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Only Idiots Don't Give Back To Free Software

Unknown Lamer posted more than 3 years ago | from the contribute-or-die dept.

Open Source 326

Julie188 writes "Downstream projects who take without contributing back to the upstream project defeat the benefit of open source and sooner or later, all organizations developing on top of open source code will realize this, contends Jim Zemlin, executive director of the nonprofit Linux Foundation. So the time for cajoling those users — even commercial projects like Canonical — into participating is over. Contributing is 'not the right thing to do because of some moral issue or because we say you should do it. It's because you are an idiot if you don't,'" he says." Update: 08/30 21:40 GMT by S : Reworded summary to clarify that Zemlin wasn't referring to end users.

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New GNAA President paz is Elected (-1, Troll)

TrisexualPuppy (976893) | more than 3 years ago | (#37256350)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

New GNAA President paz is Elected
paz - Camden, New Jersey

Camden, New Jersey - The winds of change are blowing, and it smells like toots. After a century of inactivity, dick waving, cock sucking, infighting, and bzb, it's time for a new breed of gay niggers to arise. There are a few changes that will be taking effect, now that I hold the position of philosopher-god-king:

* The dark days are over. #GNAA is no longer a mere chat room, nor is it your personal hugbox. Anyone deemed to be worthless or unfunny will now be immediately removed from the channel. The following things will not be tolerated: ED nerds, OhInternet! contributors, channers, #stress lunatics, or #anti sycophants.

* The membership system is being reinstated. To petition for membership, you must contact an official member of the GNAA (a user with operator status) and schedule an interview. You will be tested on a variety of things, including: creativity, hilarity, charisma, and technical prowess. From then on, a cabal of card-carrying gay niggers will take a vote on whether or not to initiate you into the order. Those deemed worthy will be taken through a live initiation ceremony on KLULZ internet radio.

* As president, I will be hosting a weekly internet radio program from my professional irc studio in the heart of crack infested Camden. The content of the program will include: GNAA news, music (including homemade GNAA propaganda tunes), racially charged tirades, and updates on the various trolls that members of the channel have accomplished, with congratulatory words and shout-outs for outstanding examples of gayniggerdom.

* Members may have certain responsibilities bestowed upon them, for the sake of channel efficiency. For example: writing press releases, target hunting, ANSI creation etc. Of course anyone who wishes will be able to participate in these activities as well, provided the content you provide is sufficiently hilarious.

* The creation of smaller, GNAA affiliated cells engaging in certain focused tasks will be encouraged. If you have an idea for a troll and would like to carry it out with a group of specialized individuals, you simply have to run it by me and it will be officially sanctioned.

To put it simply, it's time to troll. #GNAA has been painfully unfunny for far too long, and it's time to crack down and become a well-oiled and efficient machine. With an iron fist and a cock hard as diamonds, I will lead you all to glory and hilarity. Heil hitler, heil victory, heil gayniggerdom.

About paz:

An infinitely handsome and charismatic individual, not to mention a vigorous lovemaker, who is now your fucking president.

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If you are having trouble locating #GNAA, the official GAY NIGGER ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA irc channel, you might be on a wrong irc network. The correct network is NiggerNET, and you can connect to irc.gnaa.eu as our official server. Follow this link [irc] if you are using an irc client such as mIRC.

If you have mod points and would like to support GNAA, please moderate this post up.

.________________________________________________.
| ______________________________________._a,____ | Press contact:
| _______a_._______a_______aj#0s_____aWY!400.___ | Gary Niger
| __ad#7!!*P____a.d#0a____#!-_#0i___.#!__W#0#___ | gary_niger@gnaa.eu [mailto]
| _j#'_.00#,___4#dP_"#,__j#,__0#Wi___*00P!_"#L,_ | GNAA Corporate Headquarters
| _"#ga#9!01___"#01__40,_"4Lj#!_4#g_________"01_ | 143 Rolloffle Avenue
| ________"#,___*@`__-N#____`___-!^_____________ | Tarzana, California 91356
| _________#1__________?________________________ |
| _________j1___________________________________ | All other inquiries:
| ____a,___jk_GAY_NIGGER_ASSOCIATION_OF_AMERICA_ | Enid Al-Punjabi
| ____!4yaa#l___________________________________ | enid_al_punjabi@gnaa.eu [mailto]
| ______-"!^____________________________________ | GNAA World Headquarters
` _______________________________________________' 160-0023 Japan Tokyo-to Shinjuku-ku Nishi-Shinjuku 3-20-2

Copyright (c) 2002-2011 Gay Nigger Association of America [www.gnaa.eu]

Re:New GNAA President paz is Elected (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37256482)

Dude, you already earned it in the last thread. Part of hilarious means knowing the difference between funny-the-first-time and funny-all-the-time.

