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CIOs Band Together Against Paying For Software Bugs

Hemos posted more than 12 years ago | from the just-make-it-run dept.

The Almighty Buck 361

gmerideth writes: "This article over at cio.com interviews several CIO's who are sick and tired of spending billions every year on software upgrades simply because the creater tells them to upgrade as they wont support previous versions or they get stuck into lengthy, costly licenses. Quoted from the article "Other companies, such as Ameritrade Holding, are opting for open-source technologies such as the GNU and Linux operating systems, the Apache Web server and Sendmail e-mail.". It's glad to see the open source movement doing it's job."

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361 comments

learn to spell! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2437510)

learn to spell check your srticles moron!

Re:learn to spell! (-1)

Sunken Kursk (518450) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437559)

learn to spell check your srticles moron

Haha! Moron! Open mouth, insert foot. Want some mayo?

By the way, log in next time. This FP is now mine. Senator Thurmond, would you like this one?

Re:learn to spell! (-1)

TrollMan 5000 (454685) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437600)

Don't you just love those AC's? It's like shooting fish in a barrel.

Such pushovers!

Re:learn to spell! (-1)

Sunken Kursk (518450) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437628)

They make life worth living.

Whoops, it's beer that makes life worth living. My bad

Yeah, I guess ACs are alright. Good for an occasional laugh.

Re:learn to spell! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2437639)

I've been bitchslapped by Taco and his henchfags, so I have to post AC.

--The Turd Report

Re:learn to spell! (-1)

TrollMan 5000 (454685) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437655)

Only 72 hours, and then we'll have our daily dose of your turds, without interruption. It'll be worth it.

Re:learn to spell! (-1)

Sunken Kursk (518450) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437671)

Dude, that sucks. Enough down-mods on the AC account and you're going to be IP banned...

See you Friday man. It's been great!

Re:learn to spell! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2437702)

I think my post about Taco and Katz getting stuck in a '69' pushed them over the edge. Must have hit a nerve there, or something.

Re:learn to spell! (-1)

TrollMan 5000 (454685) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437642)

What happend? My Troll Tuesday journal is not logging any entries. Could all the trolls have gone home already?

Re:learn to spell! (-1)

Sunken Kursk (518450) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437653)

Today's not nearly the same as last week. Several major trolls never reported for duty. I haven't seen a spork all day!

Furst? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2437514)

Troll Tuesday rules the earth!

-- Vlad (posting anonymously to preserve his precious 0 karma)

frist (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2437515)

psot

EL Gatos Supremos De Los Muertes (-1, Offtopic)

Cephas Keken (224723) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437517)


The Supreme Cats of death demand Free Software!

Philosophy of someone who is not a Dung Beetle (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2437519)

I wish I was a dung beetle.

Re:Philosophy of someone who is not a Dung Beetle (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2437538)

I was once a dung beetle, and because of this, I have the ability to make the right open source software decisions for my organization. We are:

TWWFDB-Those Who Were Formally Dung Beetles

Re:Philosophy of someone who is not a Dung Beetle (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2437553)

Read Kafka

Yeah, why pay? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2437525)

I can understand that. Why pay for bugs when you can get them for free!

eat it (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2437527)

you heard me.

ah.. fscking cowboy filter.

oh well.

W()()T!

thank heavens (1)

onepoint (301486) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437531)

I hope this works. It would be nice to see the end user winning.

-onepoint

Re:thank heavens (4, Insightful)

SilentChris (452960) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437624)

It's less the end user and more the IT manager. The user rarely, if ever, knows that a new upgrade will do the "trick".

Case in point: a user of ours was having difficulties saving extremely large PowerPoint presentations. We tried everything we could to get Office 2000 to corporate (including numerous MS Knowledge Base-suggested fixes). The end result: the only way we were going to fix it was to "upgrade" to Office XP.

Was there another solution? Sure. We could have kept the hacked registry keys and crossed our fingers. The user would have never known the difference. The problem here, though, is what is a "bug" and what's an honest-to-goodness limitation of the current version of the software.

Another point on that note: many of the limitations set aside by developers (in the number of pages a document can have in memory, the number of rows a spreadsheet can include) are forecasted not by them but the limitations of the current technology. Sure, if MS used a less pretty office assistant they can save a few megs for that spreadsheet. But the bottom line is, at the time, developers of older versions of software did not, or simply were not able to, think ahead.

Which leads once again to my question: what's a bug and what's a limitation? That will determine whether people will pay for an upgrade.

Shouldn't they have thought of this earlier? (2, Insightful)

Triode (127874) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437532)

I think that now they are tied into this "upgrading" so much that they are going to find it difficult to move away from it...

M$ being one of the primary instigators of this...
i.e. the older (M$app) x.x does not work with new (M$app) y.y.

Perhaps this is a chance for open source to shine.. upgrades are... FREE.

Re:Shouldn't they have thought of this earlier? (1)

Drakin (415182) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437583)

Well, in my experiance, it's more often the new that doesn't work with the old. Most MS programs have decent support for thier predicessor, but the standards they use change, and thus make the new incompatable withthe old.

Oh darn, I guess my 95 box didn't get the message (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2437602)

It's still working, with several MS apps even. I guess it didn't phone home and get the message to break everything. About the only thing it doesn't support is the new media player, but there are plug-ins for the old one to access all the new video formats.

I guess I didn't get the message that I HAVE to upgrade either. Darn.

Re:Shouldn't they have thought of this earlier? (1)

elmegil (12001) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437606)

OSS upgrade is free for media. It is no more free for integration and testing than CSS. And that's where the big costs frequently are.

