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Eazel Shutting Down, Nautilus Will Continue

timothy posted more than 12 years ago | from the a-serious-silver-lining dept.

Linux Business 240

We've run several stories about Eazel, and recently posted word on its recent financial troubles and likely shutdown. Gramps writes "Eazel is indeed shutting down but the good news is that Nautilus development will continue. It's all in Bart Decrem's email to the gnome-hackers mailing list. It's been a great ride. Thanks, folks." (Read more.)

1010011010 pointed out this follow-up email from Darin Adler about the future of various projects maintained by former Eazel employees, including Nautilus, gnome-vfs, and various libraries, as well as bugtracking and other necessities.

Shutting down is never a happy event, but it's gratifying to see email from Andy Hertzfeld (also on the gnome-hackers list) in which he says: "I just want to reaffirm my personal commitment to the continuing development of Nautilus, the GNOME platform and free software in general. I plan to keep working hard to make free software easier to use and I'm still optimistic that our work can make a big difference to millions of users."

rexlam indicates this story from cnet on the shutdown as well. Best of luck to everyone at Eazel.

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240 comments

Strip out the eazel logo (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#220363)

Let's replace it with a foot with four toes.

Re:Bah! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#220364)

Mandrake, (which you can get for free) has the KOffice suit, yes, you can explore the hd with file manager, and you can play Quake3. Macs, i cant speak for them.
I hope this answers your question

Re:So who now 'owns' Nautilus? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#220365)

They would also be able to release Nautilus under another license, as well, I believe.

BTW, Today (Tuesday), was perhaps the biggest day yet for commercial Linux software, as Opera for Linux is now complete.

Re:It's NOT the economy, stupid. (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#220368)

Of *course* it's not the economy. Do you think the executives who write these statements actually believe them?! ;-]

Do you actually expect a company to post, "Because we grossly overspent, ran our business like a Free Software non-proit, had an inflexible business plan that failed to adapt for a changing venture climate, and retained incompetent staff in several key positions, we burned through $15 million in venture capital and couldn't get anymore." ?

Such executives would not be likely to receive venture funding for their future ventures. ;-]

Talented people; flawed product (3)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#220372)

Look at what Eazel has done, then look at all the hype that surrounded them. These were the folks who were going to prove once and for all how making money with a 100% GPL story is possible. The press loved them; GNOME uses swooned at their feet; companies invested in them...

Now, put on those 20/20 hindsight goggles and take another look. What the hell did they deliver? After all this time, they have a 3/4 baked file manager that has some funky preview features and that crashes every third or fourth time it's run. In spite of the hype and the ridiculous funding they got, a single file manager seemed to be outside of the realm of possibility. I'm sure they'd have eventually delivered a great product, but just as with VA, when you shoot up high quickly you just hit the ground harder when the parachute blows a hole.

I have sympathy for the talented engineers that were employed by Eazel. Great cause; seriously flawed business model. I saw it right up front. I never did buy into the hype, nor did I think that their business model had anything revolutionary going for it. I'm not at all surprised to see them crash. It's sad. They should have remained a group of interested hackers instead of allowing themselves to be hyped like they were. 100% give-everything-away stories don't work, folks. The bubble has burst. Free software mustmustMUST be combined with pay services and proprietary software for a business to survive.

Now I have evidence to back up the things I've been saying for years. I'm a free software and open source fanatic, but at least I'm a REALISTIC free software and open source fanatic. Business need to make money. Eazel must have figured that so many people would want to get automated updates of Nautilus that they'd have a sustainable growth. Yeah, right. The customers who would use Nautilus are technical enough to use Ximian's update tools, Red Hat's update tools, or simple FTP downloads and RPM/APT/whatever. This is what happens when starry eyed programmers jump into a new market without looking first.

It's NOT the economy, stupid. (4)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#220373)

"...Over the past six months, our board members and executives worked tirelessly to secure financing for the company. Unfortunately, the high tech capital markets have all but dried up and we have been unable to secure funding..."

Once again we see another troubled dot-com blaming its problems on the economy and lack of investment, rather than the obvious: they're not making money and they have never had any realistic (or even coherent) ideas on how to start making money. That investors are no longer willing to throw dollars at you merely because you're in the software business is sign that rational thought has returned to the capital markets, not that those markets have dried up.

How they should have done it (1)

Micah (278) | more than 12 years ago | (#220378)

Why do all these companies with questionable business models get boatloads of venture capital and open offices in Sillicon Valley?

It seems to me like Eazel should not have needed an office at all, at least not until Nautilus was about done and they were seriously set to launch services. They should have found several good hackers and paid them to work from home.

Seriously. Telecommuting has so many advantages that it just plain hurts trying to figure out why so many employers are opposed to it.

Would you buy their services? (2)

Micah (278) | more than 12 years ago | (#220381)

Show of hands... how many would have paid money for any of their services?

(I posted this last time, but way too late in the thread for anyone to see it. I am actually curious.)

Sad to see them go. (2)

Craig Maloney (1104) | more than 12 years ago | (#220385)

I'm sorry thar they couldn't make a go of it, but I'm glad the project will live on. I know this thread will get the usual "You can't make money off Free Software" rants, but honestly, I think Eazel produced in it's short lifespan something that will live on, and I thank them for taking the time to do so.

Good luck, Team Eazel, wherever you may end up in the real world.

Really Bad (1)

XPulga (1242) | more than 12 years ago | (#220386)

I'd rather have the other way around: company up, nautilus sinking. Nautilus is an heresy on the Unix way of life. Maybe Apple will hire all these guys to live by open source (as opposed to free software, open source == rip everything from the world, charge if the world wants anything back, possibly with IP lawsuits on the way) and develop new ways to make OS X suck.

Re:not free? haha (1)

diaphanous (1806) | more than 12 years ago | (#220387)

BTW your post is an obvious troll

I think this is an obvious case of "It takes one to know one".
We really don't need Yet Another GPL vs. BSD Flamewar.

