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Local Newspapers Use F/OSS For a Day

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the free-as-in-a-dying-industry dept.

The Media 460

An anonymous reader writes "The Journal Register Company owns 18 small newspapers, and in honor of the July 4th holiday and Ben Franklin, the company's newsrooms produced their daily papers using only free software. The reporters were quick to note that 'the proprietary software is designed to be efficient, reliable and relatively fast for the task of producing a daily newspaper. The free substitutes, not so much.' I applaud the company for undertaking such a feat, but I hope their readership's impression of free software won't be negatively affected by the newspaper's one-day foray into F/OSS."

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GNUs for nerds, stuff that doesn't matter to anybo (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32792684)

As the family wagon pulled into a small truck stop in the middle of nowhere, Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda's father turned to him and his mother.

"Who else is hungry? "

They had been driving across state to visit family and were now heading back home again. The problem is that it's a long drive and Rob's portable Ogg Vorbis player ran out of battery a long time ago. Without his collection of Creative Commons music and GNU/Linux oggcasts, all he has had to entertain himself with was his imagination, and like every other overweight manchild, he couldn't help but fantasize about things of an x-rated nature. All this had gotten him rather hot and horny so as his parents headed into the small cafeteria attached to the gas station he told them he was feeling a little car sick and needed to go to the toilet for a while.

"Okay Rob" said his mother. "We'll be inside having lunch, take your time darling. But make sure you have something to eat okay?"

"Okay" muttered Rob as he headed off in the direction of the arrow marked 'Toilets'.

He walked around the corner of the small service building close to where some other cars and trucks were parked, and headed away from the main road. The toilets seemed like they where pretty far away but that was okay with Rob, he would need some privacy. Around the back of the building stood a small wooden hut with two toilet stalls inside, Rob thought it didn't look much like a public toilet but he was in too much of a hurry to care. He entered the small hut and closed the door, unfortunately it didn't have a lock so he moved past the sinks and into one of the stalls. This door had a rusty old lock that looked pretty flimsy, but the other stall was not an option, it was just too filthy, so Rob closed the stall door and sat down.

He pulled his jeans down to his knees and removed his hardening cock from his tight underwear. A hideous chud of 34 years, Rob had a stocky build and a goatee; he had dark blond hair and brown eyes and was covered head to toe in sickly-looking pasty-white skin. He began to rub his cock which grew even harder in his hand, at its full length it was about 4 and a half inches but looked larger as Rob shaved and waxed most of his body as it made certain sports such as LARP easier. All of the fantasies from the car trip rushed through his mind and he felt his orgasm building up. He noticed the graffiti on the back of the door, there where some stupid tags but front and center was a drawing of a large cock dripping with cum. Strangely this aroused Rob who was straight but he put it out of his mind to focus on the task at hand.

He was jerking his cock nice and hard when Rob heard footsteps outside the toilet and froze, worrying that it might be his parents or that he might have been moaning loudly, he sat in complete silence. The door of the bathroom opened and Rob heard someone enter, he listened as they walked slowly across the dirty tiled floor and stopped outside the stall he was sitting in. then, without warning the lock snapped off and the door flew open to reveal a large trucker standing there with his grubby hand holding the handle. He was big, he took up the entire door frame with his size, he was hairy too, beard stubble covered his dark rugged face and thick black hair ran down his exposed forearms. He wore a red checked long sleeved shirt that was rolled up to his elbows, black jeans, workers boots and a cap which covered more dark hair.

Tall and bulky, the trucker looked down at Rob, who was almost half his size. Rob tried to cover himself up but he was frozen with shock and fear.

"Heh heh!" the huge stranger laughed in a deep and menacing voice. "Listen up whore! I'm gonna fuck you hard and rough and you're gonna like it! No one can hear you scream back here so don't even try it! And if you don't do exactly as I say, I will pound the shit out of ya. Then I'll go and pound your mom and your dad too! You got that?!"

Rob sat there stunned. This guy was definitely not joking and Rob knew he had no chance against this guy, he was just too big and strong.

"Do ya hear me cock-slut?!!!" The trucker yelled as he moved forward and grabbed Rob by the back of the head.

"Yessssss!" Rob squealed back as his head was jerked down by the truckers' huge hands. The stranger stank of dirt, sweat and beer, Rob saw how dirty and grimy the guy was and felt the strength of his arms.

"Good!" said the trucker as he leaned down to come face to face with his prey. "Now do as you're told and you will be fine! But if you don't act like you're enjoying it, then I'm gonna get rougher and a whole lot meaner! Understand?!!!"

"Yessss!" Rob groaned under the weight of his attacker strength. He knew that to disagree would mean that the trucker would beat the shit out of him and his family and he also knew there was no way to escape. It seemed hopeless, he was fucked either way. So he made a decision there and then. Rob decided to act like a female porn-star, he was going to do everything that he saw them do in pornos because if he did what the trucker wanted then it would all be over a lot quicker. If his parents came looking for him, then they where all in trouble. So it had to be quick.

With that, the huge, dirty trucker lifted Rob up and grabbing a fistful of his shirt, tore it off over his head. He then pushed Rob back onto the toilet seat and lifted his legs to pull his shoes and socks off, before stripping off his pants and underwear leaving him completely naked. He then threw his shoes and clothes out through an open window high above the toilet. Trembling, Rob tried to compose himself and act like the 'slut' this guy wanted.
The trucker blocked Rob into the stall and kept him sitting on the toilet as he undid his own fly and pulled out a big dirty looking cock. It was not fully erect but still nearly thrice as big as Rob's. The trucker thrust it into Rob's face and swallowing hard, Rob took it. He took hold of the thick, dirty cock and began to rub it, feeling it grow in his hands. When it became hard it stood at nearly 14 inches long and 4 inches thick. It was a monster, bigger than anything Rob had ever seen, even in porn.

"Now suck it bitch!" commanded the huge trucker.

Placing his hands on the truckers' hips, Rob licked his lips and opened his mouth. The giant cock wobbled just in front of his face. It was long, thick and dirty, much like the trucker himself, his cock reeked of sweat, dirt and cum. Rob leaned forward on the toilet seat, trying to get the end of the truckers' giant meat in his mouth as it swayed in front of his face.

Mouth open and tongue out, Rob seemed ready as the trucker thrust his massive rod into his warm wet mouth. His fat snake was so big that it stretched Rob's lips and cheeks wide until spit and pre-cum began to run down his chin and naked body. He nearly gagged at the feeling and taste of this stranger's dirty fat cock in his mouth, but knowing the consequences of not doing what he was told, he began to suck the cock, moving his head back and forth along the truckers hard shaft. He was completely vulnerable and at the mercy of the strong, dark truckers sadistic desires.

"That's it, oh yeah! Good little whore!" moaned the trucker as he watched Malda suck his fat cock.

"I haven't cum in weeks! I need this badly, so you better make me cum!"

As he sucked the thick man meat in and out of his mouth, Rob took his hands off of the truckers' hips and grasped the shaft of his cock. He then jerked the huge snake as he sucked and licked its head. He looked up at the trucker and licked his cock head gently, before taking it back into his mouth again. Rob's other hand found the truckers' balls which felt huge even compared to his cock. Its was obvious that what he had said about not having cum in a while was true, so lifting up his massive cock, Rob took one of the truckers' dirty, hairy balls into his mouth and sucked it softly before doing the same to he next one. Just like the massive cock, Rob had trouble fitting the balls in his mouth but he knew that the quicker he could make the trucker cum, the sooner it would all be over. He then licked the truckers' cock, all the way up the shaft from his balls to his head before sucking the end of his giant prick back into his mouth.