Re:Shouldn't they have thought of this earlier? (3, Insightful)

plover (150551) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437670)

That stops being true after a certain point. And it's no less true for $$$ware than OSS.

You think we roll out MS Office 2K without investing a couple man-years of effort, testing installations on supported platforms, building SMS packages, preparing training programs, advertising, providing conversion from Office '95 files, etc.? No difference between MS and GNU there.

And you may think that these are the big costs. Multiply that by 7,000+ desktops in this corporation, and Office 2K license fees run into the millions. If the installation cost runs to $150,000 for various peoples' time, it's still peanuts to the licenses.

John

I'm impossibly lame... (-1, Offtopic)

Arben (528851) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437533)

but I had to take a chance at fping. Sorry. Prolly won't even get it, since I had to register and all. ::prepares to be modded down::

Planned Obsolescence (3, Insightful)

jason99si (131298) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437539)

Sounds like the software companies are sounding more and more like the electronics and automotive industry.

In the automotive industry, people are encouraged to dispose of their perfectly good cars due to new features on new models and increasing prices of replacement parts... although their car is perfectly fine.

I remember hearing something about GM phasing out model years on cars... but haven't heard anything since, they must have come to their senses.

Or how about when the knob breaks on your stereo and it costs as much to replace the knob as the stereo.

Consumer backlash? People still buy new cars and new stereos...

Re:Planned Obsolescence (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437676)

Actually cars last alot longer now than they did 10 years ago. In the early 90's and car made in the late 70's probably wasn't working. Now in the early 00's people still own several late 80's early 90's cars, that are easily getting over 150,000 miles. Now there are alot of people who are buying new cars every few years. But this is more of a matter of choice, and having too much money. Not the cars breaking down.

Re:Planned Obsolescence (5, Insightful)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437678)

Take your analogy another step: over the past 10-15 years, there has been a big push by auto makers to encourage customers to lease cars. After 2-4 years, return your old car, begin a lease on a new one.

Similarly, Microsoft is switching largely to this new leasing model.

And in both instances, it is for the same reasons: features are no longer improving. During the 50's, 60's, there were model year changes in autos each year. Look at the shoebox Chevy's (55-57) While having the same underpinnings, each year had different trim, a new look, etc. Flash forward to the 'new' shoebox Chevy, the '87-'93 Ford Mustang. Almost identical. Not even the cosmetic changes of the older models.

Now look at Microsoft: big difference between Win 3.1 and Win '95. Not so big to '98, not so big to ME...

There is no technological need to upgrade in either industry. So force a revenue stream by only renting the product.

(BTW, I hope and prey that Bob Lutz will help get GM in gear. I've never owned a GM, and while there is nothing inherently wrong with their product, there is no compelling reason to buy it. DCX really screwed up when they let him go.)

Re:Planned Obsolescence (2, Insightful)

pricedl (47059) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437724)

Well, there are a couple of differences. You can still buy a car, it's not like your choices are "lease or walk".

Plus, there's no such thing as a free car, as there is with free (as in beer) software. So MS is really shooting itself in the foot here. They push "lease or walk", and we fight back with "or Linux, or BSD, or HURD, etc..."

Re:Planned Obsolescence (1)

Red Moose (31712) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437690)

I would say that the car industry is different because a lot of the development is in say, looks. Now in GUIs, you can make any OS look like virtually any other (yes, Apple included!).

So while parts may increase in cost, it's fair enough because it's a specific part being built on an assembly line that requires work. Furthermore, you really don't ever need many parts replaced in a car.....you can still get parts for old Mustang's, Corvettes, etc., .

But, imagine if your old car STOPPED WORKING because a new version was out....that's the way Microsoft want computers to be (because they also assume that a computer is a singular item in the EULAs). There's a big difference because I can go out and buy and get parts for a 76 Continental, but the chances of getting Windows XP running in 3 years is unlikely (unless I never ever ever change the hardware and need it re-authenticated).

A lot of people *like* to change the car, because it may have nicer seats, may be bigger, a 4x4, faster, cool shape. But Windows, for all intents and purposes, is Windows. And the software that makes it "moderised" like DirectX upgrades, are all free anyway (e.g., IE as well).

Stereos? I might buy a new stereo, but my JVC Adagio from 1996 is doing just fine. It's not flashy, but it sounds awesome. People also don't really upgrade PCs because most of them aren't aware of the whole point being easy cheap upgrades like GFX card, etc., .

Phasing out models is one thing, but requiring that you stop using an older model because a newer one exists is purely a Microsoft invention.

Re:Planned Obsolescence (1)

JWW (79176) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437701)

One of my cars is eight years old, and thats not even considered very old for a car.

How many PC's do you have running on eight year old software?

Weird. (3, Insightful)

sulli (195030) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437540)

Here we have CIOs saying they want to pay subscription rates for software:

Fortunately, there are a host of alternative solutions on the horizon, and a growing number of CIOs are determined to make them a reality. They include renewable licensing agreements, in which CIOs purchase the right to use software for two to three years at about 85 percent of the cost of what they'd pay under a perpetual license. CIOs then have the option to renew the license at the end of the term if they're happy with the quality of the product and the support. Subscription licensing agreements are similar to renewable licenses, except the term is shorter, lasting about a year, and CIOs rent the software, as opposed to owning it.

Aren't they just playing into the hands of vendors who want to increase ongoing revenue for product they used to just sell once? I don't get it.

Re:Weird. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2437596)

The CIO's in favor of the subscription model think that if the software doesn't work, they can refust to pay the rest of their subscription or just switch to another product when their subscription is up.

