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Open Community vs. Open Code

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the fork-that dept.

Open Source 141

snydeq writes "Recent silence regarding the future of OpenSolaris under Oracle's hand has InfoWorld blogger Savio Rodrigues questioning the relative importance of open code. 'Source code availability is a central factor in establishing trust in the open source community, as knowledge that the source is available can often allay fears about the future of a particular open source project or product. And yet, this trust can often be overstated,' Rodrigues writes. Members of the OpenSolaris community have been agitating for Oracle to clarify its plans for OpenSolaris in the wake of its acquisition of Sun, with some suggesting a fork as a way of severing ties. But, as Rodrigues points out, 'The community around an open source project or product can certainly be vibrant without having the resources to support a fork. In fact, this is true for many open source communities, which count numerous members, very few of whom would be qualified to develop the open source project further should a fork occur. Worse, even fewer would be interested in doing so.'"

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Powdered Deer Penis (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31885610)

It's what you cocksuckers want.

Behold! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31885666)

Trolltalk has returned [slashdot.org]

SCO acquires a new business partner - GNAA (-1, Troll)

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Hmmm (5, Insightful)

drolli (522659) | more than 4 years ago | (#31885636)

So the short and neutral for of this article is:

A company opening the source to a given product at a given time may decide that - upon seeing not enough external developers jumping on - that it may be not worth continuing this effort. And the "community of administrators and users" complains they dont have enough programmers to fork it on their own.

How to say: Congratulations. But you know that *working* open source ecosystems also include programmers.

Re:Hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31885654)

But...But...But.. according the great and respected idol of all Open Source(tm) programmers, Eric Scott Raymond, there exists an infinite number of weekend hacker who will develop enterprise-scale operating systems in their spare time if only they follow the "bazaar model". So, therefore, Sun clearly did not set up enough CVS servers or something.

Re:Hmmm (4, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 4 years ago | (#31885684)

Why would a 'weekend hacker' work on OpenSolaris when they could work on Linux instead?

That's the fundamental problem: OpenSolaris has user features that Linux doesn't -- assuming Oracle continue to support it I'm probably going to set up an OpenSolaris server in the next year or so because ZFS is better than anything Linux currently has -- but it doesn't really offer anything to the average 'weekend hacker' that Linux doesn't.

Even if it was made available under the GPL, I suspect most of the best code would be copied into Linux and then it would die off.

Re:Hmmm (2, Insightful)

mrsteveman1 (1010381) | more than 4 years ago | (#31885726)

By the time you get around to setting up that Solaris server, Btrfs will have stabilized through 3-4 more mainline kernel releases.

Re:Hmmm (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 4 years ago | (#31885740)

By the time you get around to setting up that Solaris server, Btrfs will have stabilized through 3-4 more mainline kernel releases.

Which means that about five years later it will be ready for production use :).

I am thinking of switching one of my non-vital Linux systems to btrfs before long to try it out, but the whole point of setting up a ZFS server would be for proven reliable storage.

Re:Hmmm (2, Interesting)

0123456 (636235) | more than 4 years ago | (#31885760)

Also, haven't Oracle been supporting btrfs development? That may not be doing that much longer if they now own ZFS.

Obviously development would continue without such support as it is GPL and is important for Linux in the future, but perhaps not at the same rate.

Re:Hmmm (2, Insightful)

M. Baranczak (726671) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886624)

My guess is that Linux is more important to Oracle than Solaris. They'll probably keep developing both.

Re:Hmmm (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886884)

More importantly, now that Oracle owns OpenSolaris, and therefore ZFS, there is absolutely nothing to stop them from contributing ZFS to the Linux kernel, which may, in fact, be in their best interests.

We only need to watch and wait to see what unfolds.

Re:Hmmm (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#31885946)

Yeah - I'm kinda watching that BTRFS. I like the idea of hotplugging more hard drives into a RAID array. Yeah, I know, technically, that's not what I'm doing, but that's the end effect. RAID 99+ anyone?

Re:Hmmm (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31886176)

At which point Linux will dump it for the latest shiny. Just like hal. Just like pulse audio. For all its benefits, the Linux dev model is like a parasite that often forgets not to kill its host.

Re:Hmmm (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#31885962)

Yeah. Solaris. I've downloaded and installed it a few times now. Both on hardware and in VM's. I play around with it, then end up deleting it. I don't do serious server work, and everything I need to do can be done quickly and easily in Linux. I guess that Solaris/openSolaris is important to some people, but not to the average geek. Certainly not to the average person, LMAO

It would be something of a shame if Solaris dies off - but I won't miss it a great deal. Weekend hackers? I think most of them will feel as I do. If not, then a bunch of them can band together, and do OpenSolaris on their own. In a year or so, I'll download the resulting OS, and see how it runs.

Re:Hmmm (1)

Monoecus (1761264) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886642)

If you need ZFS you could also safely use FreeBSD...

Re:Hmmm (1)

drolli (522659) | more than 4 years ago | (#31885704)

its not about weekend hackers, but about companies developing new solutions based on the system.

Re:Hmmm (1)

MaggieL (10193) | more than 4 years ago | (#31885724)

If you ever tried to use java.net anytime in the last couple years to host an open-source project, you'd know how close to true that is.

Re:Hmmm (2, Funny)

AlexiaDeath (1616055) | more than 4 years ago | (#31885782)

If I had modpoints, you would get a +1 Funny. But really, open solaris is dead and has been dead for some time.

Re:Hmmm (1)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 4 years ago | (#31885798)

Have you looked at ESR? I think he meant to champion the "bizarre model".

The great FOSS army is too busy playing Warcraft (2, Funny)

judeancodersfront (1760122) | more than 4 years ago | (#31885840)

they would have turned openSolaris into an M$ killer but they need to level up a few more characters first.

Re:The great FOSS army is too busy playing Warcraf (1)

someone1234 (830754) | more than 4 years ago | (#31885856)

Linux leveled up meanwhile. OpenSolaris is noob, it needs to grind with an established party to gain some experience.

Re:Hmmm (5, Insightful)

pydev (1683904) | more than 4 years ago | (#31885922)

Spare time? Most open source programmers get paid for their work, and quite well. Companies pay programmers to contribute to open-source enterprise-scale operating systems because they don't want to be dependent on the likes of Microsoft, Sun, or Oracle. And it works out economically because those companies have been overcharging tremendously.

