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95 comments

Homo Erotica (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42677859)

Business CEO's are Gay, 99.9%.

Therefore they will make decisions about software that exalt their Gayness.

For this they reason will choose Microsoft products, because Microsoft and William B. Gates and Stevie B. are Gay.

In the minds of CEO's Gay is the Way and the Way is Good.

Re:Homo Erotica (3, Funny)

wmac1 (2478314) | about a year and a half ago | (#42678071)

But seriously, I always think "didn't open source cause software engineers and developers" to live a poor or at least not so good life?

I have developed software for 28 years (freelance, my small company, as an employee of another company) . I have created hundreds of small and sometimes large software, been team member of huge projects (core banking), created websites with millions of members ...

After 4x years of life, with a recent PhD I am living a miserable life (compared to my friends which work in construction and civil engineering, medical fields etc.).

I have always been abused by clients who compared my prices with free software, those who threatened to use open source free alternatives, those who thought software should not be expensive if not free, and those who thought a 100MB software can be stored on a single $0.1 CD and is nothing and last but not least relatives who thought installing windows and other software on their PC is a small favor (as if my time is free like free open source).

We software people did it to ourselves. Professionals in other fields never did that. No civil engineer or architect would design building for you for free.

Re:Homo Erotica (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | about a year and a half ago | (#42678099)

When I do "favors" like install windows etc, my rule of thumb is they are there next to me... using as much of their time as mine.

Re:Homo Erotica (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42678429)

No. This is the IBM model. The IBM model is that they give you the software, but charge to customize it for you. They sell hourly service. Software becomes like driving a taxi or doing corporate taxes.

The Microsoft / Apple model is that you charge for the software, and charge for the device. The service is a mix of free and pay depending on how you handle it. There is no reason you can't charge for the software instead of giving it away.

You are absolutely correct that Software Engineering is the only discipline where the engineers are constantly trying to devalue their ability to sell product, and instead hand it away for free hoping for a short-term service contract to follow it. I would much do what Notch did with Mincecraft and sell 5M units in the first year, than give away Mincecraft and hope someone wants to hire me to customize it.

Let's look at Valve on Steam - how many of their offerings are open source? Zero. That is because Valve is about making money, not making free software. Sure you can charge for copies of FOSS, but it only takes one party to either make it easy to get.

It all comes down to this: do you want to design and sell Widgets to the market, and make money on units sold, OR do you want to use your individual hours working as a service-oriented wage slave?

There is only ONE of you, but there are millions waiting for Widgets. You do the math.

Re:Homo Erotica (2)

Bert64 (520050) | about a year and a half ago | (#42678597)

Selling units works well in the short term, and you can make huge profits on something that costs nothing per additional unit to produce.

On the other hand, once purchased they have no further need for you, and unlike physical goods, software does not wear out or become damaged over time, you can always install a new pristine copy from your original media. You can try selling upgrades which offer new functionality, but sooner or later the users will have all the functionality they need and won't want your upgrades.

Software will gradually become commoditised, market by market until its impossible to sell anything. On the other hand, companies and end users will always want customisations and support, be willing to pay for them but unable to perform those functions themselves.

If anything, the model of off-the-shelf software is very bad for business, i have seen countless businesses which adapt their business practices to revolve around how the software they bought does thing. It should be the other way round, software should compliment the way *your* business runs, not force it to conform with what a developer half way round the world thinks a business should do.

Steam doesn't really come into it because all of their software is for entertainment, an entirely luxury service that noone depends on and which inherently does become "worn" as you complete the game and become bored of it.

Re:Homo Erotica (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | about a year and a half ago | (#42679039)

This is why Apple have placed themselves as the gatekeeper to installing software in iOS and Microsoft is heading that way with Windows 8. Want to install software? We get a cut. We also get to tell you what you can and can't install.

Re:Homo Erotica (1)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | about a year and a half ago | (#42681397)

This is why Apple have placed themselves as the gatekeeper to installing software in iOS and Microsoft is heading that way with Windows 8. Want to install software? We get a cut. We also get to tell you what you can and can't install.

Kind of. What they are doing is giving you a platform for up-selling. It's the model Apple has been using since iTunes, and continued with iPhone, iPad, and is also used by Google, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble. Some of them even sell the platform at a loss expecting future revenues from their integrated "store". They can sell their own apps, or get a cut from other developers' apps. They can create free apps that are missing some specific functionality that is only included in another paid app.

The cost of software (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about a year and a half ago | (#42693609)

This is not totally correct. Over time, more bugs are discovered in software, so if one tried doing a fresh install, one would do well to do an instant online update as well.

But more than that, there is also the question of the total cost of producing the software - the person-hours needed to create, test and ultimately release it to market. Whenever marketing or business development do their ROI analysis on that, they have to justify doing it to management. If the software costs, say, $100M to produce, then the company has to recoup a certain multiple of that in order to justify creating it in the first place. If it can't, it's really stupid if it chose to go ahead and do it.

So, when calculating the returns, they have to look at what the estimated market size is - will they be selling it to just one guy for $100M, or 1000 guys for $100k or 1M guys for $10k or 1B guys for $10? Yeah, the cost of reproducing it may be $0.10, but that's not the point here. Does the company/organization/person recoup the cost of having developed it after it is sold? If not, then doing it was a mistake in the first place.

So it's not that it costs a company $0.10 to replicate the software. It's that the company won't recoup its overall costs if it 'liberated' the software, as per the whims of RMS and the FSF leeches, whose goals are specifically not to produce good software, just 'free' software (producing good software is a goal of OSI, which is why it's more willing to listen to software developers and endorse licenses that the FSF would normally frown on). Those who use the software may think that any company that charges them for the software is looting them, but when the companies ability to recover its costs are crippled, chances are that they won't be getting that software in the first place, if at the end of the day, the company in question goes tits up.

