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BSA Study Demonstrates Open Source's Economic Advantage

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the all-about-the-benjamins dept.

Open Source 87

jrepin writes "The fundamental premise of the latest Software Alliance study — that licensed, proprietary software is better in many ways than pirated copies — actually applies to open source software even more strongly, with the added virtues that the software is free to try, to use and to modify. That means the potential economic impact of free software is also even greater than that offered by both licensed and unlicensed proprietary software. It's yet another reason for governments around the world to promote the use of open source in their countries by everyone at every level."

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87 comments

Abbreviations (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43843127)

AC === Anus Correctus

I'm convinced (0, Troll)

Paul Slocum (598127) | about a year ago | (#43843177)

Switching to GIMP, my productivity is about to go through the roof!

Post Facto Economic Impact -- Not Productivity (4, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | about a year ago | (#43843245)

Switching to GIMP, my productivity is about to go through the roof!

It's not about productivity, it's about economic impact. The article is kind of tongue in cheek poking fun of BSA's erroneous numbers manipulation to show that "properly licensed software" contributes oh so much to the economy. For clear reasons, your switch to GIMP from (presumably) a proprietary software alternative wouldn't move you from one column to the other unless you were to somehow pirate GIMP. While pirating GIMP is possible, you'd like just install it legally by downloading it with references to the GPLv3 license. Whether or not you believe it, GIMP with a copy of the GPLv3 is actually properly licensed software -- putting it in the column of the nebulous cloud of software that the BSA claims inflates our world economy to staggering heights.

To try to quantify the "productivity" of GIMP versus something else like photoshop would likely be subjective, nebulous and not 1 to 1. This isn't about productivity, it's about piracy. The author is pointing out how much of the mad moneys comes from open source software and all but accuses the BSA of co-opting that figure to appear to be their own work.

Re:Post Facto Economic Impact -- Not Productivity (2)

unixisc (2429386) | about a year ago | (#43843331)

How does one pirate something that's already free to start w/? It is legal to download the copy w/o downloading the license as well - the latter only becomes relevant if the downloaded copy is being redistributed or sold.

I think that the clear challenger to FOSS is pirated proprietary software. Other than that, while people may be willing to pay for something like Windows (who knows for how much longer, though, depending on the availability of Windows 7), not too many would continue forking out cash for MS Office if there are alternatives like Google Office (the LO or OO offices are certainly not ready for most office usage, although they're probably adequate for personal use).

As far as the advantages of FOSS go, it's mainly one - the TCO. Let's say you are one of those people who had Alphaservers in your company running OVMS - you're either hosed, or at the tender mercies of HP - like being forced to buy Itanic servers. If OTOH the company was running, say, Linux on Itanium, the fact that even Linux companies have dropped Itanic support doesn't hurt, since the company has the source code and can have its IT department maintain that, and even migrate that to something else when the time arrives.

However, other claimed advantages, such as the 'million pairs of eyes', are just not there, since the only people who audit code are those interested in it in the first place.

Re:Post Facto Economic Impact -- Not Productivity (4, Informative)

icebike (68054) | about a year ago | (#43843429)

not too many would continue forking out cash for MS Office if there are alternatives like Google Office (the LO or OO offices are certainly not ready for most office usage, although they're probably adequate for personal use).

[citation needed]

The number of companies what have switched entirely to LO and/or OO while continuing to run Windows is astounding. Its more than good enough to handle "most office usage". I know of entire companies that switched cold turkey, with servers full of MS Word/Excel documents. They had a problem with less than 50 documents out of hundreds of thousands dating back 20 years. Those that failed were old and broken MS Office spread sheets, which turned out to be broken in Excel as well.

LO gets document conversion correct far more often than Google Office.

The phrase "Certainly not ready" suggests your analysis is done to the same standards as the BSA.

Re:Post Facto Economic Impact -- Not Productivity (4, Insightful)

Ferzerp (83619) | about a year ago | (#43843665)

It's funny that you call someone out with "[citation needed]" and then start making claims that you aren't backing with a shred of evidence either.

Re:Post Facto Economic Impact -- Not Productivity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43844689)

It's funny that you call someone out with "[citation needed]" and then start making claims that you aren't backing with a shred of evidence either.

It's annoying, but not as bad as the people who write "[citation needed]" to obvious statements, like "rain is wet". You can't really find citations for some things that are so obvious even a dog knows them.

Re:Post Facto Economic Impact -- Not Productivity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43844123)

Surely you can name just half a dozen companies whose user base comprises more than, say 200 people, that have switched entirely, then?

I mean, since you're so keen on citations, right?

Re:Post Facto Economic Impact -- Not Productivity (4, Informative)

icebike (68054) | about a year ago | (#43844247)

Surely you can name just half a dozen companies whose user base comprises more than, say 200 people, that have switched entirely, then?

I mean, since you're so keen on citations, right?