Anyone should be free to decide (5, Insightful)

ge7 (2194648) | more than 3 years ago | (#37256358)

Contributing back takes money and can be counter-productive for the community too - especially if it's introduces lots of buggy or bad code. Someone has to go through all of that. This is especially true because whatever you say, making actual contributions takes time and isn't really high in the list of companies priorities. You can say all you want about short-term thinking, but it's just a fact of life. Companies can't really do anything with it - unlike most people seem to think, many companies are working with really strict budgets too. They don't have unlimited access to cash or resources.

If you truly believe in open source, you should let anyone to decide what they do with the code. Some will contribute back, and those will be good contributions. Then some won't, nothing is lost. The same is why I think BSD license is much better GPL - if you truly believe in freedom, you let everyone to decide themselves. After all, open source was created to free people from proprietary code and people telling them what they can't do.

Re:Anyone should be free to decide (3, Insightful)

Microlith (54737) | more than 3 years ago | (#37256448)

open source was created to free people from proprietary code and people telling them what they can't do.

The GPL was created to ensure that the user would ALWAYS have access to the source code, regardless of how they acquired it, and would be free to modify it as they saw fit. It was specifically designed so that the code could not be made proprietary, and grants users permission to do what the laws would otherwise deny you the right to on the condition you give others the same freedom you were granted.

It is not, at all, about telling other people what they can and cannot do.

Re:Anyone should be free to decide (2)

Gravitron 5000 (1621683) | more than 3 years ago | (#37256560)

open source was created to free people from proprietary code and people telling them what they can't do.

It is not, at all, about telling other people what they can and cannot do.

No, it's about freeing people from other people telling them what they can an can not do, as ge7 stated.

Re:Anyone should be free to decide (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37256640)

With the GPL, the author is effectively saying that you *cannot* NOT release the code upon request. BSD licence is actually *free*, as in, the author does not put any prohibitions on the end-user except not to remove copyright notices.

Re:Anyone should be free to decide (3, Informative)

hawkinspeter (831501) | more than 3 years ago | (#37256930)

GPL doesn't put any prohibitions on the end-user - it's only when you distribute it that you have to make the source available.

Re:Anyone should be free to decide (2)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 3 years ago | (#37256594)

So basically the GPL was created specifically to tell people what they cannot do.

Re:Anyone should be free to decide (2)

turbidostato (878842) | more than 3 years ago | (#37256716)

"So basically the GPL was created specifically to tell people what they cannot do."

Certainly not.

In order to demonstrate it you just need to negate the GPL. Do you think people can now do *more* or *less* things with the code so licensed?

Re:Anyone should be free to decide (0)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 3 years ago | (#37256772)

Simple. Less. You're working on a project you can't distribute the source for. Can't touch GPLd code. BSD you're A-OK.

Re:Anyone should be free to decide (2)

kthreadd (1558445) | more than 3 years ago | (#37256806)

What about proprietary code, can you touch that?

Re:Anyone should be free to decide (2, Insightful)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 3 years ago | (#37256838)

Wouldn't have had it to even consider to start with and GPL might as well be proprietary for a little as you can make use of it.

BSD code doesn't disappear when someone takes it proprietary. It's still there for you to monkey with.

Re:Anyone should be free to decide (2)

Microlith (54737) | more than 3 years ago | (#37256896)

GPL might as well be proprietary for a little as you can make use of it.

Suggesting that software under the GPL has little use because you can't deny downstream users access to the source code is, quite frankly, a pile of crap.

I see incredible amounts of GPL software in use daily. Care has to be taken to ensure that code isn't lifted from the GPL software and used in the proprietary software, but it isn't that hard.

Re:Anyone should be free to decide (0)

SlashV (1069110) | more than 3 years ago | (#37256904)

Where are my troll points when I need them

Re:Anyone should be free to decide (4, Insightful)

kthreadd (1558445) | more than 3 years ago | (#37256916)

Sure. The point is that if you're working on a proprietary project then why do you think you should have the right to take GPL-licensed code? What makes it different from completely closed code that you can't even see at all? By all means use code that is permissively licensed and be thankful for it, if GPL isn't open enough then just don't use it.

Re:Anyone should be free to decide (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 3 years ago | (#37256878)

Simple enough. Don't use it if you know you can't comply with the license.

Re:Anyone should be free to decide (2)

Microlith (54737) | more than 3 years ago | (#37256822)

You can already NOT redistribute copyrighted works.

The GPL grants you permission upon acceptance of the terms.

Re:Anyone should be free to decide (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37257002)

You can already NOT redistribute copyrighted works. The GPL grants you permission upon acceptance of the terms.