Rob was astonished at how easily it all came to him. Maybe it was due to the fact that he was incredibly horny before this all happened or the fact that it was so naughty and so wrong that Rob was even more turned on at being dominated so roughly. But sucking a big fat cock didn't bother him as much as he thought it would, he knew he wasn't gay, but there was still something about it that made his heart beat faster.

The trucker groaned in pleasure and relief before grabbing Rob roughly and turning him around, where he placed him on his knees facing the toilet. He then lifted the toilet seat up and pushed Rob forward until his head and neck squeezed through the hole in the seat. Rob's' head was stuck through the seat which now rested on his shoulders with the trucker holding the seat above his head and pushing it closed again. This move forced Rob's' head down into the toilet bowl and moved his ass up into the air. Rob's realized what the trucker was about to do, but was powerless to stop him, especially now that he was trapped with his face in the toilet bowl just above the water.

The trucker pulled his own shirt over his head and kicked his pants and boxers off. He was now naked except for his big workers boots and baseball cap. He then knelt down behind Rob, his huge frame hulking over the trapped nerd.

"Hold steady you little bitch! This will hurt a whole lot more if your squirmin' around!" the trucker said as he lined himself up behind Rob and grabbing his victims hips he aimed his spit covered cock directly at Rob's bare ass. Then he spat on Rob's exposed asshole and gripping him tightly, the trucker pushed his monster cock slowly into Rob's ass.

The pressure on Rob's ass was very powerful until the big, fat cock of the mysterious trucker popped passed his butt hole and pushed deep into his bowels.

Rob screamed into the toilet bowl as he felt the truckers massive, rock hard pole drive deep into his ass, it stretched him wide but luckily it didn't rip his anus. His screams where muffled by the toilet bowl and the water, but it didn't matter anyway, the trucker was right when he said no one would hear him scream back here.

The trucker then began to slide his fat greasy cock in and out of Rob's tight ass, thrusting into him hard until finally all 14 inches of his massive tool where deep inside Rob's rectum, stretching him to the max. As the trucker pumped harder and faster into his butt, Rob was pushed harder into the toilet bowl, its putrid smell unable to take Rob's mind of the rough treatment of his ass.

Rob was being completely manhandled, as the trucker, fucked his tight ass hard and pounded him into the dirty toilet bowl. After a few minutes of having his butt hole reamed by a giant trucker, Rob found the sensation to be slightly better, the pain had left as he began to loosen up and now it was just sex. Hard, dirty, violent sex!
The trucker then pulled out of Rob's ass and pushed the toilet seat back over his head before picking him up and pushing him against the wall. Holding him by his ass, the trucker lifted Rob up the wall so that his legs where spread out to the side and his ass hole sat tantalizingly close, just above the truckers juiced up cock. He then lowered Rob down onto his hard pole letting it slowly push up into Rob's' flexed butt hole. Rob grimaced as he felt the massive man meat push up into his ass. He was helpless in the truckers' strong grip, and found himself more turned on by it. Strangely, he liked being dominated like this. The trucker began to fuck up into Rob's stomach, pounding his ass raw as he held him there, pinned against the wall.

"Oh oh oh oh!" Rob began to gasp as he was lifted up and down on the monster cock of the dirty trucker.

"You like that don't ya? You fucking whore! You like daddy fucking your asshole?"

There was no denying it now; Rob was really aroused by the whole situation. This combined with the extreme pressure on his prostate lead to something Rob never expected. His legs shook in the truckers arms and he arched his back against the wall as his limp cock began spurting a hot load of cum all over itself.

"Ooooooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhh!!" he moaned as he orgasmed.

"That's right you fuck-toy! I told you that you would like it! You God damn slut!"

Rob's orgasm seemed to turn the trucker on too. He pulled out of Rob's' ass and pushed him down onto the ground where he put Rob over the toilet facing upwards and once again pulled the seat down over his head. Rob was now stuck sitting on the ground leaning back with his face looking up through the toilet seat. The trucker then squatted over him and stuffed his thick, dirty cock back into Rob's mouth.

"That's it you fucking cum-slut! Clean that mess off my cock! Yes! You like that don't ya!"

Rob choked and gagged on the filthy monster cock that had just been deep in his own ass. The trucker fucked down into Rob's mouth, forcing his hard cock down his throat, as Rob spluttered all over the truckers huge balls. He was being face fucked and there was nothing he could do about it. Then the trucker grunted hard as he came, shooting his steaming, massive load of cum hard into Rob's unsuspecting mouth, right down his throat. There was so much cum that it spurted out of Rob's mouth, squirting out the sides around the truckers cock spilling down Rob's chin onto his chest. The trucker then pulled out of Rob's' mouth still cumming like a fountain, and began to spray jizz all over Rob's body.

"Aaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrggggghhhhh!!!!!!!! FUCK!! YES!!!" the trucker shouted, wringing the last few spurts of cum from his swollen balls.

"Aaaaaahhhhhh yes!"

His head now free from the toilet seat, Rob coughed and spluttered, spitting up cum and trying to wipe it from his eyes. He was drenched in hot man spunk, it was in his hair, his eyes, his nose, it dripped from his mouth and ran down his naked body. The trucker stepped forward again, still groaning, and began to slap the half blinded Rob in the face with his deflating cock.

"Open up whore! Drink the rest of the cum from my cock!"

Rob sucked the truckers softening cock back into his mouth and licked the cum from it, slurping the last remaining drops from deep within his balls. The trucker moved away, getting dressed while Rob struggled with the pool of cum he had been drowned in. As he finished wiping jizz from his eyes, Rob looked up to see the now fully dressed Trucker doing up his fly before walking back over to the toilet stall. He looked down at Rob, at what he had done to him, and laughed.

"Ahhh...I told ya you would like it! I knew you where are filthy little cum-slut just begging fucked hard the moment I saw you get outta the car with your parents! Now run along whore! Go and tell ya folks what a dirty little cock-whore you are!"

Rob heard the trucker laughing to himself as he left the toilet, leaving Rob drenched in a pool of hot cum, struggling to catch his breath. His ass and throat hurt. His whole body ached. With no clothes and no way to properly wash all of the thick white cum from his sweaty naked body, Rob wondered how he was going to get back to his parents, and what he would say to them, when they came looking for him.

For a day? (5, Insightful)

kangsterizer (1698322) | more than 4 years ago | (#32792708)

These guys have been using their proprietary software for decades, they're used to every single button.
Then they switch over to radicaly different software interface (hi Gimp!) for a single day... of course they're way less efficient.

Certainly some software might lacks polish, but the conclusion that if they didn't adapt in ONE day the software isn't as efficient.. that's really quite flawed uh.

Re:For a day? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32792736)

Your example of gimp is hilarious, as it demonstrates exactly what the newspaper concluded.
 
It wasn't a scientific test, but most sane people who have used both free and commercial software will agree with what they concluded. There are some FOSS programs that are up to par with (or better than) the best paid alternatives, but they are very very rare.

Re:For a day? (5, Insightful)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 4 years ago | (#32792778)

I'm a huge FOSS fanboy but I'd rather gouge my eyes out than use the GIMP for even the simplest of tasks.