For the Google challenged:
http://wiki.openoffice.org/wiki/Major_OpenOffice.org_Deployments [openoffice.org]

Re: Post Facto Economic Impact -- Not Productivity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43845499)

I could help but notice that most of those organizations were schools, with governments filling in the rest. A more useful list would be *companies* that have chosen to use it.

Re: Post Facto Economic Impact -- Not Productivity (1)

icebike (68054) | about a year ago | (#43845703)

Are you sure you don't want to demand more specific sub set such that it can't possibly be fulfilled?
Maybe Israeli Companies of left handed users operating In Iran, or companies of over 250,000 employees in Nome Alaska or something?

Government document processing needs and docment interchange needs are not significantly different than
private business. If anything governments demand greater flexibility and accept documents from more diverse sources.

Re: Post Facto Economic Impact -- Not Productivity (1)

swisscheeseo (2005726) | about a year ago | (#43847021)

I could help but notice that most of those organizations were schools, with governments filling in the rest. A more useful list would be *companies* that have chosen to use it.

Did you actually read that list? The entire third section is labeled "Private Sector". Many of those are companies.

Re:Post Facto Economic Impact -- Not Productivity (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about a year ago | (#43844499)

No, when you're talking about OpenOffice, it's much more than just their Writer program, which is what the bulk of organizations you cited use. Calc and Impress would have to be at par w/ Excel & PowerPoint, which is certainly not the case, even if Writer is at par w/ Word. Most of the organizations you listed, such as governments, would be heavy users of word processors, and to a lesser extent, spreadsheets. And yeah, if that's all they do, things like OpenOffice or LibreOffice would definitely be adequate.

Re:Post Facto Economic Impact -- Not Productivity (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43844517)

Ok, I'll bite. Since early 2000s I've given OO a chance every now and than. Every single time it fails to do what I need it to do, and I just have to bite the bullet and give up.

People need their software to WORK. Like Firefox. Heck, even Thunderbird manages to get "most" of it right.
OO is just so bad it's not even funny. Everything takes 10x times slower, and then you find out it doesn't scale or doesn't work for like 50% of what you need it for.

Any program can accept a simple rich text field and clone some functionality. You've got to set your standards higher.

Re:Post Facto Economic Impact -- Not Productivity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43845491)

The number of companies what have switched entirely to LO and/or OO while continuing to run Windows is astounding.

Well, I'm glad someone can make use of LO or OO.

I certainly can't.

I'm one of the few Linux guys in my company, and every single company docx file I have tried so far looks like garbage in LO. My version of LO is no more than a few months old.

The thing that's so disheartening is how even the very simplest formatting features look wrong in LO. Indentation, margins, centering, and paragraph spacing should be the first thing that a word processor gets right. LO is still getting these basic things wrong.

I'm a huge cheerleader for FOSS, but the reality is that LO just can't be used as a drop-in replacement for MSO in the enterprise. Our company is very ordinary -- we use Office 2010 and docx/xlsx for pretty much everything, like a large majority of the corporate world does.

The phrase "Certainly not ready" suggests your analysis is done to the same standards as the BSA.

In my case, my analysis was done using my standards, using a random sampling of docx files that I use every day.

I open the docx file in LO, look at it, and I spot dozens of simple formatting oddities. I wouldn't dare save the file in LO for fear of what a MSO user would see afterward.

It gives me no joy to report this. This is a sad, sad state of affairs. But we have to make an honest assessment if we're going to make progress with FOSS in the enterprise.

Re:Post Facto Economic Impact -- Not Productivity (1)

readingaccount (2909349) | about a year ago | (#43846743)

Indeed. I've tried time and time again to test the practical application of LibreOffice and OpenOffice in corpoate use on many occasions, always make sure to use the latest releases at each time of testing. But I've always come across incompatibilities, missing functionality and just plain awkwardness in their user interfaces which make me quickly miss Microsoft Office.

At this point I've given up feeling sad. Feeling sad if after so many years, incompatibilities are still a problem, is too much wasted emotional energy. I'm the go-to guy for a lot of Linux things at my company, and yet I'm still preferring to use Windows and Office most of the time simply because it fucking works.

Re:Post Facto Economic Impact -- Not Productivity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43847023)

For my business it was the opposite. We paid for Office and try as I might, Microsoft office could not accommodate large documents, integration with spreadsheets, or perform updates on documents with scripts. The inability to extend word and excel using VBA required learning way too much about the quirks of both, where OpenOffice was fairly straight forward for both programs. Calc has saved us numerous times due to the strange formatting of data in Excel or hidden bugs in the processing engine.
I used OpenOffice because it simply works, Microsoft just couldnt cut it.
Are you sure you aren't just accustomed to MS office and therefore its your preference?