Re:This damn recession (4)

Jason Earl (1894) | more than 12 years ago | (#220391)

Microsoft is too busy trying to keep their stock from collapsing to care much about one single company that employed a handful of hackers. Especially since these hackers have already managed to release their source code under the GPL. Ninety percent of all new businesses fail. That's why it's called "venture" capital.

Free software was alive and well long before the corporations had any interest, and it takes a lot less money to sustain a Free Software project than it does to build a proprietary one. Especially when your customers are feeling the pinch of a recession and are deciding that perhaps now is not the time to upgrade.

OT: democracy (2)

hany (3601) | more than 12 years ago | (#220393)

Well, and then representatives of such country come to Eastern Europe and want to teach us democracy talking loudly about freedom, rights, ...

Re:great job eazel! (1)

shutton (4725) | more than 12 years ago | (#220395)

Big name, no-business-plan failures hurt small companies in the open-source world who *do* have a business plan. It's still common to "start-up" with hopes of VC funding to get you through development to profitability. When the VC's get burned on other open-source companies, the funding dries up, even for legitimate companies who made the "mistake" of allying themselves with the open-source movement.

Not quite (1)

enterfornone (7400) | more than 12 years ago | (#220407)

While RMS considers BSD a free licence, he doesn't recommend people use any non-copyleft licence as it allows people to make proprietary versions without giving back to the community, essentially removing the freedom.

--

Re:This damn recession (1)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 12 years ago | (#220414)

Open source and business were never compatible and that was being stated clearly by realists way back in the .COM heyday. It has absolutely nothing to do with a "recession", but rather time ticking by and venture capital funds drying up as people got a little more rational.

Re:This damn recession (1)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 12 years ago | (#220415)

That's exactly what I meant. The longer the economy isn't full of venture capitalists with money to burn the more "professional" distos for open source projects will suffer.

Good point, and if you had said a "recession of VC funds" I would absolutely agree. However the drying up of VC funds is the result of realism setting in rather than any universal economic condition. VCs could dump $ into companies with hypothetical visions of grandeur in the future for only so long before either the pursuit starts paying off, or they pull out. The vast majority of investments didn't pay off (anything but) so the VCs have mostly taken a wait and see attitude (not to mention that lots of them are short many millions of dollars).

Re:So who now 'owns' Nautilus? (2)

T-Ranger (10520) | more than 12 years ago | (#220418)

Uh, no.

The license itself is copyright the FSF, and the FSF asks that you release the copyright to them (because there as evil as anyone else), but GPLd software isnt necessaraly FSF/GNU copyrighted/

To the skeptics... (3)

Skeezix (14602) | more than 12 years ago | (#220427)

To those who claim that Eazel was naive and foolish and had no hope of ever being profitable, I have this to say. They may have been naive, only in the sense that they didn't think it would as hard as it was to find investers with some foresight. One of the big problems was the fallout of the dot coms--whether you believe it or not. Most of these dot coms never had a prayer and most didn't really have anything to offer that would turn a profit. I can see how one could look at Eazel and say that all they delivered was a file manager and some services that no one would really pay for. However, the real shot at profitability is far more long term than that. What Eazel was betting on was changing the face of desktop computing--betting that they and the other gnome developers could produce a desktop, development environment and platform that users would really embrace en masse. That is a long term goal. At that point, they, along with others (Ximian, Red Hat, etc.) would be in position to leverage their expertise in a profitable manner. If, hypothetically, Gnome ran on 75% of desktops right now, do you think Eazel, with it's talented resources, knowledge, innovation, vision, would be closing it's doors? To me that's a no-brainer. It's a long-term investment, full of risks, but it's that level of commitment to free software that Andy Hertzfeld and the others at Eazel have had from the beginning. And while they couldn't find resources with the funding/vision to partner with them for the long haul, they are as commited now as ever. Hats off to all of them. I'm not saying they didn't make any mistakes as a company or couldn't have had a better plan on how to get to their long-term goal--that's going to be the ongoing challenge for the next few years for companies banking on free software--but damnit, their model/vision was not fundamentally flawed. We are present in the beginning, really, of a change in paradigms for software/service delivery.
----

Re:Ximian is next (4)

Raven667 (14867) | more than 12 years ago | (#220428)

With Eazel out of the picture and Ximian not too far behind, it's not too difficult to envision GNOME falling so far behind that it will soon lose its position on most desktops, except for those of the most fanatical GNUfies.

Oh, hogwash. GNOME existed before Ximian and will exist after Ximian, probably run by the same coders. Also with several UNIX(tm) vendors planning to replace CDE with GNOME there is a finantial incentive to keep GNOME development going strong.

Sign me up! (1)

cpeterso (19082) | more than 12 years ago | (#220436)


There's similar VC funded ventures now being operated from a Mexican beach.

Where should I send my resume? :-)

Re:So who now 'owns' Nautilus? (3)

JabberWokky (19442) | more than 12 years ago | (#220438)

wedit used to be GPL. Then, all of the sudden, the authors just took the source code out of the site, without warning anybody. [...] nobody bothered to mirror it.

The fourth link on google when searching for "wedit source" gives you a link which leads here [q-software-solutions.com] .

That's http://www.q-software-solutions.com/weditlinux/dow nload.php3 for the paranoid (just look in your statusbar!). It's also mirrored at a few other places.

More on topic, GhostScript is (or at least was) released commercially, and the version n months old is released to GPL.

--
Evan

The new development paradigm (5)

KFury (19522) | more than 12 years ago | (#220439)

I like this new net order:

1) Get an idea
2) Fake a business plan
3) Get VC funding
4) Use the money on development, not marketing
5) Release the code as open source
6) Go under
7) Leave the world a better place on the VC dime.


Kevin Fox
--

Eazel and Ximian (3)

holoway (22836) | more than 12 years ago | (#220440)

It's easy to try and draw parallels between the business models of Eazel and Ximian at first glance. Both were attempting to build free software projects that they could then bundle pay-to-play services into.

