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Does Open Source Need Quality Standards?

CmdrTaco posted more than 9 years ago | from the if-it-compiles-it-works-right dept.

Linux Business 223

underpar writes "This Techworld.com article reports that a UK group called the Open Source Consortium is being officially launched today. The article further states that the goal of the group is to respond to claims that switching to open source is more expensive than using Microsoft products and to help smaller companies compete with Sun and IBM for open source contracts. They say they will not compete with other open source groups and they intend to eventually come to the US. The hype-filled about us section of their site says their Quality Standard Certification provides a "simple framework for self-assessment and performance improvement." The question of whether this is useful or even wanted in the US still remains to be answered."

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US needs it (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10945485)

A simple framework for self-assessment would do wonders for the current and future administration.

Re:US needs it (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10946213)

If our administration is so dumb, why are we the only superpower left? Why do we have the highest GDP? Why do we have the strongest economy? We are kicking your asses.

Dumb overgeneralization (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10945488)

Does Open Source Need Quality Standards?

Some open source projects do (carrier grade linux; linux in medical devices).

Others don't (screen savers, C# clones(to match MSFT's Quality Standards), etc)

Re:Dumb overgeneralization (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10945563)

Another dumb overgenralization is that this organization think that their " Quality Standard Certification" is appropriate for a wide range of products.

Linux in medical devices should have follow FDA standards

Linux in automotive systems shouldd follow DOT standards.

Linux in voting machines should follow Diebold/MS-Access quality standards..

(sorry for the US-centric examples - for your own country pick your favorite certification organizations)

Re:Dumb overgeneralization (4, Interesting)

Kick the Donkey (681009) | more than 9 years ago | (#10945815)

Linux in voting machines should follow Diebold/MS-Access quality standards..

And those standards, would be... non-existant?

Re:Dumb overgeneralization (1)

Seth Finklestein (582901) | more than 9 years ago | (#10946049)

10 REM Voting machine simulator.
20 PRINT "Who do you vote for? ";
30 INPUT VOTE$
35 LPRINT "THANK YOU FOR VOTING FOR" ; VOTE$
40 IF VOTE$ <> "BUSH" THEN VOTE$ = "BUSH"
50 OPEN "voterec1" FOR APPEND AS #1
60 PRINT #1, VOTE$

Simple as that.

Re:Dumb overgeneralization (-1, Flamebait)

thomasdelbert (44463) | more than 9 years ago | (#10946170)

What are you taking about? Diebold voting machines were working exactly as designed. Bush "won", didn't he?

- Thomas;

Re:Dumb overgeneralization (0, Offtopic)

Kick the Donkey (681009) | more than 9 years ago | (#10946235)

I really didn't want to sow the seeds of a consipracy theory discussion here. I voted for Kerry, I'm sorry that Bush won (for all our sakes). However, I don't think there was a vast right wing consiparcy (at least, in this case. They are out there...) to de-fraud the voting process.

As an American, I am appalled at the irregularities, though. I do want something done about that.

Re:Dumb overgeneralization (1)

AnalogDog (756238) | more than 9 years ago | (#10945727)

I have to agree. Some projects need more attention, like KPilot, currently they have broken conduits in the KDE release 3.2, 3.3 and 3.3.1. Why do the KDE folks allow for something broken to be released? It just seems absurd to me. But in general, all I see is that Linux is getting better every day, with or without this new organization. On the other hand, I have found that Mandrake screwed up 10.1 Official by requiring an rpm that is only on 10.0 Official. They probably fixed that with the KDE 3.3.1 update they made available on Friday. Oh, yeah, they also had a serious kdebase-kdm problem that was easily fixed, and those of us who found out about it on line were able to fix it up. But why are the companies so sloppy?

And a redundant idea to boot (5, Insightful)

passthecrackpipe (598773) | more than 9 years ago | (#10945827)

Not only an overgenralisation, it is a redundant idea to boot. OSDL already provides a lot of the stuff they publicly talk about - code quality etc. The real purpose of the organisation comes to light when you read deeper into the site.

You need to be skilled in their "consulting framework" [openforumeurope.org] and you need to conform to some "financial framework" as well. Their membership criteria are mysterious (hint, you probably need to be a member of their club of buddies) and some of the organisations that are members (and knowing those organisations intimately, they probably are the drivers behind this thing as well) are decidedly dodgy - Open Forum Europe has publicly spoken as "Open Source Representatives" and as such, have signed a declaration supporting software patents [theregister.co.uk] . Looks to me like just another group of people trying to corner a market. Anyone remember the Open Group, and the "good" they did for UNIX? (another hint - a lot of the same people are involved)

This is so much the wrong crowd to hang out with....

Very insightful, more comments (3, Insightful)

davidwr (791652) | more than 9 years ago | (#10945863)

Good to see "Dumb overgeneralization" modded to +5 right off the bat. Other replies in this thread also deserve "insightful" moderation.

Software should be held to whatever quality standards the customer requires, regardless of it's proprietary or open development process.

For products where quality IS important, published documentation, including source, code-change-history, published test-cases and results of running those tests cases, etc. can help ensure quality. Commercial outfits typically rely on outside auditors or "trust us" to show that they probably ship quality code. At best, they publish their test cases and the results of those tests. If we are really lucky, a few outsiders have reviewed the code and pronounced it good.

