting)

DrgnDancer (137700) | about 5 years ago | (#29747491)

Yes and no. If we want to call the kernel the operating system, then yes. Beyond that it gets a lot more complicated. They are making use of parts of an open kernel, and many open tools, but the vast majority of what users see as "OS X" or "iPhone" OS is Apple code. If the the Free BSD project disappeared tomorrow, Apple would shrug, hire a couple more kernel developers and move on. If the Linux Kernel project disappeared tomorrow most of these "Linux Device" vendors would be up a creek without a paddle.

Put simply Apple develops OS X using some Open Source components. Linux device manufacturers use an Open Source OS.

Re:Openess (2, Interesting)

TemporalBeing (803363) | about 5 years ago | (#29747393)

Apple looked at the same problem that Nokia is looking at and decided that since they had an operating system in house already, it made more sense to just modify it then modifying someone else's open operating system. It's worked for them and it is not self evident that making a different choice would have worked out better.

But remember, Apple didn't just use their own stuff - they took an open source project (FreeBSD) and built their stuff on top of it; in the process they created two more projects - Darwin and OpenDarwin - to encapsulate the open source nature of the underlying system.

Why did this work for Apple? B/c it let them build off a base system that worked pretty much everywhere, and focus on the quality and other aspects of the system their users care about instead of having to worry about all the nitty-gritty details of writing and supporting an entire operating system and all the utilities that come with it. They can instead let the community do that and focus on what they do best; providing back when they modify the underlying system.

Open source makes less sense when your software is your product. Microsoft is understandably reluctant to release their source code. It is not self evident that Microsoft would benefit from opening up its products. In fact, most would agrue that the opposite is self evident.

It could if they did it right. Apple did it right. Microsoft could follow suit. The likelihood of Microsoft doing so at least anytime in the near future is near zero. Windows built on a Unix/Linux platform could be done very well; and a lot of the little details that keep being problematic for Microsoft would likely go away - e.g. security, firewalls, etc. It would also allow Microsoft, like Apple, to focus on what they do best; though they have likely lost track of what that is.

If Microsoft focused on the right part of the stack (e.g. understanding business needs, custom software enhancements, adding support to open source projects, and providing support contracts), then they could very well be a strong distribution/competitor in the open source market. But they would have to drastically change their business model and self-perception - and that won't happen until at least Balmer leaves, if not a CEO or two after him.

Re:Openess (2, Insightful)

DrgnDancer (137700) | about 5 years ago | (#29747651)

You're making the same point as the guy above you, but doing a much better job. I agree that Apple makes use of (and, quite fairly, contributes back too) Open Source software in many low level areas of OS X. However it is equally true that neither OS X itself, nor the iPhone OS can be called Open Source products. They are distinct from Darwin and OpenDarwin in ways that Linux device manufacturer's operating systems are not usually distinct from "Linux".

In a way Apple demonstrated my point very well. They are a company that has found Open Source to be very useful in some areas of the business model, and much less useful in others. It is self evident that Apple makes extensive use of Open Source. It is equally self evident that they make extensive use of closed source. Thus far this balance approach has served them very well. No Open Source projects have found real reason to complain about them as a citizen of the OS community, but they still manage to make extensive and profitable use of closed and proprietary technology.

Re:Openess (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | about 5 years ago | (#29747985)

Ok, I agree that open source may not be superior in every possible situation, but I lack counter-examples and yours isn't really obvious. Would the clients of Microsoft be better or worse if they colaboratively developed the software they buy? Would it be cheaper or more expensive? Would it have lower or highter quality? In short is Microsoft a leacher or a constructive member of society*?

* Specificaly for Microsoft, the answer is quite easy, but it doesn't extend to other software dealers on any obvious way.

Narrowsighted executives is nothing new. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29745893)

If those business people are happy to only compete on hardware, then yes.

If those business people also want to compete on software, OR, they don't read the license ("who reads the license?") and accidentally infringe, and therefore have to try to reach some agreement with a bunch of people who want nothing but to destroy them and see them humiliated, they might become less happy.

Nokia has decided to only compete on hardware, so no problem for them. Others who want to compete on software might disagree.

Re:Narrowsighted executives is nothing new. (4, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | about 5 years ago | (#29745995)

If you take other people's work and build on it and call the end result your own without
bothering to consider the terms involved then you quite rightly deserve to be humiliated.

It's no more than what you would get for acting like a toddler in any other context.

Re:Narrowsighted executives is nothing new. (1)

NoYob (1630681) | about 5 years ago | (#29746115)

Others who want to compete on software might disagree.

Competing on software is becoming a losing proposition for most. Software has become such a cheap commodity that solutions for most problems are available for free.

The markets have spoken: software has in many cases become worthless.

Re:Narrowsighted executives is nothing new. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29746445)

You're confusing price and value.

Re:Narrowsighted executives is nothing new. (1)

plague3106 (71849) | about 5 years ago | (#29746815)

So that's why there's still plenty of software packages commanding thousands of dollars per license, meanwhile hardware prices are at rock bottom? I'd argue that hardware is much more commoditized than software.

Re:Narrowsighted executives is nothing new. (2, Insightful)

DrgnDancer (137700) | about 5 years ago | (#29747187)

Yeah, Microsoft, Adobe, Autodesk, Blizzard, Bungie... All those guys are the verge of bankruptcy. No one is willing to pay for software.