The difference, though, is the application they are building and the types of services they are going to be selling. Eazel decided to bundle services into the file manager... this means things like package management, and online storage. Anyone who pays attention to most of the massive free storage systems knows that they are not making a ton of cash... most of what they do make is ad revenue. Storage is cheap; online storage is neat, but not *that* neat. Package management? Great for systems that don't have good package management already, but most linux distro's (and even the BSD's) have this pretty well covered as well.

Ximian, though, took the PIM application. What kind of things do you bundle with a PIM app? Calenders, Shared whiteboards, Task management, Mail. How many large corporate enterprises who don't have these services? If you were shopping around for an Exchange clone (because we all know how great exchange is) and someone pointed you to this great application with a flexible front end, a shared calender and all the other services you would be missing? Goldmine. Let end users pay a small amount to use the services; it proves the scalability. Corporations purchase the whole package, outsourcing the infrastructure to Ximian. Take Microsoft's revenues from Exchange *alone* and you could have a pretty successfull company. :)

The business model is sound. Eazel's flaw, IMHO, was the application and services they choose to target. Ximian, on the other hand, looks to me like a sound prospect.

Granted, this is all supposition... I don't work for Eazel or Ximian, nor do I know any of the principals. Sure makes sense to me, though.

Game over? (1)

rinkjustice (24156) | more than 12 years ago | (#220441)

With Eazel taking the ball with them - in this case it's the live access to online storage and the ultracool "one click" software download and installation service - Nautilus is now a one trick pony.

It was Nautilus' webcentricity that made it great, I hope somehow it can continue in some form or other. The project was brilliant.


come off crisp and play up to the cynic
clean and schooled right down to the minute

Re:So who now 'owns' Nautilus? (4)

Dr. Sp0ng (24354) | more than 12 years ago | (#220443)

What part of Public don't you understand?

The code is still copyrighted and still owned by the copyright owner, who is free to relicense the code however they wish (even to close the source... . but this doesn't retroactively affect code released previously under the GPL, which still stays free). The fact that they put the code under the GPL simply gives you the ability to use it under the GPL's terms, but doesn't give you ownership of the code.

And it's the GNU General Public License, not the GNU Public License.
--

Well you can't really say thanks for nothing (2)

bogie (31020) | more than 12 years ago | (#220451)

You really can't blame Eazel for what happened. They made a good faith effort to provide an advanced filemanager/brower/whatever for Gnome. Unfortunatly the linux desktop market being 2% or whatever it is now , cannot support such a company in a profitable way. Eazel did not force their filemanager on Gnome, Gnome asked for it willingly. If anyone is to blame its the project leaders at Gnome who full knowing this could happen went ahead and put all their eggs in one basket. The positive aspect to this is its GPL'd and development will continue. I know this is little comfort to many, but this is opensource Darwinism in action, and things like this happen. Maybe the Gnome group will learn from this and become better for it. "You don't make friends with salad" ac no more

now this just bites (1)

sgtron (35704) | more than 12 years ago | (#220454)

And to think I just started using nautilus last week when I installed the new Mandrake 8.0 with all the neat new Gnome stuff. Seems like everytime I find something cool something messed up happens. I guess next to go will be the evolution Outlook replacement.

Re:Maybe Free Software Should Be Sponsored By... (1)

csbruce (39509) | more than 12 years ago | (#220456)

Maybe IBM could use some of their $1B Linux money to back Eazel development.

Re:Free Software and Business (1)

Malcontent (40834) | more than 12 years ago | (#220461)

"Being Liberal should be a Crime!"

In most of the west being liberal can get you killed. Putting a liberal bumper sticker on your car is an invitation to get your headlights smashed or your car riddles with bullet holes. Not only is being liberal a crime it is punishable by death without a judge or jury. I know because it's happened to people I know.
I know better then to advertise my beliefs.

Re:Free Software and Business (2)

Malcontent (40834) | more than 12 years ago | (#220462)

California an exception notice I said most of the west. Once you leave california (or possibly washington) things get ugly for liberals (and also minorities and gays BTW).

There are islands of sanity clustered around collage towns (boise versus the rest of idaho for example).

Most of the west is rural and is populated by people who don't like other people too much. They moved there to get away from other people and would never want to live in a city where they would have to interact frequently with other people. Whereever there are large populations of people living together it's liberal wherever people want to distance themselves from their neighbors it's conservative. That point is so obvious from the election map of counties that voted for Bush and Gore. Even though Gore got the majority of votes the map shows mostly (geographically) Bush. About half the country is liberal and lives in cities the other half is conservative and lives in sparsely populated areas.

It's easy to express your beliefs in an anonymous setting like slashdot. In fact for me it's the only safe way to do so. If I was to say these things in the real world I live in there would be a cross burning on my lawn in no time.

Re:Free Software and Business (2)

1010011010 (53039) | more than 12 years ago | (#220471)

Yeah, California's neither Liberal, nor in the west. :P

You advertise your beliefs pretty well, BTW.

- - - - -

Re:Free Software and Business (2)

1010011010 (53039) | more than 12 years ago | (#220472)

didn't even come out with a final product that's useful.

I like it. It's great for use with my digital camera, scanner, and mp3 collection. :P

- - - - -

Re:So who now 'owns' Nautilus? (1)

treke (62626) | more than 12 years ago | (#220475)

That and the GPL is owned by the Free Software Foundation, note the little Copyright (C) 1989, 1991 Free Software Foundation, Inc In the document.

Re:Why did they fail? (2)

krmt (91422) | more than 12 years ago | (#220481)

The modified BSD license is considered a free [gnu.org] license by GNU standards too. Just because it doesn't mimic the GPL exactly doesn't mean it's not free. Next time you post a link to somewhere, be sure you've read what it's talking about.

"I may not have morals, but I have standards."

Re:Ximian is next (2)

blakestah (91866) | more than 12 years ago | (#220482)

Expect to hear the same announcement from Ximian in a few months. Any company that depends on ongoing funding to survive, is fundamentally broken.

