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McVoy Strikes Back

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the them's-fightin-words dept.

Data Storage 777

cranos writes "Fast on the heels of his previous article claiming the kernel is at risk of Bad Things over the BitKeeper fuss, Daniel Lyons has released a new article where Larry McVoy attacks the Open Source movement as non-innovative and dependent on the kindness of corporations. The following quote says it all: 'The open source guys can scrape together enough resources to reverse engineer stuff. That's easy. It's way cheaper to reverse engineer something than to create something new. But if the world goes to 100% open source, innovation goes to zero. The open source guys hate it when I say this, but it's true.'"

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McVoy doesn't get it (5, Insightful)

bmw (115903) | more than 8 years ago | (#12643584)

"One problem with the services model is that it is based on the idea that you are giving customers crap--because if you give them software that works, what is the point of service?" McVoy says.

To begin with, software these days is quite complex and it really is impossible to have a full-blown operating system with all the applications people expect and not have some sort of issues. Secondly, the vast majority of people out there are not computer savvy and are going to need help regardless of how well built their OS/applications are. Red Hat isn't dead yet so I wouldn't be so quick to proclaim them as such, although their demise wouldn't entirely surprise me.

"The other problem is that the services model doesn't generate enough revenue to support the creation of the next generation of innovative products.

That's one of the great things about open source software; it doesn't have to. Companies like Red Hat are packagers, not necessarily creators. What they provide is a nice, neat package of what others are already creating.

But if the world goes to 100% open source, innovation goes to zero. The open source guys hate it when I say this, but it's true."

Honestly, what is this guy smoking? We are creative beings... It really doesn't matter what people decide to do with their source code, there will always be innovation because it is human nature to think of new ways to do things.

But McVoy says open source advocates fail to recognize that building new software requires lots of trial and error, which means investing lots of money. ...or time. Keep in mind that there are a lot of people out there that have the free time on their hands to tinker with things that they find interesting. This is really how open source got to be big in the first place. McVoy seems to ignore the fact that, in general, open source software is really only gaining momentum and that it has its roots in hobbyist tinkerers; people who do it because they find it fulfilling for their own personal reasons.

But none of them can show me how to build a software-development house and fund it off open source revenue. My claim is it can't be done."

This statement really says everything about why McVoy feels the way he does; he's only thinking about money. He has completely forgotten that open source software doesn't require a profit to exist or be innovative. People write free/open source software because they enjoy it not because it is going to make them rich.

"Nobody wants to admit that most of the money funding open source development, maybe 80% to 90%, is coming from companies that are not open source companies themselves. What happens when these sponsors go away and there is not enough money floating around?

Nothing. I will continue to use Firefox, OpenOffice, X Windows, and all the other software I have come to rely on. This is another great aspect of open source software; it isn't going away because someone else can always pick up a dead project and run with it themselves.

Re:McVoy doesn't get it (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12643625)

How many updates, upgrades, patches, etc. did McVoy sell for BitKeeper? I hope it was zero, otherwise the guy has just proofed himself a liar.

Re:McVoy doesn't get it (4, Informative)

ssj_195 (827847) | more than 8 years ago | (#12643655)

To begin with, software these days is quite complex and it really is impossible to have a full-blown operating system with all the applications people expect and not have some sort of issues. Secondly, the vast majority of people out there are not computer savvy and are going to need help regardless of how well built their OS/applications are. Red Hat isn't dead yet so I wouldn't be so quick to proclaim them as such, although their demise wouldn't entirely surprise me.
Indeed. Non-trivial software will require support (either to install, or to tailor to your companies specific requirements) until we invent Strong AI, not before.
That's one of the great things about open source software; it doesn't have to. Companies like Red Hat are packagers, not necessarily creators. What they provide is a nice, neat package of what others are already creating.
Even then, Redhat to a *huge* amount of development, especially on GCC. If I recall, Luminocity was also funded by Redhat. This is not even close to an exhaustive list.

So, you programmers ready to give up your jobs? (2, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 8 years ago | (#12643735)

This statement really says everything about why McVoy feels the way he does; he's only thinking about money.

So, what happens to all the programmers in the world when everything goes open source and free? Are you all willing to take jobs flipping burgers at McDonalds to pay your rent while you do your old job for free at night to "support the cause"?

-Eric

Re:So, you programmers ready to give up your jobs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12643785)

Look, just because a project is open-source, doesn't mean you have to make it free. You can charge for the binary, and provide source, like Transgaming does with Cedega. (Though they are borderline.)

Re:McVoy doesn't get it (5, Insightful)

RupW (515653) | more than 8 years ago | (#12643756)

...or time. Keep in mind that there are a lot of people out there that have the free time on their hands to tinker with things that they find interesting.

Remember that getting the prototype up and running is the interesting bit - getting it polished, fully QAed and packaged is the dull slog that no-one really wants to do. Witness all the incomplete projects on sourceforge. Once it's got just enough function to scratch the author's itch they move on to other things.

There's a wide gulf in what people will do because they want to and what they'll do because they're paid to - or at least in how many people you'll get at each end of the spectrum.

Re:McVoy doesn't get it (0, Redundant)

Rick Zeman (15628) | more than 8 years ago | (#12643776)

This statement really says everything about why McVoy feels the way he does; he's only thinking about money. He has completely forgotten that open source software doesn't require a profit to exist or be innovative.