Re:Post Facto Economic Impact -- Not Productivity (1)

readingaccount (2909349) | about a year ago | (#43847221)

I don't see how being accustomed to MS Office has any connection to LibreOffice/OpenOffice's failure to properly handle MS Office formats. If it munges up the file outside of MS Office, it's useless.

I do prefer MS Office because the many many years of iterations and the extremely massive userbase compared to OO/LO definitely shows. Having said that, I'm flexible. I can use LibreOffice just fine, even if it's a bit incapable at times (heck, until the very recently release beta of LO 4.1, you couldn't even rotate images within the Writer word processor!). But its limitations and lack of polish, coupled with the lack of strong compatability with the defacto MS Office formats, signifiantly reduces its viability.

About the only advantages LO has to MS Office is it's free and works on Linux. I've lost faith in the quality of Linux distributions and so don't bother with it much anymore for desktop/laptop use, and the free bit is irrelevant because companies can afford MS Office (it's a sunk cost for most) and it doesn't cost much when spread over time.

I have yet to see anyone in my country (Australia) give a toss about moving to anything other than MS Office.

Re:Post Facto Economic Impact -- Not Productivity (1)

readingaccount (2909349) | about a year ago | (#43846773)

That's nice.

I've had .docx files which I've loaded in the latest versions of LibreOffice, resaved without making any changes, and finding line spacings and a few other oddities show up when reloaded in either LO or Office 2010. I simply cannot trust LibreOffice (or OpenOffice) anymore when it comes down to the crunch. If you're going to be dealing with MS Office documents, for the sake of your own stress levels as well as avoiding troubles later, just fucking buy MS Office and live in peace. Such is the way of the world.

Re:Post Facto Economic Impact -- Not Productivity (1, Insightful)

mark-t (151149) | about a year ago | (#43844091)

How does one pirate something that's already free to start w/? It is legal to download the copy w/o downloading the license as well - the latter only becomes relevant if the downloaded copy is being redistributed or sold.

Actually no.

Since where you downloaded it from was, by virtue of the license, obligated to provide you with a copy of the license when you download the work, a gplv3 product without the license is an infringing one. You would not be guilty of infringing on copyright directly, but would nonetheless still possess an infringing copy, and it's not inconceivable to be held accountable for that. Although the defense of not actually realizing that it was infringing could well remove any immediate consequence, you would have to either immediately correct the issue of not having an infringing copy or else be found to be knowingly in possession of such a copy, which can and often is still legally actionable, even if you did not personally make that copy.

Re:Post Facto Economic Impact -- Not Productivity (1)

bmo (77928) | about a year ago | (#43844817)

This is the most twisted so-called "logic" that I've read all month.

I have only one word to say to you.

"Wut."

--
BMO

Re:Post Facto Economic Impact -- Not Productivity (1)

suutar (1860506) | about a year ago | (#43845551)

having the license in the same directory is, afaik, compliant, even if I don't download it. Not so?

Re:Post Facto Economic Impact -- Not Productivity (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a year ago | (#43846289)

Yes, but only because at that point it's indistinguishable that you didn't get the license with the software.

Re:Post Facto Economic Impact -- Not Productivity (1)

suutar (1860506) | about a year ago | (#43852055)

but you said it wasn't legal to download the copy without downloading the license. I'm confused. Are you saying it's legal because nobody can tell I didn't bother to download it, or were you previously assuming that the distributor was not actually making the license available?

Re:Post Facto Economic Impact -- Not Productivity (1)

suutar (1860506) | about a year ago | (#43852075)

oh, I think I understand. I think you thought I was saying "once I've got the software and license, I'm compliant" when what I meant to be saying is "if the distributor has the license in the same place as the tarball, he's compliant".

Re:Post Facto Economic Impact -- Not Productivity (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a year ago | (#43853593)

I'm suggesting that while it would have technically been an infringing copy, with a license in the same directory on your own machine at the program, there's no way to tell that you didn't actually download it with the program in the first place.

It's sort of like how finding money on the street and keeping it may technically be stealing, but there's absolutely nothing that anybody can practically do about it unless the person who dropped it is still right there. ever hope to do about it unless the person who dropped it (presumably unintentionally) actually saw you pick it up.

Re:Post Facto Economic Impact -- Not Productivity (1)

exomondo (1725132) | about a year ago | (#43845315)

I think that the clear challenger to FOSS is pirated proprietary software.

These days I would think it is more likely 'cloud' software, with more and more software running just a client in the browser (and compiling software to javascript - which ends up as a confusing thing for OSS licenses as Javascript is source code) users are running less software from their own systems. Web-based email, storage, office suites, video conferencing, social networking, etc... are all effectively non-free programs that the user has no control over, the free software movement now has to somehow make a case for that now too, though most of it to date has been around fear-mongering (corporations stealing and locking up your data, which is of course mitigated by syncing to a local backup every now and then) rather than practicality unfortunately, I doubt many people are going to be willing to run and expose their own server with all these applications hosted so they can access them on the go.