Re:For a day? (3, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32792804)

Depends on what you are doing and where your past experience lies, myself I'm not a graphics person and before using the GIMP the most advanced image editor I had used was MS paint, so while learning The GIMP was hard, I don't think it would be any harder than learning Photoshop (and paying $200-ish for the privilege).

Re:For a day? (4, Insightful)

twidarkling (1537077) | more than 4 years ago | (#32792958)

Having used both Photoshop and GIMP, on both Windows and Mac platforms, I can tell you that yes, GIMP is harder to learn. I spent more than half an hour in GIMP trying to figure out why, when removing the white to transparency in a picture, it made the whole thing translucent. I still don't know why or how it happened, since all I did was use the "colour to alpha" tool, which is supposed to turn that specific colour to transparent. Also, trying to manipulate text boxes is a bitch and a half.

No, Photoshop's easier, even if it's expensive.

Re:For a day? (5, Insightful)

slim (1652) | more than 4 years ago | (#32792814)

I'm a huge FOSS fanboy but I'd rather gouge my eyes out than use the GIMP for even the simplest of tasks.

Really? Why?

I use GIMP any time I need to work with composite images. I've learned how to use it. I'm perfectly happy with it. I am lost in Photoshop, because that's not the interface I've learned.

Re:For a day? (0)

kaizokuace (1082079) | more than 4 years ago | (#32792850)

There is a lot that you just cant do in GIMP. A lot of simple stuff. I can't work without photoshop. Also interoperability between other types of software packages makes it fit into a workflow. GIMP stands alone.

Re:For a day? (4, Interesting)

slim (1652) | more than 4 years ago | (#32792900)

I'd love to hear some examples -- because again, GIMP is all I know.

It seems to me that any functionality and interoperability missing from GIMP could be addressed with Script-Fu

Re:For a day? (0)

kaizokuace (1082079) | more than 4 years ago | (#32792960)

well i havent used gimp for a while but i remember something so simple as layers or fine control of selections was impossible to do when I was using it.

Re:For a day? (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 4 years ago | (#32793064)

has had layers and many tools for selecting and transforming the current selection from the start afaik

Re:For a day? (2, Informative)

slim (1652) | more than 4 years ago | (#32793098)

It's supported layers for as long as I can remember.

In fact, one objection might be that you can't use it effectively without first understanding layers.

Not sure what you mean by fine control of selections - adjusting a selection can be a bit hit and miss, but I blame that on my working on large images on an underpowered machine.

Re:For a day? (0)

kaizokuace (1082079) | more than 4 years ago | (#32793142)

like, in photoshop you can make selections using selection tools of course, but also using paths and masks and all that. And you can run filters on those masks to effect the selection as you wish.

Re:For a day? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32793146)

Yea, and when I was using photoshop 3 on my mac SE it couldnt handle color, photoshop MUST still be garbage now

your opinion on the matter is pointless

Re:For a day? (0)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 4 years ago | (#32793080)

I'd love to hear some examples -- because again, GIMP is all I know.

It seems to me that any functionality and interoperability missing from GIMP could be addressed with Script-Fu

It's been a while since I use Gimp but last time I did, it lacked proper bezier curve tools for making hand-drawn masks. That's a real biggie for me.

Re:For a day? (2, Insightful)

adamdoyle (1665063) | more than 4 years ago | (#32792990)

GIMP is currently switching projection engines, at which point it will have high-bit level support. I wouldn't dare use it for image creation, however, for photography it handles everything I need. It has layers, a levels dialog, a paint brush and an eraser. For digital darkroom stuff, what else could you possibly need?

I barely use it (5, Informative)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | more than 4 years ago | (#32793016)

But I find horrifying problems every time I try.

Make an image with two layers. Set one to 50% transparency and put it top. Now try to move one on top of the other and resize it to line up a few points in the images. I for example was trying to line up the wheels in two car silhouettes.

In the GIMP, the layer you made 50% transparent turns opaque while you try to resize it, so you can't see how to line up the layers. What a mess.

I went home later and did it in Photoshop CS3 (that own, but only at home) and it worked fine, remained transparent during resize.

I know it's free and all, but if you make your living doing image editing, the GIMP is absolutely no substitute for Photoshop. You'll easily waste more money in labor than you saved not by buying Photoshop.

CS: 16 bit color channels. GIMP: 8 bits (1)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 4 years ago | (#32793072)

And you have 16 bit color channels with CS3.

GIMP has only 8 bit channels. You have to go to Cinepaint for 16.

Re:For a day? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32793060)

It takes a bit of getting used to, but for most tasks, the GIMP is pretty decent. I prefer it over Photoshop unless there is something (a technique or a filter) where Photoshop is the only game in town.

Re:For a day? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32792740)

These guys have been using their proprietary software for decades, they're used to every single button.
Then they switch over to radicaly different software interface (hi Gimp!) for a single day... of course they're way less efficient.

Certainly some software might lacks polish, but the conclusion that if they didn't adapt in ONE day the software isn't as efficient.. that's really quite flawed uh.

EXACTLY!

My companies IT refused to install Visio on my machine (citing some limited licensing issue) so I installed Inkscape todo some vector drawing.
I very quickly picked it up and can do all sorts with it.

That was over 2 years ago. last month IT installed Visio for me since I had some other peoples drawings to edit and DAMN did it take me forever and a day todo some of the simplest stuff SIMPLY because I didn't know the equivelent or the visio way of doing some things. I know visio can do most of it (except equation drawing, sup perfect sinwave :D) because others in hte office use it daily YET I took some time because it was new to me.

Re:For a day? (1)

PrecambrianRabbit (1834412) | more than 4 years ago | (#32792762)

I totally have to second this opinion of Inkscape! I use it for all my vector graphics needs. While I'm told by friends who are designers that Adobe Illustrator is a much more powerful product (and I believe them), I really struggled with it. Inkscape does what I need, and I don't spend hours hunting for the answer to "How do I make my lines have arrowheads?"

Re:For a day? (3, Informative)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 4 years ago | (#32793138)

While I'm told by friends who are designers that Adobe Illustrator is a much more powerful product (and I believe them), I really struggled with it.

Illustrator is much more powerful; unfortunately, it's also a real bitch to learn. Once you do, though, it's amazing what can be done with it beyond plain vector drawing. Being able to apply Photoshop filters to a vector drawing is almost enough to justify the effort to learn it all by itself. Of course, whether or not it justifies Illustrator's ridiculous price is another matter altogether. I'm still using an ancient version (that I know is gonna break one of these days following an OS update) because I can't afford to upgrade to a newer one.

Re:For a day? (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#32792836)

And it's pretty silly, as if July 4th is the only day we should be independent, as if using free software is just a symbolic gesture. And to compare something which has had the feedback of many like them over decades to something that hasn't (since not nearly as many people use it) as if they should be in parity is also silly. I imagine if they actually committed to free software, they'd find they became more efficient, in part because they have the freedom to improve and customize the software to precisely meet their style of doing things (and no, they don't have to have programmers in-house; they can hire someone).

Re:For a day? (2, Interesting)

Animaether (411575) | more than 4 years ago | (#32792856)

That depends on what they were doing.

Obviously one shouldn't expect to learn a different application through-and-through in just a day.

On the other hand.. if e.g. Google Docs did not use a bolded B button to turn text bold, like every other application going with that defacto standard, but instead went with a normally-written T - for Thick - which those in the graphics industry might instead think is to insert a text field, I could well-imagine that the learning curve would be much greater than it had to be.