The problem with the subscription model is you have a drop dead date. If you do not switch to another software package by the time your subscription runs out, you cannot continue to legally use the software. Furthermore, if you don't upgrade when the software vendor tells you to, you cannot continue to legally continue to use your current systems.

Imagine what would have happened to that CIO if his company couldn't meet payroll because oracle had forced them to upgrade to Oracle 11i which didn't work yet.

Re:Weird. (2)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437697)

If you buy a house, you have to fix the leaky sink. If you rent a house, the landlord has to fix it. I bet the CIOs are banking on a similar liability lying with Microsoft. IOW, M$'s standard disclaimer should carry less weight in a leasing situation.

It seems like a bit of a showdown, however. If the CIO owns the product, the only way M$ can get them to buy again is with new features or bugfixes. If the CIO has to keep paying to use it, there is no motivation for M$ to improve the product.

what is this? (-1)

robsmama (416178) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437542)

"It's glad to see the open source movement doing it's job."
lay of the crack please
losers
MOM

Fast Post (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2437543)

Hello, I am lame!

Dear CmdrTaco, suck onto my micropenis. Signed, Robert "HERE IN MY PANTS" Frost.

Financial difference? (1)

Quasar1999 (520073) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437548)

What difference does it make, you either pay for the closed source company to spoon feed you the latest bug fixes in their newer software, or you pay someone on your staff to stay up to date, and keep all your open source software up to date... End result you still have to pay lots of money to get the bug fixes. (Arguably, the bigger the company is, the more specialists it will need to pay salary, to keep up with the open source fixes...).

Ahem (1)

czardonic (526710) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437564)

On behalf of the OSS crowd:

SILENCE YOU FOOL!

Re:Financial difference? (1)

drzhivago (310144) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437565)

The difference is, that you are not at the mercy of an outside company to provide the fixes. You can fix it yourself. Provided the hired help is competent, the fixes can be implemented and deployed at a more rapid pace than when dealing with a software vendor.

Greg

Re:Financial difference? (2)

tim_maroney (239442) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437622)

You can fix it yourself.

Not on a project of any significant size, you can't. Sure, for something simple like Apache, you might be able to do it, but just try to get anyone but a superstar engineer up to speed for major fixes on something like gcc, Mozilla, the Linux kernel, or OpenOffice in less than a few weeks per project. Depending on where you live, a week of programmer time might be between $1000 and $3000+ burdened cost. Most contributors to projects of this size have made a lifestyle decision -- it's not a job for paid mercenaries.

Tim

Re:Financial difference? (2)

plover (150551) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437683)

Not true at all. A big (BIG) company can afford to keep a staff of those developers for less than the licensing cost (perpetual or short term.)

Not only that, but if those developers have a conscience, they could release their enhancements back to the OSS community.

John

Re:Financial difference? (2)

tim_maroney (239442) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437727)

Not true at all. A big (BIG) company can afford to keep a staff of those developers for less than the licensing cost (perpetual or short term.)

There is some break-even point there, to be sure, but as you note, it's only at a very large company size (and this is just for bug fixing, not other TCO factors like support and usability). My observation is true for most companies, all but the very largest.

Another exceptional case is when a smaller company primarily relies on only a single open source product of significant size, in which case it may be feasible to keep someone around to work specifically on that product. But in the imaginary OSS-dominated world, this would be the case for no one -- all companies would be dependent on multiple large OSS products.

Tim

Re:Financial difference? (1)

Ryan Amos (16972) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437594)

Heh, the size of the company doesn't dictate how many open source developers they have, the number of open source projects they use does. ;)

Re:Financial difference? (1)

frankmu (68782) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437601)

the other difference, as pointed out in "The Cathedral and the Bazaar" is that the open source people have the added benifit of thousands of people working on the same problem, making bugs easier to stamp out. the corporate world will (gasp) cooperate with each other for the common good.

Re:Financial difference? (2)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437730)

Let's not forget that while it seems that way, the corporate world is not a big homogenous mess. Why should GM or Bank of America care whether or not they help with a common... compiler or web server?

Unfortunately, many non-computer companies think that their computer projects are part of their core competencies.

So, what am I saying: there should be lots of companies willing to spend a few bucks for the OSS effort. But as long as the corporate managers do not understand their own business, it could be tough.

Jeez, not again. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2437550)

Here we go, yet another Open Source/Linux diatribe. Enjoy the delusions that open

source costs less...

go hug your penguins for comfort.

CIO Thought Process (1)

dghcasp (459766) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437555)

Yes, if I stop fattening some other company's profits by paying for upgrades, I can claim the savings and get an even bigger bonus.

Once again, follow the money...

OBNonCynical: It is good to see awareness moving up the corporate hierarchy - Previous large companies I worked for always seemed to have the local IS/IT people running apache and trying to keep the CIO from forcing them to run Netscape-Enterprise or IIS...

Dumbass comment (2)

sulli (195030) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437556)

When you buy software from a vendor, you can always turn to its help desk, however incompetent. With open source, you're on your own.

Hmmm, I guess the author never heard of the 100s of vendors selling OSS solutions? Maybe this is the "content" that PHBs read and get their weird ideas from.

Re:Dumbass comment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2437589)

Hey, keep your PHB comments on the Dilbert site, please. Over here, our morons-in-places-of- authority have names such as Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer, etc.

Not only the upgrades (3, Informative)

Green Aardvark House (523269) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437557)

The money that can be saved is not only in upgrades, but virus prevention as well.