Re:I'm convinced (4, Funny)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year ago | (#43843255)

Actually, I see switching from Photoshop to the GIMP to be a productivity killer. You'll be using all that extra money on new time-consuming hobbies like a new boat to take fishing, new golf clubs for those sunny afternoons, new hookers for those lonely nights, a new wife when the old one finds the golf clubs...

Re:I'm convinced (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43843305)

not to mention pay for medical bills once the wife finds the golf clubs and your hookers.

Re:I'm convinced (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year ago | (#43843351)

LOL, just get your wife interested in golf, it worked for me.

Now she's the one asking if we're golfing tonight, and the weekend golfing is a given.

Can't help you with the hookers or the fishing boat though. You're on your own there.

Re:I'm convinced (1)

socrplayr813 (1372733) | about a year ago | (#43843643)

I know you're not being entirely serious, but for some of us, half the point of a hobby like golf is to break away from the wife and responsibilities.

Re:I'm convinced (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year ago | (#43843743)

Oh, I was being entirely serious, but I do understand your point.

My wife and I actually play golf together anywhere between 2 and 7 times/week, and usually with friends. It's how we both get away for a break from stuff, see some of our buddies, and is a major influence on our vacations.

But it also means that while some of our friends need to check with the wife or can't play some of the time, both of us want to get out golfing as often as time allows.

Sometimes, having a hobby with the wife is a good choice as well.

Re:I'm convinced (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43844149)

You see, most slashdotters have to settle. And so they end up married to someone they don't really like, but who has low enough self esteem that she's willing to let the slashdotter paw at her nether regions for 15 minutes twice a week.

Those of us lucky enough to have a wife we actually enjoy spending time with and actually WANT to spend time with will never understand it, really.

Re:I'm convinced (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43845879)

married to someone they don't really like, but who has low enough self esteem that she's willing to let them paw at her nether regions for 15 minutes twice a week.

The premise of just about every family sit com.

Re:I'm convinced (1)

socrplayr813 (1372733) | about a year ago | (#43849599)

I shouldn't respond to a troll AC, but I want to say two things:

1. People should never settle. If they're not finding the right one, that's unfortunate, but they'll never be truly happy if they settle.
2. I've spent quite a bit of time studying people and personality types. There's a ton of variation in personalities that a lot of people don't even know exist. I'd like to think it's just because they don't know to look for it, but I suspect it's more that they can't imagine that everyone isn't like them or possibly even think that there's something wrong with people that are different. More introverted and/or inwardly focused people sometimes need time to themselves. It literally drains energy having to deal with people. Dealing with friends and family drains less energy than dealing with strangers, but it can still be a drain. It doesn't mean we love our families any less.

It took me longer than I expected to find my fiancee, but it eventually happened and we're both very happy. We go hiking and backpacking together on a regular basis. We've coached and still play soccer together. We have intelligent discussions that I've rarely been able to have with other people. That said, I still occasionally disappear into my office to play a game, read, or fiddle with my gadgets. I need that time to recharge, as does my fiancee.

Re:I'm convinced (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43843313)

I spend the money I saved from GIMP on a trip to the doctor after banging my head against the desk over-and-over again. Now I'm eligible for special olympics! Yay!!

Re:I'm convinced (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43843567)

I had 1 problem, then I used the GIMP to solve it, and now I have 99.

We present you a new quest (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#43844525)

I had 1 problem, then I used the GIMP to solve it, and now I have 99.

Assuming that a bitch ain't one, congratulations on the new responsibilities that have been given to you after you have demonstrated your ability.

Re:I'm convinced (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43843411)

Using the gimp hasn't increased my productivity (a man my age can only have 4 or 5 orgasms a day) but he has increased my enjoyment.

Re:I'm convinced (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43843715)

So, you're saying that you're into masochism?

Sarcasm is the Lowest Form of Wit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43843563)

n/t

Re:I'm convinced (1)

jopsen (885607) | about a year ago | (#43844081)

Switching to GIMP, my productivity is about to go through the roof!

Hmm... If you script everything in Python, that might actually be possible... Would be interesting to try...

Re:I'm convinced (1)

silviuc (676999) | about a year ago | (#43844453)

Uh huh, every government clerk uses Photoshop and other highly specialized software to do his/her day to day job.

Re:I'm convinced (1)

exomondo (1725132) | about a year ago | (#43845339)

Uh huh, every government clerk uses Photoshop and other highly specialized software to do his/her day to day job.

What do government clerks have to do with anything?

Can't go there (4, Insightful)

onyxruby (118189) | about a year ago | (#43843195)

Sorry, just because the message is one that some might like I can't get past the messenger. The BSA has spent decades lying to the public and politicians and using math that would never pass muster in any college in the developed world. They have lost any and all possible credibility they could ever possibly have, especially when it comes to on of their 'reports'.