Solutions to many problems are available for free, but those solutions are not always very good. Even when they are good, they don't usually dominate the market. Linux, Apache, and Firefox are all great examples of successful Open Source products, and even they are still fighting tooth and nail for market share against very viable closed source competition. In most markets the competition isn't even close. Closed source software rules the market with some Open Source competitors of varying quality holding a distant second or third position.

In some cases it's a real shame, because the Open Source alternative is on par with or better than its closed alternative, but even then the open version rarely dominates the market.

Re:Narrowsighted executives is nothing new. (2, Insightful)

bertoelcon (1557907) | about 5 years ago | (#29747507)

Linux, Apache, and Firefox are all great examples of successful Open Source products, and even they are still fighting tooth and nail for market share against very viable closed source competition

Of your examples Apache is the market leader on Web Server Software. If I remember the last time I looked it was over half.

Re:Narrowsighted executives is nothing new. (1)

DrgnDancer (137700) | about 5 years ago | (#29747769)

I think it still is. I very carefully used words like "most" and "usually" through out my post. There are a very few exceptions where OS software is dominant in its niche and web server software is one of them. However, Apache is still fighting tooth and nail against a very viable closed competitor. IIS may not be quite a as popular as Apache, but it's hardly relegated to the distant corners of the market either. It's quite popular, and has nearly as much market share as Apache does.

Re:Narrowsighted executives is nothing new. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29746215)

Nokia has decided to only compete on hardware

You'll find out how wrong you are soon enough... Linux and open source are just new methods of keeping the lead they have.

Re:Narrowsighted executives is nothing new. (2, Interesting)

Tellarin (444097) | about 5 years ago | (#29746245)

Nokia did not decide to only compete on hardware.

They decided that their improvements to the base software (open) plus their hardware, will sell more phones than competitors. And if other people help you maintain the base software, all the better.

They don't need to open whatever software modules they feel should remain closed for now. Also, if it's your platform, you know it better than outsiders (at least for a while) and can also take advantage of that.

Re:Narrowsighted executives is nothing new. (-1, Troll)

jthill (303417) | about 5 years ago | (#29746275)

a bunch of people who want nothing but to destroy them and see them humiliated

Why is this post not modded troll?

Re:Narrowsighted executives is nothing new. (2, Funny)

Hatta (162192) | about 5 years ago | (#29746541)

accidentally infringe, and therefore have to try to reach some agreement with a bunch of people who want nothing but to destroy them and see them humiliated

Who said anything about the BSA?

!offtopic (2, Informative)

Hatta (162192) | about 5 years ago | (#29747817)

I usually don't complain about moderation, but come on. The parent was claiming that those who used open source software and didn't follow the license would be confronted by people who want to destroy them. I was merely pointing out that using proprietary software and failing to follow the license would get you a visit from the BSA and be much more likely to destroy your business.

Sorry if that was too subtle for you, but in an article about the suitability of open source software for business use a comparison to proprietary software is definitely on topic.

Re:Narrowsighted executives is nothing new. (1)

Nursie (632944) | about 5 years ago | (#29746647)

"("who reads the license?")"

Anyone who wants to distribute software, particularly if they're doing it for money, that's who.

Otherwise they're no better than the guy selling ripped-off DVDs at the local market.

Re:Narrowsighted executives is nothing new. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29746725)

You present a false dichotomy, because who cares about copyright infringement? Without stupid digital restrictions schemes maybe movie producers would make something good. It's proven that freelance projects are more creative, same goes with software.

Copyright needs to be abolished, which is the points of FLOSS software anyway. Without copyright, there would be no reason to have licensing, because it would already be freely shared.

Re:Narrowsighted executives is nothing new. (1)

daveime (1253762) | about 5 years ago | (#29747435)

Freelance projects do tend to be more creative, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Some is "good", but there's a lot of crap out there too.

Corps like RIAA etc. employ vast swathes of people who know what is crap and what will make money. Okay, sometimes a crap movie or album slips through the net, but on the whole they know what people want, and try to make sure they get it.

Without copyright, we may benefit from better pricing, better distribution and more creativity, but that doesn't mean we'll be any happier, as there'll be infinitely more crap to wade through before we find something that doesn't suck.

So I'll carry on sitting on this fence for now, no matter how much it hurts my ass.

Re:Narrowsighted executives is nothing new. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29747723)

Nokia has decided to only compete on hardware

Are you sure about that? Is Apple only competing on hardware?

Just a few examples:
http://www.nokia.co.uk/apps-and-services/music/nokia-music-store
http://www.nokia.co.uk/apps-and-services/ovi-maps/main
http://www.nokia.com/about-nokia/new-business/finance/nokia-money

"Openness" is a strategy for failure (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29745949)

Nokia should be emulating Apple here. The key to success is to LIMIT access to the device, and to clamp down on what developers and users can and cannot do with it. By allowing the device to be "open" they succumb to the same kind of temptation that has caused Linux (and every other piece of open source software) to be such a collosal failure. I know I will get moderated as a troll since this is Slashdot, but there is absolutely no proof that openness, or open source, contributes to a products success. If anyone disagrees, then name a single piece of open source software that is better than its closed source competition. You cannot, because open source means lower quality due to its inherent lack of focus.