Re:Homo Erotica (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42684155)

> Let's look at Valve on Steam - how many of their offerings are open source? Zero.

Actually, they have all the open source games from the humble indie bundles there.

Re: Homo Erotica (1)

mspohr (589790) | about a year and a half ago | (#42680753)

Friends don't let friends use Windows.
When friends ask me for help with Windows, I install Linux.

Re:Homo Erotica (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about a year and a half ago | (#42678101)

Guess what? If you go to an architect, he designs a new house for you. He doesn't just give you another copy of the house plan he designed five years ago. That's what you pay him for.

Re:Homo Erotica (4, Insightful)

FlyingGuy (989135) | about a year and a half ago | (#42678261)

You are both correct and incorrect. I have a couple of friends who are architects. The reuse major structural elements, design elements etc.. They also come up with new stuff, so yes and no.

Re:Homo Erotica (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42678287)

Actually that depnds on how much you pay, most residential "architects" take an off the shelf plan and tweak the bits and pieces you dont' like or change it around a bit to fit the shape of the lot.

Re:Homo Erotica (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42678439)

Architects make a lot of money on selling their pre-made plans. Each copy must be licensed to build, they get a fee every time. Architects also do custom hourly work. In that respect, they both sell product and are service slaves.

Re:Homo Erotica (1)

theheadlessrabbit (1022587) | about a year and a half ago | (#42678107)

Perhaps you should try selling service or support on top of free software, instead of re-inventing the wheel each time?

"Open Source" is often called "Open Sores" for a reason.

Re:Homo Erotica (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42678455)

There is only ONE of you to provide service, but millions of copies of your product to sell.

Hourly wage service is for waiters and taxi drivers.

Re:Homo Erotica (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42680067)

..and contractors.
Won't somebody think of those poor, poor contractors? Some of them can't even afford a third BMW!

Re:Homo Erotica (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#42680549)

Perhaps you should try selling service or support on top of free software

How should a developer of, say, non-MMO video games "try selling service or support on top of" the game?

Re:Homo Erotica (4, Informative)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about a year and a half ago | (#42678199)

After 4x years of life, with a recent PhD I am living a miserable life

You're doing it wrong.

Linux IT pros in US saw a giant salary leap in 2012
IT professionals enjoyed their biggest salary jump in more than a decade last year, but for those using Linux, it was even better.

Following up on its January 2012 study that found tech salaries had finally started to climb again, IT careers site Dice today published an annual update showing not just a continuing trend in that respect, but also a huge boost for those in the Linux field.

http://www.computerworlduk.com/news/careers/3422018/us-linux-it-pros-saw-giant-salary-leap-in-2012/ [computerworlduk.com]

Re:Homo Erotica (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42681733)

Yeah a 4% raise followed by a 6% increase in medical extortion er I mean insurance.

Re:Homo Erotica (1)

GoogleShill (2732413) | about a year and a half ago | (#42683915)

Oh how I love right-wing lies... Thanks to Obamacare, United Healthcare gave out refunds to members last year and dropped premiums.

But you certainly wouldn't want to use facts to support your propaganda party, right?

Re:Homo Erotica (1)

jellomizer (103300) | about a year and a half ago | (#42678773)

I am a bigger supporter to open specification over open source.
Open specs solves many of the problems open source does, while it allows more business models to operate.
Source code isn't that big of a deal compared to good specifications

Re:Homo Erotica (1)

IRWolfie- (1148617) | about a year and a half ago | (#42679069)

It depends what you want to do. If you have an existing program and you want to extend it or fix a bug but the original developer isn't interested, open specifications are useless compared to the source code.

You said open specifications "allows more business models to operate" (as though you can have open source but closed specifications). Imagine if the Linux kernel was closed source. What more business models can operate exactly in comparison to it being open source?

Re:Homo Erotica (1)

Sigg3.net (886486) | about a year ago | (#42699839)

I'm a student and have a temp job but occasionally help people out with their gear. I have a fixed price for just showing up because a) there's planning beforehand and b) you don't know how long you're stuck there (.5-8 hrs).

The fixed price is not the rate, I add that when the job's done. Usually, I under price the hours. This has two effects: a) they're more likely to call me again, and b) they usually pay more than I ask.

But the fixed price takes away all the people I am better off without.

Re:Homo Erotica (2)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | about a year and a half ago | (#42678185)

Business CEO's are Gay, 99.9%.

For some reason I get the feeling that this AC is talking out of first-hand experience here!

Interesting hypothesis (1)

EzInKy (115248) | about a year and a half ago | (#42678215)

Does your research show why the general public supports all this "gayness" over whatever "otherness" you feel they should be supporting?

I'm sorry but he is wrong.. (5, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year and a half ago | (#42677887)

If you look at the businesses that have succeeded using FOSS every. single. one. has used one of the "blessed three" business models, selling support, selling hardware, holding out a tin cup.

This is why for example no matter how many game engines are given to the FOSS community you will NEVER see a great single player masterpiece like Bioshock come from the FOSS community, because games do not fall under the blessed three and therefor they simply can't get enough funding to keep the doors open. This is also why we'll see Canonical close their doors in 3 years or less, they have already moved to the tin cup model after trying both support (Ubuntu One, Ubuntu Server) and selling hardware (Ubuntu TV, Ubuntu Tablet) but desktop OSes don't fit under the blessed three so they simply don't have a chance.