I would think there is a serious future in packaging GNOME for Mandrake, RedHat, Sun, IBM, HP, and others. Most of them would be happy to have someone compile and test GNOME for their platform.

In the same light, RedHat will derive substantial income from packaging linux for Dell, Compaq, and others. It is not anything close to the revenue platform of Windows, but the game is changing. Packaging is support, and many companies would be happy to outsource such a task.

dissenting opinions are useful, afterall (2)

BierGuzzl (92635) | more than 12 years ago | (#220483)

If we were all to read posts that congratulate eachother on how amazing they are, and if all responses to articles would point out how much they like Linux and how it's the best thing since sliced bread, we'd wouldn't be having much of a discussion. Instead, we'd have a mutual admiration society.

Sure, you're "allowed" to. (2)

BierGuzzl (92635) | more than 12 years ago | (#220484)

It's really not so outlandish. That's the whole thing -- free software lets you do that if you like. Not only that, we'll probably _have_ to strip out the Eazel logo, given that the Eazel mark will likely be passed on to another unrelated company that would have to give permission for the use of that logo.

Re:So who now 'owns' Nautilus? (3)

BierGuzzl (92635) | more than 12 years ago | (#220485)

Nautilus is "owned" by it's copyright holders and it's licensed under the GPL when it is distributed. So even if the copyright owner were to be Eazel, and that copyright were to be assigned to another entity in the process of paying off creditors, the existing code would still be free -- just not free to be relicensed without the copyright holder's approval.

Re:This damn recession - survival of the fittest! (4)

BierGuzzl (92635) | more than 12 years ago | (#220486)

Open source was not spawned from money nor will it die if the money is taken away. Open source is a result of a collaborative effort of many people working towards a common good -- something you can't buy, plain and simple.

Re:not free? haha (3)

jemfinch (94833) | more than 12 years ago | (#220487)

The only version of the BSD license that's not officially sanctioned by RMS as being 'non-free' are the ones that include advertising clauses.

Actually, even licenses that include an advertising clause are Free Software. They just aren't GPL compatible. Note that the old-style BSD license is listed on this page [gnu.org] .

Jeremy
--

not fucked (2)

jon_c (100593) | more than 12 years ago | (#220491)

a quick look at fuckedcompany.com [fuckedcompany.com] shows that they are not fucked yet. as a matter of fact there are only fucks [fuckedcompany.com] for Eazel. The last one dated May 12th.

Anyway it's sad to see Eazel go, I've been saying for quite a while that linux and the like would never get a good thoughtout consistant user interface without traditional software development.

-Jon

Re:Free Software and Business (5)

Trepalium (109107) | more than 12 years ago | (#220495)

On the other hand, if you have no business plan, free software won't help you. HINT: "make a file manager and give it away" is not a complete business plan. Even if it becomes popular, if you lose money for every copy you give away, even if you lose less money per copy if you give away more copies, you still won't be a viable business.
That wasn't their business plan. The plan was to develop and give away the file manager as a loss leader and then sell subscriptions to services that attach to that file manager. The problem was the services and file manager took far too long to come together. Nautilus is just finally getting somewhat usable, which means they would've STILL needed to implement the services.

Their biggest mistake was jumping the gun in calling themselves a business. If they wanted to succeed, it would've been better to develop it as a side project until it was almost usable, and then to announce the formation of such a company when all the pieces were in place.

Re:not free? haha (5)

Trepalium (109107) | more than 12 years ago | (#220496)

The only version of the BSD license that's not officially sanctioned by RMS as being 'non-free' are the ones that include advertising clauses. He prefers calling the BSD style licenses without the advertising clause XFree86 style, and those with the clause BSD.

The original clause is:
3. All advertising materials mentioning features or use of this software must display the following acknowledgement:
This product includes software developed by the University of California, Berkeley and its contributors.

The rational behind not using licenses that include this clause is quite sound, you can see some arguments for omiting that clause at http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/bsd.html [gnu.org] (don't worry, it doesn't say the BSD license sucks and everyone should use GPL). You could imagine how such a clause could cause problems if, perhaps, you had a product that included 40-50 of programs with those kinds of licenses -- the required statements could outnumber actual ad-space.

Re:So who now 'owns' Nautilus? (1)

rjamestaylor (117847) | more than 12 years ago | (#220498)

Thanks for the correction. I get confused by the recursive TLA's so prevalent in Free Software projects...
--

Re:So who now 'owns' Nautilus? (2)

rjamestaylor (117847) | more than 12 years ago | (#220500)

Just wondering if the GPL for Nautilus is 'owned' by Eazel or by a person.
Gnu Public License.

What part of Public don't you understand?
--

Re:So who now 'owns' Nautilus? (2)

rjamestaylor (117847) | more than 12 years ago | (#220501)

Software can be released under the GPL with the copyright ownership being retained by an individual or corporation. I thought everybody knew that...
Name a package (or program, or library, or whatever) that has been withdrawn from the public after being released under the GPL. Maybe a later release, but once under the GPL, it's out there to stay. As long as one adheres to the license terms as released, no recourse can be had by the owner. So, sure, someone owns the code but they've given permission for others to use it, pursuant to the G(eneral)PL.

Perhaps I just need to shut up and get back to work...
--

Re:Failing software companies and their source cod (1)

Westacular (118145) | more than 12 years ago | (#220502)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the Free Software Foundation exactly the type of organization we're talking about? They're non-profit, specialized in taking care of donated code, and they actively encourage people to transfer the copyright of their GPL'd projects to the FSF.

Re:So who now 'owns' Nautilus? (2)

Carlos Laviola (127699) | more than 12 years ago | (#220506)

wedit [q-software-solutions.com] used to be GPL. Then, all of the sudden, the authors just took the source code out of the site, without warning anybody. And now, I'm stuck with the desire of using the GPL'd versions, but all there's left in the site are binaries, and, apparently, nobody bothered to mirror it. :-(

not free? haha (1)

ArchieBunker (132337) | more than 12 years ago | (#220507)

Oh yeah its not 'free' by GNU standards, but when my code is released under the BSD license ANYONE can use it for ANYTHING they feel like. Now to me that sounds like freedom. BTW your post is an obvious troll.