Re:Hmmm (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886944)

Spare time? Most open source programmers get paid for their work, and quite well.

[citation needed]. I know it's true for the Linux kernel and probably some other server software, but there's huge amounts of open source that I would be very surprised if someone was getting paid for. Some of the things Sun has been funding has been things where I'm not sure anyone would pick up on, at least not as a whole product. Sure, there might be the odd company that wants a little feature in OpenOffice here and an addition to the standard library in java there but who'll be the ones making OpenOffice 4.0 or the next major version of java?

Just to pick one example, look at the implementation of >8 bit color/channel support in GIMP. It's been a work in progress for many, many years and is still not done in 2.8. Obviously it's a lot of work and touches very many areas of code, including many people that don't care about it though everyone agree it'd be a good feature to have. If there was a cathedral, it'd be done long ago because the order simply came from high up to make all parts of the application support it and people would do it or be fired. Instead some people are trying to run around the bazaar trying to make people switch over even though it's as annoying as driving on the right when everyone else is driving on the left.

Though I'm sure it's an oversimplification, but if Steve Jobs decides then Apple jumps. If whoever in Sun decides, Sun jumps. But you can't make the bazaar jump, and that is something you lose even if you somehow find enough people to fill the void.

There, fixed that for you.... (0)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#31885670)

Recent talk regarding the lack of stability in MSFT's stock price under Steve Ballmer's hand has Slashdot commenter questioning the relative importance of closed-source code. 'Having availability of large assets is a central factor in establishing trust in the business community, as knowledge that the assets are available can often allay fears about the liability of a particular business product. And yet, this trust can often be overstated, the commenter pint out. Members of the business community have been agitating for Microsoft to clarify its plans for Windows in the wake of Sun's sellout to Oracle, with some suggesting a spinoff as a way of severing ties. But, as the commenters points out, 'The community around a closed-source project or product can certainly be vibrant without having the resources to support a large company. In fact, this is true for many closed source companies, which count numerous licensed users, very few of whom would be qualified to develop a competitive product should a spinoff occur. Worse, even fewer would be interested in doing so.

Think of the children of the parent company... (1)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#31885692)

Let's not forget that Sun bought MySQL, which competes with Oracle's core database products.

Re:Think of the children of the parent company... (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 4 years ago | (#31885716)

Does not. Completely different user base.

Re:Think of the children of the parent company... (1)

AlexiaDeath (1616055) | more than 4 years ago | (#31885718)

And AFAIK the originators of the whole project are already forking it... Oracle can try to kill MySQL off but due to community having both code and programmers, its not really possible.

Re:Think of the children of the parent company... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31886474)

If the business world considered MariaDB to be a valid, trustable fork of MySQL then why is the uptake so low? Hmmm? Why does Mr. Billion work so hard to pull MySQL away from SUN and into the OS world again? Has he spent all the money so soon? Missing the limelight?

Re:Think of the children of the parent company... (1)

jadavis (473492) | more than 4 years ago | (#31887316)

In contrast to MySQL and OpenSolaris, PostgreSQL is one of the most open communities around. The core members are spread among several companies, it's BSD licensed with no requirement to assign copyright, and the community is made up of a wide variety of people. Not only that, they have established, effective, and written policies for release management, patch review/acceptance, etc.

GPL means never worrying about lifespan (2, Insightful)

symbolset (646467) | more than 4 years ago | (#31885702)

If you choose a GPL app for your critical infrastructure, you're pretty safe. If the vendor, sponsor, developers and everybody else involved drops it you can support it yourself until you can migrate to another platform or just become the primary fork. Choosing GPL means never having to say "oops", unless you're the kind of fool that wants to take a GPL app proprietary.

A commercial closed-source app? No, you're maintaining legacy hardware that supports it until you can't get parts on Ebay any more, and then you're sunk.

A non-GPL open source app? Your mileage may vary. Consult your attorney. Consult several attorneys. Be prepared to pay those attorneys to defend you in court.

Re:GPL means never worrying about lifespan (2, Insightful)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 4 years ago | (#31885852)

Assuming development continues. If the open source app isn't staying competitive with alternatives then you're in just as bad of straits as being a closed source customer.

I've seen numerous open source projects just completely die. I've seen numerous closed source projects just completely die. Usually unless you're a top 5% company you can't afford to continue development yourself long enough to make any meaningful contribution. It's usually easier to adjust your infrastructure than it is to continue developing the product to keep it competitive.

Re:GPL means never worrying about lifespan (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 4 years ago | (#31885892)

Maybe you need a remedial education in Turing.

Despite what software vendors like Microsoft and Oracle would tell you, bits don't actually rot. Software doesn't age. It's a mathematical construct that works or doesn't. If it worked once then it always will and if it didn't who cares?

Open projects that have no utility are out of scope for my comment. If you use it and you need it, naturally you'll adopt it. And if nobody uses it or would adopt it maybe it's best stored in the archive against future needs. Certainly the GPL allows for indefinite storage.

Re:GPL means never worrying about lifespan (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 4 years ago | (#31885950)

The bits may not rot, but the speed and power available can be more than the program can handle. If a program was designed around a 1GHz X86 and a 100MHz IDE drive with 64-128Mb of RAM, and you are running octa-core x64 with SSD and 16Gb of RAM, can you fix it if it messes up? Would it even work correctly or at all without a total rewrite?

Open Source or not depending on how the program was designed it may or may not have the ability to run on the uber fast machines of today, or be able to deal with the next breakthrough of tomorrow. Just because a program is Open Source doesn't mean you magically can keep the thing running, it just means you can attempt it if you have the resources, which many do not. I kinda doubt any programs written in 93 and unmaintained but with source code would run any better now than programs written for Win3.x. Open Source merely gives you the ability to try, which most simply aren't gonna have the time nor the money to get others to maintain it.

Re:GPL means never worrying about lifespan (2, Informative)

greg1104 (461138) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886072)

All non-trivial software nowadays is built with an enormous reliance on some set of shared libraries. As time marches on, those libraries will diverge from the ones the software originally compiled against. Eventually, some API will drift enough that code stops working, and that's where the most difficult to avoid bit rot comes from.