The company I worked for wasted thousands of dollars when the Nimda virus struck. To a small business, this cost plus a day's worth of downtime can be a significant hit.

If we used the open-source alternative, we might have saved this money.

Sendmail!? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2437558)

Yeah, why pay for new bugs when you can get them for free?

Is Open Source the answer? (2, Troll)

UltraBot2K1 (320256) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437577)

From the article:
There are, of course, other reasons for all the bugs. IT professionals point to a whole litany of causes: bloatware, with all its useless bells and whistles; programmers working in isolation, blissfully ignorant of how people will ultimately be using their software on a daily basis; reusable components that may already contain bugs; an absence of agreed upon professional standards; and developers who take shortcuts to meet deadlines during development.


That could paragraph could describe the shoddy commercial software, but it could just as easily be describing Mozilla, KDE (or GNOME, to be fair), Emacs, TeX, or the RedHat Linux distro. Open source, by itself, can't solve shoddy software engineering practices.


This problem discussed in the article is better solved by the type of licensing model Microsoft plans to adopt: subscription software. That way, you always have the latest, least buggy version of the software you use without having to shell out for a new copy, and the corporation that writes the software is motivated to eliminate bugs, rather than leave them in so they can sell you the new version. This way, you have all the advantages of open source, yet you can take comfort in the fact that your software is written by professionals.

Re:Is Open Source the answer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2437656)

you always have the latest, least buggy version

Why would anyone in this day and age think the words latest and least buggy would ever go together.

Re:Is Open Source the answer? (2, Funny)

Ikari Gendo (202183) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437680)

...but it could just as easily be describing Mozilla, KDE (or GNOME, to be fair), Emacs, TeX, or the RedHat Linux distro.

And how many $2.56 checks do you have?

Re:Is Open Source the answer? (2)

prizog (42097) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437693)

"... the corporation that writes the software is motivated to eliminate bugs ..."

Why?
You have to pay for the software whether or not M$ has fixed enough bugs this month. Because you are locked into the file format, you have to keep paying. You can't refuse to upgrade until Microsoft fixes enough bugs - you're stuck.

Bug reduction? (1)

paul7e (17646) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437728)

>>> ...and the corporation that writes the software is motivated to eliminate bugs...

Umm, how exactly does the subscription model motivate them to eliminate bugs? They already have your money, and their business model assumes they will maintain monopoly status so you won't have anywhere else to go when your subscription is up - so how is there any more motivation under this business model?

Seems to me the only thing it increases is guaranteed cashflow and a more predictable revenue model for the corporation.

It's not like an HMO where if you come down with more bugs it costs them more for the treatment - in fact I think it's the opposite - the less they spend on bug fixing, the more of your subscription dollars they get to keep.

paul

Re:Is Open Source the answer? (2)

mblase (200735) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437729)

This problem discussed in the article is better solved by the type of licensing model Microsoft plans to adopt: subscription software. That way, you always have the latest, least buggy version of the software you use without having to shell out for a new copy, and the corporation that writes the software is motivated to eliminate bugs, rather than leave them in so they can sell you the new version.

On the other hand, just because you're entitled to the latest version of software doesn't mean your hardware will run it. You may buy a five-year subscription to Microsoft's Windows OS, but if your hardware three years down the road won't run it and Microsoft won't budge on compatability, you're still out of money. And worse yet, Microsoft now has even less reason to support old versions of its software. "We're giving you the latest version for your low, low subscription price! Take it or leave it."

This way, you have all the advantages of open source, yet you can take comfort in the fact that your software is written by professionals.

If I'm not mistaken, the majority of open source software out there is written by professionals. They're just not getting paid to write it.

The end result (1)

Ryan Amos (16972) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437578)

The end result of this, however, will likely not be widespread use of open source. It will probably just lead to better corporate licensing policies. Which isn't really a bad thing in iself, however.

It's glad? (-1, Offtopic)

Xzzy (111297) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437581)

> It's glad to see the open source movement doing it's job.

Hey cool, I didn't know that articles had taken a stance on OSS or not. I didn't even know articles were sentient.

software sales model change? (3, Insightful)

daoine (123140) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437582)

...own the software and the right to use it "in perpetuity." The problem with this model is that in reality, CIOs are lucky if they can get three years out of a product before vendors release entirely new versions of their software. Vendors further pressure CIOs to buy those new releases by threatening to stop supporting previous releases-a tactic they often take both to cut their tech support costs and to get CIOs to pay again and again for what is essentially the same product.

Microsoft's changing of its licensing practices has clearly pointed to a flaw in the software sales model -- in small doses, companies will put up with it because it's easier to maintain status quo than to radically change. However, companies are now looking at a tripled technology budget -- and they're looking seriously at how things are working.

They've figured out that some of it sucks.

The problem with the current software sales model is that it is impossible to tell the companies that will support and stand behind their product from those that will rake you over the coals. When companies have the ability to change their licensing agreements overnight, the consumer has no ability to chose the good from the bad.

The good thing from this: people might REALLY take open source seriously.

The bad thing: I think a lot of well-run, fair and supportive software companies are going to suffer because of the greed of the others.

Re:software sales model change? (1)

zoftie (195518) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437695)

what does it mean to me? More employment. I don't care if companies are forced to write unportable software, and then suffer. They could've went the other way and made it modular,and just invest a bit into software adjustments for "next great big fun software platform".

I have played around with linux for 5 years now, since 1.0 came out. Many here can boast compiling .95 probably as well. However, because people are really gonna be thinking what they will be spending money on... they will listen to techies. And to those who offer leaner cheaper software that runs on less hardware, and scales well. I think it is all for the better.