As such, I'm far more interested in -exactly- what problems they faced, rather than the uninformative single-sentence conclusion, and hope that they plan on communicating these problems back to the developers, if not already done so.

Re:For a day? (4, Insightful)

uvajed_ekil (914487) | more than 4 years ago | (#32792876)

When I was an unexperienced driver at 18 years-old, and had never owned a car, I bought one with the first manual transmission I'd ever touched. The first day was nearly a disaster, stalling repeatedly, lurching and shaking about, and requiring multiple attempts get moving from stops on hills. Simply driving was inefficient and slow (despite the car being a pretty nice old sports car), and required all of my attention. But I got used to it -- so much so that the next four cars I bought also had manual transmissions, and one was a newer, nicer version of that same car. Like the free and open source software mentioned here, manual transmissions take a bit of practice, but they are cheaper and can be at least as efficient (more mpg than older automatics, less maintenance), and being more in control is nice. A one-day test is a nice start, but that is nothing to make a decision on.

Re:For a day? (4, Insightful)

quixote9 (999874) | more than 4 years ago | (#32792946)

Yeah. The inefficiency is all the software's fault, obviously. The part between the keyboard and the chair always knows how to use anything unfamiliar perfectly the first time.

Re:For a day? (2, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 4 years ago | (#32792884)

Open Source software has its strong points however it really depends on the target user groups.
Most (Most means more then 1/2, and Not all) Open Source projects have a limited financial funding behind it, and is built with a rather loose organizational structure. So it is really software designed to fill the need of the programmers, others are copies of commercial applications. But there isn't the intervention of the PHB and Marketing and Sales. However these groups that we like to classify as hinderance to your job actually really help the product especially when you are releasing software for non Techies.

clearly you have no knowledge of the industry (2, Insightful)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 4 years ago | (#32792902)

These guys have been using their proprietary software for decades, they're used to every single button.

Decades? Quark Xpress, one of the more popular packages, fell out of favor after just over a decade and changed considerably with each release. Adobe CS (along with Quark's lethargy in going to Mac OS X, insane software license activation, and always-buggy releases) drove Quark virtually out of business; they've barely survived. CS's UI was completely different, but people still loved using it.

And you do realize that Adobe CS is updated almost yearly, right? The interface is *mostly* the same, but things do change- a lot of new technology is introduced.

Then they switch over to radicaly different software interface (hi Gimp!) for a single day

Wrong, actually. You think a bunch of professionals in a production environment did it with no preparation whatsoever? Wrong. If you read the original article, they did it first for ONE, WEEKLY publication. Then did it for ONE *daily*. Then they did it for all the papers at once.

Sorry, but I've used inDesign to public a monthly 30+ page newsletter, and tried to use Scribus because the organization couldn't really afford CS. There's no comparison whatsoever. Why? Well, it probably has something to do with Adobe spending quite a bit of effort working with their users and doing everything possible to make the software do what the users want.

Like it or not, the open-source community has proven to be relatively horrible at listening to its user base; half the time, you're told "if you don't like it, fix it yourself." Can you imagine getting that kind of response at a restaurant when your steak is undercooked? At your mechanic's when he says "that rattle, it's not harming anything"? You may like to tinker. Much of the world just wants something intuitive and that WORKS.

Re:clearly you have no knowledge of the industry (1)

Cylix (55374) | more than 4 years ago | (#32793068)

Don't try to fix it yourself at a restaurant.

I offered to come in and be a cook for a day. I pretty much felt their home menu was terrible and the chili was awful. Instead, I got a lecture on how chili will vary with the weather and whatnot. (Things I already knew about food, but regardless I still make a pretty good batch of chili.)

On the plus side they didn't really last very long. Turns out you can only serve something people don't like for so long.

Re:clearly you have no knowledge of the industry (2, Interesting)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 4 years ago | (#32793130)

If the rest of the world wants to pay the developers to build that software, I'm certain that many would jump at the chance. The fact is, people get something for free and then they bitch when it doesn't do everything they think it should do, because it's never been something important to the developers.

Tell me, when you're doing your hobby, say, gardening, what would you do if some random schmuck came up to you and said "I really like peas, and you aren't planting any, so you suck. You should plant peas."?

Re:For a day? (2, Informative)

Grond (15515) | more than 4 years ago | (#32792914)

These guys have been using their proprietary software for decades, they're used to every single button.
Then they switch over to radicaly different software interface (hi Gimp!) for a single day... of course they're way less efficient.

Did you read the article? They produced one issue with free software, but they've been working on it for a while. For example, "News Editor Paul Tackett has been working days and nights, on top of his usual job, to set up most of the day's pages in a layout program called Scribus." Not all newspaper articles are written within 24 hours of going to print. Many are the product of several days or even weeks of work. The article implies that although only one issue was produced with the free software, it was the product of more than one day's work.

These guys have been using their proprietary software for decades, they're used to every single button.

You're exaggerating. What proprietary newsroom software has kept the same interface for 20 years? Even Photoshop 1.0 was only released exactly 20 years ago, and of course much of the interface has changed and furthermore I'd be surprised if anyone at this paper had been using it in production for 20 years.

Your point that we shouldn't read too much in to the difficulties the paper experienced with free software is valid, but you're overstating the case significantly.

Re:For a day? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32793006)

"Certainly some software might lacks polish, but the conclusion that if they didn't adapt in ONE day the software isn't as efficient.. that's really quite flawed uh."

Rather like their coverage of everything else I suspect.

Re:For a day? (4, Insightful)

grumbel (592662) | more than 4 years ago | (#32793048)

Then they switch over to radicaly different software interface (hi Gimp!) for a single day... of course they're way less efficient.

While I agree with that, I have some doubts that their view would have changed a lot if the test would have been done for weeks, month or years. I have used Free Software pretty much exclusively for the last 10+ years and a lot of stuff still just feels broken and/or incomplete, compared to the proprietary stuff I used back then. The reason is simple, professional proprietary software is developed to solve a problems people have, if it is not good enough, it might get overrun by a competing product. Free Software on the other side might start with solving somebodies problem, but after that it often just ends up being stuck in maintenance hell. Nobody goes out to actually analyses what people are using the software for and how it could be improved for that usecase. Either it kind of sort of already fits or people will be stuck with a half finished solution for a long while to come.

See Gimp, that multi-window interface has been an annoyance for what? A decade? Yet we still don't have that fixed. We might get that fixed in the next big release, maybe, but thats 10 years to long. Same with higher color depths, it has been a request feature for ages, even got a fork (FilmGimp/Cinepaint), yet mainline Gimp still can't do it. In the commercial world you might have quite a bit of an issue if you let users wait for ages, yet in the Free Software world that is pretty much standard. The only exceptions to this seems to be the commercial endeavorers like Ubuntu where they actually optimize the software for the user and not just randomly patch along.

Of course, thanks to it being Free Software I can go and patch it myself [blogspot.com] , but often times that is just not practical.

Re:For a day? (2, Interesting)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 4 years ago | (#32793122)

the interface has not been "fixed" because there is nothing wrong with it in the first place, the window behavior is unintuitive and annoying on microsoft windows because despite it's name, windows has really shitty window management.

Learning curve (2, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32792718)

I bet if they switched from their Windows software to a Mac OS software, they'd experience similar results. It's inevitable that when you jump from one style to another style, you'll experience some slowdown in the work.

Re:Learning curve (4, Insightful)

AnswerIs42 (622520) | more than 4 years ago | (#32792802)

Nope, not that much of a difference between mac and PC versions of Desktop publishing software. I use both nightly at work... and I work at a newspaper.