Re:"Openness" is a strategy for failure (0)

kurt555gs (309278) | about 5 years ago | (#29745985)

Sorry I don't have any mod points. Do you work for Microsoft?

Re:"Openness" is a strategy for failure (1)

sopssa (1498795) | about 5 years ago | (#29746087)

He has a point (and doesn't even mention Microsoft anywhere).

Open source development is often plagued with the lack of focus. And of course its like that, because *most* of the developers and programmers don't get paid for it. When you do and when software is produced commercially, there's lots of focus on it because it will also bring in the money. That's why most closed source *is* better than open source alternatives. Photoshop vs GIMP, Adobe Premiere vs. ??, Visual Studio vs. dev-c++.... And dont even get me started on games.

Re:"Openness" is a strategy for failure (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 5 years ago | (#29746247)

IE vs Firefox...

Re:"Openness" is a strategy for failure (3, Funny)

kurt555gs (309278) | about 5 years ago | (#29746285)

M$ office vs OpenOffice.org
Parallels vs VirtualBox

(Yes I used the epithet "M$"), now watch my theory that the "M$" folks have automated bots or paid shills to mod down any post containing said derogatory term.

Re:"Openness" is a strategy for failure (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | about 5 years ago | (#29746973)

No, Microsoft is pretty smart about making money. Paying people to mod down a post on Slashdot that contains "M$" has no business case. There may be a lot of people on Slashdot who avoid using MS products but none of them do so because somebody replaced a "S" with a "$".

Re:"Openness" is a strategy for failure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29747639)

I vote them down as a human because it's irritating.

Re:"Openness" is a strategy for failure (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29746593)

To be fair, a lot of people do prefer Opera to Firefox.

Re:"Openness" is a strategy for failure (1)

sopssa (1498795) | about 5 years ago | (#29746823)

IE is bad example because its not really meant for power users. In my opinion Opera (closed source, free to use) is way ahead of Firefox. But taking that aside, browsers are actually where open source can get income easily, because Google keeps supporting them to have Google as the default search engine. Both Opera and Firefox are funded the same way (granted, Opera also has income from developing their browser to mobile phones and Wii and various other platforms - just this weekend I was in a hotel and the tv suddenly 'rebooted' and it displayed Powered by Opera logo on startup)

Re:"Openness" is a strategy for failure (3, Informative)

Nadaka (224565) | about 5 years ago | (#29746337)

I'm not so sure that Visual Studio is better than the open source alternatives. Eclipse is quite good, and the latest versions of Visual Studio have hidden their keyboard shortcuts, making learning efficient use of the system more difficult.

Re:"Openness" is a strategy for failure (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | about 5 years ago | (#29747037)

Eclipse is one of the best Java IDEs there is, but not so great for any other language. Perhaps the designers got distracted by the idea of creating a platform instead of making the best IDE.

Re:"Openness" is a strategy for failure (2, Insightful)

Tellarin (444097) | about 5 years ago | (#29746349)

"Most closed source is better" is really relative.

Specifically if you consider money. If you don't have money to buy the "best" or if you don't need the features in the "best", than it is not so good, right?

I agree that in more specialized fields (such as image processing) the closed source versions are usually technically better. But, especially in more basic software (OS, deamons, compilers, ...), open source software tends to be better in the long term. UI apart, of course. The usability area is something that definitively the community should focus more.

And regarding one of your examples, I prefer using Eclipse than VS. Although not perfect, it's been improving quickly. Both for Java and C++ development.

Re:"Openness" is a strategy for failure (1)

bberens (965711) | about 5 years ago | (#29747061)

I point you and GP to the litany of shareware out there on sites like CNet et. al. Just because you think MS Office is better than OpenOffice doesn't mean that there isn't a BOAT LOAD of bad closed source software out there.

Re:"Openness" is a strategy for failure (3, Informative)

Schmorgluck (1293264) | about 5 years ago | (#29747553)

UI apart, of course. The usability area is something that definitively the community should focus more.

UI is one thing, but I think the main usability issue of the overwhelming majority of open source projects is the user documentation. Even though nowadays software engineers are often taught about documentation, and even though the community has broadened enough to have some skilled redactors that could contribute that way (if the devs did give a shit), many projects have no documentation worth mentioning.

And I think it's a more important concern than the UI, in most case. New users can be a bit confused by an UI that isn't like what they are used to, it won't be a big concern (at least not for long) if the application, and its UI, is properly documented

Re:"Openness" is a strategy for failure (1)

cl0s (1322587) | about 5 years ago | (#29746093)

ehh, I assume you're using IE on Windows. Apple's Safari browser, is open source. Apple's Mac OSX is based of an open source operating system that just doesn't have the additional licensing limitation forcing Apple to open source it back. Printing on your Mac uses open source cups :-o .. shall I continue? This is just open source within the company you named is the Anti-open source (though they kind of are). Even they are not CONTRIBUTING to open source, more USING open source... but non-the-less to make a profit -- which you say can't be done. Who know's how far they would be with out open source, having to create an OS and apps completely from scratch. I don't think you were serious though, but I'm bored at work and its right before my lunch break... so why not feed the trolls.

Re:"Openness" is a strategy for failure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29746291)

Safari is not open source. Webkit (the engine that Safari uses) is open source, but the Safari web browser is not.

If I'm wrong and that has changed, please tell me where I can get the Safari source to take a look at, and what license it's been released under.