This isn't saying that FOSS can't be successful, look at Red Hat, but your business needs to fall under the blessed three to succeed. The reason why is obvious, if anybody can make infinite copies and give them away you simply have to have some other way of making money. Personally I think there needs to be a subset of GPL with no redistribution clause so we can get things like games and software for home users that don't fit under the blessed three as without the redistribution clause the "printer story" that gave birth to the GPL would still be solved, but its so ingrained now I doubt you could ever get it to take off. So in the end stick to the blessed three if you are going FOSS or you'll end up like Xandros, Linspire, Mandriva, Loki, and soon Canonical.

Re:I'm sorry but he is wrong.. (3, Insightful)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about a year and a half ago | (#42677915)

If you look at the businesses that have succeeded using FOSS every. single. one. has used one of the "blessed three" business models, selling support, selling hardware, holding out a tin cup.

Google.

Re:I'm sorry but he is wrong.. (3, Informative)

Telvin_3d (855514) | about a year and a half ago | (#42677951)

Google is not a business that is built around distributing FOSS. It is simply a business that makes heavy use of FOSS to support their needs.

No one would think of describing Amazon as a FOSS business, despite their heavy use of it. Same with Google.

Re:I'm sorry but he is wrong.. (3, Informative)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about a year and a half ago | (#42677989)

Google is not a business that is built around distributing FOSS.

Android.

Re:I'm sorry but he is wrong.. (4, Insightful)

Zerth (26112) | about a year and a half ago | (#42678047)

Google doesn't sell Android. It gives away Android so it can sell the eyeballs of Android users to its real customers.

Re:I'm sorry but he is wrong.. (4, Insightful)

DeSigna (522207) | about a year and a half ago | (#42678061)

...which is a business model built around distributing FOSS.

Re:I'm sorry but he is wrong.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42678089)

Don't companies like SugarCRM and Wordpress rely on revenues from their hosted versions?

Many of the Asterisk companies sell better versions of their software while distributing the open source versions without bells and whistles.

Some of those cases also mix in the sale of support contracts, hardware sales, etc. But that's not always the way to make money.

Re:I'm sorry but he is wrong.. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42678161)

No, the business model is selling eyeballs. FOSS is one means to that end. Apple does quite well selling the means to the same end as well.

Re:I'm sorry but he is wrong.. (1)

IRWolfie- (1148617) | about a year and a half ago | (#42679029)

Google has increased their revenue by distributing and developing android; by increasing advertising revenue. It sounds like you are nitpicking to exclude this as a form of making money from FOSS development.

Re:I'm sorry but he is wrong.. (1)

Xuranova (160813) | about a year and a half ago | (#42679447)

It's not nitpicking.
Google could close source Android (or make its own OS since the license for Android probably prohibits this) and just customize it for the OEMs themselves based on requested specs and get a similar result.

If everyone who uses Android didn't use any of Google's proprietary products, Google has a noticeably less amount of cash coming in.

Android is FOSS, yes. But the key to Google's success with it wasn't that it was open, it was that it was cheap/free and good(the primary reason their closed software has the penetration that it does: it's cheap/free, and good).

Re:I'm sorry but he is wrong.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42682835)

No True Scotsman.

Re:I'm sorry but he is wrong.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42681597)

No, it isn't. The fact that Android is "FOSS" is irrelevant to the business model. It could just as easily be a no-cost proprietary license. Google's Android business is built around getting lots of people to use Google services so it can sell access and analytics.

Compare that to Red Had or Canonical, where the model actually generates revenue directly based on the software. Customers are handing over money at some point in the chain with the end goal being the software.

At Google, no one is paying money to get their hands on, customize, support, implement, or develop Android.

Re:I'm sorry but he is wrong.. (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about a year and a half ago | (#42678177)

Google doesn't sell Android. It gives away Android so it can sell the eyeballs of Android users to its real customers.

No true Scotsman.

Re:I'm sorry but he is wrong.. (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year and a half ago | (#42683345)

Oh please, even Google's own fucking SCC filing lists them as a fucking AD company, alright? Even Google says THEY ARE AN AD COMPANY so don't give us the "true Scotsman" crap when the company contradicts you.

Re:I'm sorry but he is wrong.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42678387)

Google doesn't sell Android. It gives away Android

AFAIK that is the widely used console business model, give the platform away for free/cheap and make money when the users actually use it.

Re:I'm sorry but he is wrong.. (1)

mlw4428 (1029576) | about a year and a half ago | (#42678673)

To some extent. It heavily relies upon Google's search engine (for most devices), Google's app market (for most devices), and it allows Google to sell their own hardware. Android was very much a business model, which is why Google is spending millions to defend it in court.

Re:I'm sorry but he is wrong.. (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about a year and a half ago | (#42679161)

Google gives Android to OEMs and gets a percentage of their sales to end customers. But Google seems to be doing things more under a BSD license as far as its userland goes, so they don't exactly give away Android the way they would under GPL. Also, the Linux kernel that they use is already available from anywhere - Gentoo, et al, so there is nothing special that one would get from Google here.

Re:I'm sorry but he is wrong.. (2)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | about a year and a half ago | (#42681483)

Google doesn't sell Android. It gives away Android so it can sell the eyeballs of Android users to its real customers.

Doesn't Google make a cut of all the apps sold from the Google Play? I think that's the model there. They make the platform, partners make the hardware, and they control the app store where they make money.

This is the market that Microsoft is trying to tap with Windows 8. They have an app store now, too. And you can't even play Solitaire (even thought it's a "free" app) on Windows 8 without signing up, providing a credit card, and downloading the app from the MS app store.

Re:I'm sorry but he is wrong.. (1)

Patch86 (1465427) | about a year and a half ago | (#42682037)

In what way is that not a business model?