And who would have thought... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2437584)

While companies are beginning to adopt open source, other companies like VA Linux are moving as far from Open Source as they can get.

Corporate Acceptance (3, Insightful)

LazyDawg (519783) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437590)

While it is true Linux and other open source software will be successful as long as one person somewhere finds it useful, it is nice to finally see corporate acceptance of this software.

What does corporate acceptance mean? It means we have become cheaper to set up and maintain than the other options for the corporate world, those being Windows and MacOS.

Linux still has its original stability and low price tag, and there are now several versions of all the software that corporate customers formerly had to develop for.

Macintosh lost out to Windows in the corporate marketplace for the same reason so many companies are switching over to Linux now. Installing Windows on a pre-existing IBM DOS box is a lot cheaper, and there were more applications. We now have the same applications, possibly fewer in number, but lower in price, so companies are turning their head toward the other option.

Companies are predictable buggers. If you give them a cheaper option with the features they're looking for, they will jump on it. Every time. Linux developers only need to ask what those features are and include them in the core OS or surrounding software, and we'll enjoy even greater corporate acceptance.

Re:Corporate Acceptance (2)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437723)

Companies are predictable buggers. If you give them a cheaper option with the features they're looking for, they will jump on it. Every time. Linux developers only need to ask what those features are and include them in the core OS or surrounding software, and we'll enjoy even greater corporate acceptance.

Since when? Last time I checked, just about every corporation out there will buy a seething pile of dung costing $10 Mil. instead of the $1500 solution that the MIS/IT department has tested and recommended. After all, you get more for all that money, right?

Lameness and Corporations (1)

Renraku (518261) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437597)

Its kind of like the whole Batteries Not Included scam. Except it would be things like Stability Sacrificed If You X (where X is most actions). Why would you want to buy a new engine because Ford sold you a truck with an engine that barely works? Its quite stupid if you ask me. The BBB should step in and kick major ass. If you buy something, you've bought it, its yours. Maybe you don't have the right to rip off the design (or code as in software) and sell it to other people, but the ideas should be free to use. Now we have 10 billion commandments we have to follow just to play Solitare in relative peace. And we have to patch it two and a half billion times because the company didn't release a complete version, but a pre-alpha test program that sold for $500.00.

Why open source software can carry the day (1)

Fastball (91927) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437598)

And then it dawned on Seyk why the software and support were so bad: That's the way vendors make money. They push products on the market before they've been adequately tested, demand payment up front and then are often not available to deal with the sequelae of poorly performing products.

This is why open source software makes better business sense, and it should be heralded wall to wall, company to company. Print this article out and mail it to every company in your city/town/village. E-mail the link to formidable and small-time CIOs and CEOs.

We geeks can debate distributions, licensing issues, and window managers, but we have to come together when it comes to making open source software (of which most of us champion) viable to the corporate bottom line.

Re:Why open source software can carry the day (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437741)

This is the exact description of Legato and the NetWorker product. Operating and maintaining this "solution" makes one feel like the victim of an elaborate pyramid scheme....

Business doublespeak. (1)

ErikZ (55491) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437599)

Ok, now CIO's are in a bind due to the fact that the booming 90's are over with. The big magic pot of money that had been sitting in front of their desk for IT is now gone.

The old way of getting their software SUCKS. They spent a lot, and didn't get much, and now they can't afford to do that anymore. Sure, they say the words "Open source" but you'll notice that they go to extreme measure to stay with their current software providers. Hell, they're looking FOWARED to being soaked every year with a subscription service! "We can move if the service sucks." HA! You'll continue being the bitch and you'll LIKE it.

They'll switch to open source when they're forced to, and not a second sooner.

Re:Business doublespeak. (1)

sulli (195030) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437692)

Hell, they're looking FOWARED to being soaked every year with a subscription service! "We can move if the service sucks." HA! You'll continue being the bitch and you'll LIKE it.

Maybe because they measure their careers by the size of their budgets?

Some examples. (1)

sarkeizen (106737) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437608)

First of all I'd like to open with that "I Love OpenSource". It does for me practically out of the box what no commercial product does. For example I own a silly Mac only non-postscript deskwriter. With Linux and Samba and Atalkd my Windows and Macs can both print to it. SFM and other products like it only seem to support postscript printers.

Anyway that said, I notice that many people toss around the idea that OSS saves money. Now certianly it saves me money when I use Samba instead of shelling out for Win2K Server. However in a corporate environment (where you're probably going to buy a support contract anyway). Do the numbers really add up? ...or does it's simply balance out? Can anyone give some examples?

But the problem still remains... (2)

deander2 (26173) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437618)

Tech companies are EXPECTED to grow their business/revenues by 20-30% every year. That is feasable when you're starting out in a new market area, but is impossible in a mature market. The only way you can fake it is to gouge/cheat/lie/steal from your customers, and make them pay more every way you can.

This is good for the OSS community however. The more Oracle/Microsoft/etc squeeze to inflate their bottom line, the more people abandon ship and switch to OSS. The more people using OSS, the more people contribute to it. Knowledge is most useful when shared. As the history os science shows, the more you share information, the better we all become.

Re:But the problem still remains... (5, Funny)

dillon_rinker (17944) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437649)

The more Oracle/Microsoft/etc squeeze to inflate their bottom line, the more people abandon ship and switch to OS.

Ahem...

"The more Oracle/Microsoft/etc tighten the grip, the more systems will slip through their fingers."