Re:"Openness" is a strategy for failure (1)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | about 5 years ago | (#29746733)

The closed source parts of Safari are just chrome, there's not any real reason to release them.

Re:"Openness" is a strategy for failure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29746839)

I wasn't implying there was a reason to release them... only that Safari, as a web browser, is not open source. It may only be "chrome", but that's what actually makes it a browser instead of just a useless rendering engine that only developers can use. It's what makes Safari a different browser from other Webkit-based browsers.

Apple contributes a ton to open source. (4, Informative)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 5 years ago | (#29746739)

Even they are not CONTRIBUTING to open source, more USING open source..

That is totally false.

They are a major contributor to webkit (the engine of Safari). They are a major contributor to GCC in the past, and now the LLVM project.

They also contribute back for all the other technologies you mentioned, and many more like launchd and now blocks/Grand Central.

Apple is one of the few companies to grasp the benefits of open source early, but the benefits are as much in contribution as they are in use - if you keep improvement's to yourself others cannot improve on them.

Re:Apple contributes a ton to open source. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29747629)

They also contribute back for all the other technologies you mentioned, and many more like launchd and now blocks/Grand Central.

Yes, Apple does block Grand Central [grandcentral.com] , now known as Google Voice, on their iPhone store. How great of you to bring this topic back to what the Anonymous Coward way up at the top was referring to!

Re:"Openness" is a strategy for failure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29747403)

Safari is not open source, dumbass. And by pointing out how much better Apple's closed source version of BSD is, you are making my point for me. Sure Apple used some open source to build upon (thanks for all the free work, chumps), but they added the key missing bits I mentioned before: focus and control.

And as a response to the other people who replied with examples like VLC, Firefox, Apache and PostgresQL, I guess we will just have to disagree about what "better" means. You folks seem to hold your software to a pretty low standard of quality.

Re:"Openness" is a strategy for failure (1)

SilverEyes (822768) | about 5 years ago | (#29747543)

I'll agree with PostgreSQL. I actually hate that software.

However, you mention the word "better". What non-OSS browser is better than FF? IE8, maybe, but that is fairly recent, and the revisions are only stirred by FF's rising prominence. Even then, most people regard it as "definitely not as good" (read: unbetterplus).

Apache and IIS each have their strong points. Apache is generally regarded as superior, but lacking some capability that IIS has (ASP pages?) - you may have me on this one, I don't know much about either.

What's wrong with VLC? VLC works way better than WMP or Media Center at remembering what point in a movie I was in if I resume my computer from sleep. And it doesn't freeze unexpectedly if I minimize it. And resizing doesn't cause skipping and lag. Maybe this improved in the new version, haven't watched any DVDs on my Windows 7 install yet.

Re:"Openness" is a strategy for failure (2, Informative)

Shikaku (1129753) | about 5 years ago | (#29746229)

Apache, Firefox, 7-zip.

Oops, I shouldn't feed the troll.

Re:"Openness" is a strategy for failure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29746697)

I know I will get moderated as a troll since this is Slashdot [...]

Well... nah, you're getting moderated as a troll because you're a troll. Hope that clears up any confusion!

Re:"Openness" is a strategy for failure (1)

ZarathustraDK (1291688) | about 5 years ago | (#29746799)

If anyone disagrees, then name a single piece of open source software that is better than its closed source competition. You cannot, because open source means lower quality due to its inherent lack of focus.

VLC, suck it down troll.

Re:"Openness" is a strategy for failure (1)

KillerBob (217953) | about 5 years ago | (#29747197)

He is a troll, but VLC has a *long* way to go in terms of UI and useability. I much prefer xine or mplayer in that respect, and with the codecs installed, I don't need to worry about not being able to play something. Actually, I haven't run into a file I can't play even with Windows Media Player 12 (the one with Windows 7), as it just goes off to the Internet and downloads codecs automatically when you try to play something it doesn't recognize. As long as the file's meta information is intact, I haven't run into a single media file it won't play... even DivX/XviD. Like VLC, it plays DVD, and unlike VLC, it also plays Blu-Ray.

If you want to name OSS that's better than its closed-source competition, then I'd suggest you point at things like Apache, PostgreSQL, MySQL (some versions are GPL'd), Firefox (realms better than MSIE, but its superiority to Opera is debateable), and offerings like Evolution.

Re:"Openness" is a strategy for failure (1)

SilverEyes (822768) | about 5 years ago | (#29747579)

Curiosity: does WMP 12 actually resume from sleep properly, and not lag horribly when resizing or minimizing? I haven't tried it yet.

I'll have to disagree with everyone else. I really don't like PostgreSQL. But still closed source manages to do worse, I hate OpenRDA's SQL far, far, more.

Re:"Openness" is a strategy for failure (1)

pushf popf (741049) | about 5 years ago | (#29747267)

If anyone disagrees, then name a single piece of open source software that is better than its closed source competition. You cannot, because open source means lower quality due to its inherent lack of focus.

Postfix.

In this case (5, Insightful)

kdawgud (915237) | about 5 years ago | (#29746063)

Well, in this case it may have made sense for Nokia. They are a hardware company, so giving away the software for free would not directly harm their income. Other industries won't be convinced so easily (i.e. companies that make money off of selling software to the masses).