Their ability to sell Andorid users' eyeballs is directly realted to how many Android users there are. The number of Android users is dictated by how well OEMs adopt the system and are able to sell it. The OEM's enthusiasm for Android is partly driven by the fact that they like the source model- it allows them to have freedom to muck with the OS however they like (within Google's framework).

Selling FOSS for money seems like a pretty niche business model in the FOSS world. Selling support for FOSS is only marginally more popular. Most FOSS is created by companies as a means to an end.

Re:I'm sorry but he is wrong.. (2)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | about a year and a half ago | (#42678173)

Google is not a business that is built around distributing FOSS.

Android.

Android isn't Google's business model, services are. Android is just a means to an end, and that is to drive people to Google's services.

Re:I'm sorry but he is wrong.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42680171)

No true Scotsman...

Support (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#42680633)

I quote Anonymous Coward's post in its entirety:

No true Scotsman...

If you just spout the name of a fallacy without showing how the fallacy makes the argument invalid, that's the "fallacy fallacy".

But back to the topic: "selling support, selling hardware, holding out a tin cup." In this case, "support" is the operation of Google Play and the other services that the Gapps depend on, so that manufacturers and carriers don't have to spend money on their own such services.

Re:I'm sorry but he is wrong.. (1)

WOOFYGOOFY (1334993) | about a year and a half ago | (#42687679)

If Google was built around FOSS then their analytic engine would be open source. instead of secret sauce. That's what Google using FOSS to make money would look like. There's a difference between USING FOSS and making money WITH FOSS. We don't say Goggle makes money off the roads the employees use to drive to work because that's just something they use on the way to making money. Google uses a lot of free / freely shared/ open source things on the way to doing business - the question is do they make money ON FOSS and the answer is no, or only very very indirectly, as indirectly as making money off roads. They make money on their analytic engine, which is a trade secret.

Google sold ads before FOSS (2)

raymorris (2726007) | about a year and a half ago | (#42679501)

Google was selling ads way before they got involved in any FOSS. Ads on the internet is their business. Gmail, maps, and Android are interchangeable methods. The business model is to put ads on internet SaS.

What Google shows is that FOSS can be effectively used, and even developed, by companies that have business models unrelated to FOSS. Similarly, a grocery store might increase sales by 1% by oferring delivery. They'd still be in the grocery business, not the transportation business.

Re:Google sold ads before FOSS (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year and a half ago | (#42680251)

...which ties back into the whole "Bioshock Principle".

Commercial game companies were taking advantage of Free Software long before most people ever heard of it or called it OSS or FOSS. The idea of selling a "box of software" has very limited potential. The real value of software is as a tool to do something else.

Payware software more than anything else is a drain on the economy. Artificial constraints prevent a lot of software from becoming a commodity and being devalued. This forces business to waste money that they could better spend elsewhere.

If the economy can support fewer software robber barons then that is not such a great tragedy.

Redhat seeks to devalue the entire server market. That is what natural market evolution should already do on it's own without any help from zealots.

Re:Google sold ads before FOSS (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#42680643)

...which ties back into the whole "Bioshock Principle".

Commercial game companies were taking advantage of Free Software long before most people ever heard of it or called it OSS or FOSS.

I'm somehow not understanding. If a video game like Bioshock is to be distributed as free software, how should it be financed?

Re:Google sold ads before FOSS (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year and a half ago | (#42683479)

It WON'T be financed and thus will never be made under FOSS, that was my point. How many KILLER game engines have been given to the FOSS community? And what do we have to show for them? Q3 Arena MP only DM and CTF crap...yawn.

This is the thing that has always blown my mind about FOSS zealots, or FOSSies as I call them, they seem to have NO problem if CEOs or doctors or even plumbers get paid for their labor but programmers? Fuck you you filthy programmer, you should work for free.

And I have said it before you could COMPLETELY remove the redistribution clause and the "printer story" which RMS claims is the entire reason for the GPL being formed would be completely solved while still allowing something that doesn't fit into "the blessed three" like great games to be made. Would he be able to fix the printer? yep he'd have the code. Could he modify it? Again he has the code so not a problem. Could he post his changes? People do that with mods so no problem there.

But as long as the only way to actually pay your bills with FOSS is the blessed three you'll just not get any software that doesn't fit the blessed three, which is why you'll never see any truly great award winning games more complex than "cut the rope" from FOSS.

Re:Google sold ads before FOSS (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about a year and a half ago | (#42683217)

Artificial constraints prevent a lot of software from becoming a commodity and being devalued. This forces business to waste money that they could better spend elsewhere. ... Redhat seeks to devalue the entire server market.

Agreed, RedHat specifically and Linux in general HAVE in fact made it possible, and in fact made it the most common case, that people spend zero dollars on server software. Does that not prove false the idea that "Artificial constraints prevent a lot of software from becoming a commodity"? In fact, is it not true that the only software you ca't get at no charge is special, non-commodity software, those cases where there are not enough interested users to support a free project? The only type of software I can think of that I can't get free falls into one of two categories. Either a), it's highly specialized, not a common commodity, or b) while I can get lots of free games, I might prefer one specific game, because I think that company does a better job than all others.

Payware software more than anything else is a drain on the economy.

You may be tricking yourself into believing something you want to believe.
If paid software is creating software (games?) so good that you insist on having their brand rather than use a free one, than they must be producing something you value, just like any other profession.
Similarly, if they produce something that's very valuable to only a narrow market, so there is not enough interest to support a free one, certainly having something available is better than having nothing available, so it's better to have the proprietary software. In short, if the company wasn't making something you really want, you wouldn't buy it, and won't care. Again, if you didn't think the software had value, you would pay it no mind, just like you don't take time posting about brownie pans, which are actually worthless.