For projects where quality isn't important, well, nobody cares but the authors.

haha (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10945489)

Ha ha First post

Re:haha (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10945655)

Your first post would use some quality standard checking...

Quality (-1, Offtopic)

scumbucket (680352) | more than 9 years ago | (#10945490)

Linux: Quality is job #1

open source != linux (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10945510)

Just because Linux is under the GPL which is an OSI aproved license does not mean that anything that has to do with open source has to be about linux.

Re:open source != linux (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10945965)

But since BSD is dying (according to netcraft), what else could they be talking about.

Me first post very OT (-1, Offtopic)

famouswhendead (771397) | more than 9 years ago | (#10945511)

Not a virgin no more :)

Re:Me first post very OT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10945557)

Well, since you used a double negative, then you are still virgin!

Congratulations.

Envy (2, Funny)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 9 years ago | (#10945678)

This is indeed Geek News, but please keep it to yourself. The other 90% of geeks that have yet to be laid will get jealous and mark you offtopic out of spite.

Re:Me first post very OT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10946236)

This [bbspot.com] wouldn't happen to be you, then?

I think they do... (2, Insightful)

akaina (472254) | more than 9 years ago | (#10945513)

... and rumor has it they're experimenting with this quality assurance idea called 'pier review'

Re:I think they do... (1)

HeX314 (570571) | more than 9 years ago | (#10945572)

...where the product is taken to Pier 13, drown in concrete, and sent to sleep with the fishies.

FYI: It's "peer review."

Re:Geek humor- fragile at best (2, Interesting)

xtermin8 (719661) | more than 9 years ago | (#10946334)

I've seen some difficult to understand jokes on slashdot, but "pier review" is not one of them. On the other hand, is there a special significance to "Pier 13?" Yes, I've googled it, but there's only so much time for me to waste till I get out of work.

Re:I think they do... (4, Funny)

ctr2sprt (574731) | more than 9 years ago | (#10945582)

Is that where they test Linux by throwing it in the ocean? Much like testing Windows by defenestrating it?

About Us page (5, Funny)

miltimj (605927) | more than 9 years ago | (#10945514)

I like the dedication to quality evidenced in their About Us page:

We are a not-for-profit organisation which guarantees the the quality of open source deployments in the public sector (emphasis mine)

Re:About Us page (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10945657)

Doesn't soffice correct repeated words? ;-)

Re:About Us page (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10945718)

We are a not-for-profit organisation which guarantees the the quality of open source deployments in the public sector

Maybe it's the same guys who did QA for Half Life 2.

Re:About Us page (3, Funny)

SirTwitchALot (576315) | more than 9 years ago | (#10945740)

perhaps they just meant the quality of the word "the" in open source software?

Re:About Us page (1)

value_added (719364) | more than 9 years ago | (#10945777)

An off by one error?

Re:About Us page (4, Interesting)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 9 years ago | (#10946001)

Since they're so hyped on standards, maybe they should fix their web pages.

validator.w3.org http://validator.w3.org/check?uri=http%3A%2F%2Fwww .opensourceconsortium.org [w3.org] gives this response:

This page is not Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional!

... and it ain't even slashcode ...

Re:About Us page (1)

ajlitt (19055) | more than 9 years ago | (#10946077)

They must have been watching this movie [imdb.com] while writing that.

Re:About Us page (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10946354)

That, and the fact I've only ever heard of 1 of their members...

Oh yeah and the fact that the person designing their site is an idiot...

[input type=hidden name="ip" value="xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx"]
[input type=hidden name="httpref" value=""]
[input type=hidden name="httpagent" value="Bastard (X1; fireball; Unixware i286) Gecko/20061125"]

Why claim to be xhtml compliant when the pages fail miserably? http://validator.w3.org/check?uri=http://www.opens ourceconsortium.org/contact/index.html [w3.org]

This is either fake (like linuxinsider) or the work of somebody that thinks his 1337 design skills, honed on gaming sites are somehow suited to a political organization.

I'd never sign up to something like that unless I got free pr0n, rad dudez lol, OSS r0X0rz ... WTF!?!?

McHammer: Too Open To Standardize (5, Interesting)

fembots (753724) | more than 9 years ago | (#10945529)

Short answer is YES, almost everything needs a certain level of quality standards for widespread use. Even MS has its own quality standards :)

However, who is to set these standards and who is to govern them is another question.

I have a subtle feeling that Open Source = Freedom, that's probably why we see so many forks and distros because "I would have done this that way, and I could".

So what is to stop a "US Open Source Consortium" being officially launched tomorrow because another group of developers have different idea on Open Source's quality standards?

Can Linus the most influential man [slashdot.org] gives a single, authoritative guideline?

Re:McHammer: Too Open To Standardize (4, Insightful)

MoonFog (586818) | more than 9 years ago | (#10945606)

Nothing will stop them. If US companies want to listen to the US Open Source Consortium as you name it, then they will. If European companies want to listen more to another OSC, then they are free to to do so. Is this necessarily a bad thing? As long as there is some kind of control and legitimacy over these consortiums, this can be good. Establishing 15 different consortiums within one country just because some developers disagree would probably be overkill though.