But a business does....

Re:McVoy doesn't get it (2, Interesting)

diegocgteleline.es (653730) | more than 8 years ago | (#12643791)

Keep in mind that there are a lot of people out there that have the free time on their hands to tinker with things that they find interesting.

The point of larry is that decent software can't be created by a student in a couple of weekends. It takes some programmers working full-time to create a "perfect" product - just look at the state of the "documentation" of most of software projects

However I think that lack of resources is not that bad, sometimes. Students who write software on weekends need to be smart because of the lack of resources. Sometimes this means that they need to write good software, design things properly, etc. Not by choice, but because they have not option.

Many people has forgotten the Unix example, Multics was a great OS founded by AT&T, MIT etc with docens of engineers, Unix was mostly a hack by a couple of guys. IMO Unix suceed not because they guys behing it was extremely smart (many of the ideas from unix were stolen from multics), but because they needed a good system and neccesity forced them to write a great OS. Millions of dollars don't always drive "innovation", innovation drives innovation; money is a way of encourage innovation but "neccesity", open source ideals, desire to punch Bitkeeper can create it to..

He's right (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12643585)

All the so called new OSS products are just copies of, higher quality, proprietary software.

So if you want a cheap solution with less options... go OSS!

Re:He's right (2, Insightful)

Intron (870560) | more than 8 years ago | (#12643652)

Like apache, sendmail, and mozilla. Oh wait, in all three cases, the copies are the proprietary code and they're lower quality. Sorry, I meant like Linux.

Oh, wait:

uptime
9:01am up 252 days, 11:23, 1 user, load average: 0.15, 0.03, 0.01

Re:He's right (1)

duffbeer703 (177751) | more than 8 years ago | (#12643745)

Q: And what is linux?

A: A knockoff of Unix loosely based on POSIX

All of those other projects exist due to the charity of corporations that need those projects so they can make money in other areas.

How many true volunteers are there in the Mozilla project? Few -- most work for companies like Sun or IBM.

That's just silly. And here's why. (4, Insightful)

Slartibartfast (3395) | more than 8 years ago | (#12643663)

"All the so-called new OSS products are just copies of..."
Maybe you hadn't noticed, but a LOT of the products you're describing -- eg., the browser -- existed in the OSS sphere before it did in the closed-source sphere. Let's list the "killer apps":
Spreadsheet
Word Processor
Database
E-mail
Browser

Of those five, only the spreadsheet and word processor got their starts as closed source. (Well, okay, the database is a tough one; see Ashton Tate v. Fox Software for details.) Regardless, there are damn few ideas for software these days that didn't exist ten years ago. In other words (and here's the whole point, so pay attention) MOST ALL SOFTWARE, REGARDLESS OF LICENSE, IS DERIVATIVE THESE DAYS. Or, in a nutshell, your argument is specious, ill-informed, and simply dumb.

HOWEVER: Larry might be right, but for the wrong reason. The ONLY thing that drives corporate (as opposed to individual) innovation, as far as I'm concerned, is competition. If competition goes away, innovation stops. See myriad Microsoft cases (eg., DOS 3.x vs. DR DOS, IE vs. Firefox, etc.).

Re:That's just silly. And here's why. (2, Interesting)

RupW (515653) | more than 8 years ago | (#12643781)

Maybe you hadn't noticed, but a LOT of the products you're describing -- eg., the browser -- existed in the OSS sphere before it did in the closed-source sphere.

The basic idea, perhaps, but not necessarily the design.

Version control with all the bells and whistles is a complex problem. Coming up with a good solution is difficult. Larry doesn't care that there are open source version control systems, he cares that other people are copying his solution.

I think it's true... (0, Flamebait)

10Ghz (453478) | more than 8 years ago | (#12643586)

...When they said that McVoy really is an asshole.

Re:I think it's true... (1, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#12643646)

When they said that McVoy really is an asshole.

No worries. He's fully surpassed by the assholes in the mirror around here.

I mean honestly, the OSS community has not treated him with any respect, despite the fact that he's a good friend of Linus. If Linus sees something in him, then perhaps there's more to the guy than the "money grubbing asshole" everyone here makes him out to be? Maybe, just maybe, he's an innovator who is looking to make a living off of innovating? You know, put food on the table for his kids?

Re:I think it's true... (2, Interesting)

/ASCII (86998) | more than 8 years ago | (#12643680)

Ok, so everyone should love Larry because he is a buddy of Linus. That is just stupid. They spin he has been putting on all things Open source lately, I wonder how things are really going between him and Linus right now.

Re:I think it's true... (4, Insightful)

bmw (115903) | more than 8 years ago | (#12643684)

I mean honestly, the OSS community has not treated him with any respect, despite the fact that he's a good friend of Linus.

Ya know... he hasn't really said many things lately that deserve our respect. Does being a friend of Linus really demand all that much respect? This guy seems to have his head up his ass so why should I show him anything but contempt?