Yes, you can keep code going without rot forever if you can completely freeze the build/deployment environment. But that's rarely practical. Eventually you will need a newer OS, which is going to ship with a new set of libraries, because the old one won't run on newer hardware for example. And that's where having the source and being able to rebuild the code yourself is potentially valuable, if you have the right skills to be able to fix this class of problem.

Forked to death (2, Interesting)

aws4y (648874) | more than 4 years ago | (#31885708)

I am wondering, why OpenSolaris should even continue?, its not like there is no open UNIX available for x86, you have the BSD family, and even though its not a UNIX you have GNU/Linux. If you are running on Sparc hardware it may be worth it but methinks that oracle might have been interesting in Solaris as a way of getting away from linux.

Re:Forked to death (1)

andersenep (944566) | more than 4 years ago | (#31885762)

ZFS.

Re:Forked to death (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31885870)

Yeah, ZFS was such a stellar success that Sun went out of business, right? Over the last 30 years, Sun engineers have produced one technical disaster after another: Tcl, NeWS, Solaris 2, Java, ZFS, etc. When they succeeded in the market, it was always for reasons other than technical quality. Solaris made it because SunOS (BSD-based) was a big hit at universities, but Solaris basically killed their educational market and with it their next generation commercial customers. Java succeeded out of anti-Microsoft hysteria in the 90's, but Sun screwed that one up as well.

ZFS and OpenSolaris don't matter. Whatever functionality there may be in ZFS that people actually want will be implemented better in ext5 and other FOSS file systems. It's not rocket science.

Re:Forked to death (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 4 years ago | (#31885978)

Re:Forked to death (3, Informative)

this great guy (922511) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886102)

First link: author is vague and incorrect; OpenSolaris supports most common onboard SATA controllers. I have personally run it on nVidia MCP55 and above, Intel ICH7 and above, AMD SB600 and above, and OpenSolaris usually support all these very common chipsets/onboard SATA controllers.
Second link: the author is using unsupported dev builds of OpenSolaris.
Third link: the post is 2 years old and evidence suggests unreliable hardware.
Fourth link: the author complains about FreeBSD, not OpenSolaris.
Fifth link: the author concluded corruption was caused by unreliable hardware.

Search for "$NAME_OF_TECHNOLOGY unreliable" and google will always return thousands of results.

Personally I have a rather pleasant experience with ZFS. I have been using it for 3+ years at work and at home on 5-6 machines with about 50 drives total. It has been rock solid so far. And it has saved my life a couple times when drives died.

Lauded by faint criticism (1)

turing_m (1030530) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886312)

Thanks for looking at each of those links. If this is the best FUD that can be brought to bear on ZFS, it's actually very encouraging. I searched myself for horror stories a few weeks ago, and did not find any that I thought were conclusive.

I've been using FreeBSD for several months now, specifically for ZFS. The more I play with it, the more I like it. Of course, if it wasn't for the few years of running Ubuntu, I wouldn't have built up the skillset or the patience to tinker with things until they work, which is what I've had to do (not so much ZFS, but the FreeBSD side of it).

As part of the design process, Jeff Bonwick questioned pretty much every convention that went with filesystem design, threw out everything that no long applied, and instituted everything he thought was a good idea. It shows. Dealing with ZFS is different, but in a much better way. The most beautiful thing is the checksums/hashes for every block, so that you KNOW when something has corrupted, and more importantly, you should have a backup, and hopefully, some redundancy so fixing it is as simple as swapping in another drive. Why should we, in 2010, when prices per gigabyte are dirt cheap, be still dealing with silent data corruption? There is no reason for it. Everywhere I look with ZFS shows that it has been sensibly architected.

Re:Lauded by faint criticism (1)

makomk (752139) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886744)

It's not the worst horror stories out there. One sysadmin a few years ago discovered that, if you get the right corruption in a ZFS volume, the ZFS driver will cause a kernel panic when trying to mount it. The data's still there and can be recovered, it's just that you can't do it without manually delving into the filesystem and cleaning it up: the ZFS driver wasn't robust enough. This has probably been fixed by now, though.

Re:Forked to death (1)

NormalVisual (565491) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886410)

Also note the parent poster's first link is a couple of years old, in addition to your comments.

ZFS *can* run into problems if it's run on cheap hard disks that try to boost their performance numbers by returning immediately from a cache flush request instead of actually writing the data to the platters first, but that's not a problem with ZFS itself. Most of the issues that I've seen regarding ZFS have been the end result of the storage subsystem not honoring flush semantics, or the result of a RAID controller going south and taking everything attached with it. The remainder have been due to flaky drivers or just the result of using code still in development.

On my own hardware (which experiences a pretty fair amount of I/O load), it's been totally solid, and makes LVM look like a toy IMO.

Re:Forked to death (1)

vcompiler (1383819) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886174)

A(n open source and portable) file system is hardly the reason you stick with a whole OS.

Re:Forked to death (1)

calzakk (1455889) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886242)

Is that it? Isn't there something else OpenSolaris offers that nothing else does? Anything?!

If that's truly the case, then it's already dead and ZFS will soon/eventually get into Linux, if indeed it's actually worth it.

Re:Forked to death (1)

NormalVisual (565491) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886468)

Right now, OpenSolaris is the only operating system that supports ZFS in the kernel *and* is capable of being a Xen dom0, in addition to offering its own native VM capability via Zones. FreeBSD supports ZFS and recently achieved the ability to run as a domU, but you're SOL if you actually want to host VMs on it under Xen, and I don't see that changing anytime soon.

Linux already supports ZFS via FUSE, but the performance sucks and can't really get much better since it's limited to running in userspace. The GPL and CDDL (which ZFS is licensed under) are fundamentally incompatible with each other, so don't hold your breath waiting for ZFS support in the Linux kernel.

Re:Forked to death (1)

Xtifr (1323) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886792)

The GPL and CDDL (which ZFS is licensed under) are fundamentally incompatible with each other

That's true at the moment, but the company which just bought ZFS is known to be very active in Linux development, so it wouldn't be too much of a stretch to think that the license might change in the not-too-distant future, especially if Solaris looks to be reaching end-of-life.