Re:Who gave the trolls moderator points to "5" thi (2)

e_n_d_o (150968) | more than 12 years ago | (#220518)

Nice try at thinking but check MS's financials and you'll find relatively they don't make much money from support.

Try rewording it as "If you had a monopoly and made lots of money on incompatible upgrades, would you stop developing your product?"

Or were you talking about Oracle?


Why, I'm afraid I can't begin to understand what it is you are talking about. My sig is referring to the manufacturer of Kleenex.
--

Who gave the trolls moderator points to "5" this? (3)

e_n_d_o (150968) | more than 12 years ago | (#220519)

But, regardless of it all, we still have Nautilus, right?? Ok, back to the merits of the program for just a minute: It sucks. It single-handedly sets GNOME back a couple years as far as useability goes.

Nautilus is extremely easy to use. It does not set the usability of Gnome back a couple years. It just seems that Nautilus suffered the same fate in its 1.0 release that Gnome 1.0 did: It was released many months to soon. Gnome 1.0.50 worked great, but Gnome 1.0 was less stable than 0.9x. Nautilus was pushed out the door. (It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out why). Nautilus will be just fine, and so will Gnome.

You probably think I'm full of shit, so I guess we'll just have to wait six months and see who is right.
--

Predicting the future. (5)

e_n_d_o (150968) | more than 12 years ago | (#220520)

Anybody remember the hype that "Java was dead?" Well, here we go again...

My predictions:

Dvorak will declare Gnome dead, saying KDE has won.

Having been overcome by the excitement, Fred Moody will have a fatal seizure while trying to write a similar story.

ZDNet will run future KDE vs. Gnome reviews, and give KDE the thumbs up based on Gnome's "no longer maintained" file manager.

In the meantime, both the Gnome and KDE camps will continue building great desktop environments. Nautilus will lose its services, get cleaned up, stabilize and offer dramatic performance improvements such that it is everyday usable.

Well that's all of my rant, best be getting back to that highly lucrative Java programming now.
--

RIP Eazel...some of us are sad to see you go (5)

max cohen (163682) | more than 12 years ago | (#220523)

I, for one, am very sad to see Eazel shut it's doors. Call me biased because I verified bugs and wrote reports every extra minute I had, but Nautilus is an important piece of software that the Linux community needs and all of the sharks swimming around this site scavenging for blood sicken me. To say that some of the folks who developed one of the best computer interfaces (i.e. the Mac OS) are better off with their Linux start-up defunct is just nonsensical. Like it or not, Linux isn't what it used to be. Times have changed and will continue to do so, and the Linux interface will have to adapt to accomodate all of the new users that will come to the platform. To just stand around and suggest that everyone needs to get used to typing commands in a terminal window because "that's the way things are and have always been" is short sighted and unrealistic.

To all of the Eazel folks who were affected, my sympathies and a hearty thanks to those (especially Eli Goldberg) who were always there to answer my questions and provide troubleshooting suggestions. I'm happy to hear that most of the major project leaders are going to continue working on Nautilus and look forward to what the future may bring. Maybe in another time and climate, things would have worked out differently. As the story submission says, it _has_ been a fun ride. ---tomg

Re:Bah! (1)

QuaZar666 (164830) | more than 12 years ago | (#220524)

You also never used anything you speak of or understand what macs are good at or even what quark is. Sure Mac's are simple machines but they get the job done nicely and with type 1 fonts which M$ never cared to adopt. and yes KOffice, openoffice, Staroffice can all read MS office file formats. For the Love of Lucifuge/Satan/<your deity>, please before complaining read up on what you are talking about.

Dropped from Distributions? (1)

juggla (179339) | more than 12 years ago | (#220532)

So does this mean Nautilus will be dropped by RedHat and Mandrake? Mandrake already includes just about every worthwhile window manager out there so I don't think they will drop it just yet... but if they do then it is certain death for Nautilus since no one will bother installing a dead-end technology themselves.

Re:So long, and thanks for all the NOTHING (2)

RedWizzard (192002) | more than 12 years ago | (#220536)

With all their supposed good intentions they still left an underdeveloped, bloated, unstable file manager (which is now officially part of GNOME! yay).
The only major problem I see with Nautilus is performance.
look at what future would-be investors in free software see! They see a company that robbed its investors and gives the product of their investments away completely.
Eazel didn't rob anyone of anything. They didn't deceive anyone. Anyone who invests in a company without understanding the companies business model and prospects is a moron taking a gamble.

Eazel's problem was that they were underfunded. It's too soon to tell if their business model would have worked.

So long, and thanks for all the NOTHING (1)

bouis (198138) | more than 12 years ago | (#220537)

What's to miss? With all their supposed good intentions they still left an underdeveloped, bloated, unstable file manager (which is now officially part of GNOME! yay). Regardless of the merits of their product, they single-handedly dealt a nice blow to open-source software as a way of making money by getting as much attention as they could then going under without any return on the investments that were made in the company.

But, regardless of it all, we still have Nautilus, right?? Ok, back to the merits of the program for just a minute: It sucks. It single-handedly sets GNOME back a couple years as far as useability goes. But what the community sees in it doesn't matter, look at what future would-be investors in free software see! They see a company that robbed its investors and gives the product of their investments away completely. If this was a closed source project owned by Eazel at least the investors would get that, but nope, they get nothing, and don't think that future investors won't remember Eazel when thinking about other open source companies...

Re:So long, and thanks for all the NOTHING (1)

bouis (198138) | more than 12 years ago | (#220538)

No, they didn't rob anyone. But what I was trying to stress was the perception that they did. In the eyes of future investors, (especially the recent promises by former Eazel employees to continue work on Nautilus despite the company closing) this company rose from the Open Source Movement, developed a tool using their money, then dissolved back into the movement, taking the product of their investment with them. In the eyes of the media and the investors, Eazel is lumped together with every other open-source company, and them doing this only hurts future credibility for making money on supporting the movement. I believe in Redhat and VA Linux, and I'm sad to see their chances hurt by a company like Eazel.