Great, so the GPL is more free than a proprietary license (assuming that the copyright holders chooses to rigorously enforce his copyright through the courts). It grants you limited rights under particular circumstances, so if your baseline for comparison is no rights under any circumstances, then GPL is a free license. There are many license agreements that are even more free than GPL: BSD being the prime example. It grants much more broad right to reproduce, derive, and redistribute under much less restrictive terms. One of the freedoms provided by BSD is to unilaterally fork and re-license under any terms. So, anyone can take a piece of BSD-licensed code and re-release it as GPL, but only the sole author can re-release a piece of GPL code under BSD.

Re:Anyone should be free to decide (3, Informative)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 3 years ago | (#37256942)

So basically the GPL was created specifically to tell people what they cannot do.

Yes. It is there to tell you that you cannot withhold from others the very freedoms you were granted.

"Free to do anything but restrict the freedom of others" is only "non-free" to sociopaths.

Re:Anyone should be free to decide (-1, Troll)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 3 years ago | (#37256966)

But you are restricting the freedoms of anyone that uses your GPL ridden code.

Re:Anyone should be free to decide (2)

kthreadd (1558445) | more than 3 years ago | (#37257024)

Different licenses have different purposes. If your business is about putting software together into boxes and sell as products then sure GPL may not be for you. If you are a contractor then it may actually be beneficial since no competitor can get an unfair advantage over you. It all depends on what the original authors goal was. The right license for the right project. Sometimes the right license is proprietary, sometimes it's permissive, sometimes it's copyleft.

Re:Anyone should be free to decide (1)

recoiledsnake (879048) | more than 3 years ago | (#37256610)

> It was specifically designed so that the code could not be made proprietary

BSD code cannot be made proprietary by anyone once released. You can forever use it under the BSD.

Re:Anyone should be free to decide (1)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 3 years ago | (#37256672)

Unlike media, which can't be stolen since the bits are still there, making something proprietary makes all the non-proprietary bits disappear from everywhere, forever, instantly.

Re:Anyone should be free to decide (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 3 years ago | (#37256920)

You certainly know how to pose poor arguments.

Re:Anyone should be free to decide (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37256702)

BSD licensed code can be used in non-free software which should be avoided. Don't release software under a license which permits use within a non-free program.

Re:Anyone should be free to decide (1)

fotbr (855184) | more than 3 years ago | (#37256952)

Unless you're specifically OK with that end use, and some of us are.

Re:Anyone should be free to decide (2)

smelch (1988698) | more than 3 years ago | (#37256992)

Don't release software under a license which permits use within a non-free program.

See, that's the problem right there. GPL is like freedom of speech as long as you don't say something I don't agree with.

Re:Anyone should be free to decide (2)

deains (1726012) | more than 3 years ago | (#37256880)

It is not, at all, about telling other people what they can and cannot do.

Actually, that's exactly what it is. Any license agreement that doesn't consist of "do what the fuck you want", is basically a set of instructions saying what you can and can't do with the code.

All the GPL really does is get in the way. The viral licensing, must-include-source rubbish just means I can't use it to develop other projects. Which in turn means I'm much less likely to contribute any code back, as it's just coding for coding's sake from my PoV. For some devs this is perfectly fine, and I applaud their effort, but there's no denying that GPLing the code automatically cuts off a portion of the developer base you can never get back.

Re:Anyone should be free to decide (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 3 years ago | (#37256890)

The GPL was created

He only said "open source", not specifically GPL.

The truth is, many people have many reasons for open sourcing their code. That's why you have so many licenses out there. Some just throw it out in the public domain, and others want to enforce sharing. Some want to use the open source version as trialware. Some just don't care. It is impossible to generalize.

Re:Anyone should be free to decide (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 3 years ago | (#37256944)

He only said "open source", not specifically GPL.

I was referring specifically to a statement made by the GP, not directly to the statements of Jim Zemlin.

Re:Anyone should be free to decide (2)

Applekid (993327) | more than 3 years ago | (#37256506)

Contributing back takes money and can be counter-productive for the community too - especially if it's introduces lots of buggy or bad code. Someone has to go through all of that.

Sounds like if someone is an idiot they shouldn't contribute anyway. The statement "only idiots don't give back" is inflammatory, but, if you take a step back at it, it's fine: nobody wants their contributions anyway.

That said, there are other ways to contribute to open source without having to code. Being an ambassador by raising awareness (kind of like a meatspace OSALT [osalt.com] ) and providing support with help is just as valuable as the greatest bug fix check-in.

Re:Anyone should be free to decide (2)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 3 years ago | (#37256654)

Perhaps, but calling people "idiots" if they don't help by submitting code isn't going to get many people to donate money or enthusiastically promote your software. ("These people think I'm an idiot because I don't code, but everyone should use their software!")