I'm sure this will offend a lot of people here that are open source fans who would love to cite this. However I'm not about to become a hypocrite and give them credibility now just because they are saying something more palatable.

Re:Can't go there (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year ago | (#43843225)

I think in this case, people are pointing out their conclusions also apply to free software.

I don't believe the BSA is suddenly saying free software is good for the economy, that's someone else's conclusions.

Re:Can't go there (2)

frinkster (149158) | about a year ago | (#43843399)

I think in this case, people are pointing out their conclusions also apply to free software.

I don't believe the BSA is suddenly saying free software is good for the economy, that's someone else's conclusions.

Software is good for the economy, whether it is free or not. When it comes to businesses (the B in BSA), no software is without cost. Businesses buy support contracts and some may even pay third parties for training. The support contracts in particular pay for a lot of free software development.

Re:Can't go there (3, Insightful)

whoever57 (658626) | about a year ago | (#43843283)

Sorry, just because the message is one that some might like I can't get past the messenger.

In this case, the messenger is someone with degrees in mathematics pointing out how flawed the BSA's figures are. So you might find it interesting to go there.

Just for fun, agreeing with them will (1)

crovira (10242) | about a year ago | (#43845201)

make them disappear faster.

FOSS fundamentally negates the need for a BSA.

Re:Can't go there (2, Interesting)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about a year ago | (#43843299)

Actually the article basically says, "The BSA says non-pirated software is better, and Open Source Software isn't pirated, and it costs even less, so Open Source Software is a hell of a lot better!"

Re:Can't go there (1)

exomondo (1725132) | about a year ago | (#43845431)

Actually the article basically says, "The BSA says non-pirated software is better, and Open Source Software isn't pirated, and it costs even less, so Open Source Software is a hell of a lot better!"

That doesn't follow, just because something is cheaper doesn't make it better, not to mention that 'Free Software' is centered around Freedom not Free-of-charge yet many governments tout the license cost savings in monetary terms rather than any aspect of Freedom. The whole Free and Open Source Software movement is being sold on cost rather than what it was actually designed for so it's no wonder the software industry hasn't rushed to embrace it wholeheartedly, you can't sell it on being free of charge and the turn around and say 'oh but there are all these support and training costs associated with it because this is how the industry is funded'.

Re:Can't go there (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43844055)

Wow, what an amazingly stupid reply. You really think that the BSA actually endorses free software! My god the stupidity it blinds!

Re:Can't go there (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43844753)

I'll tell you the real fucking cost risk with dealing with commercial software.
It's the risk that you've violated some term in the byzantine 40,000 page licensing agreement and the BSA decides to audit you. Read up on Microsoft enterprise/volume licensing sometime. No, you will not get in to that without a paid consultant. No. You won't.

Point is, for the privilege of paying for commercial software the BSA can, whenever they like, decide that you owe them more money.

Nothing, nothing is more satisfying than telling some pencil dick software goon "We're an OOS shop. Sit an spin"

Holder-Felt-Remorse-over-FNC-James-Rosen-Subpoena (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43843213)

http://www.breitbart.com/InstaBlog/2013/05/28/Report-Holder-Felt-Remorse-over-FNC-James-Rosen-Subpoena

Aides reportedly told the publication that Holder felt "a creeping sense of personal remorse" upon reading the affidavit obtained by the WaPo describing Rosen as "at the very least ... an aider, abettor and/or co-conspirator." I guess Holder didn't feel a little uncomfortable when he actually signed the search warrant to obtain the communications of a journalist.

Aides explained Holder's behavior:

        There may also be a cultural factor at the root of his decision. Prosecutors tend to have a somewhat insular mindset, not always able to see clearly beyond the walls of their cases. They are often dogged investigators, trained to vacuum up as much evidence as possible to sustain convictions in courts of law. That sometimes means taking maximum advantage of every law and procedural rule. It also can mean seeing every activity of those in their sights through a more sinister lens than may be justified.

It must be a very selective insularity.

Re:Holder-Felt-Remorse-over-FNC-James-Rosen-Subpoe (1)

larry bagina (561269) | about a year ago | (#43843491)

He didn't seem to care when the first judge denied his warrant. Or the second judge. It takes three judges to approve the warrant, they're breaking department guidelines, but he only feels remorse 4 years later when the truth slowly trickles out.

Re:Holder-Felt-Remorse-over-FNC-James-Rosen-Subpoe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43844421)

His remorse is definitely genuine.

He is remorseful that he got caught.

Re:Holder-Felt-Remorse-over-FNC-James-Rosen-Subpoe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43844897)

It also can mean seeing every activity of those in their sights through a more sinister lens than may be justified.

It must be a very selective insularity.

Selective? Ask the Innocence Project about how many innocent people prosecutors have knowingly railroaded. Then ask how many innocent people they just screwed up on. There's no "selective" about it, the DA doesn't run for office on the number of innocent people they let go.