Re:McHammer: Too Open To Standardize (1)

Skevin (16048) | more than 9 years ago | (#10945833)

It looks like my days of charging my clients $350/hr to "maintain" their open source solution (while I'm actually reading Slashdot or Porn) are numbered.

It also looks like my days of receiving lucrative MS funding for using me as a case study to show that a single Open Source implementor is way more expensive than a dozen MCSEs are also numbered.

And to think, that MS was going to pay off my 3rd house and 2nd Porsche next week if only I would get up in front of national TV and announce how glad my company was to get rid of me and return to the cheaper Microsoft alternative...

Solomon

Re:McHammer: Too Open To Standardize (1)

Jason Hood (721277) | more than 9 years ago | (#10946242)

Quality standards are good but this is a basic skill known by just about any competent developer.

I would push more for better design patterns personally. This is what separates a coder from a software engineer. Anyone can hack out code that is formatted pretty and has compliant naming conventions. On the other hand it takes years to learn and practice good design. Unfortunately the proven veterans voices get lost in the mix far too often and the wrong path is chosen. Before you know it, you have a unportable and unmodular project on your hands.

I could name two very large competing projects where this is blatently obvious but I do not want to start a flame war =)

Be Careful (3, Insightful)

omghi2u (808195) | more than 9 years ago | (#10945531)

Be careful what you wish for.

Something "free" or "cheap" might be so for a reason.

I still say best open source is that tied to proprietary hardware then you really cash in.

As for la-dee-dah software, operating systems, etc, I stay away from those.

Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10945936)

Something "free" or "cheap" might be so for a reason.

You mean, because the developers are frustrated with illegal and unethical monopolies producing products that don't meet their needs, but nonetheless are financially benefiting from it?

Because the developers enjoy the product they are creating, and are creating it for the fun of it, and want to give it away for free because of it?

Because developers are being supported by a nonprofit or publically funded institution that operates to increase public welfare and are obligated to release products openly?

As for la-dee-dah software, operating systems, etc, I stay away from those.

What is a "la-dee-dah" operating system? Are you referring to Linux--which runs on many of the fastest supercomputers and servers in the world? Or something else?

Re:Be Careful (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 9 years ago | (#10946193)

"I still say best open source is that tied to proprietary hardware then you really cash in."

Huh? Please restate this and say from who's perspective this is the best. The seller? The buyer? Examples? Are you thinking of Apple?

Questionable quality. (4, Insightful)

RealAlaskan (576404) | more than 9 years ago | (#10945536)

From TFA:
Our quality standard certification is an ideal route for Open Source Consultancies who wish to be recognised for taking the first steps to implementing a formal quality management system. The OSC Business Standard makes an ideal first step on the road to ISO 9001 or the Excellence Model.
So, this is for consultancies, not software.

More to the point, isn't ISO 9001 one of those standards where you prove your ``quality'' by committing to following a process, and documenting that you do indeed follow that process? The inevitable result is that you can commit to shooting your customer in the foot, and document that you have done so, and earn the highest ``quality'' rating for it. That sort of ``quality'' isn't very reassuring.

Re:Questionable quality. (3, Interesting)

Simon Lyngshede (623138) | more than 9 years ago | (#10945750)

Yes, basicly ISO 9001 just states that your capable of producing the small shit over an over again. It's a more a proces standard than a quality standard. Oh, and in the UK, you can advertise that your product is good because it's ISO 9001 certified.

If they want to addresse the issue of quality in open source software, there is a lot they need to consider. Most importantly... what do they mean by quality? What represents good quality in one project, may not be relevant to others.

Re:Questionable quality. (2, Informative)

SoSueMe (263478) | more than 9 years ago | (#10946092)

"If they want to addresse the issue of quality in open source software, there is a lot they need to consider. Most importantly... what do they mean by quality? What represents good quality in one project, may not be relevant to others."

Sticking with the "ISO" flavour, ISO 9126 [cse.dcu.ie] defines software quality characteristics as Functionality, Reliability, Usability, Efficiency, Maintainability and Portability

Re:Questionable quality. (1)

richieb (3277) | more than 9 years ago | (#10946068)

implementing a formal quality management system

Wasn't it George Carlin who said: "We need quality control, after all who would want to have quality get out of control!".

Slow down cowboy (3, Interesting)

gosand (234100) | more than 9 years ago | (#10946343)

The inevitable result is that you can commit to shooting your customer in the foot, and document that you have done so, and earn the highest ``quality'' rating for it. That sort of ``quality'' isn't very reassuring.


Don't know much about Quality, do you?


I'll speak of these things in general, since they are essentially the same types of certifications (ISO, CMM, etc). If your customer agrees to be shot in the foot, and you shoot him in the foot, then the quality of that release is right on the money. One of the things that people miss (or fake) when implementing these processes is that they try to cut corners and fake-out the process. These certifications usually require that you get customer commitment to process changes. That means you keep your customer in the loop of communication. Therefore, you get them to agree to things and hold them to it. Customers don't usually like that, they love to wiggle and worm their way around commitments. But if you follow these processes, you can get them to document their commitment. They aren't very happy when they are called on the fact that they get exactly what they asked for, but in the end the point is to make them happy by getting them to ask for what they really want.