Re:Anyone should be free to decide (1)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 3 years ago | (#37256766)

That said, there are other ways to contribute to open source without having to code. Being an ambassador by raising awareness (kind of like a meatspace OSALT [osalt.com] ) and providing support with help is just as valuable as the greatest bug fix check-in.

That's right. If you use FOSS to any degree, it is hypocritical of you to not act an advocate.

To Duradin, who said

So basically the GPL was created specifically to tell people what they cannot do.

In the sense that it says you cannot remove the freedoms specifically granted in the license, the yes, it does. And in the sense that it is a license and you must agree with it and uphold it, then yes it does.

As does every license.

Re:Anyone should be free to decide (4, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#37256574)

Contributing back takes money

Money they saved by going open source. It will cost less to help collectively maintain open software than it will to purchase a license for proprietary software.

This is especially true because whatever you say, making actual contributions takes time and isn't really high in the list of companies priorities

If they're using open source software, they must value what that software does for them. If nobody helps maintain it, it will go away. Complaining about contributing back to open source software is like complaining about the food you have to buy for the goose that lays golden eggs.

They don't have unlimited access to cash or resources.

Yes, the argument is that it's more economical to contribute to a healthy OSS ecosystem than it is to either leech off of an unhealthy OSS ecosystem or buy proprietary.

Re:Anyone should be free to decide (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 3 years ago | (#37256866)

making actual contributions takes time and isn't really high in the list of companies priorities

It saves money if you are using LGPL - maintaining a public fork isn't free, either. If you can get all of your changes accepted upstream, you don't have to bother distributing your changes - you can just point people to the upstream.

Huh? (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 3 years ago | (#37256380)

I thought the benefit of Open Source was that the receiver can modify it.

Re:Huh? (1)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 3 years ago | (#37256584)

Absolutely. Asterisk by default will want to store voicemail passwords in a database if you choose to do so. Unfortunately, it uses a reserved keyword in Firebird. Having access to the source code I was able to modify the field name and recompile. Problem solved.

In another case I needed more data to come back for a SIP user. I was able to define as many different fields as I wanted and get them returned and usable.

Modification is only one benefit.

Contributions...... that needs to be done by people who *really* know what they are doing. People that can participate and fix bugs and have a deeper understanding of the software.

For most of us, we just simply don't have the time or the ability to do something like that. I just pull out my wallet and donate. In the case of Asterisk, I bought some Digium g729 licenses and the speech.

Re:Huh? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#37256652)

No that would be Free software. Open source just means you can see the source, MS has a lot of stuff you can see but not touch.

Misleading headline and summary (5, Informative)

bonch (38532) | more than 3 years ago | (#37256382)

The context of the statement was (intentionally) left out of the headline and summary. This isn't about end-users. Zemlin is talking about the financial incentive for contributing back to projects whose code a business or other organization is using. In other words, if your business tries to do things on its own, such as maintaining its own kernel, it's making an idiotic business decision because it's not benefiting from collective maintenance and improvement.

Here is the relevant section in the article:

Zemlin, who spoke with Network World editors at the recent LinuxCon event, used to preach that contributing back was important on moral grounds, as the "right thing to do." But now he says, "It doesn't matter. I don't care if anyone contributes back." Sooner or later, he believes contributing will become an obvious business decision. It's "not the right thing to do because of some moral issue or because we say you should do it. It's because you are an idiot if you don't. You're an idiot because the whole reason you're using open source is to collectively share in development and collectively maintain the software. Let me tell you, maintaining your own version of Linux ain't cheap, and it ain't easy," he says.

He points out that Red Hat is one of the largest contributors to the kernel and also one of the most successful Linux distros. "So if some aren't giving back as much as others today, I just think it will naturally happen over time. It always is in their business interest to do so," Zemlin says.

Re:Misleading headline and summary (3, Insightful)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 3 years ago | (#37256500)

Why isn't your quote the summary?

Re:Misleading headline and summary (5, Funny)

idontgno (624372) | more than 3 years ago | (#37256592)

Not inflammatory enough.

Seriously.

Think of the page views. Why won't ANYONE think of the PAGE VIEWS?

Re:Misleading headline and summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37256782)

Not inflammatory enough.

This seems like a semi-new marketing ploy - kind of like Eric Cartman's "You can't ride" strategy "If you don't give us your time and/or money - you are an idiot" - Almost expect him to be talking with his eyes closed and a smug smirk whilst going bankrupt.

Re:Misleading headline and summary (1)

Infiniti2000 (1720222) | more than 3 years ago | (#37256670)

No typos. bonch needs to add some typos.