Really though, news rooms should not even touch all of that stuff.. they write the articles and the editor places them in the document, final document gets sent to me where I do my voodoo and make 4 color post script files and PDFs and generate plates for the presses.

Re:Learning curve (1, Insightful)

gnarlin (696263) | more than 4 years ago | (#32792866)

Could everyone please stop equating PC with microsoft windows. PC is short for Personal Computer.

Re:Learning curve (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32792912)

Could everyone please stop equating PC with microsoft windows. PC is short for Personal Computer.

No. Too late. About 25 years too late.

Re:Learning curve (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 4 years ago | (#32792918)

Could everyone please stop equating PC with microsoft windows. PC is short for Personal Computer.

No. Too late. About 25 years too late.

Yeah. Kinda like getting people to stop equating "hacker" with "criminal".

Re:Learning curve (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32793044)

>>>stop equating "hacker" with "criminal".

You mean I can't be both?
Okay.
I'll stop calling myself a hacker then and go with "technician" or "ham" or "tinkerer". I like to "tinker" with my PS3 to run AmigaOS - and no Mr. Sony or Congressman that doesn't make me a criminal.

Re:Learning curve (1, Funny)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32793018)

>>>PC is short for Personal Computer

No actually it's short for "IBM PC" or "IBM PC compatible clone". It's been that way for about 15 years now, since all the other PCs (tandy, coleco, atari, commodore) died out leaving behind just the IBM PC clones and..... um, that other one. "Amiga" I think it's called. ;-)

(I'm just joking - I just bought a Mac myself but calling it a PC would be an insult.)

Re:Learning curve (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 4 years ago | (#32792894)

I bet if they switched from their Windows software to a Mac OS software, they'd experience similar results. It's inevitable that when you jump from one style to another style, you'll experience some slowdown in the work.

Nope, not that much of a difference between mac and PC versions of Desktop publishing software. I use both nightly at work... and I work at a newspaper.

I've seen Windows people try to use a mac and get angry and frustrated, saying macs are stupid because files don't open when they select them and press enter, and that it's stupid for an OS to require that you use the mouse to open a file, and it's all stupid.
I silently demonstrated the proper use of "command-O" and "command-arrowDown" to teach them that stupid is as stupid does, but they were still very frustrated that it wasn't exactly the same as on Windows, said it was stupid not to copy the most popular software in every way.

Point is: Change makes people confused and angry. You're used to both systems, and possibly *NIXes too, so you can't even imagine being so utterly gobsmacked by something as simple as having different commands for tasks, but for most people... iiiish, most people are... they're not... they suck.

Re:Learning curve (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#32792994)

I silently demonstrated the proper use of "command-O" and "command-arrowDown"

Neither of which is very intuitive, but memorized key-combos are sure useful.

The problem is, that the perceived need to make interfaces more "intuitive" has also made them slower to use for those of us that don't mind learning a few shortcuts.

Re:Learning curve (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32793120)

There are a few things different about Mac which I find annoying:

- Can't find a program that plays videos at 2x speed without making everyone sound like chipmunks
- Can't run Internet Exploder (not that I would want to... just saying)
- Can't find any decent emulators for Atari or C=64 or Super Nintendo gaming
-
- Doesn't have a convenient start menu to quickly-and-easily access all my programs.
- Doesn't have a task manager to adjust priorities or kill programs (at least not that I'm aware of)
- And at one point didn't have a right button menu, but of course that's been fixed now that Apple stopped clinging to the one-button mouse
.

>>>Point is: Change makes people confused and angry

Pretty much. Hell even upgrading from XP to Vista made me annoyed. And they are the same basic OS. As for usability: Mac was superior to the Windows 1/2/3/95/M.e kludges that used to exist, but I don't really see much difference between OS X and Windows NT 5/6 (XP and Seven). Both are solid.
.

>>>said it was stupid not to copy the most popular software in every way.

It probably is. If Honda came-out with a car where the turn signals were on the floor, the gearshift attached to the radio, and the throttle/brakes on a stalk at your left hand, people would say "this sucks" and go buy Toyota instead. If you are a minority player, it makes sense to copy the majority player(s) and have similar controls. It makes it easier for people to switch-over to your car or computer.

Re:Learning curve (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32792882)

I bet if they switched from their Windows software to a Mac OS software, they'd experience similar results. It's inevitable that when you jump from one style to another style, you'll experience some slowdown in the work.

Office Ribbon, anyone ? Why the hell did Microsoft think that was a good idea, without at least leaving the menus in place for transition.

Re:Learning curve (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 4 years ago | (#32792930)

I bet if they switched from their Windows software to a Mac OS software, they'd experience similar results. It's inevitable that when you jump from one style to another style, you'll experience some slowdown in the work.

Office Ribbon, anyone ? Why the hell did Microsoft think that was a good idea, without at least leaving the menus in place for transition.

You forget that company's unofficial motto:

Microsoft
Where Do We Want You To Go Today!

Re:Learning curve (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 4 years ago | (#32793132)

I thought the motto was "Where DID You Want To Go Today?"

Re:Learning curve (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 4 years ago | (#32793144)

The main issue was that they didn't tell anyone that the big globe in the top-left was a freakin' menu. Seriously... I know many people that it took weeks for them to realize that was a menu that got you into pretty much everything you needed.

What did they expect? Lol! (1, Interesting)

SalsaDoom (14830) | more than 4 years ago | (#32792730)

So, lets throw some fairly complex software at some people for a day and see how they do. Surprise! They prefer the stuff they've been using *since they know how to use it*. Just throwing a piece of software at someone doesn't mean they know how to use it. Fuck, if they managed to get that newspaper out at all, then that means the free software was so efficient and easy to use, a bunch of people who've never used it before could get the job done with it.

It seems the whole point of these stupid exercises is just for retards to justify how much they've spent on expensive proprietary crap.

scenario... (1)

eexaa (1252378) | more than 4 years ago | (#32792734)

July the 4th
Day of Gimp Fractal Eye Candy

Could be useful as well as interesting (4, Insightful)

jd (1658) | more than 4 years ago | (#32792746)

If the reporters wrote up the specific problems they were finding (such as what was slow, what was particularly difficult, etc) and submitted them to the developers, the developers would have a potentially very rich mine of information to work from. Sure, some of the issues will be ones of "X doesn't work the way Microsoft does it" - annoyances that slow adoption rates but not really bugs per-se. But there will likely be other comments along the lines of "in reporting, it would be very useful to do Y", or "as an editor, back in the cut-and-paste days I could do Z but this is so hard to do in software" - things neither FLOSS nor commercial WP/DTP does well, that FLOSS could potentially overtake on.

Re:Could be useful as well as interesting (5, Interesting)

Shinobi (19308) | more than 4 years ago | (#32792818)

Odds are they will be met the same way my father was met by the GIMP developers, i.e told to fuck off and do the changes himself, despite him not being a programmer at all, just an advanced hobby photographer. He spent almost a week laying out what, how and why, writing a couple of pages of structured and well-described suggestions.

Re:Could be useful as well as interesting (4, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 4 years ago | (#32792986)

Odds are they will be met the same way my father was met by the GIMP developers, i.e told to fuck off and do the changes himself, despite him not being a programmer at all, just an advanced hobby photographer. He spent almost a week laying out what, how and why, writing a couple of pages of structured and well-described suggestions.