Re:In this case (2, Insightful)

Ksempac (934247) | about 5 years ago | (#29746149)

Mod this up. It's been known for years that IBM and others hardware companies need software to sell their machines and therefore it makes sense for them to be involved in Open Source. By reducing the cost of software to zero, they manage to get more hardware sales.
Software companies on the other hand don't have such incentive to go Open Source, since that reduce the dollar value of their product. And therefore you see MS opposing Open Source.
The odd one is/was...Sun, a company that never decided whether it was a hardware (servers) or software company (Java, Solaris, ...).

Re:In this case (1)

c0d3g33k (102699) | about 5 years ago | (#29746735)

One could argue, of course, that "software companies" never did have much of a foundation on which to build a product to begin with. Unless they were able to distort reality by invoking "intellectual property rights" and similar techniques to bring artificial scarcity to a realm that by it's very nature facilitates abundance at very low cost. Until we invent the universal replicator, on the other hand, 'hardware' companies can rely on natural scarcity to support their business model. The smart companies, it seems to me, implement a hardware-based mode somewhere in their business model and are thus much more stable in the long term than exclusively software based companies. Just sayin'.

Re:In this case (1)

plague3106 (71849) | about 5 years ago | (#29746879)

Interesting... so its the natural scarcity of wood that makes books so valuable, not the content? Could have fooled me, given that a book of blank pages is siginifcantly cheaper that one already filled with content.

I hate to break it to you, but physical items are already out as a way to make money. Yes, there are some niche things that don't follow the rule... but look at most anything... corn, building materials, fast food, computers. Face it, our economy is based on SERVICES. You don't grow your own food, you pay others to do it. You don't build your own house, you hire others to do it. You don't even cook your own food at least some of the time.

Content (which you dismiss as IP) is what matters... not the medium. People value the story, not the form of expression. Nobody buys a computer without software because it would be useless without software... but the fact that you can do your accounting on computers doesn't mean you'd not have accounting without computers.

Re:In this case (1)

SilverEyes (822768) | about 5 years ago | (#29746983)

(This). Further, a computer without software is still a very attractive paperweight. Unless it's a Tandy 1000 or something. Then it is an ugly paperweight.

Re:In this case (1)

Ephemeriis (315124) | about 5 years ago | (#29747163)

Interesting... so its the natural scarcity of wood that makes books so valuable, not the content? Could have fooled me, given that a book of blank pages is siginifcantly cheaper that one already filled with content.

I would suggest that having an actual physical object - a book - is more valuable than a digital copy of the content. Largely because it is something that you can personally carry around and do with as you please. You don't have to worry about anyone revoking your license or anything like that.

I hate to break it to you, but physical items are already out as a way to make money. Yes, there are some niche things that don't follow the rule... but look at most anything... corn, building materials, fast food, computers. Face it, our economy is based on SERVICES. You don't grow your own food, you pay others to do it. You don't build your own house, you hire others to do it. You don't even cook your own food at least some of the time.

True... But once they've built my house I own a physical object. One that keeps the rain off of my head for years to come. One that I can eventually sell to another person. I may very well be paying another human being to build the house for me - but what I want is the house, not the building service. Those construction workers aren't going to keep me warm and dry - the house they build is.

Content (which you dismiss as IP) is what matters... not the medium. People value the story, not the form of expression. Nobody buys a computer without software because it would be useless without software... but the fact that you can do your accounting on computers doesn't mean you'd not have accounting without computers.

Again, I'm going to have to disagree.

People pay $20 for a CD, and $100 for a live performance of the same music. Yet that live performance only lasts a couple hours, and the CD can be played over and over again. By your logic the CD should be more valuable, but that simply isn't true.

Similarly, people will pay millions of dollars for an original painting, when they could have the exact same image digitally reproduced for pennies.

The medium is very important.

Re:Content and Medium (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | about 5 years ago | (#29747517)

Watch out for books. Lemme give you an easier example. You might have hinted at the valid method though:

TypicalSong: Sells for $.18 which is carefully set to come out 5/dollar AFTER tax. Your "Typical Album" would then sell for $2 digital. This includes some minimum good quality aimed at being a better bargain than the torrents.

*DELUXE UPSELL*
Neat package of case/photos/special bonuses, etc. $8-28 or something depending on how fancy. No one is deluded here about copyright... that's just a raw reproduction cost.

Books are JUST coming into range.
TypicalBook: $2 Digital
NiceHardback = $22 more.

It's Accessories FTW, major.

If you think you can do better, then you'd become an ACCESSORIES VENDOR.

Re:In this case (1)

SilverEyes (822768) | about 5 years ago | (#29746883)

My bitter take:

One could argue that. One could also argue that IP laws have been around since 1886 and are a compromise between individual incentive and societal benefit. Creative artists/writers/authors/(and dare I say, programmers) who want others to experience their work, but also want incentive to create, recognitiion, and not just be ripped off.

However, as with any compromise, the result is a massive shouting match.

Smart companies have large advertising departments. Companies like Apple, IBM, and Microsoft.

Now they get it. (1)

Krneki (1192201) | about 5 years ago | (#29746121)

Too little, too late.

Now with Android showing the way, they realize how closed development put them behind. I enjoyed my Nokia phones, but I got frustrated with the lack of development.

Re:Now they get it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29746213)

So true. Conceptually, devices such as the N900 are 'truer' to the open source spirit than Android is, but sadly it comes in so late in the game and without social ingeniuty of Google behind it that it hardly is going to make any difference.