Re:I think it's true... (3, Funny)

gowen (141411) | more than 8 years ago | (#12643688)

I mean honestly, the OSS community has not treated him with any respect, despite the fact that he's a good friend of Linus
That would be a pretty stupid reason for giving someone respect. Innocence By Association is just as stupid as Guilt By Association.
Maybe, just maybe, he's an innovator who is looking to make a living off of innovating
Cool, good luck to him. I'd be interested to find out how being as big an asshole as his worst critics, and taking every opportunity to demean the work of other programmers helps him out here.

I'd also have liked it if he'd been honest enough to say "I'm an innovator, and I encourage Linux developers to use BitKeeper in order to boost their productivity and my business profile. But please bear in mind I reserve the right to take it continually change the licence conditions, and then take it away completely on a whim, and then give interviews slagging off Open Source at every opportunity."

At least Linus and Bill Gates are relatively honest about their motivation being World Domination.

A little bit of honesty goes a long way.

Re:I think it's true... (4, Insightful)

10Ghz (453478) | more than 8 years ago | (#12643753)

I mean honestly, the OSS community has not treated him with any respect, despite the fact that he's a good friend of Linus


So, he should be treated with respect just because he's a friend of Linus? Regardless of the fact that he acted like a whining and annoying brat during the whole BK-debacle? His behavior was downright moronic, and he kept changing the license under wich BK was released. then he pulled the BK-license for OSDL, because one independent contractor of OSDL happened to Telnet in to the BK-server.

If Linus sees something in him, then perhaps there's more to the guy than the "money grubbing asshole" everyone here makes him out to be?


Linus and McVoy might be friends personally. But that does not mean that McVoy should earn respect because of his professional activities. Just because he's friends with Linus does not mean that he's a great guy. This whole debacle has shown that he is in fact a grade-A asshole.

Maybe, just maybe, he's an innovator who is looking to make a living off of innovating? You know, put food on the table for his kids?


He started to whine when others tried to "reverse-engineer" his precious BK. Well, too bad for him that reverse-engineering is allowed. Looking at his comments, it seems to me that he wanted BK to have similar protection a patent would give him. Of course he couldn't say that he supports software-patents, so he started bitching and moaning and being a real jerk hen people didn't like his constant license-changes and *shock and horror* tried to reverse-engineer BK.

Re:I think it's true... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12643704)

> ...When they said that McVoy really is an asshole.

Yep. The only thing that comes out of his mouth is shit.

Consider this gem:
"But if the world goes to 100% open source, innovation goes to zero. "

The wheel and the airplane weren't invented because they had commercial value. They were invented to solve a specific problem or just prove that something was possible.

Innovation happens all the time, and no company should brainwash society otherwise.

Re:I think it's true... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12643734)

> ...When they said that McVoy really is an asshole.

Yes but he's out-innovated open source.

Nobody can produce better assholes than companies.

but then companies like.... (1)

Col Bat Guano (633857) | more than 8 years ago | (#12643591)

Adacore (http://www.gnat.com/ [gnat.com] ) who constantly invent write new code, and make it publicly available wouldn't exist.

Does a single counter example invalidate his argument?

Re:but then companies like.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12643649)

Does a single counter example invalidate his argument?

A single counter example proves his argument. Nothing is 100% true in all cases.

Re:but then companies like.... (1)

Ruie (30480) | more than 8 years ago | (#12643657)

Thing is what Larry does would be impossible without the centuries of open source science to build upon.

What he said was not very thought out..

Re:but then companies like.... (1)

/ASCII (86998) | more than 8 years ago | (#12643659)

No. That could be a fluke. But when you start thinking about all the innovative open source software in the world, you see that he's just spreading FUD. Applications like Valgrind, Tomboy F-spot, Muine and amaroK are all pretty innovative, in my opinion.

yep (1)

maharg (182366) | more than 8 years ago | (#12643600)

I for one cannot think of a single innovation to have been made in the open source sphere ;o) tosser.

It's true because I say so (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12643602)

What a great way of reasoning. The more I read from that guy the better I think it is that Linux kernel development got rid of his junk.

Whatever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12643604)

Another idiot heard from.

Yeah (1)

Apreche (239272) | more than 8 years ago | (#12643605)

Because every piece of open source software is something that was reverse engineered, and none of those awesome new features are things that people came up with on their own.

Firefox, BitTorrent.

I'll allow replies to provide more examples.

Re:Yeah (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12643635)

WTF is so original about Firefox? Or ButtTorrent? A browser? File sharing? You're a moronic zealot, and the primary reason OSS will fade away. You talk a lot of trash, but what it really comes down to is that Linux and OSS in general JUST PLAIN SUCK ASS. Thanks for playing, please play again sometime. Fucking moron.

really (1)

xmodem_and_rommon (884879) | more than 8 years ago | (#12643741)

What is innovative about bittorrent?

Normally, the download speed of a file is inversely proportional to the number of people downloading it at a particular time. In other words, the more people downloading, the slower it goes and the longer it takes for all of them. With bittorrent, it's DIRECTLY proportional - the mroe the better.

Firefox? Tabbed browsing. Yes, yes, i know. Firefox wasn't the first browser with that (I read here once that it is infact the IE shell Maxthon). But there are plenty of other innovative things about it. RSS bookmarks? Themes? The layout of the preferences page? to name a few.

Re:Yeah (2, Insightful)

Caiwyn (120510) | more than 8 years ago | (#12643731)

I'll allow replies to provide more examples.