Re:Misleading headline and summary (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 3 years ago | (#37256530)

Ah thank you for pointing this out. See, that makes sense. What the summary says? Not so much. Here I was thinking Jim Zemlin was either a fanatic or an idiot himself. Turns out it's just a very, very bad summary.

Re:Misleading headline and summary (1)

Talderas (1212466) | more than 3 years ago | (#37256804)

It's good to know the spirit of Taco still remains.

Re:Misleading headline and summary (1)

turbidostato (878842) | more than 3 years ago | (#37256778)

"This isn't about end-users. Zemlin is talking about the financial incentive for contributing back to projects whose code a business or other organization is using [...] he believes contributing will become an obvious business decision"

Which is only slightierly less stupid than if it were about "pure" end users. And then... Obvious!!!??? When has been "obvious" that the best offset for a situation is paying when you are not forced to?

The prisioners' dilemma, discounted cash flows and all that jazz.

Re:Misleading headline and summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37257012)

He's not talking about money, he's saying you should contribute your code back into the baseline so you don't need to constantly port your patch to the newest version (or, alternatively, backport security fixes to the version you patched) and instead the project will keep it up to date.

Re:Misleading headline and summary (2)

drooling-dog (189103) | more than 3 years ago | (#37257030)

This isn't about end-users.

Well, that's a relief. I'm introducing my mother to Linux, LibreOffice, and GIMP, and having to teach her C/C++, gdb, and Git on top of that might have been a deal-breaker.

Profit and self-slavery (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37256390)

And you're an idiot if you provide free software and I profit from using it. Thanks slave! Now keep working for free. No skin off my back. Heh he he...

Shockingly... (2, Insightful)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 3 years ago | (#37256400)

Hardcore open source (well, fill in anything here, but in this case it's an open source guy) advocate thinks doing thinks the way he thinks should be done is smart, and doing things other ways is stupid.

For someone who's a professional advocate for Open Source, I don't think he makes a very compelling argument that it's in everyone's enlightened self-interest to give as well as take. Certainly I've seen better arguments to that effect in slashdot comments.

Re:Shockingly... (2)

badboy_tw2002 (524611) | more than 3 years ago | (#37256582)

I wouldn't call myself a hard core open source advocate (can you write evil closed source software for profit and still be so?), but I tend to agree with him. If I use an LGPL library in my code and I find a bug and fix it, its in my best interest to report the bug back and get it rolled into the official distro. It doesn't cost me much of anything, and now I don't need to repatch when a newer improved version of the library comes out. I guess maybe if you're talking about developing whole features for items unrelated to your core product, then yes it might not be in your direct interest, but there is a good amount of indirect benefit I can see coming out of that (community good will where maybe someone fixes your bugs, control over direction of the software, etc). Companies can compete on many tiers and still collaborate on mutually beneficial (often commodity) projects. If anything Linux is proof of that.

Re:Shockingly... (2)

canajin56 (660655) | more than 3 years ago | (#37256694)

Yes, that's exactly what he's saying. The summary cuts him off mid-point in order to get outraged ad impressions, but yeah, he's saying if you make a patch and don't try to contribute it upstream, you're making a poor business decision because you'll need to keep maintaining that patch on your own. He's not at all saying "Business X uses Linux on their workstations, they are idiots for not contributing to the kernel" Only if they're making custom patches that are general enough to warrant inclusion upstream.

Re:Shockingly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37256972)

but yeah, he's saying if you make a patch and don't try to contribute it upstream, you're making a poor business decision because you'll need to keep maintaining that patch on your own.

If a person or companies goal was to keep tight control over their modifications to an open source project, then with that goal in mind, you would be an idiot to contribute it anywhere let alone upstream instead of maintaining it in house.

Granted, there are many other problems with that goal, and that behavior is and should be frowned upon, but I think it is safe to say there are people and companies who think this way.
Making potentially very incorrect assumptions about other peoples goals, and then flatly stating their actions are idiotic because they don't match some other persons goals, is pretty stupid.

Re:Shockingly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37256844)

I have worked at a University IT centre as a UNIX administrator, and we were told to avoid the GPL whenever possible to use BSD code and avoid legal issues, even where there were none - but I digress. We were not allowed to open source any tools written for the job, but we were told to submit fixes for bugs to projects in use that allow such a thing, should we fix one.

Insulting people is a great way to influence them. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37256422)

Yes, call us idiots. You know, not everyone is a computer programmer. There is a reason we are called the users. We use. Others make. I use a program because it does a task for me. Leave the task of writing software to those with the ability and interest to do so.

Re:Insulting people is a great way to influence th (2)

bonch (38532) | more than 3 years ago | (#37256504)

His comment is about organizations, such as Linux distros, using open source code and not contributing back their changes to take advantage of the collective maintenance of open source code. That's why he uses the phrase "upstream project" in the summary and calls it a good business decision in TFA.