Re:Now they get it. (3, Insightful)

the ReviveR (1106541) | about 5 years ago | (#29746497)

Too little, too late. Now with Android showing the way, they realize how closed development put them behind. I enjoyed my Nokia phones, but I got frustrated with the lack of development.

Too little? Too late?

You mean full linux platform where you can simply type "sudo gainroot" to get root access?
Platform to which it will be almost trivial to port a huge library of current linux apps?

Personally I really don't like Androids "open". The under the hood it's a closed platform that gives you a Java interface that you can use for most things. No easy porting, not even full Java libraries and carriers can prevent tethering etc. While Android is "open", it's not the same thing as real linux platform in your pocket. Maemo in my mind is something completely different. Something the other manufacturers will have to start catching up.

Nokias hardware has always been great quality, the software has just been dragging behind because Symbian platform just plain sucks. Buying QT and going linux seems like a real killer move to me. Now they just need to dump Symbian and really start spending time and money on Maemo. Hopefully rest of the linux community will gain something from Nokias enormous resources too.

Re:Now they get it. (1)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | about 5 years ago | (#29746597)

How is it late? Symbian was opensourced in 2008.

Re:Now they get it. (3, Informative)

EvilNTUser (573674) | about 5 years ago | (#29747079)

Maemo version 1 was released in 2005 on the Nokia 770. Before Android, before the iPhone. Just because Nokia's roadmap was a bit longer doesn't mean they weren't showing the way.

In six months we'll have all our lightweight desktop apps running on our phones and people will finally realize just how far ahead of everyone else Nokia really is.

Re:Now they get it. (2, Insightful)

Krneki (1192201) | about 5 years ago | (#29747217)

I hope you are right, I really do.

Re:Now they get it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29747945)

Maemo version 1 was released in 2005 on the Nokia 770. Before Android, before the iPhone. Just because Nokia's roadmap was a bit longer doesn't mean they weren't showing the way.

In six months we'll have all our lightweight desktop apps running on our phones and people will finally realize just how far ahead of everyone else Nokia really is.

Nokia is great at showing the way ahead, they just fail to follow themselves. Just think: who made mobile phones that could browse the web and send/receive email in 1996? Nokia did. Too bad they never figured out what to do with their abilities.

I dunno, don't see a huge benefit... (1)

HerculesMO (693085) | about 5 years ago | (#29746207)

Right now Nokia has the biggest share of market for phones because their phones are high quality. This is echoed by results in Japan and Asia where users continually buy Nokia because they can beat the living shit out of the phone and still make a call.

Symbian is a piece of crap. It always was, and it never really evolved much. It's right down there with Windows Mobile. And the iPhone OSX is probably the best OS out there. Sure, Android is open source -- but how has that benefitted it so far? Look at the quality of the product -- it sucks. It may evolve, but it's not taking on strides like the mention to Firefox in TFA, and there's no reason to assume that Nokia is going to get a huge bump from just the benefit of O/S.

As I heard many years ago, an O/S project and closed source project can be about the same quality, as long as the number of focused eyes are reviewing the code per iteration. Firefox has a great community behind it which is why the benefit of being O/S helps, but look at Android -- fully open source, still sucks. iPhone's software is the easiest to use and has propogated the most thus far.

I am not sold on the benefit of open source for a variety of applications, and mobile development is yet another. Firefox has it working because it offers up a better browser with more options than IE ever did -- so the community is great. Android is another "also ran" in the mobile market, and if Nokia put Windows Mobile (yuck) on their phones they'd still be #1 in the world. Goes to show, that open source alone isn't going to make a huge difference.

It will be nice to take a peek at the underlying structure though.

Re:I dunno, don't see a huge benefit... (1)

Finallyjoined!!! (1158431) | about 5 years ago | (#29746865)

Symbian is a piece of crap.

Huh?
Please clarify?

PS: On a different note; you have two hopes of Nokia putting the steaming pile of shite, that is windows mobile, on their handsets: No & Bob. :-)

Re:I dunno, don't see a huge benefit... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29747343)

Symbian is a piece of crap. It always was, and it never really evolved much.

Whoa, where'd you get that from? Symbian is a slim embedded OS, and it has evolved massively over the years. The present UIs are a bit outdated, but that's being worked on. It kicks Android and WM to the curb on low end hardware, and the developer community is there!

Go check out http://developer.symbian.org. It's a nice place to be, and things are only getting better.

FTFY (1, Interesting)

Weaselmancer (533834) | about 5 years ago | (#29746249)

That idea is also increasingly accepted by hard-headed business people: it's become self-evident that it's^H^H^H^Hit can be a better way.

It can be a better way. It often *is* a better way. But it is not automatically a better way. A lot of it depends on project organization and leadership. Just like other non-OS projects.

Remember the great XFree86 wars and all the infighting? And the massive Xorg fork that was needed to get past all that? I'd say that XFree86 is an example of a OS project with serious problems. Xorg was needed to route around them.

So I'd say give OS a chance, but don't expect it to be a magic panacea. You still need to handle personality conflicts, code conflicts, and you still need someone at the helm that has a good sense of direction and good conflict resolution skills.

Re:FTFY (1)

jthill (303417) | about 5 years ago | (#29746489)

And the massive Xorg fork that was needed to get past all that?

...