So why WOULD someone get worked up, and be posting saying that something for sale is just "a drain on the economy .. to waste money"? Either a) you buy it, because you think it's great, but you wish you could get it for free, perhaps by letting the people who make it simply starve to death, or b) you like it, you recognize it's worth having (and therefore worth making), but you're a cheapskate leach who steals it and you need an excuse for doing so.

Re:Google sold ads before FOSS (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year and a half ago | (#42704619)

How EXACTLY were "Commercial game companies were taking advantage of Free Software long before most people ever heard of it or called it OSS or FOSS" because I've been gaming since the days of DOS and frankly FOSS had little to nothing to do with gaming then and little to nothing to do with gaming now. The closest i can come up with is some games have the OPTION of using OpenGL but that's all it was, an option, and OpenGL itself wasn't really designed for gaming in the first place (it was developed by SGI for film and TV graphics work) so I don't see how FOSS has jack squat to do with gaming.

I'd also like to hear how you expect triple A titles to be developed since obviously the blessed three don't work as you haven't seen squat from the FOSS community when it comes to top tier games. Its obvious that people want these games, they ARE a billion dollar business after all, and I'd love to hear how you expect to pay the salaries of a team of 100 for the 2+ years required to create a top tier game. Or do you expect us to take Tux racer and like it?

But I bet you won't answer because then you'd have to face the truth which is thus: There is a REASON why more than 90% of the software written today is NOT FOSS, and that is because more than 90% of the software being created doesn't fit into the blessed three and therefor won't get written under FOSS. Think its a coincidence that after twenty years the BEST replacement the FOSS community can come up with for Photoshop is something made by a kid as a class project? That is what Gimp is you know, it was written for a class project by a hobbyist. or the best you can come up with for Quicken/Quickbooks is GNUCash that doesn't even have 5% of the features of that which is supposed to replace? Because nearly all software written for the end user does NOT fit under the blessed three and therefor it will ONLY be written by some hobbyist if its written at all, most won't be written at all.

Re:I'm sorry but he is wrong.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42682511)

Android is not part of their business model, it is merely a means to distribute their real business of Advertising, They really don't give a crap how you consume their advertising, FOSS is simply a convenient way for them to dictate the method.

Re:I'm sorry but he is wrong.. (1)

ChatHuant (801522) | about a year and a half ago | (#42683747)

Google is not a business that is built around distributing FOSS.

Android.

You're confusing the means with the end: it's like saying a fishing company has built its business around distributing free bait. The fishing company wants to catch fish, and Google wants to catch eyeballs; those are the products the companies sell. Both the bait and the code are just production expenses, and not part of the business model.

Re:I'm sorry but he is wrong.. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42677963)

You're right! That closed-source proprietary search engine and advertising juggernaut has totally got that open-source thing down! I think being able to get a copy of Google maps and run it on my machine. Same thing with their email server program, I love how I can run my own local copy of "gmail", it's so convenient!

Man, those Google guys have got this open-source thing DOWN. ...oh wait. You mean using a lot of open source projects and very occasionally releasing open-source software doesn't make you an open-source company? Who'd have thunk it?!

Re:I'm sorry but he is wrong.. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42677991)

Quick addendum: I think GP is confusing "using" FOSS and "selling" FOSS. Obviously you don't "sell" FOSS, but Red Hat does something like "selling" FOSS and that's the point. They have a model where they release free and open-source software as their primary function, but still manage to make money. Google makes their money by using and contributing back to FOSS projects, but their primary money makers are in licensing their search engine for local company use, providing custom instances of Gmail for company email, and selling/using your personal information for the purpose of advertising to their customers. All three of these may have some open source component, but I can guarantee you that the algorithm Google uses to make it's search results great is closed source and it will stay that way until the company goes up in flames.

Re:I'm sorry but he is wrong.. (1)

sourcerror (1718066) | about a year and a half ago | (#42678015)

Red Hat sells support, it's one of the blessed three.

Google didn't produce opensource software (Android) until it got really big.

Re:I'm sorry but he is wrong.. (3, Insightful)

tlhIngan (30335) | about a year and a half ago | (#42677973)

If you look at the businesses that have succeeded using FOSS every. single. one. has used one of the "blessed three" business models, selling support, selling hardware, holding out a tin cup.

Google.

Google doesn't provide FOSS as a product. They provide search as a hook to attract eyeballs for ads (AdSense, DoubleClick, AdMob, practically all the other advertising companies are owned by Google).

Otherwise we could say Apple as well since they use and provide a fair amount of FOSS. But FOSS is not their primary business as well. It's just incidental to their primary business.

This article is referring to FOSS companies who provide FOSS as a product - RedHat, MySQL, probably even others like Codeweavers (WINE paid support).

Re:I'm sorry but he is wrong.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42678209)

A N D R O I D.

Re:I'm sorry but he is wrong.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42682561)

W R O N G. Android is provided as a means to obtain eyeballs for ads, it being FOSS is incidental to the business model.

So there is a 4th model - selling ads? (2, Interesting)

perpenso (1613749) | about a year and a half ago | (#42677983)

If you look at the businesses that have succeeded using FOSS every. single. one. has used one of the "blessed three" business models, selling support, selling hardware, holding out a tin cup.

Google.

So is there a 4th model - selling targeted advertising? Or is this just selling support where the customer is an advertiser rather than a user?

Re:So there is a 4th model - selling ads? (1)

sourcerror (1718066) | about a year and a half ago | (#42678023)

I would have said selling a service, selling hardware, holding out a tin cup.