Please do. Because though he's not 100% right, I do think McVoy has a point, and the two projects you mention are not so overwhelming as to prove him completely wrong. For all our talk of innovation, very little open source software is innovative -- much of it exists to mimic some proprietary alternative. Even the linux kernel was created as a project to get a unix-like system on x86 hardware. Firefox, though built from the ashes of Netscape, was mainly driven as an alternative to I.E. -- it just had new and innovative features added along the way. But that's no different from the "embrace and extend" that we give MS so much hassle for.

I use open source software on a daily basis, and I love the freedom it provides, but McVoy is right that it is very hard to monetize. Labors of love don't pay the bills. That doesn't mean it's impossible, and McVoy's opinion has obviously taken a ridiculously extreme conclusion, but there is a grain of truth in his words.

Re:Yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12643752)

Small and large things which come to mind immediately:

Emacs
rsync
httpd / apache
wget
RCS (because SCCS was so fucked-up and did it backwards)
X11
TeX
patch
perl

But.... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12643606)

Thats just like your opinion man...

It's true, but whats wrong with that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12643608)

For the most part, it is true, open source strives to give the community what is availible commercially. I don't believe there is anything wrong with that philosophy, too many people think that open source should be something more but I believe it is fulfilling it purpose nicely.

Re:It's true, but whats wrong with that? (1)

sosume (680416) | more than 8 years ago | (#12643724)

No way: this reasoning leads to the conclusion that innovation is only motivated by money, and open source is a way to get the value to zero.

And i'm darned sure it isn't: the world's greatest inventors and artists usually didn't get very rich.

It's the lawyers and salesmen who make the big bucks, and it's especially them who are cut out of the loop in the OSS business model.

Too true (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12643609)

OSS is as innovative as what comes out of the feed tray of a Xerox copy machine. Linux sucks, OSS sucks, and soon, it will suck so bad it will go away. Just like the Dot-Com days. Die, LinSux, Die!

Innovation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12643610)

Yeah, because any project that has its source code available has obviously just reverse engineered Microsoft's^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H another company's code.

Is this the bit where I "call bullshit"?

Entirely true! (1)

JismTroll (588456) | more than 8 years ago | (#12643612)

When I think of worthless failures, there is only one name that comes to mind, and that name is dcom.

GNAA > yuo

I can't disagree (0, Flamebait)

sbraab (100929) | more than 8 years ago | (#12643619)

I am a big open source fan, but I can't disagree with this. Most open source applications are built as replacements for commercial applications. Many try to look just like the original. Sure most have one or two innovative features, but what applications in the OS world are really innovative, especially from an end user perspective?

Plenty (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12643678)

BitTorrent and all the other P2P apps out there. Even Napster was free to use when it first started.

I don't think I ever really *thought* about P2P apps for file sharing before Napster appeared.

Re:I can't disagree (2, Insightful)

Evan Meakyl (762695) | more than 8 years ago | (#12643681)

I agree in a way, but I think you should see that sometimes, you can't do (or think) different: try to replace the wheels of your car by something else. I bet it won't go faster, because the wheel shape is the best for what it is intended to do.
And so is the case of a text editor: you will always have a place where to put your text, etc... Of course, some softs will try to challenge this and will provide new ways of doing this, and I bet there are more OSS taking "risks" than commercial applications.
You can say that about softwares, but this includes also kernels (which is a software of course).

Re:I can't disagree (4, Interesting)

CaptainZapp (182233) | more than 8 years ago | (#12643692)

I am a big open source fan, but I can't disagree with this. Most open source applications are built as replacements for commercial applications.

So what exactly was it that products like sendmail, bind, apache, etc where copying from the closed source world? It also seems that Internet Explorer starts to rip off features, which where introduced with open source browsers. (Safe for Opera, but it was Firefox' success which finally convinced MS of tabed browsing and the implementation has yet to be seen).

I'd wager that the internet would be a duller place, would it solely be reliant on such engineering gems lik IIS and Exchange (which came later in the first place).

Re:I can't disagree (1)

hyc (241590) | more than 8 years ago | (#12643706)

Ah yes of course. NCSA Mosaic was just a copy of MS IE, then. Oh wait, Mosaic predated Microsoft Internet Explorer by at least two years. Hmmmmm....

Re:I can't disagree (3, Informative)

MrDomino (799876) | more than 8 years ago | (#12643736)

Sure most have one or two innovative features, but what applications in the OS world are really innovative, especially from an end user perspective?

Certainly not desktop [enlightenment.org] environments [gnome.org] , servers [apache.org] , remote shells [openssh.com] , anonymizing [freenetproject.org] (or swarming [bittorrent.com] ) networks [eff.org] , or compilers [gnu.org] .

Because all of those things are just replacements for commercial applications, and did nothing new.

Re:I can't disagree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12643754)

tabbed browsing appeared in FF before IE. It may have appeared in closed sourced browser before IE, but then again, if you close enough, everything new is rehashed old.

What % of developers are open-source? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12643620)

I don't think that is true, I mean what percentage of all developers could be considered "innovative", and what percent of all developers are open-source developers? If you have 1% being called "innovative" and 1% being called "open-source" developers, then you get 0.01% being "innovative open-source" developers. Which just means that there is innovation, just not at the rate of closed-source developers. Besides, if all developers were to switch to being open-source, then the rate of innovation would stay the same, as you have the same number of people!