Oh wait, the innocence project is a liberal institution devoted to setting proven criminals free, even if our prosecutors had to lie through their teeth to prove that they were criminals and keep lying for decades later to make sure nobody tests that bloody bandana or asks about what the little kid told the sheriff. I guess we can completely discount anything they have to say about DAs harassing innocent people and focus only on when they harass innocent people you like. If we ignore everyone else, then obviously they're selective!

In short support following the rules. (4, Interesting)

jellomizer (103300) | about a year ago | (#43843267)

In reality one should support anti-piracy and open source systems.
With the following understandings...
Some Software Projects can be better maintained and designed using a priority software model. Sometime to get it done, the incentive of money is the best way.
Some Software Projects can be done better with Open Source. The project is interesting enough to have enough supporters to keep it going.
There are some projects the license doesn't matter much.

These ideas are not really in conflict it is only pig headed nuts who try to make them seem that way. When choosing software there are a lot of factors to consider. Sometime those thousand dollar license fees, or the freedom to alter source code are least of your concern, compared to getting support, and hiring staff proficient in the software, or just general product quality.

However whatever license you choose for your software it is important that you try to follow it. If you have say a GNU license, you better make sure you don't accidentally let some of that code slip into your own product, by some naive developer or manager who think GNU = Public Domain. In the same vein you need to make sure your commercial license are equally maintained, as you have already weight the good and the bad and chosen your product and you should take what you expect.

Piracy of commercial software is bad, it is just as bad as taking a GNU product and relicensing it, without the appropriate permission. Making software take a lot of time and resources. Just to toss the software creators license aside, will only make things worse.

Re:In short support following the rules. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43843319)

Piracy of commercial software is bad

I disagree with your opinion that you stated as fact. You're too comical, as usual. I'm watching your bare snap.

Re:In short support following the rules. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43843345)

Piracy of commercial software is bad, it is just as bad as taking a GNU product and relicensing it, without the appropriate permission. Just to toss the software creators license aside, will only make things worse.

I disagree. Anything that speeds the demise of companies like Adobe, MS, Sony, Oracle & EA while slightly negative in the short term will have more positive benefits in the long term.

Making software take a lot of time and resources.

So does making money and giving any of it to companies that repeatedly screw their customers is immoral.

Re:In short support following the rules. (3, Informative)

icebike (68054) | about a year ago | (#43843655)

Anything that speeds the demise of companies like Adobe, MS, Sony, Oracle & EA

Some people misbehave. So lets condemn all people.

There is simply not enough demand for some specialized software to support development a free software approach. Somebody has to feed, clothe and shelter the guy(s) taking 6 months of their lives to write, debug and test the code for your new air-stream continuous sample monitoring gizmo (or whatever).

Re:In short support following the rules. (1)

readingaccount (2909349) | about a year ago | (#43846715)

Indeed. And besides - companies like Adobe and MS are responsible for producing some of the best-tier software of various categories in the world (Photoshop/Creative Suite and Visual Studio/Office respectively). I'd rather they didn't demise if it meant regressing significantly by going to whatever's second best.

Re:In short support following the rules. FUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43843451)

These ideas are not really in conflict it is only pig headed nuts who try to make them seem that way. When choosing software there are a lot of factors to consider. Sometime those thousand dollar license fees, or the freedom to alter source code are least of your concern, compared to getting support, and hiring staff proficient in the software, or just general product quality.

So are you saying 'Get the Facts' or is it 'Total Cost of Ownership'? Either way this reads like a 'logical discussion of open source vs proprietary software' with a thinly veiled 'proprietary wins the day' conclusion.

Why don't you spell it out without the spin. What you're really saying is GNU is a boogy man that's going to get you and your children in your sleep because your developers are too dumb to know better. But that would just sound blatantly one sided, wouldn't it?

FUD

Why Goverenments (2)

STRICQ (634164) | about a year ago | (#43843303)

My question to the submitter is, why must the government do the promotion? In what way does this have any relation to the daily lives of citizens and businesses?

Re:Why Goverenments (4, Insightful)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about a year ago | (#43843391)

Because Governments are supposed to be stewards for the country. They should be looking at the _long_ term. By setting a good example they show that they actually give a dam about spending efficiently instead of justifying mercenary assassination for "things" such as oil, power, control, etc.

There is a reason we have _standards_ in the first place: So we don't force everyone to keep wasting energy re-inventing the wheel. Open Source has it own set of problems (usually poor documentation) but the ROI on it is a major advantage when governments routinely spend other people's money. For using software that follows the standards we keep the vendor's implementation honest, and the money normally spent on licensing can be instead spent on hardware + people.

Open Source _can_ make good business sense. By having governments use it whenever possible it "legitimizes" / removes the stigma from OSS. How long did it take Microsoft to wean off Hotmail off FreeBSD ?