Re:Well you can't really say thanks for nothing (1)

bouis (198138) | more than 12 years ago | (#220539)

Yeah, I can blame them: Good faith towards who? I doubt the people who poured 13,000,000 dollars into Eazel perceive good faith. Opensource Darwinism maybe, but Eazel's failure is only going to hurt other open-source companies in the future.

The investor's POV in one sentence:

Eazel came up out of the open-source community, took our money with no intention of paying us back, then gave the product of our investment to the community and dissolved back into it.

That isn't exactly going to encourage future investment.

Re:great job eazel! (1)

bouis (198138) | more than 12 years ago | (#220540)

On the other hand, we, the free-software community, have gained at no cost a nearly complete, commercial quality (in slickness and in bloat) file manager.

Yeah, and would-be investors are going to remember this for a long time.

Re:Who gave the trolls moderator points to "5" thi (3)

bouis (198138) | more than 12 years ago | (#220542)

Look, my post was certainly inflamitory but not a troll by most definitions.

Nautilus is no easier to use than most of the other "big" file managers for X desktops (konqueror [kde.org] , gmc, the old kde file manager, gentoo [obsession.se] , etc). As far as I can tell the only real advancement over them is the extensive (yet useless!) previewing capabilities and the MacOS Xesque look. But it is in not an improvement over the old GNOME file manager. The stability is terrible and the "features" are useless for real world work. It chokes on large directories and randomly crashes on small ones. The interface is showy at the expense of both speed and desktop real-estate. Fullscreen icons are great to look at and seem cool for the first 15 minutes, but after that they just get in the way. I don't think you're full of shit, I have no doubts that in 6 months the stability will be there, but that doesn't change the fundamental problem of giving up efficency (both speed and screen-space) for WORK for a few showy features. Nautilus, much like the company who made it, can get your attention but can't deliver what it should have been focusing on.

Re:now this just bites (2)

X-Dopple (213116) | more than 12 years ago | (#220543)

Mandrake 8.0 hates my machine. After grappling with it for hours trying to get the install to complete without b0rking completely, I had a chance to evaluate Nautilus

I'm quite disappointed, really. To me, Nautilus was all about eye candy and not about functionality, which I think reflects in the Linux community these days. Everyone complains about the Motif widget set in Netscape, but I think Motif looks rather cool, and I like it because it isn't GNOME or KDE dependent.

Nautilus just seemed like the beta version of Windows XP explorer - slow, bloated, swaps incessantly on my 64MB machine. I liked GMC much, much better than I liked Nautilus. Sure, people say GMC is hacked together, but for me, IT WORKS. That's the key difference here.

"Form follows function" is a philosophy that I think that the Linux community should adopt.

That's why I use IceWM.

GUI CLI problems (2)

digitect (217483) | more than 12 years ago | (#220544)

C|Net:
"With the current GNOME and the competing KDE user interfaces for Linux, it's still hard to avoid typing in commands."

I have this problem with all my GUIs.

The "damned recession"... (1)

code9 (217825) | more than 12 years ago | (#220545)

It seems to be the cause of everyone's woes.

While this is not a rant aimed specifically at Eazel, how many companies are based on a nifty concept that wont even begin to earn revenue (not profits) for quite a while? Who's supposed to sponsor these companies' operations?

Unless you have extremely deep pockets, you had better be capable of being able to earn at least a significant part of your costs back ASAP, and demonstrate how that will scale to profits within a few years. Fundamental business.

I have no sympathy for anyone, and simply disgust for the VCs.

Re:Free Software and Business (1)

crasch (222290) | more than 12 years ago | (#220547)

You personally know people who have been killed in a western state because they put a liberal bumper sticker on their car? If so, you have my sympathies. However, I think that rural areas shouldn't be judged by anecdotes alone. Rural violent crime rates are 4 times lower than those of urban areas. See the paragraph just above Table 2 at http://www.ncrel.org/sdrs/areas/issues/envrnmnt/dr ugfree/v1donner.htm. While I'm sure "out and proud" liberals are sometimes harassed, I think that on the whole, they're safer in rural areas than in the cities. I also think a lot depends on where you live, just as it does in a large city. Sandpoint, Idaho, for example, used to have a large Aryan Nations compound. For a time, it probably wasn't the most safe area for an outspoken liberal to live. However, in my experience, most rural residents have a "live and let live" attitude, and tolerate a far wider range of behaviors than city dwellers will allow. For example, try setting up a yurt on your land in SF, or converting your front lawn into a garden in LA.

Continuation of OSS Projects (5)

hillct (230132) | more than 12 years ago | (#220549)

On the face of it, OSS projects should be able to survive the transition of management from the project initiator to another group of interested developers, but it's not that simple. OSS projects are more than the source code. There is a great deal of infastructure required in order to manage decentralized development efforts. Thanks to SourceForge for providing a great deal of that infastructure. The other componant needed in an OSS project is a leader, weather that is one person or a group of people. This leader is the visionary and driving force behind the project and unless projects can find new leaders for developers to gravitate around, the project will unboubtedly slide into mediocrity and disrepair.

Much luck to the projects left stranded by the demise of Easel. It appears that the project leaders are taking steps to find the ptojects new homes, with varying degrees of success.

--CTH

--

Here's an explanation to the best of my knowledge (1)

lwagner (230491) | more than 12 years ago | (#220552)

is it possible that some or part of the development costs could be written off once the result was donated to the non-profit?

Well, I probably should comment on this since I have had to study a bit about nonprofits.

For tangible items, the amount deductible is above the FMV or Fair Market Value. If you sell a mug or t-shirt as a nonprofit and mark it up 50%, then that 50% of "profit" you made is tax-deductible by the person. It's considered a donation.