Re:Forked to death (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31886120)

It depends on what you do. If you just want have a desktop in front of your nose, then something like Ubuntu usually is a better choice than Solaris. If you want to write some code, and have confidence that exactly the same code will behave the same way 10 years from now, even if you meanwhile update the OS multiple times, and replace the hardware, then Solaris usually is a better choice.
Yes, I'm looking at you, Red Hat.

What's that I hear? (0, Flamebait)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 4 years ago | (#31885714)

In fact, this is true for many open source communities, which count numerous members, very few of whom would be qualified to develop the open source project further should a fork occur.

Did someone just say that very few people in open source project communities are qualified to do development work?

Kinda nice to hear that admission of reality, after a decade plus of open source developers using the "do it yourself" line to escape from listening to feedback and requests from end users.

Re:What's that I hear? (1)

AlexiaDeath (1616055) | more than 4 years ago | (#31885772)

It works sometimes too. I got into GIMP community via such suggestion. I sucked at code then, but I could debug things. That evolved into full developer thing over time since I got to know the code. Large projects like GIMP take commitment to know the code and to contribute. And that so-called line is not an excuse. If you want it done you need to do it yourself because, the developers don't have resources and the will to full-fill every users desire. Specially since they can be 100% conflicting at times with each other and sometimes with what developers see themselves developing, the product vision. Best way to know it fit matches the vision of those that manage the code is to ask and to to be offended when you are told "No", "Not now" or "Hell freeze over first" in some cases.

Re:What's that I hear? (1)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 4 years ago | (#31885874)

If you want it done you need to do it yourself because, the developers don't have resources and the will to full-fill every users desire

Maybe not every users desires. But there has to be a system where people actually using the software full-time are listened to and included in the decision making even if they don't contribute a lick of code. All the features in the world are useless if it's unusable.

Look at the improvement in the Blender foundation thanks to Elephant's Dream and Project Peach. Real professionals using the product on real projects is how you get real feedback on your product. That's no different than how closed sourced products get their feedback, they invest a lot of time and money listening to the users and delivering what the users need while keeping an eye to the big picture. A bad community interaction is one of the leading indicators of misdirected development and stagnation.

Re:What's that I hear? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31885890)

Only if the developers care. They owe no one their work.

And honestly, many of them want just to write the features THEY need. Not everyone else's, no matter how "important" it is to someone else's "usability" rating - although they often are open to doing small changes for other people out of pure kindness. Either way, that won't change. If you don't like things, get some programming done. too, or hire someone.

Re:What's that I hear? (2, Insightful)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 4 years ago | (#31885906)

Screw it, for $700, I'll deal with Adobe's lousy customer service rather than some OSS prima donna.

Re:What's that I hear? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31885986)

Yes, OSS can be so poor that it took nearly a whole day for a bug fix when I reported one.

Citing Adobe as your example - why did my old Acer Scanwitt, capable of 12 bits per channel ship with Photoshop 5 Limited Edition which could handle 16 bits per channel in a limited but adequate fashion yet my newer flatbed, which was at least 12 bits per channel, ship with Elements that could only manage 8 bits per channel? Someone must have made a decision to remove the capability and that decision was not in my interests as a consumer.

So in short - in both worlds user and author interests do not necessarily align.

Re:What's that I hear? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31886008)

LOL. Are the bulk Adobe's users suddenly buying their software now? I wonder how many of them demand technical support.

Re:What's that I hear? (2, Insightful)

ortholattice (175065) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886308)

Screw it, for $700, I'll deal with Adobe's lousy customer service rather than some OSS prima donna.

For $700 you could probably get some attention from most prima donnas. Try that with Adobe, if you can even get connected to someone without a heavy accent and not reading scripted information you can find on the web anyway.

Re:What's that I hear? (1)

AlexiaDeath (1616055) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886192)

And what makes you think that a real professional wouldn't be listened to? Trouble is real artistic professionals seldom move in the circles of developers. We have had a few and Ive learned a lot from them, but they are rare... Strangely enough, its usually the non-pros that complain and demand things loudest.

Re:What's that I hear? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31886990)

I'd really like hell to freeze over and the gimp to get a human usable UI.

Re:What's that I hear? (5, Insightful)

gdshaw (1015745) | more than 4 years ago | (#31885872)

after a decade plus of open source developers using the "do it yourself" line to escape from listening to feedback and requests from end users.

You mean to say that, when working for no reward, they work on the features that suit their interests rather than your interests? How shocking.

Your concept of user requests as something that developers have to ‘escape’ from betrays completely the wrong attitude. Listening to requests is one thing, but actually implementing them may require a large commitment of time and energy that you're not paying for. If you can convince someone to do the work anyway, for whatever reason, then that's great: everyone wins. If not then ‘do it yourself’ is a perfectly reasonable response.

Re:What's that I hear? (1)

NormalVisual (565491) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886644)

If not then ‘do it yourself’ is a perfectly reasonable response.

It is if you have the time, ability, and willingness to do it yourself. Otherwise it's much more efficient to go buy an existing closed source product that actually does what you want. I'm a coder with a couple of decades of experience across a variety of platforms, so I probably *could* hack on an open-source project to get it to do what I want, but rather than waste God-knows how many hours of my time and then be told to go away when I try to submit a change to the repo, I'm going to save myself a lot of grief, plop down a credit card and buy something made by a company that actually gives a damn about what I need.

"But you could pay someone to do the work for you!" $650 buys me a full copy of Photoshop. That same $650 will buy me 2-3 days of a coder's time, which isn't going to get me very far towards bringing GIMP up to the same functionality.

Re:What's that I hear? (1)

gdshaw (1015745) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886964)

I think you're reading rather too much into the 'do it yourself' response. Nobody is forcing you to use Open Source software, so of course you can go and buy Photoshop if it better meets your needs. However if you want specific functionality added to the GIMP then they have every right to decline to do that for you — to suggest otherwise would be absurd. They are simply telling you the harsh reality that if you want it to happen and they don't have the time and/or inclination, then you either have to make it happen some other way or live without.

Re:What's that I hear? (3, Insightful)

FooBarWidget (556006) | more than 4 years ago | (#31885926)

And how's that an excuse against "do it yourself"? If you live in a household, not knowing how to wash dishes does not exclude you from the duty. Now you didn't sign a contract which states that you *must* wash dishes regularly. You can hire a dish washing person, or the other household members can be nice to you and wash dishes for you. But if neither are true then complaining whenever other household members ask you to wash dishes is a douchy thing to do.