Selling a service can be a lot of things: support, web hosting, advertising

Re:So there is a 4th model - selling ads? (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year and a half ago | (#42695515)

Well since I'm the guy everybody is responding to i think I can answer that and I would say Google falls squarely under the "selling support" category, its just not the end user that is being supported but the website devs and ad companies. They provide the infrastructure for Gmail, Google Play, Google docs, search and all the other proprietary bits that OEMs carry on Android phones and provide a way for advertisers to get to those eyeballs so I don't see how anybody could argue that Google doesn't sell support.

Also in their last SCC filing they made it quite clear that they are an AD company and more than 90% of their revenue comes from ads so I don't see how they could be argued to be a "FOSS company" when those ad networks as well as their search engine is built on proprietary software, the FOSS software is as another pointed out simply the bait to get what their primary goal is which is more eyes to see their ads. Any FOSS used is strictly incidental and unlike say Red Hat or MariaDB if you removed all the FOSS bits from Google it really wouldn't hurt them in the long run as they could just buy some company like RIM and offer that instead and not really have to change their core business model any.

Re:I'm sorry but he is wrong.. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42677987)

Google makes almost all of their money on proprietary code which runs as a service.

Google open sources certain pieces of software which is secondary to their business. In these cases (such as Chrome and Android) they went the open source route to foster adoption, with the end goal being that their proprietary services make more money.

Call me when Google's search algorithms or their complex services like Google Docs become open source.

I'm sorry but he is copyrighted.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42678031)

The "blessed three" also applies to movies, music, and somewhat to books.

Re:I'm sorry but he is wrong.. (1)

yuhong (1378501) | about a year and a half ago | (#42678143)

Yea, I am well aware of the problems with artificial scarcity. I even wrote a series of blog posts about it.

Re:I'm sorry but he is wrong.. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42678235)

There is a more malevolent way to look at FOSS: Cartel operations.

Take Linux for instance: Top ranking hardware and software manufacturers want to make sure no newer players get into the lucrative server game so they all pull together and freely contribute code ( => codding time => money) into a project aimed at coordinating their work.
End result is ever since Linux came to be no new OSes succeeded despite many being technologically superior to the 70s beast. OSx is Unix and windows really just barely made it using some less then fair tactics themselves and in what most companies considered not their market (desktops).

Again, it's a very paranoid and bleak outlook on things, but it's pretty valid. Plus when you downscale it a little you get Android vs iPhone which is a little more obvious to the younger generation.

Re:I'm sorry but he is wrong.. (1)

david_thornley (598059) | about a year and a half ago | (#42683845)

Except that it inherently can't work like a cartel. If you want to set up a server with a LAMP stack, you certainly can. You can fiddle with anything about it. You can get into the business if you can find a way of differentiating your product in a good way, using all the FOSS you want. Your scenario applies only if server vendors were to get together and write some proprietary software.

As far as new operating systems go, darn few made it big in, say, the 90s, before Linux was all that important. At that time, the big OSes available would be two basic versions of Windows (NT and everything else), MacOS, assorted flavors of Unix, and some specialized ones (IBM mainframes, real-time OSes, etc.). There were OSes that some people considered technically superior at the time, such as BeOS, and they essentially went nowhere. Since then, there has been a convergence on Windows NT descendants and Linux/Unix. Even mobile phones are moving towards this, with iOS and Android being Unix-based.

What FOSS has done is given everybody some free baseline capabilities, and raised the bar for proprietary systems. In order to make money on Windows and IIS, Microsoft has to make it more attractive than Linux and Apache, and where Microsoft can't do this they can't make money.

Re:I'm sorry but he is wrong.. (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year and a half ago | (#42678311)

There's another model that has worked. You can GPL your code, and then sell licenses to companies who don't want to release their modifications.

Re:I'm sorry but he is wrong.. (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about a year and a half ago | (#42693881)

How would that work? If one's code is GPLed, anybody who gets them, whether for $0.00 or $100.00 would still be bound by the terms of the GPL. Or would you sell them the same thing, but under a different license?

Re:I'm sorry but he is wrong.. (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year and a half ago | (#42698221)

If you own all the code, you can dual license it. Trolltech did this for a long time with QT. If you were willing to pay back to the community by releasing your source code, you could use it for no cost under the terms of the GPL. If you didn't like the GPL, you could pay to use a different license.

Trolltech owned all the code, so they could legally write a separate license to each individual user. LZO is another project that does the same thing.

Re:I'm sorry but he is wrong.. (1)

ctid (449118) | about a year and a half ago | (#42678339)

Am I misunderstanding something about what you are saying? The article has one or arguably two examples of companies that didn't use one of your "blessed three" models.

5th, 6th and 7th model (2)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | about a year and a half ago | (#42678627)

Others have mentioned google. There is yet another model. Having customers pay for features to be developed and implemented is one that for instance PowerDNS uses. The sixth model is using a "free" version that is essentially the same as the paid version, minus a few features. Wine is the free version of a commercial product, Atlassian sells most if not all of their products this way, or as a hybrid where you pay almost nothing for a small number of users but only start paying once you outgrow the limited user license. MySQL used to work this way, I'm sure there are plenty of others as well.

Evidently, there are still creative ways to make money out of FOSS if it's your business to be making it. They may not be used by the (vast) majority of companies in this business, but they do exist and have proven to be successful.

Re:I'm sorry but he is wrong.. (1)

pieterh (196118) | about a year and a half ago | (#42678749)

So much wrongness.

Let's start with your conclusion, "Canonical doesn't follow the arbitrary pattern I believe I've identified therefore I think it will fail". This isn't science, it's looking for evidence to support your (quite poor) theories.