Everyone loves to put down things like the CMM and Six Sigma, because they "don't work". Just because you worked somewhere where it didn't work doesn't mean the models don't work, it means you didn't do them very well. And they aren't easy to do well, they take effort. Most places will cut corners and fake the behavior that they think will let them slide by to get a certification, then they will usually go right back to doing what they want. There is a difference to "getting to certification level X" and "operating at certification level X".


And the real definition of quality is the delta between what the customer expects and what is delivered.

No. (1)

Raven42rac (448205) | more than 9 years ago | (#10945546)

Then who would test the beta/non-working versions of new projects?

Re:No. (1)

SoSueMe (263478) | more than 9 years ago | (#10946151)

For Beta testing, I would say beta testers.
For non-working", I would guess no-one.

Re:No. (1)

Raven42rac (448205) | more than 9 years ago | (#10946251)

I guess my point, which I seem to have missed, was that this is precisely what OSS is trying to avoid.

More of a guidline than a code really... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10945548)

DYB

Not a problem... (2, Insightful)

danielrm26 (567852) | more than 9 years ago | (#10945560)

Certifications like this are often welcome in corporate environments where names and packaging often matter as much or more than the product.

Even if OSS is better in a lot of cases, many managers can't politically afford to introduce it because of the climate that exists in the still largely Windows-controlled world.

Any sort of ... anything that lends credibility to OSS is, in my book, a good thing. So if this takes off and acts as some sort of benchmark for quality that people can rely on, I say more power to them.

Six Sigma to the resuce!!!!!! (4, Funny)

HarveyBirdman (627248) | more than 9 years ago | (#10945562)

If you have not had Six Sigma training, you might be baffled about what it is.

If you have had Six Sigma traning, then you are definitely baffled about what it is.

Re:Six Sigma to the resuce!!!!!! (1)

MenTaLguY (5483) | more than 9 years ago | (#10946337)

The first rule of Six Sigma: you don't talk about Six Sigma.

Re:Six Sigma to the resuce!!!!!! (1)

Brandybuck (704397) | more than 9 years ago | (#10946344)

I turned down the opportunity to take Six Sigma training. After the damage my brain went through during out CMM initiative, I don't think I could handle any more quality improvement. For those that don't know, CMM stands for "Crazy Madness Model", which rates companies by who baffling their software development processes are. If your developers still have time to code, you aren't doing CMM right.

In other news... (2, Insightful)

kevin_conaway (585204) | more than 9 years ago | (#10945564)

Scientists wonder:

Do bears shit in the woods?

Is the pope Catholic?

Re:In other news... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10945795)

Is the pope Catholic?

A quick Google search [google.com] shows that some people think not!

RE: Why would (1)

fshalor (133678) | more than 9 years ago | (#10945570)

.... we want something like that here. We have Microsoft and SCO.

mo3 u4 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10945574)

that have raged About Bylaws That have raged a dead man walki8g. of the old going

YES, it does (4, Informative)

DoktorTomoe (643004) | more than 9 years ago | (#10945595)

I think we all agree that a business world based on OpenSource would be preferable to a Windows-centric system. To achieve this, high-quality-business solutions have to be written and found. I am running my own business and am using Linux on 5 machines. There is some old Mac, but I do not really use it anymore. To please the Finanzamt (the german IRS), you have to file reports, do some accounting etc. This has proven very difficult for me when I tried it with OpenOffice. So I searched for business software, e.g. accounting suits, ERP and CRM-Software. I tried for over 2 months and have compiled about 100 different approaches - but all of them were either abandoned, not scaleable to other countries needs (I cannot use spanish tax forms) or they simply didn't work the way they where supposed to do (I even had an KDE program that was published with internal static linking to the programmers home directory!). I finally settled with lxoffice (http://www.lxoffice.org), which is fairly scaleable and where 95% of the system works, but it was a hard fight. While I am accepting such situations as a hobbyist, as a business owner that's lots of time I am not paid for. Quality control could help in such situations, helping users choose reliable software. And yes, I'd be willing to pay for it.

Does Open Source Need Quality Standards? (2, Insightful)

Ed Almos (584864) | more than 9 years ago | (#10945602)

YES !!!

And it needs to stick to them. Microsoft may produce buggy insecure code but I'm fed up of finding bugs in Open Source software and being told 'what do you expect, it's free'.

Ed Almos
Budapest, Hungary

I didn't rtfa, but... (2)

DarthWiggle (537589) | more than 9 years ago | (#10945603)

Based on the amount of abandoned projects, weak support, buggy code, inconsistent UI, and so forth I've seen in projects that were "neat ideas", I'd say yes, some standards would be useful. Especially when there are projects like Firefox, OpenOffice, and Gaim to carry the banner (plus many other lower-profile projects).

OSS still has a bit of a reputation of being "kids in basements wearing black t-shirts hacking out amateur software surrounded by Matrix screen savers" and not always undeservedly.

But not always deservedly either. And some sort of cert program (I leave to people smarter than I am the how, where, and when of certification) could be helpful. Would it make it more difficult for an innovative project to take root? Well, yes, but that would be the point, and it would guard against projects that are abandoned when, for example, their creators graduate from university.

I'm a big fan of Free software, btw.