"Escape from listening to feedback and requests"? The developer has to eat, how will immediately doing what you say get him his next meal? It won't, so he has the right to do whatever he wants with your feedback, including postponing to an indefinite time in the future.

Re:What's that I hear? (3, Funny)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#31885976)

Your analogy is too confusing for me. Let's say you find some code and it doesn't do what you want.. so you ask the people who work on it to add some improvements so it works for you. They ignore your request. So you ask again. They continue to ignore you. You have a big screaming fit and complain that no-one is listening to you and that everyone is unhelpful and you hate them. I think "douche" is too nice a word.

Re:What's that I hear? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31887268)

It's in the household members' interest to not have me do the dishes because "I" could break the dishwasher/dishes, and then the dish washing system of the house would fail. They'd have to go to manual dish washing which would be slow and cumbersome. If you have a bunch of people who don't know what they're doing it's just going to increase burden on people who maintain the code while accomplishing nothing.

And after all these years (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31885722)

KDE is still superior to GNOME. Always has been, always will be. They haven't even fixed the bug that forces all GNOME users to look at a smelly foot sitting on their desktop. Even Linus Torvalds himself uses KDE, and encourages others to do the same.

Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted with a rusty clothes hanger!

Re:And after all these years (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31885916)

Even Linus Torvalds himself uses KDE, and encourages others to do the same.

Linus Torvalds is an idiot when it comes to user interfaces. Just look at git.

Re:And after all these years (2, Insightful)

AlexiaDeath (1616055) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886220)

Choice of DE is a matter of taste. Personally I am KDE user too. A kernel developer does not have to do a good GUI. Git as version control is very nice once you get to know it. The UI parts are both optional and replaceable with custom tools if found inadequate. So far this has not happened.

Re:And after all these years (2, Informative)

JonJ (907502) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886304)

Even Linus Torvalds himself uses KDE, and encourages others to do the same.

Torvalds has switched to GNOME.

Re:And after all these years (1)

AlexiaDeath (1616055) | more than 4 years ago | (#31887106)

So did I when distros pushed the immature kde 4 out. I went back the moment things started looking saner again.

Re:And after all these years (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31887270)

That's was just a package mistake on apt-get dist-upgrade...

Free as in Future (5, Insightful)

kainosnous (1753770) | more than 4 years ago | (#31885756)

There are many reasons why Open Source is good. The availability of developers is only one reason. Even if there seems to be a lack of competent developers ready to take over the project, simply having that potential can mean all the difference. If nothing else, the more eyes on the code, the more likely that bugs can be found and reported. At some point all closed source software will become unmaintained because technology changes, and there is only a finite set of resources. OSS, however, is always available to tinker with, even long after it seems to be worthwhile. As a comparison, think about older cars. They don't have all the bells and whistles, but still have value because they can still be worked on long after their respective companies moved on to newer models.

As a user of OSS, I prefer it even if there is a slightly better closed source alternative. Even though I very rarely look at that actual code, it's nice to know that it is there. It also says a lot about the company when they close up the code. I'm sure that others feel that way too. I don't mind if you sell your product, but I feel that once I buy it, it should be mine to take apart.

Sadly, Microsoft is a great example of how well closed source and good marketing can be. That is why I secretly want that giant to fall. I still think there is an unfortunately large number of people who don't care where their stuff comes from and what the real cost is as long as it works for the short term.

Re:Free as in Future (4, Insightful)

GF678 (1453005) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886112)

I still think there is an unfortunately large number of people who don't care where their stuff comes from and what the real cost is as long as it works for the short term.

There's a reason for that - the open-source community hasn't been able to successfully present a long term disadvantage to using closed-source tech that people can relate to.

I'm still using Windows because I honestly can't see a long term disadvantage in doing so. By using it I have all the software I could possibly want, guaranteed compatibility with current and future hardware, and so on. I've tried Linux and all I end up with is compromises to tangible things I want to do with my computer. If long term issues become foreseeable with Windows, then I can give it the flick and change to something else.

You HAVE to present to people a tangible long term issue with using closed-source software that they can UNDERSTAND. Geek ideology isn't enough, and if that's all that you've got, then no wonder closed-source tech is still going to dominate.

Re:Free as in Future (1)

devent (1627873) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886300)

If you really using MS products you can't change to something else. If it weren't for open source software, you couldn't switch to OpenOffice.org, you couldn't access files on Windows with a Mac. There were no way that Firefox became a real competitor to IE if the code of Mozilla wasn't opened up.

My tangible long term issue which closed source software is that you never end the upgrade path. Need a new Windows? - You need a faster computer. Need a new Office CD? - You need to buy the latest Office version. Nero Burning was once a neat and easy to use burning application. Now it's over 300 Megabytes big.

You can't switch applications. You don't like the ribbon menu in Office2007? Touch luck, you don't have a choice. Windows7 can't use your printer or scanner from 5 years ago? Go get a new one. Nvidia don't write new driver for your 5 years old card for Windows7? You need to get a new one for 100$.

I think we can be thankful for OSS for a lot of things, but of course the normal people would never know because there are no ads on the TV for it.

Re:Free as in Future (1)

siride (974284) | more than 4 years ago | (#31887204)

How is that any different from the problems you face in the OSS world? To take your points one by one...

If you really using MS products you can't change to something else.

Yeah you can. When was it ever true that you couldn't? This doesn't even make one lick of sense.

If it weren't for open source software, you couldn't switch to OpenOffice.org, you couldn't access files on Windows with a Mac.

It's true that Mac uses Samba and the OSS NTFS drivers, but if those weren't available and they wanted interoperability, they could have just as easily licensed the tech from Microsoft or done their own reverse-engineering. They have enough developers and money to do that. It's certainly cheaper to leech off of OSS, of course, and that's the general tactic Apple has followed. In any case, this isn't a victory for open source as an ideology, merely a convenience gained by some software that happens to be OSS.

There were no way that Firefox became a real competitor to IE if the code of Mozilla wasn't opened up.