Glut of "Programmers" != Better Code (2)

Baldrson (78598) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437620)

The glut of "programmers" on the market is leading some CIOs to think they can undo a generation of unprofessionalism in software -- but the materials with which they are working are now so incompetent they will have to go through another round of noise before they start to grasp reality. It could be a long time for these guys to wake up to reality... too long.

OT-Antrax Scare Extreme Anti-Aboritionist Group! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2437627)


go to plannedparenthood.com
do a google search on Daschle pro-choice
do a google search on Brokaw pro-choice

etc.etc.

While I admire their resolve... (3, Insightful)

mystery_bowler (472698) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437630)

I don't think this is going to stop companies from releasing software that has bugs in it.

I do believe that market rejection could place tremendous pressure on software vendors to put more effort into bug-testing their product thoroughly before it is used by the client. But bug-testing is a time and resource consuming affair. No software company, no matter how big and fat with cash can throw enough money at a product to make sure that every possible scenario is covered. It is only a matter of time before a bug (perhaps even a significant, critical one) is found.

But still, I appluad the efforts of anyone who is willing to tell their software vendor(s) to try harder to get it right. I sincerely hope this strategy will convince the software vendors that purposefully release broken products to stop assuming we'll upgrade when you release the "professional-special-app-of-the-year-gold-box" edition of the software just because this version fixes that nasty, data-ruining bug in the last version.

I think it's worth noting, though, that only one thing can truly lead to the elimination (or near-elimination) of software bugs: developing for a limited number of platforms/OSes. The more OS/hardware possibilities you bring into the picture, the more bugs you'll have. Guaranteed.

Of course, similar arguments could (and should) be a applied to the PC games industry, but that's another debate. :)

Re:While I admire their resolve... (3, Insightful)

dillon_rinker (17944) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437673)

I don't think this is going to stop companies from releasing software that has bugs in it.

I don't think anyone (except PHBs) truly believe it will; I don't even think it can. Software is inherently buggy unless you pay orders of magnitude more than you can afford to (good, fast, cheap)

What CAN happen is that vendors be forced away from saying "This is a known issue. This is fixed in the next version of Product X." In other words, force vendors to provide free bug fixes. Perhaps EULAs should specify an end-of-life for the product; then purchasers KNOW exactly what they are getting.

The better licensing plan (3, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437635)

I think that their are several places here where the licensing needs to change to please businesses. First and foremost, companies should not get rid of perpetual licenses if they server home users. These users are used to being able to buy something (car, radio, computer, microwave, etc) and own it for life. That being said, I think that IT managers would like to be able to lease software again like they could in the mainframe days. Instead of paying a lump sum and then paying a maintenance fee, they will be much happier if they can play money games with their budget so that the costs are stretched across the life of the product and in fact reflect themselves in the operational costs.

The other scheme I would like to see return is the purchase of business logic software WITH the source. Back in the days of mainframes, if you needed accounts payable, accounts receivable, order tracking, etc., you would buy a package of software that would come with all the source code so that you could change the logic to fit your business. This was actually a requirement then because the DB access code was compiled into the program resulting in binaries that were tied to the schema. However, the side effect it produced of giving the source with the product was extremely successful due to the fact that no two businesses are alike. Just because Kraft does their paperwork this way, doesn't mean that GM does theirs the same. Plus, Kraft has to worry about delivery schedules via networked partners such as Sysco whereas GM ships directly to dealerships.

As much as people may hate to hear this, the mainframe guys had it right and business today should start taking notice of that.

Planned obsolescence (2)

T1girl (213375) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437637)

It's American as apple pie. So is that other American institution -- Suing the B*stards.

What would Rain-in-the-Face do?

Oracle has ya by the balls. (2)

BrookHarty (9119) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437651)

I have a real problem with vendors discontinuing support on a 2 year old version of code. Back end systems can live for years doing pretty simple tasks, there is no real reason to upgrade.

Most of my databases are Oracle, and I have to put up with "My shit doesnt stick" attitude. Cant handle some file systems, cant do simple export and imports without hours of of an outage.

Our DBA's spend more time working on upgrading oracle on all our production boxes then fixing bugs. The Oracle statement, upgrading fixes the bugs.

Wait a minute. Somebody's shifting blame. (5, Interesting)

dinotrac (18304) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437658)

I don't wish to excuse any vendor for delivering crapware. Bad vendors should go out of business.

That's the problem.

If CIOs would cover their damned butts they wouldn't get into these binds.

It's good to hold Oracle's feet to the fire. It's good to make them sweat and to make them deliver.

But...

Why aren't these CIOs demanding reasonable back-out strategies?

Twenty years ago, when I worked for EDS, clients routinely demanded that we use particular technologies so that they could kick us out if they didn't like us.

At another employer, the only patents I've ever had my name on (inventor, not owner. No money for me) came because we didn't want to be locked into AT&T as a long-distance provider. They had a special feature we wanted called Network ACD, but it was patented and no one else could offer it. We spent the time and money to invent our own system and stay free to negotiate with whomever we pleased.

I'm amazed by these people who are talking up subscription software. Nothing wrong with the concept, really -- if you've got a way out. Then it's like a lease-or-buy decision for anything else.
With a lock-in? Come on. Surely they've noticed that Microsoft is moving in that direction without any prodding from the outside. That should tell 'em everything they need to know.

Botton line:

Oracle or nothing, Office or nothing, anything or nothing will leave you screwed.

Microsoft licenseing... (2)

supabeast! (84658) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437659)

This article really brought home why Microsoft might be able to succeed with .Net and application subscriptions; vendors will now know that if their software sucks, customers are on a multiyear subscription paid for periodically, and could simply refuse to keep paying if the software sucks.