Re:I didn't rtfa, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10945745)

kids in basements wearing black t-shirts hacking out amateur software surrounded by Matrix screen savers

Hey now! Some of us prefer our Star Wars screensavers, thank you very much.

...Matrix screen saver standard on QNX (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 9 years ago | (#10945785)

The default screen saver in QNX, the high-reliability operating system, is the Matrix "green numbers" screen saver. That's what you get if you don't select a screen saver.

Re:I didn't rtfa, but... (1)

DarthWiggle (537589) | more than 9 years ago | (#10945789)

well, at least we can all make fun of the Dragonball Z kids.

I keed, I keed...

(not really)

Piracy an option? (1)

t_allardyce (48447) | more than 9 years ago | (#10945618)

Why would any government actually want to pay Microsoft any money when they could pirate the software instead? whats Microsoft going to do? come and sue them? yes I know its more complicated than that and there are all sorts of WTO issues not to mention plain diplomacy, but if were talking about a country that doesnt care, then seriously? why not just open up big government-run CD presses and start churning out copies of Windows for your country?

Re:Piracy an option? (1)

lxt518052 (720422) | more than 9 years ago | (#10946219)

Microsoft will block all access to their updating site from your country. Or just like they've done with WinXP SP2, let you update but render your PCs unusable. Or even worse, let you update and let you continue to use the computers as normal but with extra functions.

Since we've made unrealistic assumptions, please allow me to exaggerate a bit.

Six weeks later, you'll find all your country's PC are infected with hundreds of trojans, worm and virii. Sensitive national security data will be in the hands of whom you fear most, probably via some secret backdoor designed into Windows.

Windows are overpriced as we all know it. But it doesn't worth it to pirate them for the money, your work and data worth more.

Seriously, on the security issue, I doubt it would make any difference when you're not pirating at all. See http://slashdot.org/it/04/11/13/1444232.shtml?tid= 201&tid=172&tid=218 [slashdot.org] .

. So, the bottom line: switch to Linux or *BSD. Not only it will save your money, but it could save you a lot more.

Linux _IS_ quality (2, Insightful)

PhYrE2k2 (806396) | more than 9 years ago | (#10945643)

Linux is quality. By having publicly available code, we can all make sure it's up to our standards. If it's not, then you are welcome to (a) not use it, or (b) fix it. So why the concern? Contribute to the community and all is well. There's no barrier to helping (such as improving a country). But seriously, Linux has proven itself worthy of being quite stable and for the most part secure (problems are bound to happen in such a large block of code, but responsible repair is key). Same with the core applications within it. The UNIX model is tried tested and true over and over again. It's still used so commonly BECAUSE it just makes sense... Try that in a windows world (click here, then here, then here... no wait- we moved that feature elsewhere in the latest 'security patch'). -M

Re:Linux _IS_ quality (2, Insightful)

MHV (547208) | more than 9 years ago | (#10945869)

You're so out of the loop, it's not even fun: yes everyone can fix it blah blah blah. But by WHAT standard can we say YES or NO is it good? It is a perfectly admirable and vital aspect of such software that it is open for modification, but the point of the idea is that you want to determine once and for all if such and such software complies with a specific set of requirements, expectations, behaviour, name it. The point in the end is to have software that is determined beyond its mere existence: if you know that a network utility supports TCP/IP, then you will be able to use it with other tools that support TCP/IP. Why? Because TCP/IP is a standard! And everyone know how it works, and how to use it. The idea of a standard of quality is to say, can we use this software for specific purpose, and be sure we won't get screwed by a little bug, that, well, you know you could have fixed yourselves, because the source is open, you see?

You're making an essentialist argument: because the nature of Linux is openness, therefore it can only be good.

When you have (good) standards, you have to worry less about how things work, and you can start just using them.

Doesn't mean that ALL free software MUST follow such standards, and that's the beauty of FLOSS

A 'quality standard' (2, Informative)

PhYrE2k2 (806396) | more than 9 years ago | (#10946066)

You are mistaking a 'standard' (such as TCP/IP) with a 'quality standard'. One can make a program to follow a specific protocol, but that doesn't make it a good program at all.

We're talking about quality. How good is the finished product compared to its usage. Is a mission-critical application actually going to be stable? Does your application spend most of its time in spin locks? The quality is in the method of the implementation. A web server can answer HTTP requests without trouble, but will is do so well? Is it expandable? Is it going to advance? Is it useful? Are its libraries useful to other functions?

Quality is a 'degree of excellence'. So what makes the software you see on Linux better than 'average'. Why are we all using it? Price decreases our costs and barriers, but a degree of quality exists because there is a large user base creating quality, and demanding quality.

If you make code that is not readable or properly coded, nobody will use it, or people will say "I'm starting my own project" and fork off (as we've seen so many times in the UNIX world).
A good example of quality (IMHO) is qmail. Written well, coded securely, very functional, and very logical. And it has succeeded for those reasons (and hype). The tens of patches out there for it adding all sorts of neat features are people saying "this code makes sense. This structure makes sense". Adding features to a SMTP system doesn't involve mucking up the mail system. People like it because it screams of quality. A great deal of time, effort, and quality went into the code.