Not that there aren't projects where closed-source is better, but ... does it really need saying? The ability to fork a septic project is a not-even-debatable advantage to open source, and this is one of the prime examples of it working: no project is immune to going bad like that.

Re:FTFY (1)

Weaselmancer (533834) | about 5 years ago | (#29746961)

Exactly my point - no project is immune to going bad like that. Open source is not an automatic fix. That's all I was saying. The article said it is always better, and I disagree. It is usually better. Not always. XFree86 is a good example of an OS project with problems. And I could list a host of closed projects that are wonderful, as could anyone here.

And yeah there are ways around problems too, both open and closed. Open and you can fork the project like Xorg. Closed and you can sell the project to someone else and have them see if they're a better pilot.

All I'm saying is that people should enter into OS with the correct notions. It's not an automatic fix or magic bullet. If people think "hey I'll just open source my project and it will all be better" they'll be disappointed. I'd like to not see that happen. I'd like OS to maintain a good reputation. People need to know you still have to have good management and organization and conflict resolution or you'll be trading one set of disappointments for another.

Re:FTFY (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29747649)

Open source:

Crew: You crazy ass pilot, you're running this project aground. We're forking this project now, and you get to walk the plank.
Pilot: Blast!

Closed source:

Crew: You crazy ass pilot, you're running this project aground. We're forking this project now, and you get to walk the plank.
Pilot: Not so fast, unless you give me $10 000 000, this project is running aground, because I say so.

Yeah, sounds like a real hard choice. I mean open source is clearly inferior. Right?

Re:FTFY (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29747815)

You're a douchebag with the reading comprehension skills of a turnip. Just so you know.

Re:FTFY (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29746563)

Soooo... because of the infighting within XFree86, which eventually got resolved by the fork, closed source where no such forks can take place to get out of a stagnating or even decaying situation is... better? Or what's your "point"?

Re:FTFY (1)

plague3106 (71849) | about 5 years ago | (#29747479)

The fork was a huge waste of time and energy.... all over a clause that had to attribute to the developers be present in a binary release.

I wonder... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29746283)

If the "hard-headed" business people starts to realise this. Then I have to wonder, how should I, label those people where I work?

Re:I wonder... (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about 5 years ago | (#29746419)

I suspect that the writer of the summary was going for the connotations of "hard-nosed" business people, rather than "hard-headed" business people and doesn't realize the different implications of the terms.

Symbian dev tools (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29746437)

Now if they could come up with dev tools for linux so that I don't have to run windows to run emulator. Luckily there is gnupoc.

Playing to Apple's weakness (4, Insightful)

tick-tock-atona (1145909) | about 5 years ago | (#29746451)

Nokia's "open" strategy will pay off big time in the long run. At the moment, their major threat is the iPhone, which inherits all of apple's strengths (RDF [techeblog.com] , UI design) as well as it's weaknesses (software/hardware lockdown).

The next-gen Nokia phone [arstechnica.com] on the other hand (successor to the N900) will get all the hardware features of the iPhone, but with the openness of a linux software stack. Want to make an app that downloads podcasts? Fine! Want to use your phone as a modem? No problem! In fact, no corporation enforcing their moral or business rules on how you use your phone, or alienation of talented developers [macworld.com] !

Maemo and Qt being open source will ensure that the software features of the Maemo platform quickly eclipse those of the artificially limited iPhone platform. Maemo's based on Debian - so Nokia automatically gets just about every open-source software package in existence available on their platform.

I think this is the most serious threat that the turtleneck sweater brigade have yet seen.

Re:Playing to Apple's weakness (1)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | about 5 years ago | (#29746625)

The next-gen Nokia phone [arstechnica.com] on the other hand (successor to the N900) will get all the hardware features of the iPhone, but with the openness of a linux software stack. Want to make an app that downloads podcasts? Fine! Want to use your phone as a modem? No problem! In fact, no corporation enforcing their moral or business rules on how you use your phone, or alienation of talented developers [macworld.com]!

Sounds like the way my N97 (S60 R5 device) works ;).

That's not a source issue (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 5 years ago | (#29746641)

Want to make an app that downloads podcasts? Fine! Want to use your phone as a modem? No problem!

You can do all that on an iPhone too - you just jailbreak it (and even some podcasting apps are in the app store).

The issue blocking that is not open source, it's carriers (and Apple to some extent). Android on T-Mobile has some issues with what they will allow as well (and rooting is not really much different from jailbreaking in terms of user ease).

As another person noted, Nokia's attempt to do this is too late with Android on the rise.

Re:That's not a source issue (1)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | about 5 years ago | (#29747765)

You can do all that on an iPhone too - you just jailbreak it (and even some podcasting apps are in the app store).

Unless you have one of the new 3GS's. Or every time Apple releases an update and re-jailbreaks it.

Nokia has all sorts of toys to play with. There's Python for Symbian, the N97 has more than the iPhone in a similar form footprint (everything that the iPhone has except multitouch and fully integrated kinetic scrolling which will come in the next two weeks with an OS upgrade, FM transmitter, 5MP camera, secondary camera. Turn by turn navigation out of the box. Your choice of on screen keyboard, full sliding QWERTY hardware keyboard, and handwriting recognition with stylus a la Palm), better battery, 32GB internal storage plus support for microSD up to 32GB, 33% higher resolution display, full integrated SIP/VoIP support - the N900 and its successors will have all of this and more on a Linux backend.