You started by saying, "businesses that succeed using FOSS". This today covers 95% of successful businesses.

You've ignored the many FOSS-based businesses (those that make and distribute it, not just use it) such as IBM, Amazon, Google, Facebook, Twitter, GitHub. None of these fit your "blessed three" yet they're the dominant model.

And you include "holding out a tin cup" as a successful business strategy. Name a single successful "business" that does this.

Let me explain how successful businesses *really* use FOSS. First, they find a market with incumbents paying too much for their software or spending too much making it. Then they build new FOSS stacks and products that attack these incumbents. They take their clients and charge them a fraction of the old prices. You can sell _anything_ like this, as long as the product has software as part of its critical supply chain.

Re:I'm sorry but he is wrong.. (1)

bws111 (1216812) | about a year and a half ago | (#42679777)

IBM doesn't fit his blessed three? How so? According to their earnings report, in the last quarter they sold more mainframe capacity than they ever did before, and over half of that was for 'new workload' engines. Linux is a huge part of that 'new workload'. So that falls squarely in his 'sell hardware' category.

IBM also has a very large services division, so that falls squarely in his 'sell services' category.

However, there is one more reason IBM supports Linux so heavily - so that they can sell proprietary software that runs on it. Many of those Linux engines that they sold are going to be running DB2, WebSphere, Domino, etc.

And are you seriously trying to claim that those other companies owe their success to FOSS? Amazon is not successful (or cheaper than the competition) because of FOSS, it is because they don't have the overhead of stores. Google, Facebook, and Twitter are not successful (or cheaper than the competition) because of FOSS, they are successful because they created a product people want.

Re:I'm sorry but he is wrong.. (1)

snadrus (930168) | about a year and a half ago | (#42682581)

Looks great until the last paragraph. Facebook wouldn't have gotten off the ground unless PHP, Apache, Linux, & MySQL were all very available for initial development. Had it needed ramp-up & investor buy-in, it would have been taken from the original developers.
Google's cloud services are much cheaper than the competition because of unification which was possible because all code could use the same open foundation (IBM, even Microsoft could not).
Twitter's cost & proprietary competition, what?

Re:I'm sorry but he is wrong.. (1)

bws111 (1216812) | about a year and a half ago | (#42682891)

My point was that none of the companies he mentioned have open source as a business model. Sure, they all use open source software as a tool. But claiming they are 'FOSS-based businesses' is just silly. You may as well claim they are 'realty-based businesses' because they shop for the cheapest location to have their datacenters, or 'Square D-based businesses' because their electricity goes through a Square-D load center, or 'Cisco-based businesses' because they have some Cisco equipment. Amazon is a retailer, Google, Facebook, et al are advertising companies. Open source may make it cheaper for them to do business, but it itself is not their business, and they could run the exact same businesses without FOSS, although perhaps not as profitably.

Re:I'm sorry but he is wrong.. (1)

snadrus (930168) | about a year and a half ago | (#42708701)

Those businesses could be labelled all those things. Facebook at start-up needed the savings of the Linux stack. Since then, Facebook has hired many open-source-trained engineers & contributed back various open technologies. Software was originally a freebie to sell hardware. There could easily, soon be no "Open-only companies" while open-source would continue to grow inside each company that recognizes its value even to the extent that their business model depends on it.

Re:I'm sorry but he is wrong.. (2)

unixisc (2429386) | about a year and a half ago | (#42679131)

This is exactly what I've been arguing!

GNU's Freedom 2 - Help your neighbor - while altruistic in its own right, forces software development to be a hobby, and a pretty expensive one at that, instead of allowing developers to profit from their work. Drop Freedom 2, as well as the part of Freedom 3 that allows re-distribution of modified work, and allow a customer to use or edit and use the software he has bought on all the computers that he likes.

This is a win-win situation for both customer and ISV:

  • - The customer gets the source code to the software, and all rights to do what he likes within his organization but not distribute it outside
  • - As a result, the customer doesn't have to bother about the fortunes of the ISV, and can independently maintain the code, port it to their favorite boxes. Imagine a customer still w/ OVMS/AXP - which HP no longer supports. They can port this software to that platform and use it.
  • - ISV EOLs the software. Customer doesn't care, since they are maintaining practically their own version of it, and can stick w/ it for the rest of their history
  • - The ISV gets to sell the software to that customer once, and then forget about them, (unless they've also sold support contracts)
  • - The ISV doesn't lose out by distributing the source code, since anybody else who wants the software still has to buy it from them, and not their customer

Since this is a win-win, unlike the GPL or even the BSD licenses, there is more of an incentive to go for this one, instead of those 'free software' licenses. The current FOSS licenses are lose-win propositions for ISVs & users, which in the long term translate to lose-lose for both. If this continues, open source would itself remain relegated to obscurity, which would be a shame, since it does a good job in ensuring good code.

As for Red Hat, the way they get around it and make money is making the source code freely available, but selling the compiled versions along w/ support. Yet, they have been looted white by both CentOS and Oracle, and Canonical too has been bled white due to this. Had they followed the above models, they would have been prosperous, and even more successful, since CentOS and Oracle wouldn't be able to eat their lunch, and distros like Mint, Zorin, Comice & Trisquel would have to come directly off Debian, rather than Canonical.

Re:I'm sorry but he is wrong.. (1)

BanHammor (2587175) | about a year and a half ago | (#42679215)

With your model, we are countlessly duplicating the work, and the whole point of FOSS kind of is lost. Plus, it exists for game engines at least, and it doesn't fit much into OS.