I don't find that hard to believe at all. The thing is, if you're a programmer working in the software department of a larger organization, you will have other people whose job it is to find out what customers need. That information is ideally codified into reasonably detailed specs and passed on to the software engineering staff.

Your typical small software house or open-source project doesn't have that luxury: developers usually are required to deal with end-users directly, and depending upon their personalities (and general level of professionalism) that may not work very well. True professionals in any field try their best to leave their egos at home, and when they get to work accept that there might be a better way of doing things. In a word, openmindedness. It's especially important when it comes to user-interface design: it truly does not matter how great a solution you feel you've created if your users think it sucks. When that happens, you go back to the drawing board and figure out something better. But the first step in that process is an admission that you're not perfect, and that your work can, in fact, be improved upon.

Re:Could be useful as well as interesting (1)

Animaether (411575) | more than 4 years ago | (#32793026)

Well, that's an oft-heard complaint with any open source project, of course.. especially the free-as-in-beer ones; "You have the code, YOU make the changes if you think they're so important!" - completely ignoring that the user may not exactly be a programmer.
Even if you then say "enough of this" and pay somebody to make those changes for you (which your father could possibly do - perhaps get together with other people who also think it's a good idea and pool together the money), the odds of getting those changes included in the official distribution may be slim; meaning that for every update to the main version, the custom code may need review to make sure it still works when re-compiled. Before somebody suggests forking.. no, not everybody has the stamina to fork the project and eventually stage a coup or, by sheer popularity, have the main project integrate the changes after all. I rather suspect that parent poster's father wouldn't be interested in such a thing either.

On the other hand, I guess us end-users to have to keep in mind as well that the project's programmers aren't exactly on our payroll to do our bidding. Between my wishes for The GIMP and those of thousands of others, I'm pretty sure they have little incentive to focus specifically on mine when they already lay out active development plans.

This is really not that much different from closed source counterparts. If I ask Adobe to -please- let me just change the positioning of an image within a print page layout -despite- the fact that "center" is checked (and automatically unchecking that option if I indeed change that positioning)... the odds of Adobe making it so on a minor interim release are slim to none.

In your father's specific case, though.. did he happen to publish these pages online somewhere? If nothing else, he might find like-minded end-users who can, together, have more sway.

On a similar note.. time to link to this one again as the subdomain is back up (who knows for how long):
http://gui.gimp.org/index.php/Transformation_tool_specification [gimp.org]

Re:Could be useful as well as interesting (1)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 4 years ago | (#32793034)

It sucks to be treated so brusquely, but he really did go about it the wrong way. GIMP developers are not at his beck and call. They're doing what they want to do, not meeting client or audience demands.

Your father is not a programmer and cannot contribute to the GIMP project in terms of code. But he *can* contribute his well-thought-out documents by just posting them on a blog or forum or discussion board -- basically open source them. If people like his ideas, they will talk about them, link them, etc. etc. If they're good enough, they might get some traction. And then maybe a coder would be inspired to implement them.

FOSS is not about expecting someone else do what you want them to. It's about making a contribution and inspiring others to bring *their* vegetables to the pot of stone soup :D

Re:Could be useful as well as interesting (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 4 years ago | (#32793082)

Wait, from what the GP post describes:

He spent almost a week laying out what, how and why, writing a couple of pages of structured and well-described suggestions.

It sounds like he did exactly what you suggest. I didn't see anything in the GP post that suggest that he was making demands, but rather, offering suggestions.

Re:Could be useful as well as interesting (1)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 4 years ago | (#32793108)

It sounds like he did exactly what you suggest. I didn't see anything in the GP post that suggest that he was making demands, but rather, offering suggestions.

It's good that he wrote those documents. It's not good that he sent them to the GIMP devs and expected them to say, "Yes, sir! We'll jump right on it!"

The proper thing to do is to put those documents ( or the information therein ) on his blog, or promote them generally on the internet. This is what I suggest he do -- we've already established that he's made such documents.

Re:Could be useful as well as interesting (1)

Shinobi (19308) | more than 4 years ago | (#32793110)

He DID bring his own ingredients: He contributed by spending a week describing and structuring suggestions, based on his over 35 years of doing photography. Unfortunately, that's something the GIMP people were at the time at least unable to comprehend the worth of. Ah well, my father just ended up buying a new license for Photoshop, as well as Lightroom. In terms of serious photography, even on the hobby side, the cost for those is small change.

Re:Could be useful as well as interesting (3, Informative)

ddt (14627) | more than 4 years ago | (#32793038)

For future reference, suggestions are better received when they come with funding to write them, even if the pay is very modest.

As well they should (0, Troll)

Kludge (13653) | more than 4 years ago | (#32793086)

Odds are they will be met the same way my father was met by the GIMP developers, i.e told to fuck off and do the changes himself,

As well they should.
That is the source of open source software. Open source software is developed by people who use it for themselves; they do not develop it for other people. (Well, a few do, if they can make $ at it). If you happen to be in the same business, then you luck out and have a product that you can use.
Do newspaper companies develop software for their use? Sure! See djangoproject.org. I use that software to make software for my local pool. I do not expect the django developers to do anything special to please my needs and wants. Likewise, if I were to release my pool software, anyone who uses it gets it as is. If they want something different, I do not have time to change it. But they have the ability to change it themselves, or hire someone who knows how to change it.

Why did I develop my pool software out of django rather than buying a commercial product? Because I could not find a commercial that did everything I wanted it to. Now I have one.

The bottom line: If you want a product to do specifically what you want you have to do it yourself. (Or hire someone to do it for you.)

Re:As well they should (1)

Shinobi (19308) | more than 4 years ago | (#32793158)

The difference is, GIMP has actively asked for suggestions. That simple fact completely nullifies your argument.

Re:Could be useful as well as interesting (5, Insightful)

braeldiil (1349569) | more than 4 years ago | (#32792826)

In theory, that information would be very useful to the developers. In practice, it would have no value whatsover. The developers would do one of the following: a) ignore it b) ask for a patch c) treat the suggestions as a personal attack and launch a flamewar. Open source software may have some virtues, but taking constructive criticism is definitely a major weakness.

Re:Could be useful as well as interesting (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32792886)

In theory, that information would be very useful to the developers. In practice, it would have no value whatsover. The developers would do one of the following: a) ignore it b) ?? c) treat the suggestions as a personal attack and launch a flamewar. Closed source software may have some virtues, but taking constructive criticism is definitely a major weakness.

Re:Could be useful as well as interesting (1)

twidarkling (1537077) | more than 4 years ago | (#32793036)

Closed source software may have some virtues, but taking constructive criticism is definitely a major weakness.

*snerk* Usually that old "replace the keyword with the opposite side" works well, but this is bullshit. Closed source takes feedback all the time. After all, they want people to buy the next version. They do beta testing, market research, all that shit that takes money that FOSS can't afford to do on as large a scale.

Re:Could be useful as well as interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32793078)

In theory, that information would be very useful to the developers. In practice, it would have no value whatsover. The developers would do one of the following: a) ignore it b) ?? c) treat the suggestions as a personal attack and launch a flamewar. Closed source software may have some virtues, but taking constructive criticism is definitely a major weakness.

Aw, how sad. :-( Here let me fix that for you! :-)

In theory, that apple would be very yummy to the bakers. In practice, it would have no taste whatsover. The bakers would eat one of the following: a) oranges b) pancakes c) treat the pie as a personal cake and cook a pepper. Closed ice cream may melt some blueberries, but eating constructive cakes is definitely a apple pie.