I'm not sure what the logic behind this one is. Netscape *was* an actual competitor to IE for a while with a completely closed codebase. It lost for other reasons. Firefox could have been a closed-source browser developed by the Mozilla foundation and done just as well. The reason it was successful was not because it was open source, but because it was better than IE in terms of features, speed and security, among other things. There's nothing inherent to open source that made those things true.

My tangible long term issue which closed source software is that you never end the upgrade path. Need a new Windows? - You need a faster computer. Need a new Office CD? - You need to buy the latest Office version. Nero Burning was once a neat and easy to use burning application. Now it's over 300 Megabytes big.

The upgrade treadmill in the OSS world is even worse. Distros are released every 6 months or so. New versions come out all the time. "Release early, release often". Windows comes out once every few years. And as for needing a faster computer, well, bloat is increasing just as fast in the OSS world as in the closed source world, unless you limit yourself to simple and old fashioned apps. Then again, if you so chose, you could still run Win2k or earlier.

You can't switch applications. You don't like the ribbon menu in Office2007? Touch luck, you don't have a choice.

Huh? Are you really trying to imply that there is only one app for everything in the closed source world? No. Far more software out there is closed source than open. And there are alternatives. There are more browsers available for Windows than Linux, for example. Most of them crap, but the same is true of the OSS world. But in any case, there's nothing intrinsic to closed source that would make your argument valid in any way. And even if there were no such thing as open source, you could still write your own software if you really wanted to scratch your itch. There's nothing stopping you from doing that on pretty much any platform (except those that are terribly locked down, but you can avoid those if you choose).

Windows7 can't use your printer or scanner from 5 years ago? Go get a new one. Nvidia don't write new driver for your 5 years old card for Windows7? You need to get a new one for 100$.

Again, I fail to see how open source is any better, or even necessarily better, than Windows in this respect. First of all, at some point, if you are going to upgrade your computer or software enough that you don't have drivers, then you need to do the rest of the work. Nobody's going to support every possible combination of hardware going back 20 years. It's infeasible for both closed and open source software. And that is really just a matter of manpower, not source ideology. Even in the open source world drivers for old devices get dropped. Sure, you could find the code and resurrect them, but that assumes you have the know-how and wherewithal to do that kind of work. Most people don't, even developers. And I wouldn't hold OSS up as a paragon for graphics drivers. My r300 on my old ThinkPad still doesn't have a fully functional driver for X. That's after nearly 8 years of its being released. nVidia situation is even worse. There is no useful driver for newer nVidias except, of course, the closed source nVidia driver. Where is the value of open source shining through here?

Re:Free as in Future (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886442)

Here's a very significant tangible benefit open-source software gives you: free and easy-to-install upgrades. Of any established product. Also, open-source software doesn't come in 5 different versions (e.g. Home, Studio, Office, Professional, ...), it comes in 1 version, with all the features in it, what one guy smarter than me called "Awesome Edition".

An idea of how ridiculously easy upgrades are: I was working with Ubuntu (Gutsy Gibbon), and a notice popped up in the corner saying "Do you want to upgrade to the next version (Hardy Heron)?". I clicked Yes, waited for about 25 minutes, rebooted, and bang, I was upgraded. No CD juggling, no real intervention on my part, just 1 click and an internet connection.

And of course, being highly resistant to viruses is nice.

Re:Free as in Future (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886576)

Being highly resistant to viruses has nothing to do with it being open source, though.

It has everything to do with Linux being a minority OS. Security through obscurity, really.

OS X is less secure than modern versions of Windows (which is the first platform to get pwned in Pwn2Own, every time? OS X,) yet there's very little malware for it. Why? Because it's also a minority OS.

Re:Free as in Future (2, Insightful)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886802)

Also, open-source software doesn't come in 5 different versions (e.g. Home, Studio, Office, Professional, ...), it comes in 1 version, with all the features in it, what one guy smarter than me called "Awesome Edition".

hmmm..

Ubuntu, Slack, Fedora, Suse, Debian, Mandriva, Gentoo, ...

Re:Free as in Future (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31887138)

I wish that were true about upgrading even most of the time. I have been using Linux off and on since the Yggdrasil Mitsumi CD/Floppy install days (mostly Ubuntu/Mint lately), and it had been more off than on until the last few years. One big downer is the unreliability of Ubuntu upgrades, and the usual rash of bad experiences reported on the fora when a number of folks try to upgrade instead of re-install. I have had enough bad experiences of my own that I don't even bother trying any more - I just keep /home on a separate partition, and point to that with the new installation.

But then there are issues with all those configuration "dot directories" having configuration conflicts that seem to accumulate over the versions. My wife's Gnome desktop has gotten really strange since Edubuntu 5.04 days up through Mint 7. I keep thinking I will create a new Id for her under the current version, and copy over her files, and make sure all her favorite desktop links carry over. And that is after each upgrade when I have to re-install all the little "enhancements" she depends on such as the Windows fonts she has in all the old class materials she has been using for the last 10 years or so in teaching first grade (gotta have that MS Comic Sans to show her kiddies the lowercase "a" the way she teaches them to write it, not the way most other fonts render it), old Lexmark Z515 driver I found some years ago, and not since, Wine for the educational programs (with suitable scripts/links) she has been using since Windows 95, etc.

And a recent "upgrade" on my main personal PC to Grub 2 (blindsided me there - gotta curb my ever-hopeful new release fever long enough to read ALL those pesky Release Notes) with Kubuntu 9.10 really hosed up my separate /boot partition when I decided to try that on a new partition. I had to re-install Mint 7 just to get my multi-boot setup back to a usable state (that took a lot less time than trying to figure out Grub2 and how to make it play nice with my long-standing /boot partition - I did not like Kubuntu 9.10's "blobby" look/feel anyway).

Although I use Linux for personal computing 98% of the time, this is such an issue since I still have to keep XP around to use some old, and occasionally new, Windows software since that version is more of a "constant" than Linux which has so MANY different distributions/versions (yeah, I am something of a distro hopper). They might as well be considered equivalent to all those Windows editions you sneer at, only there are so many more of them. Actually, it strikes me that Linux is at a significant disadvantage in that respect since there are so many issues with having the right library/gcc versions.

