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A Bold Essay From Tim O'Reilly

Hemos posted more than 14 years ago | from the tim-speaks-out dept.

The Internet 174

skydryedblue writes "On XML.Com, there is an interview in which Tim says, that The Linux community is far too focused on the battle with Microsoft's current operating system. Some see that the big goal is to develop a competing desktop and compatible desktop applications. And while I think that's a worthy goal and Linux is doing pretty well at it, I see Microsoft much more clearly and strategically focused on what kind of software will be needed to support that next generation of computer applications, and that worries me. "

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Innovation (1)

Klaruz (734) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629057)

Part of what was addressed in this article was that the people making money and eventually controling the standards are stepping on the backs of the people who innovated. The comments about HTML are very true. I learned html from viewing source, as did most of you probobly. But with other companies adding their own additions, fragmenting, closing up the 'standards', we're going to be lucky if the W3C even comes close to keeping standards straight. Like it or not, IE is more popular, and from a users point of view a great product. They're still gaining, and eventually they will control the 'standards'. Sounds like why sendmail went commercial.

Anyway, enough about microsoft vs oss. What struck up the most thought were the remarks on the future of the web being sites working together. I'm a regular reader of scripting.com/davenet so this is something that interests me greatly. (XML-RPC was developed by userland - scripting.com) What if every web site could talk to every other website? Right now i can put slashdot headlines on my homepage, along with a completly up to date article on todays weather. It's syndication, it's people working together, it's what make the web work, and it's changing right now. We had the trump card, we still do, we're faster and more agile than big companies.

I probobly just rambled to much, but those are my thoughts. The beast(s) will adjust to us, and before we know it the companies will have control again. I don't know what we can do to change it other than lose our big heads about 'linux r00ls' and think about the big picture. We have a chance to change the world, lets see what we can come with, lets innovate.

People Are Missing the Point Here!! (2)

GFD (57203) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629058)

Many of the posters to date are wringing their hands about whether the linux community should be focused on destroying Microsoft and whether this is a good or baaad thing.

Tim's point is that Microsoft (and the world) is shifting to a new battle field.

The protocols that Web sites provide on top of the internet protocols are becoming just as important as the internet protocols themselves. Many of these are business to business types of interactions but they are still key.

Let me give you one small example. In my publishing business we have to provide electronic catalog information to all the online booksellers. Our webmaster is having conversations with barnes&noble.com, amazon.com, borders.com, and all the independent bookstores who want this same kind of information, and they all have slightly different formats. Now, Allen Noren, the webmaster, is trying to get all the vendors to agree on a standard. But if they don't agree, whose format do you think he's going to implement first?

Realistically some of this will be handled by various XML standards groups (where M$ is very active) and will be relatively open in the sense that no one will want to give their competitors an advantage. However, will they be open to community input? Will the comunity be relevant in this world?

In some cases the community will care less. However, there will be others that will be critical and the comunity better be awake.

Our goal is not... (1)

edhall (10025) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629059)

...to be a better Microsoft. I get the feeling we've been spending too much time focused on "beating Windows--" Microsoft's market today--and not trying to figure out what their market will be three years from now. No matter how well we do--even if we're ten times better than Windows--we'll still be followers, not leaders.

We've got to get better at "the vision thing." The market for PC software is not where the next Big Thing is going to happen. Linus has talked about this, but I've been amazed how little most Linux folks have been listening: embedded, "personalized," application-specific systems are the future.

If you must look at Microsoft for trends, look at Windows CE, not Windows NT (and I don't mean just its use on Palmtops, where it's been pretty anemic). We've got a real chance to upend WinCE if we work at it, but I think a few too many of us are PC- and Web-focused.

So ask yourself, "what have I done to further the cause of pervasive Linux today?" Then shake hands with an EE, and take an OS where it has never gone before.


The Law of Inertia (1)

iculver (64842) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629070)

Tim (some call me... Tim) said so eloquently what was formerly a proverb in the history of earth-shaking ideas, namely: So long as we spend all our energies justifying our own existence and/or paying too much attention to the Enemy we will never get anywhere in this world.

Hate to say it folks, but where I come from we call groups who defend themselves and exist for their own sakes bureaucrats (all suits and hairspray). It's so easy to justify ourselves by pointing a finger at someone else, but just because someone else is wrong, doesn't mean the person/group doing the criticising is right.

So what is to be done? The Mighty Tim has spoken. Focus on those who use our stuff and take care of them. We'll find that by taking care of them we take care of ourselves.

Re:Um, I agree, but... (1)

alfredo (18243) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629071)

I agree, we must try to make ourselves stand out from the crowd. Look at what Apple has done. they stopped playing the M$ game and struck out on their own. Linux needs to be different enough to make sure people don't confuse it with anything else that is out there.