Personally, I like that idea. Imagine thousands of Outlook users suddenly having credit card companies deny payment to Microsoft because of nasty bugs in Office. Of course, once UCITA takes affect doing so would be illegal. Come to think of it, does .Net really need UCITA to work in Microsoft's favor? Hmm....

Then it dawns ... (1)

CaptDeuce (84529) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437668)

And then it dawned on Seyk why the software and support were sobad: That's the way vendors make money.

As it has dawned on geeks as soon as they enter the labor force:tech management (often/usually) doesn't kn ow what the hell they'redoing. CIO? An excuse for a big salary and hectic work schedule.


In this example the first thing Seyk did was pay money for a piece of software that didn't work. And he got paid to do that?



OK, maybe Seyk is a good 'ol geek who got burned but for every good geek there's a dozen dim bulbs and two dozen sleazy companies to take advantage of all of them.

The reason why it happenss (2)

Alien54 (180860) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437672)

Is because it is profitable

And then it dawned on Seyk why the software and support were so bad: That's the way vendors make money. They push products on the market before they've been adequately tested, demand payment up front and then are often not available to deal with the sequelae of poorly performing products. [...] now many CIOs are beginning to realize that the root of the problem may lie in the economics of the industry. Vendors generate most of their revenues through perpetual licensing agreements, which force CIOs to pay up front for an application. In return, CIOs own the software and the right to use it "in perpetuity." The problem with this model is that in reality, CIOs are lucky if they can get three years out of a product before vendors release entirely new versions of their software.

people here have been bitching about this for ages. Finally these guys are waking up.

I wonder if they could get a lawsuit or something for fraud.

Or maybe, since the licenses are in perpetuity, tech support forever (the length of the License), or for a sight longer than 3 years.

Let's face it, I would not expect Lotus to support me on Visicalc. But I would want Microsoft to stop selling Updates marketed as new versions, when the gui modification is probably the sdmallest part of the code.

heck, cars have 7 years/70,000 miles, and more.

CIO's the heck with software upgrades! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2437685)

Call Eric at 877-251-5558 and he will give you bootleg copies of any software title you desire!

Disclaimers!! (2)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437686)

Why do you think that the software companies put in those HUGE disclaimers. The ones that say, we promise you can read the disk, but nothing more than that.


I know of one software company that is being sued for shoving a non-working (or barely working) product out the door. If this starts happening more, software companies may do some testing before shipping a product. Or free upgrades for people who run into their bugs.

I really object to companies that charge you support fees to call in so that you can report their bugs.

Out with the old and in with the new. (2)

MongooseCN (139203) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437694)

We're at a point where Linux and Open Source can do most of the corporate tasks that Windows can do, and Linux can only get better. There is no single company to take Linux down so an investment in Linux is secure and can only grow and get better with time. If Linux and Open Source software does what you want it to do now, it will continue to do it in the future and grow to do it better.

OSS for the wrong reasons (3, Insightful)

gentlewizard (300741) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437696)

I'm not impressed that the CIO's in the article are using Open Source Software as a lever against the CSS companies.

Isn't that a little like making a date for the prom with the ugly girl, knowing full well that once you've made the cheerleader jealous, she'll go with you after all? Nobody cares about the ugly girl, she's just being used. And she'll be dumped in the end.

Seems to me this is the wrong reason to be considering open source. The CIO's want a brand name (cheerleader) and if they have to date OSS to get her, they will. But where does that leave OSS in the end?

Lots of great GPL products out there, but... (2)

Kozz (7764) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437698)

... these companies should look for the right ones. As an example, Sendmail was mentioned. But shouldn't they really be using qmail [qmail.org] ?

I think it's great that companies embrace OS projects and software, but at the same time, they should be careful in which apps they are running. For example, you'd be better off if you didn't run wuFTP [wuftpd.org] in favor of something more secure such as NcFTP [ncftp.com] (okay, it's not free or GPL, but still...) or PureFTP [sourceforge.net] .

Does anyone know of a site which can make recommendations for one type of server app over another based on security, specifically to replace those types of server apps that have been shipped with so many distros for way too long? There are so many things that people really shouldn't run anymore, like wuftp, sendmail, inetd, and so on.

Server Room, NOT Desktop (1)

nion (19898) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437700)

Remember, we're probably talking servers here. Users are *still* very dependent on the applications they use. Admins can make it nearly completely transparent for the end-user as to the hardware and software they connect to, but the front-end will probably have to stay Windows-based until they can be weaned from the teat of M$.

Not that this isn't a Very Good Thing(tm). But this isn't going to put Micro$oft out of business overnight.

Why doesn't big business give back? (1)

vondo (303621) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437714)

This article only touched briefly on Open/Free source, but here's an idea I've wondered about for a long time. Why don't large companies fund Free software.

Big business (non-computer businesses) might find that in the long run its better to fund open source development than to continue funding commercial software development.

For instance, lets say Ford uses Linux/Apache from Windows/IIS (no idea what they use now). Now, lets say they figure this saves them $2 million. Why not see the future and say "Hey, lets invest half of that money in Open Office and maybe in a few years we can completely drop MS Office and save $10 million a year" or whatever the numbers are.