There fixed it for you! :-) No need to thank me! :-)

Re:Could be useful as well as interesting (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 4 years ago | (#32793126)

the developers would have a potentially very rich mine of information to work from.

The problem is that developers like to work on their problems, not somebody else problems. Other peoples problems just mean extra work on stuff they don't care about. Another big issue is that some problems are simply rooted in layers of APIs that can't be easily fixed, requesting consistent behaviour in any textbox on your desktop is easy, getting every GUI API on accepting and implementing that however isn't.

Free as in speech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32792754)

Damn that Googled Docs! It's so darn slow.

Googled Docs (2, Informative)

knifeyspooney (623953) | more than 4 years ago | (#32792756)

FTFA:
...and the reporters have filed their stories in Googled Docs instead of Microsoft Word.

I guess they meant they used free-as-in-beer software for that edition -- or whatever Googled Docs are. (Perhaps you get them when you type TheGoogle into a Word document [theonion.com] ?)

Google Docs != F/OSS (4, Insightful)

ronocdh (906309) | more than 4 years ago | (#32792760)

FTA:

the reporters have filed their stories in Googled Docs instead of Microsoft Word.

Since when is Google Docs considered free and/or open source software? I thought most of the free software movement agreed that cloud-based solutions were a big threat to software freedom. RMS must be rolling in his—er, make that Ben Franklin....

Re:Google Docs != F/OSS (1)

edmicman (830206) | more than 4 years ago | (#32792792)

Well....Google Docs *is* free.....

Re:Google Docs != F/OSS (3, Insightful)

slim (1652) | more than 4 years ago | (#32792868)

Great, I'll just go and make my fork...

Re:Google Docs != F/OSS (1)

RMS Eats Toejam (1693864) | more than 4 years ago | (#32792840)

RMS must be rolling in his—er, make that Ben Franklin....

He had his grave dug early so he could practice rolling.

Re:Google Docs != F/OSS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32792852)

it's a web service, so you never download any code, hence no freedom is violated according to the gpl. they could even use modified gpl programs on their servers if they wanted to, without giving anyone the source.

Which GPL would that be? (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 4 years ago | (#32792966)

There is a version of the GPL which specifically addresses this. It's a loophole in the spirit of the GPL, though not the letter, just like Tivoization.

Re:Google Docs != F/OSS (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 4 years ago | (#32792904)

FTA:

the reporters have filed their stories in Googled Docs instead of Microsoft Word.

Since when is Google Docs considered free and/or open source software?

Free as in beer.

Summary inaccuracy (3, Informative)

PrecambrianRabbit (1834412) | more than 4 years ago | (#32792770)

While the summary states that they used free and open source software, the article only states that they used free software. Their writers used Google Docs, which is free but not open source, instead of Microsoft Word.

Of course... (0)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32792798)

The reporters were quick to note that 'the proprietary software is designed to be efficient, reliable and relatively fast for the task of producing a daily newspaper. The free substitutes, not so much.'

...Well of course. The development ideologies are totally different, a F/OSS project starts with, "I need to do X, I like to do it in this way, I should write a program that does that", a proprietary project starts with "People do X, those people make money, if we can write a program to do X, we can make money" so when you start with a proprietary-software based shop, you end up conforming to the way that proprietary software does the tasks rather than any other way because that software becomes embedded in your job. With a F/OSS project, generally those biases aren't there so the software is written from the developer's perspective, and many of those developers don't work in the newspaper industry with the learning curve that comes with re-learning software.

Which kind of free? (1, Redundant)

JustinOpinion (1246824) | more than 4 years ago | (#32792806)

I believe we're in another "free" vs. "Free" situation here. The summary implies that it was an experiment to transition to F/OSS software. But the word "open source" never appears in the article.

In the associated video [youtube.com] , they call it a "Ben Franklin" experiment and make reference to the "A penny saved... [wikipedia.org] " quote. In the article the only software projects they list are Scribus [scribus.net] , which is indeed open source, and Google Docs [google.com] , which is gratis but not open source. (I have no doubt Google uses plenty of open source to run Google Docs, but it is not an open-source product from the user perspective.)

The article doesn't go into enough detail to really say much else. No doubt they ended up using lots of open source to satisfy their "free" (gratis) requirement, but I suspect they used plenty of freeware, and ad-supported stuff as well. Without much more information I don't think we can say much (positive or negative) about how well open source tools can replace proprietary tools in publishing.

I got to say (1)

Stan92057 (737634) | more than 4 years ago | (#32792810)

I got to say,the last thing i think about is what software a news paper company uses to print out the papers. And i would guess 99% of there customers wouldn't care as well unless it makes the news paper bill cheaper.

Moving to other software (2, Insightful)

kge (457708) | more than 4 years ago | (#32792822)

When we moved at our office from one ERP system (novell based) to another (SCO unix based ha!) we too cursed and yelled at it first. After using the program for a year we got the hang of it. Some years ago the system was moved to (Suse) Linux (at my advisal) and now we would not know what to do without it.
When I decided to go from the Atari ST to PC in 1994 I had the choice of Windows, OS2 and something called Linux.. I switched to Linux and have not regretted it. Now at the office we run some Windows only stuff on Windows Xp in Virtualbox instead of native, almost all computers are converted to Linux. No one complains about lack of features. Open office does the job nicely, Firefox is standard issue and Thunderbird is our mailclient of choice.
You can not expect people to switch systems in a day without hiccups but people will adapt.

Sounds lame but (4, Insightful)

CODiNE (27417) | more than 4 years ago | (#32792844)

They proved a newspaper can successfully be made using only F/OSS. One day? Imagine one year with a programmer or two tweaking the software to work just how they want it. It could blow away the existing stuff and enable a resurgence in amateur newspapers.

Sounds digital but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32792954)

It could blow away the existing stuff and enable a resurgence in amateur newspapers.

They're called, blogs.

Re:Sounds lame but (1)

flogger (524072) | more than 4 years ago | (#32792970)

It takes more than software to publish a paper...
A small press and the paper for it is a serious investment.

Re:Sounds lame but (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#32793102)

It takes more than software to publish a paper...
A small press and the paper for it is a serious investment.

It's not so much about starting a paper as keeping one going. Alternative sources of news are becoming available and even vaguely credible. This is an alternative source of workflow tools.

Re:Sounds lame but (2, Informative)

JustinOpinion (1246824) | more than 4 years ago | (#32793030)

One day?

I believe the transition took longer than a day; but they only used the 'alternate free workflow' for a day.

My evidence is that in the article [jrcbenfranklin.com] they say:

News Editor Paul Tackett has been working days and nights, on top of his usual job, to set up most of the day’s pages in a layout program called Scribus.

(Emphasis added.) Also in the video at about 0:18 [youtube.com] the narrator says:

Paul Tackett, our newseditor. He's been our Scribus hero of the week. Our Ben Franklin man of the week. Man of the month, really. Putting together the paper on, um, learning a new software; putting together basically the whole paper.

(Emphasis added.) It sounds like they've been working for nearly a month, behind the scenes, to make the transition possible. It's still impressive, of course, since replicating an existing layout and workflow is difficult even when all the software works perfectly. But this certainly wasn't just one day's worth of work.