You mention a standard. We need standards in protocols- not in quality. The standard says that a SMTP conversation goes like this... but the style, programming language, where security checks are made, and so on are all up to the programmer or team of programmers. And why should we (you?) take away that freedom? If I want to make my code of low quality, don't use it, don't buy it, don't use the service I offer from it (not that I do produce poor code).

-M

Needs vs. Shoulds vs. Could Haves, etc. (5, Interesting)

timothy (36799) | more than 9 years ago | (#10945645)

"Who is this 'We,' paleface?"

Lots of people are quick to say that someone else's work "needs" something. My car needs its cupholder in a sane spot, instead of so it just about blocks the radio buttons. It's true, but that's not exactly a demand on the car maker. Just a hint ... MR. SUBARU!

Sometimes it's hypothetical and prescriptive; "Red Hat needs to compete in the market X, so it needs to advertise in trade publication Z and add the de-pre-mux-defrobnostication patch that this special niche requires." Fine :)

Other times, the "need" is expressed as an imperative, when the speaker has no standing to demand anything ("The GIMP interface needs to change!") etc, or (as in the headline here) where there is no single Thing to change. "Open Source" covers a huge range; it's like "Things that have the letter R." It's true that some of these things (like Catherine Zeta Jones) are beautiful, but it it does not follow that all things with "R" better our existence in quite the same way.

It's perfectly nice and positive and welcome etc that someone has decided to promulgate what they consider higher standards of quality for "Open Source" -- as long as everyone realizes that only a certain subset of open source software can be scrutinized by any given such body, that developers may have their own ideas (even if they are not universally popular, and even if they have no intention of following someone else's ideas of UI perfection), that open source's great advantage in this context is that UIs are a) frequently separate from the underlying code and b) forkable.

timothy

Re:de-pre-mux-defrobnostication (1)

xtermin8 (719661) | more than 9 years ago | (#10946186)

"de-pre-mux-defrobnostication" that's a great term! The frobno part sounds like Zork. Maybe there's a hint of Douglas Adams in there? This is totally off-topic, but I've enjoy marketing jargon satires. Slashdot should have a survey of fictional technical jargon. There's probably something on the web- maybe there should be a wikipedia entry? Something on the Hitchhiker's Guide that wasn't strictly Douglas Adam's? Actually, this is probably all-too on-topic. I always thought quality control was supposed to be divided amongst thousands of volunteers on free software projects- right?

Re:Needs vs. Shoulds vs. Could Haves, etc. (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 9 years ago | (#10946307)

Exactly. What other industries have any kind of standards for an abstract a concept as quality? None I can think of. The pharmaceutical industry has standard on safety and efficacy, but those are words you can actually define and measure. Quality is an abstract and widely subjective concept.

The problem here lies in the concept of "quality standards". That's almost a contradiction in terms. In essence Quality is a value judgement and cannot be standardized, only made an opinion. That doesn't mean opinions are worthless. Look at Consumer Reports for example. They present well tested and usually well thought out analysis of different aspects that most consumers find important in a product. But even Consumers Reports emphasizes the individual components that comprise their assessment in their reviews. They de-emphasize their own judgements of Quality and bring you much of the raw data. Online review sites of computer hardware/software take much the same approach. The reader is free to make their own judgements based on what they find important.

Re:Needs vs. Shoulds vs. Could Haves, etc. (1)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 9 years ago | (#10946369)

Lots of people are quick to say that someone else's work "needs" something. My car needs its cupholder in a sane spot, instead of so it just about blocks the radio buttons. It's true, but that's not exactly a demand on the car maker. Just a hint ... MR. SUBARU!

I was rather surprised the other day to actually discover that my car does have cupholders... they weren't obvious... I only found them when I accidently pushed against what appeared to be a solid divider between the aircon and the radio and they popped out slightly... again, I'm still being surprised by the hidden functions of KDE... the "fish:\\" function is currently very usefull...

Maybe So. Lets start with slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10945666)

I mean code and stories btw.

yes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10945670)

the opensource software must be at least the same quality as microsoft products.

standards (3, Insightful)

eille-la (600064) | more than 9 years ago | (#10945673)

F/OSS needs more unified standards first! (like for packages).

Linux passed TelecomCarrier Grade Reliability Test (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10945680)

Certain versions of embedded and server Linux had already passed the Telecom Carrier Grade Reliability Test. Carrier Grade Linux is 99.999% Reliable. Any Window is NOT Telecom Carrier Grade Reliable. Microsoft won't even try because it will fail.

Open Source Quality Assurance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10945692)

The hype-filled about us section of their site says their Quality Standard Certification provides a "simple framework for self-assessment and performance improvement." The question of whether this is useful or even wanted in the US still remains to be answered


SourceForge shows that there is no end to open source, small (2 or fewer developers), niche software projects that could benefit greatly from following QA methods during their development.