-nosebreaker.com

People don't seem to realize... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12643623)

that open source/free/libre software is not just about innovation - it's about freedom. I agree with RMS on this one. I would rather have a piece of software that has some features than a closed piece of software that has many.
It's unfortunate that many people - even open source advocates - don't realize that "open source" is a methodology. Software freedom is the goal and the end result of the FSF/GPL.

Counter examples (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12643624)

But there are so many counter examples to "Open Source is not innovative" and so many examples where people's favourite proprietry systems have copied ideas first seen in Open Source. There are a lot of innovative people out there. Being in a software company is not a pre-requisite for having an imagination. Open Source has grown despite all the people saying how bad it is.

In fact I think the situation that will kill innovation is one where only one proprietry vendor wins. Without competition there won't be the need to innovate. Bring on software rental and patent protection and then innovation in the industry will die. That scenario will bring about legally enforced vendor lock-in with the vendor able to just sit back and rake in the rentals.

Don't believe me? Look at how Internet Explorer stagnated when Microsoft thought it had no competition. Look at the innovation in Firefox.

Corporate-esse (2)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 8 years ago | (#12643626)

The open source guys can scrape together enough resources to reverse engineer stuff. That's easy. It's way cheaper to reverse engineer something than to create something new

Wha..?

Not in terms of man hours, nor tools require, nor expertise of the people involved.

I'm calling this one: Bullshit.

But if the world goes to 100% open source, innovation goes to zero. The open source guys hate it when I say this, but it's true.

I'm trying, I'm really trying, to see how this one works. If I can have the source to anything I'm working on, and I decide that I like it better this way, and everybody else agrees with me, isn't that innovation? Hell, isn't it innovation even if NOBODY agrees with me? So, by the sheer numbers of casual programmers like myself in the world, doesn't this mean innovation actually sky rockets with the more code we have access to?

Newsline next week ( and remember, you heard it here first! ): MS buys out bitkeeper!

Ok, that was supposed to be a joke, but it makes a weird sort of sense, doesn't it?

It wasn't even reverse engineering the program (2, Informative)

Lifewish (724999) | more than 8 years ago | (#12643691)

If I recall correctly, all that was "reverse engineered" was the client-server protocols. This is the same sort of thing that the EU is currently yelling at Microsoft to release to the world, as keeping it quiet is a great way to lock people in to a product.

Re:Corporate-esse (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12643788)

Maybe the last line of parent was a joke... but maybe not. It would make a lot of sense for M$ to buy something that can handle real world better than VSS.

Does M$ use VSS for high value internal projects?

No innovation? (4, Insightful)

akadruid (606405) | more than 8 years ago | (#12643628)

True innovation is rare amongst computer software, and none of the big players can claim much. Microsoft and Oracle for example, made their millions from tweaking and marketing the ideas of others. Can anyone tell me if BitKeeper contains any innovations?

It's not a curse of open source, just the way things are made.

Not that these things matter, since Free software is about making good software available to everyone, not about innovations.

so? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12643630)

So who is this Daniel Lyons and why should I even care?

Still can't work out who's the sith (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12643633)

Dan Lyons is Palpatine
Linus of course is Yoda
McVoy is Anakin
McBride is the one of the many bounty hunter clones
Yaroo is Jabba
Alan Cox is Chewbacca
Tridge is Lando
PJ is Lea

But who's the sith?!

Chortle... (4, Insightful)

gowen (141411) | more than 8 years ago | (#12643636)

McVoy will stop the give-away, saying it has been costing him nearly $500,000 per year to support Torvalds and his programmers.
I think Larry must use the RIAA's accountancy methods for coming up with the cost of these things.

Re:Chortle... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12643711)

When you add in the cost of a couple full time bay area developers along with the cost to maintain a bunch of servers, I can see how the cost could easily reach a half-million per year.

In this day and age it doesn't take much to rack up half a million dollars in expenses.

Re:Chortle... (3, Insightful)

gowen (141411) | more than 8 years ago | (#12643765)

Why would an SCM company require two full-time developers just to support the source code of Linux?

Or, indeed, any developers, other than to fix any bugs are revealed by using Linux as a free stress testing tool.

It's true (1)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 8 years ago | (#12643638)

I mean, just look at Bittorrent, completely non-innovative if you disregard the fact that it is currently the most efficient way to grab large files for package upgrades. Hmmm, maybe I should take this article to heart and go back to downloading my updates at 100k/sec for my home box. Nah screw that, I'll use the torrents for my updates. It will be a matter of time before the back end for the transfer of this code will work it's way into other means of transferring large files.

importance of git (5, Insightful)

qwertphobia (825473) | more than 8 years ago | (#12643641)

The article completely misses the importance if git.

Yes, Linus is a limited resource, and if he takes time to work on a development tool, kernel releases are delayed, but that doesn't mean overall kernel development has delayed overall.

But the importance of git should not be overlooked.

Linus and friends have been making a custom tool designed to fit their hands perfectly and accompany them in the way that they (the developers) work. In the long run, git will be a better tool for them because they designed it to meet the way they work instead of using an existing tool and changing how they work to match the functionality and nuances of that tool.

Look forward to more efficient development in the next year, that's what I say.