Re:Insulting people is a great way to influence th (1)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 3 years ago | (#37256554)

Contribution isn't just about programming. A feature request is contribution. Documenting how you used the software to achieve something and sharing that is contribution. Even a good clear bug report is a contribution. All of these things can make the software more useful, no programming required.

If you do cross over into the programming end of things, it's a total no brainer though. Do you want to maintain your private fork of the code with your feature in it, or do you want to hand it back to the hackers and let them make it better for you...

Re:Insulting people is a great way to influence th (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 3 years ago | (#37256666)

Contribution isn't just about programming. A feature request is contribution. Documenting how you used the software to achieve something and sharing that is contribution. Even a good clear bug report is a contribution. All of these things can make the software more useful, no programming required.

In theory, yes.

In reality, no.

Feature requests are ignored. Bugs are ignored. (There are some exceptions, of course, but as a general rule open source projects are disastrous at considering feature requests and bugs that don't have accompanying source code.)

Re:Insulting people is a great way to influence th (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#37256954)

They're still better at it than proprietary software. In the worst case scenario, you can fix it yourself or hire someone to. In the best case scenario, I've had, on some rare occasions, bugs fixed in open source software the same day I reported them. I've never had a bug fixed in any proprietary software ever.

Re:Insulting people is a great way to influence th (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37256712)

It depends on why you made the changes in the first place. If you did it just to be a nice guy or whatever, then it makes sense to contribute back. If you made changes because you think the changes give you some sort of advantage over your competitors, then contributing back may make you the idiot.

Re:Insulting people is a great way to influence th (1)

BSDimwit (583028) | more than 3 years ago | (#37256750)

I guess that would depend on whether my private fork would somehow give me a competitive advantage or not. Would the iPad sell as well if anyone could have iOS running on any old tablet. I guess it just depends on what you are trying to do. Apple gives back to open source in many ways, but they certainly don't give back everything as that would negate their efforts in setting themselves apart.

Re:Insulting people is a great way to influence th (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37256624)

Indeed. Hell, if everybody was a programmer, nobody would need one. We "idiots" keep programmers in business.

Re:Insulting people is a great way to influence th (1)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 3 years ago | (#37256940)

Yes, call us idiots. You know, not everyone is a computer programmer. There is a reason we are called the users. We use. Others make. I use a program because it does a task for me. Leave the task of writing software to those with the ability and interest to do so.

You didn't read the article, it's about people who improve the code and don't give back the improvements.

Aside from that, merely being an advocate is a good and valuable contribution to an open source project. The more users there are, the more attention a project gets, the more bug reports get filed, the more programmers hear about it and use it.... etc.

You can file bug reports, yes? It's in your own best interest to do so, and it's a good feeling merely to point out a bug and see it fixed. And it makes the software you use better.

But that isn't what the article was about, the tag line is misleading.

Cause if there's one thing software projects need (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37256426)

its millions of people trying to contribute code.

Re:Cause if there's one thing software projects ne (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37256664)

Yeah, I mean, look where that got Linux.

No, you're an idiot! (3, Insightful)

newcastlejon (1483695) | more than 3 years ago | (#37256428)

Not for trying to get money for the people you represent, but for calling people idiots and expecting them to open their wallets.

Re:No, you're an idiot! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37256472)

Without going into detail... I worked in radio for 2 decades. There were some programs on the air that "badgered" listeners for support. They failed. All of them. The ones who provided something of value (useful information, entertainment, etc.) who POLITELY reminded listeners that they were listener-supported, tended to do well.

Re:No, you're an idiot! (1)

mewshi_nya (1394329) | more than 3 years ago | (#37256836)

God, I wish it was ALWAYS this way...
Local Christian radio network (they have like 25 stations around PA and NY) puts everything on hold every 6 months for abut 3 days, and the 2 weeks before that, every other sentence is "we need money, the giving time is coming!". So, for 3 days straight, when I ride with my parents, I get to listen to "we need moar money!" constantly. I really wish these people would just fold already >.>

Re:No, you're an idiot! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37256734)

They already opened their wallet by coding patches in the first place, and they're going to open it again and again to maintain their private fork.

Unfortunately... (4, Funny)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 3 years ago | (#37256438)

...sometimes idiots *do* give back to free software.

Two words for Jim Zemlin. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37256450)

Fuck and You.

So the logical conclusion is... (2)

swan5566 (1771176) | more than 3 years ago | (#37256460)

...the difference between open source and a proprietary model is to allow people to be idiots? Correct me if I'm wrong.

Name calling is idiotic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37256478)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=5wFDWP5JwSM#t=30s

And... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37256498)

If you are an idiot, it's probably better if you keep it to yourself.