Not all software is going to have a wide enough following by developers to effectively catch bugs if the core development team is sloppy. If the certified company is not completely cynical about the QA Cert, but actually incorporate QA Methods into development, they will produce generally better software with fewer bugs. They don't need to be CMM level 5 to do this, either.

nit-picking (2, Insightful)

Errtu76 (776778) | more than 9 years ago | (#10945703)

While i could care less about w3c compliant, *if* you decide to put up a link to w3c, checking valid xml stuff, make sure it's actually valid ;)

Heh... "QUALITY standards" or "quality STANDARDS"? (1)

Theovon (109752) | more than 9 years ago | (#10945711)

Do we need standards that pertain to quality or standards that themselves have quality? :)

The Community chooses. (4, Insightful)

Nijika (525558) | more than 9 years ago | (#10945713)

Ugh, sorry for the marketing like speak, but I feel like the quality standards in OSS are dictated in an "organic" way. Where the best software bubbles to the top, and the quality is assured by continued participation in quality software. Look at Apache. Look at the Linux and BSD kernels. KDE, anything. All of them have organic style quality controls where the community dictates just what is quality.

I can imagine an organized group like this, though, would be excellent at answering issues like corporate generated FUD in an organized and coherent way. That's our big problem, we lack representation (not counting eccentric geniuses with big ZZ top beards).

Standards are needed (2, Interesting)

Searinox (833879) | more than 9 years ago | (#10945733)

If FOSS is to conquer the end user market, there must be quality standards for usability (giving the system a polished look) and documentation. Many projects already are quite good at the documentation but a lot lack usablility in terms of "I'm coming from windows and I want at least a bit comfort by configuring the system via a GUI". That's not my opinion (I like the config-file-style) but it's how less technically experienced people think. And this is, after all the group of people that should be carefully driven away from monopolist software and at least use some free software.

Re:Standards are needed (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 9 years ago | (#10946026)

Many projects already are quite good at the documentation but a lot lack usablility in terms of "I'm coming from windows and I want at least a bit comfort by configuring the system via a GUI".

Not all projects need, or even should, have this variety of "usability."

Not every project is for everybody, and that's "OK."

KFG

"Badges? We don't need no stinking badges!" (1)

Sai Babu (827212) | more than 9 years ago | (#10945736)



We are a not-for-profit organisation which guarantees the the quality of open source deployments in the public sector by setting professional standards and bonding its members.

AFBCD (Another Fucking Barber College Diploma)

More info on stinkin badges [nyud.net] .

From the aforementioned hype filled section: (2, Funny)

Dammital (220641) | more than 9 years ago | (#10945748)

"We are a not-for-profit organisation which guarantees the the (sic) quality of open source deployments..."
Sure am glad they're watching out for quality.

Is this really a question? (1)

jeoin (668566) | more than 9 years ago | (#10945766)

This type of issue is why drivers are still a big problem for linux.

SQA is needed. (3, Informative)

ichigo (832988) | more than 9 years ago | (#10945805)

SQA is essentially one of the most important aspects in software engineering. Depending on the nature of a software, open source or not, SQA is definitely a must and key to developing software that meets the needs of the intended end-users without sacrifycing quality. What's the point of having a software that has fancy features of this and that and yet crashes every now and then?

SQA helps to validate the software whether it is developed up to certain acceptable standards like whether it's functioning the way it supposed to, does it go berserk and stop functioning after the user keys in certain kind of data, etc.

Just because a software is open source and free, I see no reason why the quality should be compromised especially the operating systems, office productivity and development tools.

And so I really feel this Quality Standard Certification is needed, I mean just look at the numbers of governments and organizations is using Windows OS despite it's many flaws compared to the number of Linux OS adoption. The reasoning for this that "Linux is harder to use" is lame - it's obviously because of it's reputation and that Microsoft gave "quality assurance" to their product. What about Linux? Is there concrete proof that Linux is better that will convinced the government and the organization that it is a better OS?

Why not? (0, Troll)

dfiguero (324827) | more than 9 years ago | (#10945839)

"The question of whether this is useful or even wanted in the US still remains to be answered."

Why wouldn't you want quality standards? Or is it that just because this is not a US born organization then whatever they say is not useful in the US?

Re:Why not? (1)

1600 penn ave (835528) | more than 9 years ago | (#10946064)

OSC Quality Assurance:: bring about the better regulation of the process of assessing quality standards in the deployment of Open Source software. because WE in the U.S.A don't need anymore "Regulations"!! OSC Members:: With over 60 member companies and 400 dedicated Open Source specialists, I noticed that most of these "member companies" are just Consultants. what Open Source really needs is more people with Technical knowhow....not a bunch of Google Researchers... So WE don't need this nonsense in the USA

Of course not! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10945873)

Why would open source need quality standards? All open source software is perfect by default, just in the same way that every piece of code coming from Redmond is evil to the power of ten.

Stupid question ...

F/OSS is better. (1, Insightful)

rice_burners_suck (243660) | more than 9 years ago | (#10945883)

Open source doesn't need any stupid quality standards. These things are completely stupid, and only for retarded corporations that use complicated processes to manage the lives of programmers like Big Brother manages the lives of puny peasants in 1984.

Free software is known to deliver quality software without stupid standards. People just program whatever they feel like programming. They do it because it is fun. Not because some stupid idiotic manager who thinks he's hot schitt because he has an MBA is breathing down your neck and yelling at the programmer for not making quality software fast enough and cheap enough. They don't understand anything about software and they think they can make stuff better by making up quality standards.

Not only do they expect the impossible in a shorter amount of time and they don't give you the TIME to make up good software, but then they make up quality standards as if to add insult to injury.