I was disappointed the first time I saw KDE, it looked like Windoze. That, IMHO is not the way.

Lets not worry about what Billy boy is doing, let's put our minds to improving our product.
We must understand that it isn't what's on the shelves, but what's in the pipeline that is important.

Re:This is not a flame. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1629072)

I currently do network support and installation for small businesses. Many of the companies want to use exclusively Microsoft products, because they believe the company wouldn't have gotten so big if it didn't make the best software. This makes my job difficult, because I either end up dealing with the general protection faults, the NT machine not working right (because of luser abuse or whatever), and numerous other problems. I have usually been able to convice them to switch to Linux (remote administration is where I win) for the server, but there is NO alternative on the desktop. These companies need stability and would gladly pay me to setup and maintain linux boxes, but the applications aren't there. Instead I get calls because the win98 machine randomly disconnects from the network etc... If linux displaced Microsoft, or at least became equivlent in terms of business apps, I would make just as much money, not get the head aches, and my customers wouldn't have anoying system glitches that cost them lost productivity. The desire to displace Microsoft isn't greed, it is just a desire for choice. Linux works great for me, I am a programer, but it doesn't work for the Tax Layer down the street. To be content with a lightweight programers OS is the same as being selfish, we should not keep this stable OS to ourselves, but share with the other computer users of the world.

Desktop is *a* RIG HT place for Linuxites to focus (1)

AJWM (19027) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629073)

You miss the obvious. Linux the kernel is small enough, and the desktopware (KDE/Gnome, *Office, etc, etc) is optional and all lives in user space. Adding desktopware does not make for a 2 Gb OS, and it only makes for a 2 Gb install if the user wants all that stuff. (Unlike certain other less-than-modular OS's out there.)

This is a good thing. If I just have an old 486 box I want to run as a small volume server, I can put Linux and a few daemons on it. If I have a desktop box I want to do office work (documents, spreadsheets, email, etc) I put Linux and a few different (and bigger) apps on it. And so on. One basic underlying technology -- of proven reliability and flexibility -- so that I don't need to re-learn everything for each box, but different app layers on top customize it for what I want.

So yes, let's see Linux better tuned to the desktop, and with more desktop apps. And lets see it better tuned for server use, for embedded apps, for whatever.

Yes, no. (2)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629074)

I agree that we need to quit playing catch-up and start setting the standards ourselves. But:

> I see Microsoft much more clearly and strategically focused on what kind of software will be needed to support that next generation of computer applications, and that worries me.

Never use "Microsoft", "strategically", and "next generation" in a sentence without a negation. All Microsoft's "strategy" lies in marketing and manipulation. When it comes to applications, they themselves are busy playing catch-up with Sun or whoever else made the most recent announcement. Beyond that they just implement whatever lame idea crosses their minds, without regard for whether the ideas are actually good ideas or not, and so the world is filling up with macro viruses and dancing paperclips. This isn't going to leave anyone in the dust.

Also: I agree that it isn't Linux's natural responsibility to set Microsoft in it's proper place. But if someone doesn't do it soon, there won't be any Linux or anything else, because you'll only be able to buy hardware that only works with patented MS owned software, and you'll only be able to get on a network by running MS owned protocols. So while it isn't Linux's responsibility per se, it's urgent that someone takes them down, and Linux is the only thing around that can make it happen before it's too late.

It's October 6th. Where's W2K? Over the horizon again, eh?

Re:This is not a flame. (1)

Foogle (35117) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629075)

Linux is already an feasible replacement for Windows, what more do you want? What scares me is that people want to kick MS out of the game so that everyone will use Linux instead of Windows. Well what about people who want to use windows? There are a few of them out there.

You have to think of the larger picture here: There are thousands of software developers out there who've invested their time and money into developing and training on the Windows platform. What would you say to them? "Tough shit, you'll just have to rewrite your livelihood." Let it be by choice - let the world move over at it's own pace. By trying to kill microsoft, you're just being as bad as they are.

So, let's show the world what we're made of - let's keep on making the best goddamned operating system this world's ever seen. But, please - don't make it personal!


"You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

Re:People do what they want to do... (1)

khaberz (5813) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629076)

I completely agree. What is wrong with people writing desktop apps? Apparently there is a demand for that in the community so go ahead and code. If the results are good, people will use it. If not, they will stay with MS.

The Kernel-hackers don't care about the desktop and vice versa, so where's the problem?

Re:Desktop IS the wrong place for Linuxites to foc (1)

mindstrm (20013) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629077)

But linux *does* fit on the corporate desktop. The home desktop might just take a bit longer.

We all know that, regardless of the underlying complexity, we can make a linux system as simple or as hard to use as we want. We can build tailored systems, including a desktop, software packaging, fancy graphics, etc.. that's easy to use for Joe Average.