I do this for "fun", but certainly could not suggest it to non-geek types as something to depend on vs Windows with its support eco-system that most ordinary users can "connect" with much more easily (albeit for a significant cost in money terms vs my costs in time). Check out the Linux Hater's blog for a view from someone who seems to understand (with zero tolerance) the issues all too well: http://linuxhaters.blogspot.com/

RO

Re:Free as in Future (1)

siride (974284) | more than 4 years ago | (#31887248)

Lucky you. Often times distro upgrades are a disaster unless you are on a rolling release distro like Gentoo (which has its own host of problems). As for the versions, uhh, there are half a dozen commonly-used distros and they do actually have different editions, such as a separate server edition, not to mention frequent releases. OSS does not and never has had one edition (and I certainly wouldn't call it "Awesome" since so much of the desktop software is half-working, limited in features or buggy) and aside from X and the kernel and the GNU userland, there isn't even a single primary piece of software. You have different DEs, different web-browsers, different administration tools (per distro), etc. I like that flexibility, but it has to be mentioned because it obliterates your argument.

And Linux is not highly resistant to viruses. Its security model, without SELinux, is actually less protective than Windows's security model. The problem with Windows is that the shell is more permissive (which actually turned out to be a problem with KDE as well, with the .desktop files fiasco a little while back) and that the user and developer culture around Windows has been one of lax attention to security. These things are changing. And thanks to new protections put in by MS over the years and new attention to security brought about by the massive increase in malware during the 2000s is turning the tide. I rarely have to go fix my mom's or other people's computers because of viruses any more. And I've never gotten one (unless I intentionally did something very stupid) on Windows.

Re:Free as in Future (1)

linguae (763922) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886452)

You HAVE to present to people a tangible long term issue with using closed-source software that they can UNDERSTAND. Geek ideology isn't enough, and if that's all that you've got, then no wonder closed-source tech is still going to dominate.

I agree completely, and I would like to point out one area that open source can make some inroads in: file formats. Many users of closed-source software use applications that store their data in proprietary file formats. While this may not be a serious problem for users using de-facto standard tools such as Microsoft Office where finding a copy (even an older version) is not difficult and where competitors have created tools that are mostly compatible with these file formats, this is a problem for users who are using less-popular proprietary software applications, where conversion tools may be hard to find or even non-existent. This may be a serious problem if the user decides to upgrade his or her computer and/or switch platforms, or if the user plans on storing those files for long period of time. From proprietary email archive formats, to the often-mentioned scenario of a small business using a database application written in 1994 by a software company that went out of business in 1997, and many other cases, it's a common problem.

While emulators are helpful in such cases, it would be nice if a user in a similar situation had an up-to-date, cross-platform tool that can handle the file. Had the user used an open-source product, there is a higher chance that somebody might have made a tool that handles that file format; the file format specification is available, the source code of the reference implementation is also available, and there were probably other users of the tool, including the developers of it. If a tool is not available, the user could even make a donation to help a technically inclined person write a conversion tool; the open source nature of the tool makes it possible. With a closed file format, however, the user is out of luck in this situation; even if he or she paid a technically inclined person to write a tool, the technical person would have to reverse engineer the file format, which may be very difficult and may be prohibitively expensive for the user (those files would need to be very important for a user to take this route).

This is one case where I believe users can benefit from using open-source software, although I do know that proprietary software products sometimes use open file formats; this is more of an issue of open file formats than open source software.

Re:Free as in Future (1)

devent (1627873) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886262)

I think you mean, how well locking in and marketing can be. I personally wouldn't care for MS at all, and would like to use some of their products, if they would use open standards. If I would know that I can safety use their products and can switch to a better alternative.

But because the case with MS is the exact opposite, I try to avoid anything MS related at all cost. OSS is really good and I prefer open source software but a open standards is a little bit more important to the consumer, I think.

Natural selection (3, Insightful)

gdshaw (1015745) | more than 4 years ago | (#31885758)

Worse, even fewer would be interested in doing so.

A telling statement. If enough programmers find the program useful, but in need of improvement, then it is very likely some of them will improve it. If enough non-programmers think that way then they can pay to have it improved. If this doesn't happen then maybe the program wasn't so very important after all.

This is merely natural selection at work, and for the most part the outcome will be as it should be — unlike closed-source products, which live entirely at the whim of their creator.

Re:Natural selection (2, Insightful)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 4 years ago | (#31885984)

> unlike closed-source products, which live entirely at the whim of their creator

I find it silly that you believe that there is no form of natural selection which drives the development/maintenance of closed-source products. In most cases, such selection forces exist and are largely economic in nature.

So, no, both open- and closed-source products are subject to natural selection, it's just that the selection forces on them are somewhat different.

Re:Natural selection (2, Insightful)

gdshaw (1015745) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886182)

So, no, both open- and closed-source products are subject to natural selection, it's just that the selection forces on them are somewhat different.

In a sense that's true, yes, but the distinction I was trying to make is a finer one. Open source software is directly exposed to competitive pressures. Closed source vendors may be exposed to such pressures too, but closed source software is not — except indirectly through the vendor.

Now I don't want to argue about terminology, but there is a world of difference between an outcome that results from many thousands of individual decisions, and one that is the decision of a single individual or company. Projects like Linux and Apache won‘t die unless their communities abandon them — a natural death. There was nothing natural about how Microsoft decided to end the life of Windows XP (in spite of large and continuing demand) just because it happened to suit their business plan.

Big difference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31886592)

"So, no, both open- and closed-source products are subject to natural selection, it's just that the selection forces on them are somewhat different."

That is YOUR point, and it is correct. I think the parent poster's idea is that once you have committed yourself to a software, the more "open source" and "free software" it is, the better. A company can just shut down their project, and you are then stuck with that version without the code. Worse, with DRM, you might lose all access and your data as well.. While if you have the sourcecode, you can maintain updates yourself or pay someone to do it. Heck, someone else may fork it, and you get all the updates for free, or someone to work with.

So the DECISIONMAKER of what and when to shut down, is entirely different in open source, than in closed source. The risks are much higher in closed source, since your sugardaddy will be a company that will base all its decisions based on revenue to their shareholders, and not their customers. The bigger they become, the more they will forget where their money is coming from. This is a big failing of the capitalistic system, but unfortunately, nobody seems powerful and wise enough to change it yet.