Mozilla Innovates (1)

yancey (136972) | more than 8 years ago | (#12643656)

What part of using XML for window layouts was reverse engineered?

Re:Mozilla Innovates (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12643786)

That idea was ripped off from Glade... oops, that's an open-source project too...

Bashing? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12643671)

"It's way cheaper to reverse engineer something than to create something new..."

So why is Larry bashing Microsoft?

Not Innovating seems to have worked well for MS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12643673)

Microsoft has amassed a huge pile of money and really hasn't innovated anything new.

Open Source doesn't make money (2, Insightful)

akadruid (606405) | more than 8 years ago | (#12643676)

From TFA:
To be sure, a few open source companies are successfully generating revenue and even (possibly) profits. But none of them generates enough money to do anything really innovative, says McVoy, 43, an industry veteran who has developed operating system software at Sun Microsystems, SGI and Google.

Of course, having working at Google, he would know what a curse open source is. No wonder Google make no money with all that OSS they use (and create).

The Web and P2P (1)

ajs (35943) | more than 8 years ago | (#12643683)

His whole argument goes out the window if you look at the history of the Web and P2P systems like Gnutella and BitTorrent.

The flip-side of this is that if BitKeeper were an open source product, you could brush it off as "non-innovative" just by saying that it's a source code control system, and there are tons of those out there. The innovation is incremental, and that's important to remember. Now go look at all of the Open Source projects whose innovations are incremental. A few that come to mind are gcc, Gnome, The Gimp, Perl, Python, Bash, Gnu fileutils, ReiserFS (well ok, not so incremental), BSD's IP Firewall (ok, again not so incremental).... there are dozens of other examples with significant, but incremental innovations.

The problem that he REALLY has is that open source as a BUSINESS MODEL is fundamentally different from that of proprietary software, and he's right: he'd be out of business in a week if he went open source. That's something that the market will figure out in time, and I think the correct answer is that software as a commodity just took several steps down the ladder in terms of total value.

I'm good with that, and in fact as a conusumer, I'm thrilled.

Non-innovative? (5, Insightful)

Noryungi (70322) | more than 8 years ago | (#12643685)

Sure, the Open Source community is non-innovative.

Let's see... BitTorrent?

Hmmm... that sounds pretty innovative to me.

OpenBSD's pf? CARP?

Hmmm... that sounds pretty innovative to me.

Rsync? SpamAssassin? Encrypted file systems, such as cgd? Zope? Stable journaling file systems, such as ReiserFS and ext3fs? Or even Arch, Monotone and other source management programs?

Well, I guess some innovations come from the Open Source community, after all...

Frankly, big corporations (Microsoft comes to mind) do not 'innovate' either. They slavishly copy whatever worked for the competition.

I think this gentleman is just angry that some people decided to copy his precious SubVersion. But guess what? That is the nature of Open Source. If the 'community' likes something, it is going to copy it, and then improve on it.

And, in the case of OpenSSH (for instance) the copy actually is better than the original. I rest my case.

Necessity is the mother of. . .what? (4, Insightful)

heller (4484) | more than 8 years ago | (#12643690)

Oh Yea. . .Necessity is the mother of invention. Had he remembered that then he would realize that the source of innovation in a 100% Open Source world would be new things that are required and not some desired cash as things stand now. Personally, I would rather see things being innovated because I NEED them, not because some company wants to put a "New and Improved" sticker on a box to justify a price raise.

not the first to say this (1)

toby (759) | more than 8 years ago | (#12643693)

In a 2001 essay [heise.de] discussing the interface of M$ Word, Matthew Fuller wrote, inter alia,
Free Software is too content with simply reverse-engineering or mimicking the cramped sensoriums of proprietary software. Copying Microsoft Word feature by feature and opening up the source code is not freedom. Mimesis is misery.

Whilst there is at least the beginnings of a move to collaborate with designers and other users to produce replica DTP packages ... there is a need to go further. Where it seems open or free approaches are most fruitful at present is in small software, making specific interventions to precise technical, economic and social problematics. ... Geek drives to innovation must, as awkwardly and confusingly as it will happen, be coupled with the drive to make language, to cut the word up, open, and into process.

That said, I don't think McVoy is necessarily coming from the right place, and I am not convinced that Free Software is inherently imitative. Certainly RMS started with a project to create free alternatives to useful software, and such an objective seems useful in many fields. And it has also been proven time and time again that open source can match and exceed the quality of proprietary products... I tend to agree with RMS that until we can do our daily work using free tools, innovation (at least radical innovation) maybe needs to take a back seat - not that it is in any way excluded!

Take Subversion [tigris.org] for example. It's easy to see it as a "cvs clone" - although it adds substantial value. Sometimes a free work-alike is a very valuable thing in itself (probably the best example of this is Linux).

Everything I've heard from McVoy makes him sound like an avaricious, self-interested twit, and this latest serving of hyperbole seems very well timed to boost interest in his product right at the moment when his destructive antics are leading a lot of smart people might have second thoughts about a product with such capricious licensing.

Service FUD (1)

cfreeze (146454) | more than 8 years ago | (#12643698)

"One problem with the services model is that it is based on the idea that you are giving customers crap--because if you give them software that works, what is the point of service?" McVoy says. "The other problem is that the services model doesn't generate enough revenue to support the creation of the next generation of innovative products. Red Hat has been around for a long time--for a decade now. Yet try to name one significant thing--one innovative product--that has come out of Red Hat."