There are a lot of good OSS based on technical code quality. Of course there is also a lot of crap. But at least the difference is one can do a code audit and literally SEE the bugs in the code in contradistinction to closed source where you have no idea what kind of data they are selling behing the scenes.

Re:Why Goverenments (2)

jbmartin6 (1232050) | about a year ago | (#43843679)

Opinions differ as to what governments are supposed to be. Some, for instance, might claim that government are instituted among humans to safeguard certain inalienable rights.

Re:Why Goverenments (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about a year ago | (#43853975)

Yup - agree 100% !

Sadly, most people have forgotten the in-a-lien-able part, that is, not able to place a lien against basic fundamentals.

Re:Why Goverenments (1)

Bengie (1121981) | about a year ago | (#43843727)

The problem is GPL. Linux is popular. Yes, the government is big enough that they could issue their own fixes, but any work that the government does MUST be compatible with public domain because it is tax payer money paying for that work. Guess what, GPL is not compatible. MIT/BSD/etc are.

Want the government to use OpenSource, get rid of the restrictions on GPL.

There are so many government funded research projects that start on BSD/etc because of the GPL restrictions. I guess that's helping BSD.

Re:Why Goverenments (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43843913)

This patches (the improvements) can be issued as public domain, the combination (with the original code) remains GPL. And, there is no problem using GPL code. Is this not clear?

Re:Why Goverenments (1)

Bengie (1121981) | about a year ago | (#43844487)

Modifications to GPL must remain GPL, so unless the government is not working with GPL code, how could they know how to create the patch in the first place?

Re:Why Goverenments (1)

Xtifr (1323) | about a year ago | (#43847195)

Modifications to a GPL-licensed program must be released under terms that allow the modified work as a whole continue to be licensed under the GPL. Any GPL-compatible license makes this possible, including the public domain.

Re:Why Goverenments (1)

Bengie (1121981) | about a year ago | (#43849739)

When someone makes a branch, does some changes, then submits the diff via git, what license is that patch under? I assume that git doesn't explicitly attach a licence agreement to every diff submitted.

Then that begs the question. If by default, all patches do not have a licence, are they assumed to be public domain? Assuming all of these patches are public domain, if I take enough patches going back far enough, I will have pretty much the entire source-code. This means I could just aggregate the patches together and claim the program is public domain.

Sounds like a very slippery slope.

Re:Why Goverenments (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43847045)

Not an issue:

Can the US Government release improvements to a GPL-covered program? (#GPLUSGovAdd)
Yes. If the improvements are written by US government employees in the course of their employment, then the improvements are in the public domain. However, the improved version, as a whole, is still covered by the GNU GPL. There is no problem in this situation.

If the US government uses contractors to do the job, then the improvements themselves can be GPL-covered.

Re:Why Goverenments (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43844215)

Why must the government do the promotion?

Because it's so much easier and efficient to seize the machinery of government to force other people to stop doing something you find distasteful, rather than educate and engage your fellow citizens in an attempt to persuade them that your alternative is actually better, and demonstrate it by starting your own business that lives by your principles.

Why do all that work, when you can just force people to comply under threat of incarceration?

hardly (2)

CAIMLAS (41445) | about a year ago | (#43843421)

While I do not disagree, in principle, with the conclusion in OP, you can hardly trust the conclusion of something the BSA publishes - which is less of a study than it is an argument for software licensing made up after the conclusion was reached to support their point.

uh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43843469)

two economists are walking down a street
E1: look , there is a 20 dollar bill on the sidewalk!!! lets pick itup

E2: don't bother, if it were a real 20, someone would have already picked it up

there is a lot of wisdom there; if open source is really better, how come the market hasn't adopted it wholesale ?
you can whine about how SAP ORACALE MS etc have vested interest, but that doesn' really answer the question

Re:uh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43845489)

It really has in many important areas. In other areas, it has not. I don't think you can make a blanket statement about weather or not "open source" has been adopted whole sale.

Its like the situation with the Economists you presented, but the $20 bill is actually a picture of a blond haired blue eyed person.

E1: Wow look at how many people are blond and blue eyed!
E2: If everyone was blond and blue eyed, they would make pictures of themselves, Obviously no one is blond and blue eyed.

It's about liability and responsibility of fault (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43843569)

Commercial software offers someone to pin liability claims against if there are problems and loss incurred as a result. Open Source basically turns that around and make it the user's responsibility. Hey, you had the source code, why didn't you look at it? From a business perspective, it's easier to be able to have a vendor to blame and sue for software issues than for the business to say that we'll take responsibility for adoption and use of said software and take on any liability from such use.

it's similar to the "no one ever got fired for buying from x" mentality.

If you must blame someone, blame the lawyers and our litigious society.