Re:Sounds lame but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32793062)

cept if they have invested x amount of dollars in their current solution, that is good until the end of x year then hiring a programmer would cost more than their current license. it being a major project I would think that the programmer in question wouldn't want less than 70k a year as apposed to the 10k invested in the out of the box current licensed offerings that is good for x many years.

It follows from the history of FLOSS (1)

FoolishOwl (1698506) | more than 4 years ago | (#32793100)

It bears frequent repeating that the organized effort to create FLOSS for ethical reasons preceded the organized effort to create FLOSS for pragmatic reasons, i.e., the Free Software Foundation preceded the Open Source Initiative. It required a lot of effort by people who, because of an ethical commitment, were willing to put up with software that wasn't as good as proprietary software, before you had a foundation of software that, as it turned out, worked better than proprietary software.

If there were newspapers that were ethically committed to FLOSS, and were therefore willing to commit to its use, and to commit to supporting FLOSS development by hiring programmers to improve the available software, then before long, you'd have FLOSS packages for newspaper publishing that were superior to the available proprietary packages.

Re:Sounds lame but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32793114)

I agree fully. It "sounds lame but" to me too.

FUCK U DIRECTV THIEVES (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32792848)

Fuck you fucking directv fucking thieves! fuck You...

Touchiness (1)

drdrgivemethenews (1525877) | more than 4 years ago | (#32792864)

The readership are not fools. They know about one-day experiments and transition costs. They're more likely to be negatively affected by the touchiness of the F/OSS community, which so often treats even implicit criticism as a heresy against its religion.

Re:Touchiness (1)

FoolishOwl (1698506) | more than 4 years ago | (#32793162)

Do you really think a significant proportion of the readership of those newspapers is going to rush to read the reaction on Slashdot?

How many people have been put off using Google, because of its use of FLOSS?

Classified ad paper (4, Interesting)

innocent_white_lamb (151825) | more than 4 years ago | (#32792874)

I set up the computers and provide technical support for a small publishing company that prints two weekly classified ad papers (place your classified ads for free, the paper is sold at gas stations and convenience stores); about 15,000 physical papers are printed weekly. Plus there is an online subscription available for people to purchase
 
    The software is a combination of stuff that I wrote myself (the ad database, the program to create the plates for the press, etc) and Scribus, Gimp, and OpenOffice. LTSP is used to support thin client terminals for the staff that enter the ads into the database. Apache and sendmail for their web/email server.
 
The whole operation runs on Centos 5.
 
No worries about Windows viruses and everyting runs on automatic pilot as far as I'm concerned, most of the time.

Linux users have a hard time with Windows too (5, Insightful)

Jim Hall (2985) | more than 4 years ago | (#32792908)

So, staff at The Saratogian have used Windows software for years and years and years. They moved to Linux for a day and found that things were different, and "different" was hard to learn. Why am I not surprised?

Here's what they said in TFA:

News Editor Paul Tackett has been working days and nights, on top of his usual job, to set up most of the day's pages in a layout program called Scribus. ... For today's print edition, Tackett has duplicated the familiar components of The Saratogian from scratch, with the goal being that you won't know the difference between the look of today's paper and tomorrow's. ...

That sure sounds hard. Tackett had to spend days to reproduce templates and layouts that have been built up over years. Yes, doing that kind of work would be hard for anyone. I give this guy huge credit for accomplishing it. But I also give kudos out to Scribus [scribus.net] for being able to support it.

You know, moving from one environment that you know really well to one that you don't - it's always hard. We Linux users have trouble, too, moving from Linux to Windows. Don't believe me? I did it for my work, [blogspot.com] and I'm constantly finding things in Windows that "just don't work right" or "work stupidly".

Linux is just easier for me. But I've been using Linux at home since 1993, and running Linux at work since 2002. Until 2009, that is, when I was "asked" to move to Windows for work.

This whole "move to Linux in a day" thing is a neat "publicity stunt within the journalism industry" (their words) but migrating in that short a time is very very hard to do. If you're going to move an organization to Linux, there are ways to do it [blogspot.com] so you won't stress your users too much.

Surprised they even got out! (3, Insightful)

telso (924323) | more than 4 years ago | (#32792920)

For today's print edition, Tackett has duplicated the familiar components of The Saratogian from scratch, with the goal being that you won't know the difference between the look of today's paper and tomorrow's. Likewise, photographers Erica Miller and Ed Burke have used free software instead of Photoshop for their pictures, and the reporters have filed their stories in Googled Docs instead of Microsoft Word. Online Editor Steve Shoemaker is posting video and stories to a free website, in addition to the regular site at saratogian.com.

Considering how much needs to be done in such a short amount of time, newspapers tend to use massive collections of templates and integrated scripts if it will save even a few minutes during a production night. Even if the new templates and scripts were prepared in advance (bug-free and fully-featured, I'm sure), those doing layout would be put at an incredible disadvantage, even if they knew how to use the new programs at the same technical proficiency as their current ones (which I'm guessing they didn't).

A copy editor (who spends most of his job laying out a paper, not finding typos, despite his title) at the Montreal Gazette, a daily in a large city, describes transitioning from QuarkXPress to InDesign over a month or so [fagstein.com] , in stages, with certain staff and sections learning how to use the new system each week. Anyone who thinks trying new specialized software for one day will result in anything other than total chaos is kidding themselves. ("Hey, we switched from Drupal to Joomla for one day and it was much less efficient and took a lot more time.")

Also, the headline and summary are not completely correct: the paper used free (as in beer) software, some of which was libre and open source, some of which was not (Google Docs, likely the video site).

More evidence GIMP needs a name change (5, Insightful)

Grond (15515) | more than 4 years ago | (#32792976)

The article mentions Scribus and Google Docs by name but dances around the GIMP, saying only that they used "free software instead of Photoshop." The GIMP's ridiculous name has cost it some valuable media exposure. How can the GIMP expect to be taken seriously by professionals when they don't even feel comfortable using the name?

To me, this is a good example of how free software development being divorced from dependence upon market success is sometimes a bad thing. A proprietary program with a name so bad that professionals avoid using it in print would rapidly be renamed. In fact, the name would probably be developed by a marketing team and focus group tested first to avoid the problem in the first place. But in the free software world the developers are free to stubbornly hold on to a frankly terrible name because there's a much weaker market success feedback loop.

rename it (3, Funny)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | more than 4 years ago | (#32793050)

The name The GIMP is ridiculous. It should be called Ogg GIMP. That'll fix it right up.

Re:More evidence GIMP needs a name change (3, Insightful)

FoolishOwl (1698506) | more than 4 years ago | (#32793140)

Too true. The name GIMP is outright offensive. When I've mentioned it in conversation to non-FLOSS people, I've usually felt a need to apologize for the name. I'd guess that some organizations would be concerned about legal trouble -- discriminating against the disabled is illegal (in the US, anyway), and using "gimp" out of context might be interpreted as discriminatory.

Re:More evidence GIMP needs a name change (2, Interesting)

FoolishOwl (1698506) | more than 4 years ago | (#32793148)

Come to think of it, I wonder if this is part of the reason Canonical has dropped GIMP from the default Ubuntu installation.

Re:More evidence GIMP needs a name change (1)

Island Admin (1562905) | more than 4 years ago | (#32793154)

Simply put ... If you did not pay for it, you did not contribute to it ... you most probably will have no say in it. Don't like it ... fork it.

In honor of July 4th and Ben Franklin? (1)

Trip6 (1184883) | more than 4 years ago | (#32793046)

Exactly the two things that come to mind with I think of F/OSS...

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