What FUD...Everyone offers support services for software. Event BitKeeper does [bitkeeper.com] . As for RedHat not creating, it's sole business model is the support service field. Moving from business model to business model is not a model for staying in business.

$ is not the only motive in the universe (5, Insightful)

cagle_.25 (715952) | more than 8 years ago | (#12643699)

His claim is that the profit motive is required to drive innovation. But a simple fact refutes his claim: UNIX preceded Windows. A large part of the original Unix OS was open source [faqs.org] . From the link:

Later, Doug McIlroy would write of this period [McIlroy91]: "Peer pressure and simple pride in workmanship caused gobs of code to be rewritten or discarded as better or more basic ideas emerged. Professional rivalry and protection of turf were practically unknown: so many good things were happening that nobody needed to be proprietary about innovations". But it would take another quarter century for all the implications of that observation to come home.

There really are other motives besides money!

McVoy Strikes Back (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12643700)

It is a dark time for the
Opensource Guys. Although the Death
Star has been destroyed,
SCO troops have driven the
Opensource forces from their hidden
proxies and pursued them across
the internet.

Evading the dreaded Imperial
Lawsuit-fleet, a group of freedom
coders led by Linus Torvalds
has established a new secret
server on the remote network
of Kenya.

The evil lord Darth McVoy,
obsessed with finding young
Torvalds, has dispatched
thousands of remote BitKeeper's into
the far reaches of interweb...

I disagree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12643703)

I'm sorry, I think this is simply not true. The fact is the open source developers HAVE TO reverse engineer existing stuff to be able to write software that's usefull in a world of proprietary softs.

If the world goes 100% open-source, imagine how many skilled programmers will have time to invent new things instead of having to copy others ?

Now, who is really to blame here ?

Hyperbole gets you nowhere (1)

mothlos (832302) | more than 8 years ago | (#12643707)

This is a guy who talks in extremes, and it is somewhat understandible given the nature of press to go after the sensational. You can't merely say the pan is smoking, the house needs to be on fire too.

That said, with very important exceptions much of the open source world while, not being truly uninovative, seem slow to innovate. Open source excells at ironing out demonstrated tech, particularly when the nature of the software is both technical and has high dev support. However, outliers omitted, the really big moves in design tend to at least start out and often stay in closed code.

McVoy knows (1)

randomencounter (653994) | more than 8 years ago | (#12643708)

that Free Software doesn't support the business model that he likes.
Whether this is bluster because of that or he _really_ doesn't get free software at all is a good question.

On the plus side of free software are all the companies that don't sell or service software, but still have developers on staff for their custom applications. Free software magnifies the power of these developers manyfold, and they are often the source of innovation. You don't generate new solutions to a problem unless you have to solve it.

So in a way, McVoy is right, the days of the software development house may be numbered, but the tap of innovation stays right where it has been, and always will be, with individuals who have a problem to solve.

As a troll... (5, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | more than 8 years ago | (#12643709)

I'm taking notes here. There's lots of good stuff to really get under people's skin:)

I have to agree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12643716)

There are some great examples of innovation in the Open Source community. Debian apt, tabbed browsing in Mozilla and virtual desktops are my favourites (not sure that last one didn't appear in UNIX somewhere first) and there are many smaller innovations that go largely unnoticed. However, the vast majority of monumental, earth-shattering, paradigm-shifting innovations seem to come from closed source efforts. Sad to say, but I think greed is a stronger motivator than anything that drives Open Source projects.

Unfortunately, his article is in Forbes.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12643717)

...while everyone rebutting it here is on slashdot.

The PHBs read Forbes, not Slashdot.

I wonder if MS is "funding" his research, too...

Butt out, Larry (-1, Troll)

Laura_DilDio (874259) | more than 8 years ago | (#12643718)

I am Lord William's official Groom of the Stool.
Your seething propaganda might rival that of Tokyo Rose, but you've got a long way to go, buddy, before you rise to level of Microsoft's chief spin-artist-slash-ass-wiper.

As an aside...Microsoft (Lord William, in particular) is busy developing an advanced kernel. He had corn for dinner last night. It's already starting to bespeckle his poo! Duty calls!

Sadly, it's true. (2, Insightful)

Mensa Babe (675349) | more than 8 years ago | (#12643725)

Very little in the most popular free software projects has ever been innovative. Sadly, it's true. And even sadlier, this is even more true for proprietary software. We all know that Microsoft has never contributed a single notable innovation to any computer-related field [harvard.edu] . That didn't stop them from the world domination, did it?

What people like Larry McVoy seem to be unable to understand is that any innovation in computer science takes years and sometimes decades to be easily available to the end user and it usually happens in the academia with no press releases and conferences.

For example, there is a lot of innovation in the Hurd kernel and that is why it is not ready yet. And I'm sure that when it is ready and stable then Larry McVoy will complain that those ideas are old and obviously he'll be correct.

I'm sorry, Larry, but once again you complain that you don't have innovative mature systems. Do you want innovation? Use Debian GNU/Hurd. Do you want a mature system? Use Debian GNU/Linux. You can't have your cake and eat it too. Sad but true.