Since free software has no fair market value, there is no way to value it. Legally, it's probably "valueless". Valueless things can be donated but where the line is with free software in terms of deduction, I'm not sure.

Now, again, I'm not an expert on the topic.. but it would be suicidal to screw with the IRS and just say, "Well, this cost $10M to produce and I'm deducting it". That's a great way to screw yourself and everyone associated with you.

Assuming that an NPO (nonprofit organization) was formed (or an existing one) and did take it over, every NPO is on a very [very] tight budget with limited resources, so whatever happens with Nautilus will be very limited and amateurish compared to the grandiose scale of what was being proposed.

IMHO, it is probably a positive thing that commercial influence was drained from Nautilus so it can be taken seriously by the community. There was some skepticism in replacing GMC with a commercially-backed product, though as I've said before I really think Eazel are good guys in a bad predicament.

Lucas

--
The Spindl3top Foundation, Inc. - Cambridge, MA

Re:THe problem about Eazel... (1)

droolfool (235314) | more than 12 years ago | (#220553)

I guess you didn't get it. I didn't say they were doing nothing. In fact. I like Nautilus a lot, and I use Gnome 1.4.

They said: "we're gonna get money from services!". But they forgot to make such services AVAILABLE, that's the whole point. It wasn't Nautilus the profit source, but its services .

Please, try to understand what people say before being so rude.
------------------------------------------------
You think Bill Gates is evil?

Re:THe problem about Eazel... (1)

droolfool (235314) | more than 12 years ago | (#220554)

Nautilus not not vapourware. It's very good, indeed (I like it).

All I said was that Eazel had to give people services. That was supposed to be their profit source, and you can't just release a software and get money from something that doesn't exist.

If you say your profit source is XXX, you'll need XXX or else you'll be f***ed up.
------------------------------------------------
You think Bill Gates is evil?

THe problem about Eazel... (3)

droolfool (235314) | more than 12 years ago | (#220558)

is that they wanted to start earning money from services, but we didn't see any services at all. How can you say you're going to get money from something yet to be made?
------------------------------------------- -----
You think Bill Gates is evil?

Re:Can I get your opinion on these firewalls? (1)

ashtonb (240268) | more than 12 years ago | (#220561)

Huh. This is so off-topic and provocative that I will be nice to you.

Firstly, if you want to ask a question, and there is no relevant story at the time, go to the "Submit Story" [slashdot.org] link that you can probably see in the top-left corner below the Slashdot title. Choose "Ask Slashdot" in the Topic and Section drop down menu.

Now in response to the question, my answer would be to do a lot more research. Many of the best firewall systems are in fact free. Open source firewall's generally means more peice of mind. Linux and BSD are both great for running firewall's. An example of a free Linux distribution made specifically for firewall's is Astaro Security Linux [astaro.com] . There are many other Linux distributions usable as firewall's. These will generally give you more security than any Windows based firewall, at a much lower total cost of ownership.

Apologies to the Slashdot community for this reply to an off-topic post.

Re:Why did they fail? (1)

leviramsey (248057) | more than 12 years ago | (#220565)

Just because the code runs on BSD does not mean that it's BSD licensed. As a matter of fact, most *BSD's come with the GNU utilities, and a new BSD has started with the aim of removing all GPL software from their distribution.

Re:Failing software companies and their source cod (2)

leviramsey (248057) | more than 12 years ago | (#220566)

Open Source tax breaks has come up at least once before as an Ask Slashdot (which means that it's probably come up more than once...). This one from April 15 [slashdot.org] is the most recent discussion. Consensus: You might be able to claim it, but be prepared to spend huge amounts in audits.

Maybe Free Software Should Be Sponsored By... (5)

MOBE2001 (263700) | more than 12 years ago | (#220571)

...big businesses, the government, charitable organizations and philanthropists. After all, is not art sponsored by the government and other organizations? Maybe Eazel should have applied for a grant, one never knows.

Maybe we should actively pressure our representatives to sponsor free software because it's for the greater public good. Just one man's opinion. I hope the McArthur Foundation and others are listening.

Re:Failing software companies and their source cod (2)

sleeper0 (319432) | more than 12 years ago | (#220579)

Thanks for the link. The article references this part of the tax code [fedworld.gov] which is "Credit for Increasing Research Activities".

While that is certainly interesting as well, I would think a situation where the copyright was transferred to a non-profit as a charitable gift might be a clearer case. Anyone know?

An organization that specialized in such a thing might be able to provide industry analysts and consultants that could help value the properties and provide third-party testimony during audits.

Re:Failing software companies and their source cod (2)

sleeper0 (319432) | more than 12 years ago | (#220580)

It was who I was thinking of. I avoided the name because I didn't want to pull any "I hate richard stallamn" posts. Because you could easily have more than one of these... personalities wouldn't be the issue.

Re:Failing software companies and their source cod (2)

sleeper0 (319432) | more than 12 years ago | (#220581)

When I said donate, I meant assign copyright.

So because all of the development expenses are business expenses to start, there is no further means of tax relief? What happens in a situation where a company makes a product for profit and then donates some of those products to charity? Is there no tax advantage in that case?

Failing software companies and their source code (5)

sleeper0 (319432) | more than 12 years ago | (#220582)

Here is a question for all you IANAL types:

If a company were to donate their source code to a non-profit organization that acted as kind of a clearing house for open source projects, is it possible that some or part of the development costs could be written off once the result was donated to the non-profit?

While Eazel might not be the best example of the power this could have, as it has already provided the code open sourced and likely doesn't have much tax liability at all... Imagine a closed source project that never sees the light of day and ends up in a bit warehouse somewhere. I am the investors in many of these failed tech companies wouldn't think twice about assigning the IP rights to get something back after everything blew up.

Re:Bah! (1)

clontzman (325677) | more than 12 years ago | (#220587)

Win2k can use type one fonts just fine with no third-party type manager. Just drop them in the fonts folder. Do your research, chief.