Re:Big difference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31887228)

Re your last point, it is not just the "capitalist system" (an economics term for combining financial resources to leverage them - even the Commies did/do that), so much as the bureaucratic de-personalization due to ever-increasing growth of institutions of any sort, whether they be business, government, non-profits, (even OSS projects?), etc.

Just saying...

RO

Re:Natural selection (1)

Americano (920576) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886428)

This is merely natural selection at work, and for the most part the outcome will be as it should be — unlike closed-source products, which live entirely at the whim of their creator.

Yep, I heard Microsoft is thinking of killing off Windows and Office because Ballmer wokeup one morning with a sour stomach. Anybody using those products better get with the times and move to open source alternatives now, because it's only a matter of time before Microsoft decides to kill off its product for fun.

Re:Natural selection (1)

gdshaw (1015745) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886762)

Yep, I heard Microsoft is thinking of killing off Windows and Office because Ballmer wokeup one morning with a sour stomach.

Er, hardly the best of examples. As I mentioned above they did kill off Windows XP, and because of product activation and OEM licensing it won't be long before it is really quite difficult to obtain and use a copy legally, let alone fix any problems that arise. Granted the decision probably had more to do with profits than alimentary secretions, but from a customer point of view it hardly matters: their interests weren't going to count either way.

Now I'm not saying that Microsoft should be obliged to support old software indefinitely, or that running old versions of Linux is a pain-free experience, but that doesn't change the basic fact that if you want or need to do something badly enough with Open Source software than you can, whereas with Microsoft software you need permission from Microsoft.

Re:Natural selection (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886900)

A telling statement. If enough programmers find the program useful, but in need of improvement, then it is very likely some of them will improve it. If enough non-programmers think that way then they can pay to have it improved. If this doesn't happen then maybe the program wasn't so very important after all.

One of these models is better for the consumer than the other:

Vendors each compete to satisfy demand.
Demand selects from competing vendor bids.

The former is the retail side of the closed source world as it is today, springing to life variations on the theme which then competes with the others.
The later is the contract driven side of the closed source world, springing to life a single solution which often contains the absolute minimum feature set required to satisfy the contract.

While both are used in practice today, one of them requires lawyers and other expensive shit just to get started.

'open' code from a closed/snobbish 'community'? (-1, Troll)

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bullshit (0, Troll)

pydev (1683904) | more than 4 years ago | (#31885844)

We want source code under an open source license so that when a dickhead company like Oracle gets a hold of Solaris and Java, we can still continue to use it (which includes fixing bugs, enhancing it, and porting it to the platforms we like).

And even if I wanted to use closed source software, on my lists of companies to trust, Oracle would rank near the bottom.

Oh, yeah (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31885876)

And Apple would rank near the top, but only because I'm gay.

And a bottom. Yeah, I love it in the ass.

Posting anonymously to avoid down-mod for being gay.

Re:Oh, yeah (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886986)

You love an apple in the ass? That makes sense, it's much less painful than a penguin, not to mention a window.

Re:bullshit (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886584)

The point of this article is that it doesn't matter, because almost every single person fixing bugs, enhancing it, and porting it to other platforms is employed by Oracle, and wouldn't be able to work on a fork. Nobody else is really contributing, so a fork would die quickly.

Re:bullshit (1)

Xtifr (1323) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886760)

The point of this article is that it doesn't matter, because almost every single person fixing bugs, enhancing it, and porting it to other platforms is employed by Oracle, and wouldn't be able to work on a fork. Nobody else is really contributing, so a fork would die quickly.

But what it overlooks is that most of the people who don't work at Oracle, but who could be fixing bugs, enhancing it, and porting it to other platforms, seem to prefer to work on Linux or BSD instead. The problem is not that the community can't support a free OS--the problem is that with several flavors of BSD and hundreds of Linux distros, the community may be starting to reach the limit on the number of free OSes it can support.

Of course, the article is purely speculative--up until now, Sun has been supporting OpenSolaris, so it's hard to say what would actually happen if it stopped. We might suddenly discover a bunch of lurkers who are willing to step up to the plate. It might go moribund for a year or two then suddenly get revived. Or it might die completely. At this point, any guesses are just that--guesses.

lurkers and outside contributors (1)

Monkius (3888) | more than 4 years ago | (#31887108)

That's wisely put.

As I look at the landscape, I'm actually inclined to think that opensolaris is usefully distinct enough from *BSDs, with interesting and rich tools and infrastructure to attract developers from (esp.) the *BSD kernel development communities, if it becomes clear that a clearer cut opportunity to do this exists.

Also, it looks to me as if the internal Solaris devs actually liked having an open process, and valued being open source, and that while a lot of the reasons for keeping the development and design communication internal were competitive, they were also just intended to avoid taxing the productivity of a very productive team. I'm surprised Sun's solaris devs wouldn't have tried to make more (perhaps piecewise) efforts to engage external developers in areas where those interests wouldn't conflict, and, perhaps they still might.

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Same situation as with Java (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31886060)

OpenSolaris as an open source project fails at the same point as OpenJDK did - they are not really suited for participation. The environment needed to run successful open source communities is one of many discussions (real time and not) and a lot of experimentation, plus fairly relaxed rules for code changes/additions to actually make it into some sort of public trial in the main piece of software. Sun barely offered any of this in adequate fashion - most of the actual procedure to get changes in was modeled after huge corporation standards bodies. Madness like the JEP - a procedure in which you could spend years in meetings and writing absolutely huge stacks of documentation, only to find out after things had passed multiple reviews that there was no one really going to put a sample implementation of software into the JDK or JRE (JSR-106 for instance).

mod uP (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31886374)

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If there is demand for software, it will keep on (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886714)

but if there isnt demand for it, there will be no use if you allocate numerous paid developers to it.

Re:If there is demand for software, it will keep o (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886928)

There is plenty of demand for a high end photo manipulation and editing package.

While gimp is pretty good (it would certainly take a man year or two to catch up to it), its still like 10 years behind photoshop and even paintshop in most of the meaningful ways. The problem is that the demands being filled is not the same.

The developers of GIMP are fulfilling developer demand. There is no advantage to fulfilling professional or consumer demand, even though there is PLENTY of both.
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