That is why F/OSS is so much better than this commercial garbage. Because F/OSS makes everything better without the need for any of this stupid management crap. F/OSS. Because friends don't let friends use commercial software.

Re:F/OSS is better. (1)

dfiguero (324827) | more than 9 years ago | (#10945987)

I think you are missing the point. Quality software does not tell you what to code or if you have some MBA fellow breathing down your neck just so you can puke extra lines of code.

Just because some piece of code is Free software it doesn't automagically become quality software. Not all commercial software is crap and not all FOSS is quality software.

I think you don't know squat about standards or quality assurance. You didn't make any valid points in your attack but rather went on a rampage on how you hate to have someone tell you what to code and how FOSS is leetz!

Prove me wrong! Without going into google or other search engines out the top of your head tell me how many MBAs participated in the making of the ISO 90001 standard.

Re:F/OSS is better. (1)

darcypj (325629) | more than 9 years ago | (#10946216)

Actually, open source software has all KINDS of standards imposed on the code.

Take a look at many the glibc maintainer's responses to patches in the glibc patches archive....part of this guy's fun in coding is ripping other people's patches to shreds (I say that half seriously, as the criticism he gives makes the code more 'standardized'). This peer-review is the enforcement of standards, and people who are reviewers are chosen by how well they write code. (Kind of like /. moderators?)

Did you know that in the GNU community, that there are a requisite number of spaces between the closing punctuation of a comment and the closing comment symbol ("*/")? That's an example of OSS being a community that institutes its own standards. These self imposed standards are what help them to improve the codebase, as it accepts quality code and helps to improve low quality stuff by working with submitters to raise their quality.

Further, ISO/ANSI and POSIX all create standards to which much OS code is supposed to comply (or claims that it does). Now, THAT is where you'll catch the flame wars on the lists, between glibc and gcc folks on the latest round of "your compiler is too strict" versus "your code is too loose" when GCC starts enforcing C99 standards that the libraries hadn't met yet!

Quality Shit (1)

lesburn1 (93956) | more than 9 years ago | (#10945884)

A company I worked for produced shit for software but, as they where ISO9001 certified at least our customer know that they could document every step of the process it took to make shit.

Quality from guys who haven't bathed in a month? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10945974)

I think the first step in assuring quality OSS is to teach some of these guys how to take care of themselves first! lol

What the hell is this? (1)

northcat (827059) | more than 9 years ago | (#10945994)

Why does this summary look at open source consortium so critically? Where did unbiased reporting go? They haven't done anything yet and already this summary is using terms like "hype-filled". As far as I can see it is saying that it will do the good job responding to "claims that switching to open source is more expensive than using Microsoft products" and helping "smaller companies compete with Sun and IBM for open source contracts".

Re:What the hell is this? (1, Interesting)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 9 years ago | (#10946284)

They haven't done anything yet and already this summary is using terms like "hype-filled"
... because it IS hype-filled. It's smells to high hell of another marketing scam. They want to be open - let them submit their standards (their "framework" and "certification" standards) to peer review. Show us the standards (or kindly fuck off :-)

Just look at their address:

Open Source Consortium
P.O. Box 536,
Hidden Cottage,
Egerton Road,
Weybridge,
Surrey,
KT13 0WZ
A freaking PO Box. No "real" address. No phone number. No fax number. so who are these clowns anyway?

And then we've got the whole "Beat the FUD" section. Groklaw already does a better job of defudding than these assholes.

Scam, scam, scam.

RTFS (1)

northcat (827059) | more than 9 years ago | (#10946114)

Go look at the fucking site. The "Quality Assurance" is NOT for open source apps, but for COMPANIES that provide services based on OSS. The /. summary is very misleading.

Standards will just slow the war down (2, Insightful)

Stevyn (691306) | more than 9 years ago | (#10946177)

I tend to think of OSS as a war between different developers to see who's idea will be favored by the market. For too many years, implementation of ideas was up to some PHB. The problems of that system are starting to show. The idea that "well, it may not be the best way to do it, but at least we can all agree to do it this way" goes against the idea that the best solution will come out on top.

I think developers should continue to try new ideas and do it their way. If nobody likes their idea, their software won't be used and it won't matter.

The market will adjust. It may not be elegant or convenient to juggle several different packaging systems, for example, but people are doing it. Eventually, the best packaging system will come out on top because people chose to use it, not become some standards organization decided it was best.

These past few years of OSS have shown some pretty neat ideas in a short amount of time. I think it's going to improve at a faster rate in the next few years.

Quality standards are destructive (1)

thomasdelbert (44463) | more than 9 years ago | (#10946229)

Quality standards in Linux would go against the mantra of "Release early and release often". A good open source project shoul dbe first release at the time it shows promise, even if it has kinks in it to allow other open source developers to pick it up and contribute. Once the project is matured, then it is okay to add a "stable" release stream (like Linux even-versions) to complement the "hacker" releases (like Linux odd-versions), but in order for an open source project to produce quality code, it must release code that isn't ready for prime time in order to allow peer review and to reduce duplicate effort. This is how the bazaar works.

- Thomas;

Judging by closed source software... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10946268)

Judging by closed source software, it looks like there is no expectation of a minimum level of quality in software.
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