Thanks for the Stab in the Back, Pal (1, Interesting)

jazman_777 (44742) | more than 3 years ago | (#37256526)

Here all along I thought we were a cut above the rest. Now we're idiots if we don't pony up. He's sounding like Steve Ballmer.

If they are idiots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37256528)

then it's a GOOD thing they arn't contributing their idiocy to these projects, rendering the end result idiotic.

Guess (1)

ericdano (113424) | more than 3 years ago | (#37256550)

Guess I'm an idiot then......cause I haven't given anything for the Linux stuff I use.....or all those free Apps for my Mac and iOS device.

Re:Guess (1)

canajin56 (660655) | more than 3 years ago | (#37256708)

What custom patches have you written for your iOS and Linux applications, and why have you not contributed those patches? Is it because they were too specific for your needs to warrant inclusion upstream?

Re:Guess (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37256912)

does the typical linux or ios user write patches for their applications? i don't know of anyone who does this, except for one really nerdy guy who's super into linux stuff.

Or to put it another way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37256604)

Only an idiot expects to get something for nothing.

Different ways of giving back. (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 3 years ago | (#37256628)

This open source mindset that you should give back. Is really a bad way to look at it.

If you are just focused on giving back on Source Code or Money then he is not seeing the big picture.

OpenSource Developers kinda scoff at the value of market share.

The fact that someone is just using the product is giving back. Because it is one more person who will probably use the product again if they like it. They will use it in work where others will learn and use the product. Then at some point there will be a need to change something and someone in the chain will want to add to the project. However if the person using the product will feel guilty using it, they probably will not let it spread to others as they don't want to share guilt with others. Thus reducing the chance it will fall in the hands of someone interested in fixing it.

The fact that the TiVo used OSS software could have allowed for a much rapid growth as other manufactures would begin using OSS and they would have contributed back, mostly because it may be cost effective to have those changes as part of the main code line vs their own patches. But the OSS community went and said Ohh look their Bad lets make GPL3 that stops these evil money making people from using OSS in that way. Basically sending a chilling effect across the industry. Microsoft mess up big time. They allowed their flagship products to linger for 10 years, Open Source Software was seen as ready to take its place... But they stepped on their own feet and made their rules even tighter, allowing Apple to come in and take the gold.

At work I had to be sure I never imported a GPL Library, because the rules would conflict with the companies business model.

Linux Foundation hasn't found any PR people, then. (4, Insightful)

jimicus (737525) | more than 3 years ago | (#37256630)

Network World and /. have both given this story an unnecessarily inflammatory slant. Zemlin's argument is "Maintaining your own fork of Linux for your product or service is an absurdly large amount of work for precious little return - if you let your business put much time into such things when there's no benefit to your business maintaining its own fork; it could simply pass patches upstream and let upstream take on some of the maintenance worries, you're being an idiot".

Arguably, there is some logic to this. Lots of companies sell Linux appliances - either as virtual appliances, pre-loaded on hardware or as embedded systems - make changes to lots of things but never submit patches upstream.

I think I'm starting to see why corporate PR-spun statements are always so bland. There's no way a corporate PR department would let something like that through precisely because of the likelihood of such slanted articles resulting from it.

Well, well, well... (0)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#37256634)

Are they idiots for not wasting their time on the project or for using some crapware 10 years behind commercial state of the art, anyway?

Re:Well, well, well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37256728)

If you read the article you'll see that it's the second one.

This Guy Belongs in Congress (1, Funny)

tgeek (941867) | more than 3 years ago | (#37256684)

So what he's essentially saying is "if you don't believe or act like me, you're an idiot". He'd be a perfect fit for our Congress. Hey - I even have a campaign slogan for him: "Vote for me or you're an idiot!"

Reporting bugs as a way of giving back (2)

BitterKraut (820348) | more than 3 years ago | (#37256692)

I always thought of reporting bugs to the developers as a way of giving back. If I were a developer, I'd be grateful to every bug report. But with the recent debate about the long list of unconfirmed Firefox bugs, I now begin to feel like someone who asks for free lunch. That's an unfortunate trend. That way, I'll end up figuring out a workaround to the problem and keep it to myself. Wasn't the idea that the wheel shouldn't be invented again and again one of the main reasons to adopt and advocate FOSS?

Mod Parent UP UP UP (1)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 3 years ago | (#37256854)

Absolutely. Tripping over a bug and submitting a good bug report is quite valuable. If you can include the necessary information to reproduce the bug then you have gone way more than halfway towards fixing the bug.