Suck it up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12643733)

Although 80% of OSS is not innovative, there is significant innovation in the OSS world. Look at winamp. There are other OSS like C-JDBC, which is innovative and doing things other commercial companies are not doing. I can think of a dozen or more OSS projects which are innovative, and have a broad user base. The same can be said if commercial software. Only a small percentage of commercial software innovates. The rest are also just copying.

Never mind your long post guys, he's right (-1, Flamebait)

NeedleSurfer (768029) | more than 8 years ago | (#12643738)

All of those super long posts pretending to rationnaly rebuff the guys claim are worth no good, the only thing open source has been good at is copying, cracking, me too and badly at that, god bless Firefox because it might not be original, innovative (which support what the guy claims) but it works very well, its my browser of choice and it's so far the only real good product that has been produced by open source. Realize what the guy is saying, open source isnt innovative, he's right, it might be secure, good, fast, inspiring, liberating, free but as of now, it doesn't drive innovation, it copies it.

His claim (1)

zogger (617870) | more than 8 years ago | (#12643739)

that it cost him half a million dollars a year for providing bitkeeper....what is this about? Potential lost sales or actual direct costs he ate?

I'd have thought /. readers are more intelligent (1)

squidinkcalligraphy (558677) | more than 8 years ago | (#12643742)

Jesus - how many people already fell for this troll? Just coz its posted as story doesn't mean you have to take the bait people.

No Free Lunch (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 8 years ago | (#12643750)

McVoy was never Linux's "friend". He was a businessman, looking for Linus and crew as poster boys to sell his product.

Linus was fooled. Sure Bitkeeper was a superior product, but the fact is that if the Linux developers really wanted it, they should have ponyed up the cash. McVoys ridiculous licence sounded like something you'd hear in junior high sleepover party. It's for free, but I control what you do.
Yes McVoy did not have a say over the Linux project, but he did in effect have a say of what the Linux developers did with their private lives. This was really asking too much. If I work for company X which develops an alternative to bitkeeper then I can't help write Linux. That not good karma man. That's exclusionary, not inclusionary. That's not what Linux is about!

The cost of accepting his agreement in my opinion, was more expensive for Linux than simply forking over $500,000. You can't put a price on cordial developer relations, and McVoy and his "free" product have really soured relations. I hope everyone is mature enough to realise this.

I don't know what McVoy is up to now. He's openly decieved everyone before, by saying he was "for" open source. He wasn't. He was for himself. Nothing wrong with that, it's telling other people you arn't that was wrong.

What's he doing now? Discrediting Linux. Why? We can quickly deduce it's for himself. How does he benefit? Lure away disgruntled developers? Hardly. Linux developers are a little above falling for this level of petulance. Maybe he's getting hard cash for voicing such opinions. He wouldn't be the first. Can you say Yankee?

The bitkeeper fiasco is an example of how you can't eat your cake and keep it too. If Linus wanted bitkeeper he should have paid the full licence fee. Anything less was fooling no one. If you want to play with proprierty sorftware, you have to pay the price, one way or the other.

In a way, this has benefited the whole OSS movement. We now have a perfect case study on how not to use proprietry solutions in an OSS product. In other words, don't give one vendor undeserved and unaccountable control over either your project or your developers.

Scaring customers away... (1)

Pyrosz (469177) | more than 8 years ago | (#12643757)

Way to go, attack potential buyers of your software. Thats a sure-fire way of scaring off anyone even remotely interested in what you offer. Being hostile so openly doesn't make you look like the victim in this and will only make people question your stability. I know I won't be looking at his product anytime soon.

Linus is right (1)

VStrider (787148) | more than 8 years ago | (#12643758)

From TFA:
"Open source actually builds on a base that works even without any commercial interest [which] is almost always secondary," he says. "The so-called 'big boys' come along only after the project has proven itself to be better than what those same big boys tried to do on their own. So don't fall into the trap of thinking that open source is dependent on the commercial interests. That's nice gravy, but it is gravy."

I totally agree. All the big companies involved with Linux like IMB, HP, Novell, RedHat, etc etc only came into play when Linux was already a successful OS with alot of momentum. The same thing happens with other FOSS projects. All the commercial sponsors come in when the project has proven itself and it's very popular.

So FOSS projects don't depend on commercial sponsorship, though their support certainly helps.

Thief. (1)

Khlept0 (887217) | more than 8 years ago | (#12643761)

# strings FTP.EXE | grep Copyright Copyright (c) 1983 The Regents of the University of California. =]

Open source in Windows? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12643777)

How much BSD code is still in MS's network
stack?

A hint (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12643779)

This interview is so much more fun if you imagine Penn shouting after every one of McVoy's comments:

McVoy: But if the world goes to 100% open source, innovation goes to zero

Penn: Bullshit!

McVoy: Red Hat has produced nothing innovative

Penn: What do you call the Tux webserver then? Can you smell the bullshit!

McVoy: Is the government going to fund it?

Penn: Hello? Yes! Ever heard of Universities? You know, the places where real future shaping ideas come from? This guy is complete and utter BULLSHIT!

friends are friends, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12643798)

If I was Linus I'd stay far away from this idiot and the flood of bad publicity he's going to grow around himself.
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