Re:That's not a source issue (1)

XedLightParticle (1123565) | about 5 years ago | (#29747803)

Sure, one can jailbreak an iPhone or root an Android, but those are still limited frameworks.

The jailbreak iPhone community wouldn't get to be as big as the community making appstore apps over night.

Android could end up having quite a community, but since android is (mostly) open the huge Linux community can easily keep their systems Android compatible [arstechnica.com] without locking the rest of the system up so much that they could not benefit from all the other good stuff going on around Linux.

So Nokia not committing to Android is a clever move in my eyes, because it opens up possibilities rather than limiting them.

Just my five cents...

Re:Playing to Apple's weakness (1)

c0d3g33k (102699) | about 5 years ago | (#29746797)

I think this is the most serious threat that the turtleneck sweater brigade have yet seen.

Except for the inconvenient fact that I can't find a piece of hardware (aka phone) with an open enough software stack on a carrier that provides good coverage where I live. I can find the former, but only by getting a phone from a carrier that doesn't have coverage at places like, oh, I don't know, MY HOUSE. The turtleneck sweater brigade have a little bit of breathing room due to the way the market works in the phone industry. Give me hardware/software uncoupled from carriers, and your statement holds more weight. Sadly, that's a fantasy world at present.

Re:Playing to Apple's weakness (1)

icebraining (1313345) | about 5 years ago | (#29746895)

Why wait for Maemo when you have Python for S60 [nokia.com] , besides a free SDK for C? I already have open-source podcast players running in my phone and mobile Wifi hotspot sharing my 3G connection, without having to jailbreak,

Picking up where Palm left off (1)

rwa2 (4391) | about 5 years ago | (#29746567)

Palm used to have a pretty neat developer community that would make their stuff do all kinds of wacky things. I've read a bit about the original creator of the Palm Pilot and how his company would get bought out and all the corporate folks would come in, and then he'd run off and start another company (Handspring) and introduce new ways to expand the device (remember the springboard modules? I actually had the GSM visorphone module one way back when). Anyway, I'm pretty distraught that Palm is kinda going the Apple way... they sort of replaced the expansion modules with SDIO, but now in the Palm Pre they got rid of expansion memory entirely (probably to lock you in to installing apps from their online store or via their proprietary conduit). Anyway, I had been holding out for Palm's Linux-based OS for years, but now that the Pre is here, I'm holding out even longer for Nokia's N900 "pocket debian box".

I've played with Familiar Linux ( http://handhelds.org/ [handhelds.org] ) on an old HP iPaq for a while, but the touchscreen gave out just as I had figured out a semi-usable configuration. Unfortunately, it didn't have much support from HP, so things like suspend or audio never worked completely right.

So I've been pretty excited about Nokia's whole Maemo effort, and even got the dev emulator running on my box at home. (Haven't figured out what to do next with it, other than look at the menu system :P ). It seems to have an emulator for legacy Palm apps as well, and I've also seen mention of it doing Android apps. I'd have just been happy with a decent ssh client :) After having used midpssh on a Blackberry, I'm looking forward to having a keyboard with a ctrl key.

They have quite a few years of community development effort behind them already with their previous models. I'm a bit concerned about their upcoming migration from gtk to qt, but applaud Nokia for buying Qt from Trolltech and releasing it under an OSS license, probably single-handedly saving the KDE project from Stallmanist criticism. I'm not even a big fan of KDE, but there are a few apps in there that are better than their GNOME counterparts.

Sorry for sounding like a shill, but I've always been pretty happy with Nokia... back in the 90's I bought one of their midrange phones and could actually set up and use a lot of the features like speeddial or voice dialing without having to crack open the manual. Even today I still have phone (Sony Ericsson, Samsung, etc.) where I have to dig around way too much to figure out how to simply sync my address book with my SIM card. I've also had good experiences with the hardware... dropped the phones several times without problems, once I managed to repair a corroded battery inside my phone, and recently my wife put her Nokia in the dryer with wet camping equipment for about 20 minutes and it still worked. The casing melted off, but we bought a new faceplate and still use it :P

Anyway, that's all the anecdotes I have on the subject.

What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29746693)

Nokia hasn't "learned to love" open source. They bought up Trolltech so that they could get their hands on QT, which they re-licensed more liberally, yes. That doesn't mean that they "love" open source. What they "love" is the fact that their own customers are now their beta testers -- they can spend less money on their own developers because there's plenty of hobbyists out there willing to do the work for them.

A more appropriate title would be something along the lines of "Nokia has learned to love cheap labour."

Better title: (1)

caladine (1290184) | about 5 years ago | (#29746817)

Nokia or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Open Source
Tell me I'm not the only one who thought of Dr. Strangelove when seeing the original title...

sure (0)

nomadic (141991) | about 5 years ago | (#29746899)

That idea is also increasingly accepted by hard-headed business people: it's become self-evident that it's a better way.

And let's just ignore the fact that some of the most profitable corporations on the planet have made their money from selling proprietary software, while the vast majority of companies founded to develop open source have failed?

Most companies, very logically, would rather make money than develop software "for the good of all."

I 7hank you For your time (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29747323)

Keep, and I won't aarogance was posts. Therefore other members in I'8 sick of it. Love of two is irc network. The already aware, *BSD not going home Move any equipment
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