With modern linux distributions you don't need to be a technical expert to file a bug. The system will catch the crash automatically and hold your hand as you prepare the bug report, and then it will submit the report for you. It's not hard at all, and will pay off directly for you, if the developers fix the bug and you don't encounter it any more.

most open source utilising services don't contribu (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 3 years ago | (#37256704)

most open source utilising services don't contribute back and they don't even need to give source to users.

why? because the "software" runs on their server machines, they never give the software away, they just give access to using that software. this web 5.0 stuff just pushes more sw to that road.

Well then... (1)

JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) | more than 3 years ago | (#37256710)

...I guess my choice is clear.

Only idiots build free software (0)

wallyh010 (1736650) | more than 3 years ago | (#37256754)

Only idiots build free software

Sometimes people try and it gets rejected. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37256764)

I know of a company who needed 16 bit GIMP so they made the changes needed and tried to contribute them back, but it was rejected. They found out later that they were not the first to offer this fix, all were rejected. Now GIMP is still 8-bit despite the need for the greater depth.

Contributions don`t have to be tit for tat ... (1)

MacTO (1161105) | more than 3 years ago | (#37256768)

The fact that we can talk to Linux users contributing back to the community is a wonderful thing, because how many software vendors will accept anything more than feature requests and bug reports from its customers and distributors.

Yet I also think that this idea of reciprocity is dangerous. It is great that Red Hat contributes code for code, but what is wrong with Ubuntu packaging up the system in a palatable form in exchange for code? Or, to go further afield and look at the user (yes, I know that the article is not about users), what is wrong with a charitable organization using Linux without returning anything to the FLOSS ecosystem? They are, after all, contributing to society in other ways.

What matters in the great scheme of things is that we give as much as we take.

Total and Complete BS (2)

DalDei (1032670) | more than 3 years ago | (#37256774)

Great engineers write code because they love to and cant stop. Mediocre and lousy engineers write code (for some reasons) so they get ego points "contributing" to open source and hope to pad their resume. The great engineers then have to evaluate and fix their lousy code. Or it slips by and the whole suffers. I would love help from the great engineers for my open source projects but would prefer no help at all from the rest. Even then it will take work to make sure its up to my standards or biased egotistical opinions. "Its a cathedral not a bazaar". The best software I've ever seen and used was written by very few people, usually only one. A few exceptions (say Linux itself) but shouldn't be taken as the model for Open Source but rather a magical exception.

Awesome engineers (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37256926)

incredibly fucking awesome engineers get paid megabucks to do their job and then they jump in their Ferrari, go home to their lingerie model wife, get a blowjob right before their private chef serves them their meal, and then, if he's in the mood, bangs her sister - the swim suite model - while the wife watches and masturbates.

BTW, you'll never see them post on Slashdot because:
They're creating awesome World saving software
They're shopping for a new Ferrari
Banging their model Wife or her sister or her lingerie model friends or all of them at once.
Or he's reading tech journals while sipping single malt 500 year old scotch.
Sleeping from all the work and model banging he has been doing.

Re:Awesome engineers (1)

H0p313ss (811249) | more than 3 years ago | (#37257006)

Very true, they're most certainly not on Slashdot trolling anonymously.

two idiots dont make one right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37256786)

I am an idiot and I worked tireless hours working for free. Now I want you to become an idiot as well

"Submit a patch" = "Fuck off" (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#37256842)

"Submit a patch" is open source's way of telling you to fuck off.

Submitting a bug report usually gets some response like expecting the user to build the thing from the source repository and repeat the bug.

Bad summary, and bad, sensationalist journalism (1)

TheWingThing (686802) | more than 3 years ago | (#37256848)

The author of TFA and the submitter of this story are the same person - Julie Bort. She is just creating sensationalist nonsense news by extracting sound-bites out of context from the interview. This is an example of a bad summary, and bad, sensationalist "journalism". This loses the point of the interviewee and projects him in a bad light, while getting self-promotion for this so-called "reporter". *makes mental note not to take any writing by Julie Bort seriously*.

Contribute the best way you can (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37256900)

Politicians do it. Large companies do it. They don't know how to cure cancer, nor do they know how, but they're good at raising money or making money. Those entities donate to Cancer Society because that's the only way they know how to help.

I can't code to save my life, but I am willing to donate money to open source projects. Am I an idiot? I suppose. But I have other skills (graphic design, art, etc). Likewise, I could call him an idiot for not knowing how to do the things I'm good for; the things that I do as my profession.

Re: Only Idiots Don't Give Back To Free Software (1)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 3 years ago | (#37256984)

Everyone seems to be insulted, and no one read the article.

The title of this post is way too inflammatory. I suppose it would be OK if everyone read the article, but they are already pissed off. All the non-programmers (and some of the programmers) feel they have been directly insulted. And without the context of the article, they have.

Basically it's a troll that evoked a flame war, it should not have been posted that way.

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