Re:It's about liability and responsibility of faul (5, Insightful)

Todd Knarr (15451) | about a year ago | (#43843709)

How does commercial software give you anyone to pin liability on? All of it that I've seen either disclaims liability entirely or limits liability to refunding your money (even from major vendors like Oracle it reads like "if it breaks, you get to keep both pieces"). You definitely won't be able to hold the vendor liable for the cost of lost business due to the failure of their software. Sure it gives you someone to blame, but you're still left holding the bag when it comes to the actual money the failure cost you. At least with open-source software, if the failure's bad enough the business can put it's own resources to work fixing it. Contrast that with commercial software where the business has no choice but to sit and wait for the vendor to decide the problem's important enough for the vendor to fix it.

Re:It's about liability and responsibility of faul (4, Interesting)

mlts (1038732) | about a year ago | (#43844019)

This is not a knock against the quality of F/OSS. However, I can take a piece of commercial software and show auditors that it is FIPS or Common Criteria certified, which is important for the legal eagles, especially with regs like Sarbanes-Oxley, FERPA, PCI-DSS, and other items.

Say something like a downed production machine or a security breach causes an audit, and the bug that caused it was within the OS or application:

Scenario 1: The software is shown to be commercial, with the pretty ribbons showing it was certified (AES library is officially certified by NIST), etc. Logs were shown that updates were pushed out on schedule, and that there was an IDS/IPS system in place. The auditors find that shit happens, due diligence was done, and head home.

Scenario 2: The software used is solid, but doesn't have the certifications. Even proof of everything well maintained by IT, they go in and report findings that it was "from an untrusted/unknown vendor with an unknown security reputation". Then someone gets sacked because something has to be done or else the company may lose its ability to process credit cards or have the SEC step in.

These certifications have nothing to do with the software's actual security. However, there is a big difference between secure in the eyes of the law and the auditors (CYA), versus actual security.

This is the same exact reason why antivirus software goes on the Solaris, Linux, and AIX machines... not because they will get infected, but so the legal department can tick a check box saying that "all servers have AV software present."

Re:It's about liability and responsibility of faul (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43844707)

Yet those certifications continue to be respected despite failing people multiple times.

Re:It's about liability and responsibility of faul (1)

stephanruby (542433) | about a year ago | (#43846639)

This is not a knock against the quality of F/OSS. However, I can take a piece of commercial software and show auditors that it is FIPS or Common Criteria certified, which is important for the legal eagles, especially with regs like Sarbanes-Oxley, FERPA, PCI-DSS, and other items.

This is a super silly argument.

Certification of F/OSS happens quite frequently. It's in fact often easier to certify a F/OSS project than a proprietary project because the certification process usually demands full access to the source code (that the original vendor may not even be able to grant access to, since his own software may be depending on other proprietary software library binary blobs under the hood).

Also, F/OSS can be "commercial" software, just like proprietary software can be "freeware". And it's equally correct to assume that a person can get fired if he chose a perfectly working unknown freeware proprietary solution with no certification backed by a one-man team over a well-known heavily used F/OSS commercial solution backed by a large company with certifications up the wazzoo.

Boy Scouts of America? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43844065)

First they're allowing gays, now they're looking into free software... the Tea Party is really gonna flip out now.

No surprise $95 annual fee like Sketchup 2013 (0)

WillAdams (45638) | about a year ago | (#43844167)

Surprised this is going over so quietly, the new ``Free'' version of SketchUp is prohibited from commercial use:

http://sketchup.com/license/b/sketchup-make [sketchup.com]

>Trimble Navigation Limited and/or its affiliates (“Trimble”) gives you a personal,
>worldwide, royalty-free, non-assignable and non-exclusive license to use the
>executable version of the Software for non-commercial use only. Non-commercial
>use means: you may not sell, rent, lease or lend the output of the Software or
>the Services. If you are a for-profit organization of any kind, or an employee
>of a for-profit organization using the Software or Services in that capacity,
>you are engaged in commercial activity; therefore, in order to use the Software
>and Services, you must purchase a SketchUp Pro license.

I suppose if one makes something for one's home w/ it, then has to move and sells the item in a garage sale one is guilty of a thought-crime?

Wonder how that'll hold up in court.

The BSA study will be seen as true (2)

Alain Williams (2972) | about a year ago | (#43845843)

Most of the pointy haired types and politicians who will be shown the BSA study will never read past the Executive Summary on page 1, many will not even do that and will just look at the difference in height of the blue and brown bars labeled $53 Billion Additional Value. There are a few pages with impressive phrases like Macroeconomic Analysis and tables with lots of numbers -- so it must all be well researched and thus true.

Glyn Moody -- who is he ? Do they read technical articles ?

The important readers are the politicians; protecting against piracy is obviously the right thing to do ... and for those not convinced a donation to a favoured cause will help convince that the guys showing the report are sincere.

My point is that if you think that a detailed deconstruction of the study is the right way to expose this: then you are deluded. Properly presented reports showing the other case is a better way - but much harder since OSS does not have the money to ensure that the correct message is understood. Not impossible: just harder.

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