This damn recession (1)

Supa Mentat (415750) | more than 12 years ago | (#220589)

You know, as much as all companies hate a recession I betcha M$ is loooving this one. So many open source efforts have closed their doors and you know they're all about that. In fact (for a little bit of conspiracy theory funtime), I wonder if M$ would use their sway in the economy to keep it from recovering for a while to kill off all open source and smaller company competition? Just a little paranoid thought...

Re:This damn recession (1)

Supa Mentat (415750) | more than 12 years ago | (#220590)

That's exactly what I meant. The longer the economy isn't full of venture capitalists with money to burn the more "professional" distos for open source projects will suffer. I could really see M$ trying to profit from this but then again I'm really paranoid when it comes to big corporations (and the government for that matter, but I don't suspect the government of anything in this instance).

Re:So who now 'owns' Nautilus? (1)

Tech187 (416303) | more than 12 years ago | (#220591)

Software can be released under the GPL with the copyright ownership being retained by an individual or corporation. I thought everybody knew that...

Re:Free Software and Business (1)

Tech187 (416303) | more than 12 years ago | (#220592)

In other words, maybe they ripped off the Venture Capitalists, sullied the reputation of Open Source to the VC community, and didn't even come out with a final product that's useful. Hope they paid themselves well in the process....

Yeah! Sock it to 'the man', etc. etc.

Re:THe problem about Eazel... (1)

Tech187 (416303) | more than 12 years ago | (#220593)

Corel Office for Java wasn't vapourware either. I still have a copy of that tucked away on a CD-ROM somewhere.

I even dug it out and tried it a few months ago, on a fast Windows 2000 machine. It's quite responsive on today's hardware. However, it won't print, the file formats are only psuedo-standard, etc. In other words, it's not worth much for anything. Kinda like the Nautilus file manager, which isn't vaporware either.

Re:This damn recession - survival of the fittest! (1)

warmiak (444024) | more than 12 years ago | (#220594)

"result of a collaborative effort of many people working towards a common good"

You have just described half of US corporations which definately DO PAY people to collaborate.
Do they work towards a common good ?
Well, depends how you define common good ...
Some would even dare to say that once this new BWM comes out and is available for purchase it becomes our "common good "...

great job eazel! (4)

foonf (447461) | more than 12 years ago | (#220596)

I think these guys deserve a lot more credit for their business plan than they are getting. For almost a year, they succeeded in getting idiot venture capitalists to pump buckets of money into the development of a large, complex free software project with no realistic hope of ever making money. Now that its nearly in a usable state (it is NOT a fun thing to use right now on my 64mb celeron, but it shows lots of promise, and is at the very least better-looking than any other linux file file manager), they have smartly disbanded and turned development over to the gnome community. The only people really hurt by this are the eazel hackers (who doubtless will be able to find other employment) and the idiot venture capitlalists, who 1. deserved what they got, and 2. probably won't be turning up in soup kitchens or homeless shelters any time soon, rich bastards that they are. On the other hand, we, the free-software community, have gained at no cost a nearly complete, commercial quality (in slickness and in bloat) file manager.

Re:Can I get your opinion on these firewalls? (1)

Sarcasta (447735) | more than 12 years ago | (#220597)

Um, I think everyone else has already said this, but please refrain from ruining a perfectly valid (albeit offtopic) thread when you so obviously have no idea what you're talking about. Don't worry, you'll graduate one day and get a job and hopefully some experience. Until then please don't post, thanks! :-(

Kathleen
--
Graphic designer and Mac lover.

Free Software and Business (5)

Not A Democrat (448542) | more than 12 years ago | (#220598)

This is a company I am not sad to see go.

Free software is a wonderful thing, and it is definitely possible to make money off of it. Companies like Red Hat and IBM are demonstrating this. I encourage that. If you have a business that can survive while developing and releasing free software, that is excellent.

On the other hand, if you have no business plan, free software won't help you. HINT: "make a file manager and give it away" is not a complete business plan. Even if it becomes popular, if you lose money for every copy you give away, even if you lose less money per copy if you give away more copies, you still won't be a viable business.

I have no sympathy for anyone involved. Neither the idiot venture capitalists who sponsored a project with no clue how it would make money, nor the developers, who obviously confused coding sense with business sense.

I've been in business, and you can't always do what you want. Sometimes, you have to put a lot of effort into making a profit, or else you just won't survive. Where are your ideals then? I wish the best of luck to the hackers involved, and I have a lot of hope for Nautilus. But next time you get involved in a business venture, make sure that sound financial advice is one of the first things you get!

Re:So who now 'owns' Nautilus? (1)

Dutchie (450420) | more than 12 years ago | (#220599)

*ugh* my wording could have been more carefull since now all the smart Alecs will tell me how it's PUUUUBLIC ;-)

Anyway, 'copyright holder' was the correct wording ofcourse. So if we pretend for a bit that Eazel is the copyright holder and that copyright would somehow be re-assigned to a random corporate entity, like you say, the existing source would still be GPL.

However, the imaginary company that would get the copyright could re-brand the name 'Nautilus', correct?

  • Imagination is more important than knowledge.

So who now 'owns' Nautilus? (2)

Dutchie (450420) | more than 12 years ago | (#220600)

Just wondering if the GPL for Nautilus is 'owned' by Eazel or by a person.
  • Imagination is more important than knowledge.

Re:Dropped from Distributions? (3)

Dutchie (450420) | more than 12 years ago | (#220601)

*UGH* How about Linux in the time there WERE NO DISTROS? No GOOD project in my opinion has ever needed a distro to get the project out to the people. It's the other way around, distros NEED good projects. If Nautilus is really so good (personally I don't like it but it looks neat) it'll survive, hehe, despite the lack of funding :P
  • Imagination is more important than knowledge.

Easel - worthwhile project (1)

william_henning (452447) | more than 12 years ago | (#220602)

I've been using Easel 0.9 under Mandrake 8 for a couple of weeks now. It is a very slick file manager, and I am glad to hear that development will continue. Suggestion: Maybe some FTP archives would be interested in becoming replacements for the "Software Catalog" Regards, Bill
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