Re:I'm sorry but he is wrong.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42683621)

No, not every customer who gets the source code will necessarily use it, and what's more, they may want to use it for something very specific to their needs. For instance, a customer who buys a software may use the source code to port it to an IBM POWER, or an HP Integrity server. Or they may have a specific need in that organization that only they want, but which neither the ISV nor its other customers would care for. You are assuming that if an OSS company sells its software to say, 1000 different customers, there will be 1000 versions of the software. Answer is no - there will be 1000 independent installations and implementations of it, maybe, but not 1000 forks. Also, like in the case of FBSD, there is nothing stopping a company that has digested its work from sharing back its contributions into the mainline trunk, like Juniper did. Just that the company can't distribute it to 10 of its partners.

What's lost here is that not everybody wants to contribute to the software, and so the model I suggested above makes sense: the ISV gets paid for their work just like any proprietary software vendor, and doesn't see it proliferated except with their own sales or distribution, and doesn't have to figure out magical ways to keep their doors open.

Re:I'm sorry but he is wrong.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42680439)

If this continues, open source would itself remain relegated to obscurity

lol. Just lol.

Re:I'm sorry but he is wrong.. (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year and a half ago | (#42683715)

And its worse than you think. If you don't know the guys that "made" CentOS? USED to BUY RHEL for their HARDWARE, that's right, in any other arena they would be called what they are which is fucking leeches yet you DARE to point that out and listen to the FOSSies scream bloody murder. "Oh Red Hat doesn't say anything bad about Cent"...well what the fuck do you expect them to say, quit being fucking dirtbags?

The simple fact is if you remove the redistribution clause the "printer story" would still be solved. And why is it that doctors and lawyers and plumbers are allowed to charge for THEIR work but software programmers can eat shit and die? Becoming a decent programmer is fucking expensive, years of student loans and bills and yet they are supposed to just work for...what? A pat on the back?

But seriously what do we expect when the license is written by a guy that calls himself "a squatter at MIT" but telling everyone else they don't need money.

OEL (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42691219)

If you think that CentOS is bad, Oracle is even more predatory. Even while they ended OpenSolaris and are now said to be in the process of either closing or dropping MySQL (which is why we had that story about Debian or Red Hat looking @ MariaDB), they had no qualms about taking RHEL and rebranding it. What's worse - they are guilty of exactly what the DoJ accused Microsoft of in their anti-trust case - Oracle uses its clout in databases and application software to make customers who use those on RHEL to switch to OEL. How many times have you seen people here comment that they use OEL so that there is only 'one throat to choke' if things don't work, and that Oracle wouldn't be able to do any fingerpointing exercises? This one is Red Hat being raped from both ends - front & back.

Honestly, I think at some point, RedHat should do a product w/ FBSD or one of the others, and slowly start de-emphasizing their Linux. Then they should include it in a license similar to the one you described - BSD but banning re-distribution, and also, providing the source only to paying customers. That way, they won't have to jump through hoops to stay far ahead of their competition, and what's more, Oracle and CentOS would be forced to invest their own engineering in this (let's see whether Oracle is willing to put some of their Solaris resources into an OS that they leech off their competitor). Like Apple, Red Hat too could then work w/ the BSD people in incorporating some of their changes back into the trunk, while seeing to it that the only people who get their OS are their customers, and not those of their competitors. Same suggestion goes for Canonical - assuming that Mark Shuttleworth isn't already sick of the whole OS biz that he got into. Google is on the right track - taking only the Linux kernel (GPL 2) but putting a totally non GNU userland on top of it, so that they get to determine the redistribution rights of the whole thing. Let's see how far the FSF can counter w/ Replicant.

Re:I'm sorry but he is wrong.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42680349)

This is why for example no matter how many game engines are given to the FOSS community you will NEVER see a great single player masterpiece like Bioshock come from the FOSS community

I already have. But calling BioShock a masterpiece makes me think listing them would be met with disqualifications for not being shiny enough.

Re:I'm sorry but he is wrong.. (1)

tlambert (566799) | about a year and a half ago | (#42688169)

If you look at the businesses that have succeeded using FOSS every. single. one. has used one of the "blessed three" business models, selling support, selling hardware, holding out a tin cup.

I think you are missing the "Open source the tactical portions of the product, since they are not your bread and butter, and sell the strategic portions of your code under a different license" model.

This would technically be the Mac OS X model, although I think most open source people don't care about Mac OS X, even though there are serious security and other kernel improvements in the BSD parts of the kernel, and significant improvements in libc and other portions of user space that they actually do release. For example, even without the GUI, it's the first independently developed system which has achieve full UNIX conformance.

Similarly, there are other products, such as TiVO, which have a Linux kernel with proprietary modules for filesystem and so on, and even RedHat has some proprietary components.

Gettin' old, read it as: (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about a year and a half ago | (#42678053)

"Open Source Software Licenses Virus Business Models"

software business (-1, Offtopic)

shembekar (2811485) | about a year and a half ago | (#42678055)

This blog is much more interesting & helpful, I too have blog http://goo.gl/yYLUw [goo.gl] .

Re:software business (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42684101)

Dude, this isn't twitter. There is no need for a shortened URL and there's no way I'm surfing to your goatse page. Yes, when a slashdotter sees a shortened URL he's smart enough not to click it. Aopparently you're not.

I'm sorry (0)

symbolset (646467) | about a year and a half ago | (#42678157)

It scares me that we even need to have this discussion.

Mainstream vs niche (2)

beinsvein (2752465) | about a year and a half ago | (#42679149)

The examples in the article are pieces of software that are distributed in the hundreds of millions of copies. Things might look different if you produce software that is even slightly specialized. It's no cheaper to make special-purpose software, but your customer base shrinks exponentially with the degree of specialization.
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