The point is, big companies who aren't directly involved in computer software could have an enourmous impact. Why should IBM/Sun/etc. be the sole funders of development for software that they are just going to give away.
Besides which, Ford could use this as leverage to get the features they really want.
This is probably the only way we will ever see certain types of free software be competitive. (Business accounting comes to mind.)

untruths (1)

beetleske (235001) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437717)

I find it interesting that so many people think that [all|most] commercial software companies specifically leave or put bugs into products so that they can make money down the road. My entire professional career has been with commercial software companies, covering a fairly broad range. Never during this time did I see evidence or even hear of anything that backs this kind of idea. Maybe it does happen at Microsoft (I haven't worked there), and maybe at some others, but it seems libelous to speak such sweeping statements about commercial software companies. It should also be noted that many Linux vendors are really commercial software companies as well - they happen to sell a product that is open source, but they're still a commercial endevor. Even if you change "commercial" to be "closed source", I still have yet to see evidence of this apparent common act from software publishers.

Having said all that, I do think there are plenty of crappy licensing situations. It is great if these companies turn to various open source products as a result, but honestly, many of these companies just seem stupid for not doing so sooner, regardless of licensing issues. Why anyone would choose to run IIS for their web server is beyond me. You could make Apache cost money, and I'd still prefer it. This doesn't hold true for all products, but I think aside from licensing there are plenty of other reasons. Maybe it takes something like licensing to make these companies pull their head out and truly examine what their choices are and make a decision based more heavily on quality of product, as opposed to say ease of purchase or that the company's name is recognizeable to some high up (e.g. CIO) who has only heard of Microsoft and hasn't heard of Apache, for example.

Whether these decisions save them money or not is to be seen. In general I would expect it to cost less, but it depends. The purchase price of the product, as pointed out is rarely the biggest cost, and just because an open source product is free, doesn't mean it costs nothing to support (but in the same note, that doesn't mean you shouldn't spend that money, or even spend more - as the quality all around may be worth far more than the potentially increased (or decreased) cost).

Bugs vs. Piracy (2, Interesting)

Wesley Everest (446824) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437725)

Piracy [apbnews.com] : "One in every three pieces of software used by businesses worldwide in 1999 was illegal, costing software makers $12.2 billion for the year"

Bugs [cio.com] : "Faulty software costs businesses $78 billion per year"

hmmm... so pirates have $66 Billion to catch up?

Open Source Isn't The Answer (1)

JSimmons (524864) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437726)

If end-users weren't so hungry for features, the software wouldn't be so bloated, and the support wouldn' cost as much because there's less code in the product, thereby dictating that fewer bugs will exist. The mere fact that a given program is open-source will NOT help. Their support bills will be lower because they get no support - at all - period. The only benefit they will have over non-open-source apps is that the app won't cost them anything either.

virus programs (1)

kisak (524062) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437736)

I think one of the most irritating things about the whole Microsoft monopoly, is that they release a product with huge security holes. Then the consumer has to buy a expensive virus protection program to feel safe when opening emails etc. So, the consumer not only gets the pleasure of getting virus, but even have to pay extra for the favour. I know MS release patches sometimes to try to stop the virus flood, but in a way they also owe the consumer a program to deal with the viruses that too many times get through.

Well, thinking about it, I guess if they included a virus program with their Windows XP, it would be another example of bundling and uncompetitive practice :).

Sfotware Bugs (5, Insightful)

gnovos (447128) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437740)

I know this is a great way to get flamed in the midst of a group of developers and programmers, but here goes: Why does software have to be buggy?

I have been writing software for years, and I can't understand this kind of "oh well, all software has bugs" mentality that exists in most of the places I have worked. When I write software, it *doesn't* have bugs. Sure, even a cautious design phase and well-documented specs won't help when you accidentally type "crsh++" instead of "cash++", but other than typographical errors (which can be easily found and fixed), there should be no *logical* bugs.

Personally, I begin to wonder how much of the bug issues these days are either because of sheer human laziness ("I don't need to check the limits on this array, no one will *ever* type in a 257 character string here") or because of intentionally releasing a flawed product ("Quick, slap an installer on version 0.0001733Alpha so we can sell it to Dell!"). Either way, as a programmer, I think it is a terrible thing...

If you are a programmer, and are reading this right now, take a few minutes after every block of code, go grab a cup of coffee, look out the window, read slashdot, something to take your mind off what you just wrote, and then come back to it, go through it line by line, make sure your code is doing what you think it is. Make sure there are no buffers to be overflowed and no shorts where there should be longs. Take pride in your work! Don't be a dime-paperback hack romance novelist! Be a Hemmingway, a Gibson, an Orwell, or whoever you think is a brilliant writer, be Tolkien! Give your programming work the same respect that you would reserve for those people you respect.

If programmers as a whole stopped thinking along the "bugs are inevitable" line and started taking a fresh approach, one where they think perfect, bug-free code is possible, then the software industry as a whole would become a much cleaner place.

No More Code Monkies!

It(')s (1)

sulli (195030) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437746)

It's glad to see the open source movement doing it's job.

I like it even better when a spell checker does its job.

GNU/Linux confusion (1)

selan (234261) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437748)

"...such as the GNU and Linux operating systems..."

What do you want to bet that the reporter saw GNU/Linux and thought that it was referring to two different operating systems?

Do we spend less time maintaining Linux? (3, Interesting)

metoc (224422) | more than 12 years ago | (#2437751)

Lets look at this in perspective?

Aside from paying M$ for licenses, is Linux in 2001 any easier to maintain?

If I installed 100 workstations in 2000 (all up to date software/patches/etc.) how easy would it be to maintain them. What if I wanted to install the latest version of Open Office? Would I need to upgrade KDE/Gnome, libraries, the kernel, etc?How easy would it be?

My experience is we spend most of our money on people to support the infrastructure, and things like licenses are small in the great scheme of things? Would I spend any less time maintaining and upgrading my Linux boxes?
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