The fact is, the more configurable, and the more flexible something becomes, the more complicated it becomes.
To put it differently (I hope this doesn't sound conceited, it's not meant to be), The only way Joe Average will be able to to as much with an OS as I can is if the OS is so simple that there is a very limited number of things to do. This is simply because I have a 10 year head start into computers than Joe does.

There isn't one linux.. there never will be.
There should be a linux-based OS that is SIMPLE to use. (Why NOT use linux as a base?). It can have a pretty desktop, and it's apps can be upward compatable to more complex linux distributions. This can be 'linux for the masses'.
Perhaps this is what Corel Linux will be... who knows?

If you don't want a 2 gig OS, simply don't install 2 gigs worth of stuff! Linux may have become much bigger over the past few years, but that growth is probably linear (or better) to the number of features. The reason for it's size? Because of all the free software, there is no reason *NOT* to include it on that CD Rom (or that set of 6 CD's, or whatever)

The way ahead... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1629078)

Linux is an Operating System.

Windows is an Operating System, a Graphical User Interface and a set of constantly changing File Format 'Standards'. I don't think it is a good OS; I don't think it's a good GUI; I don't think they are good Formats. But they what most people have as their end user environment.

I would like to see a better GUI, possibly based upon the one developed by Sid Meyer (I think) for his old 'Railway Tycoon' game. That GUI seems to make it possible to display meaningful information at the pixel level.

I would also like to see an HTML-like approach to file formats, such that new features could be added without forcing everyone to upgrade all the time. As has been said before, Linux may be free, but installing and configuring it are time consuming.

Re:other os's (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1629079)

I just tried the QNX floppy demo and was really impressed. While we've been trying to make Linux into the image of MS Windows, others are out there truly innovating. I'd love to see a deeper concentration on innovation with Linux and less "Oh my God, we have to destroy Microsoft". Microsoft is accustomed to such competition and will draw us out into their territory if we're not carefull. If we concetrate on innovation and developing Linux and all apps that run on Linux to work perfectly and be bug free regardless of Microsoft or other "competition", then we'll win...

hippies suck. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1629081)

Yes, this is true, the linux community should worry about making the everything *BETTER* than Microsoft instead of worring about the stones they are throwing. Microsoft is a big company they will be very focused at eliminating the competition, and have the funds needed to develop anything needed to help. Look at the linux myth's, benchmarks, and security challenges and use that as a guide of what needs to be improved in the linux enviroment. This will move linux forward and make everybody look a bit older.

Yeah. (2)

Foogle (35117) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629084)

And I'd be willing to bet the shoes on my feet that there are a great deal of people in the Linux community that feel the same way. Where did we pick up this whole "Microsoft must be made to pay for their crimes" mentality? I personally feel that the two OSes can coexist.


"You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

None (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1629086)

If we get rid of MS, then WE control the next generation of apps. :)

true enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1629087)

its not just a linux thing, thats a common problem for such things, politicians seem to do it best , instead of making themselves better, they just make the other guy look bad. not that microsoft has done it either. rather than point out all the things that were wrong on the recent MS post about NT vs linux fix the things that were right...

Re:None (1)

Foogle (35117) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629089)

Isn't the whole idea of GPL and OSS to give people Freedom? I don't know what you meant by that comment, but what exactly do you want to control???


"You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

Re:true enough (1)

frederik (86671) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629092)

Do you really want to compare Linux to politicians? Yeah, Microsoft ... ok! But Linux?

Re:Yeah. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1629094)

Right. Linux may be stable, and may have a great uptime but the applications we are pushing as " desktop apps " are not stable and normally lack alot of the features that MS products have had for years, if linux is to get the " desktop market " desktop applications need to be improved. Currently Win9x sits on most end users computers. Why ? One reason is easy to use, sure it may suck, but in the end any moron with no computer knowledge can use windows. Like the whole " setting up a printer " thing people where arguing about when CUPS came out, it takes me roughly 2 minutes to setup a printer in win9x, much longer in linux. Linux is a *GREAT* server, I think that until desktop apps are much better and WindowManagers/Enviroments are vastly improved Windows will still rule the desktop, and I really have no problems with that.

Its not just the "ware" but the attitude... (4)

cybrthng (22291) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629096)

I believe this to be true. While it is nice to develop something comparible to windows, what makes linux more advanced if its just playing catchup?
I believe with atleast Netscape Mozilla 5.0, the open source is showing an adoption of standards, which is a good thing for any market.

But linux, seems to be in a "wholy ware" That is dediced based on how you conform. Whats so different from being a Microsoft Biggot to a Linux Biggot? Bot OS's have there advantages and disadvantages, but someone has a direction.. and i agree, microsoft holds it.

While Redhat, and other distributions have a release map that seems to be 6 months (from previous discussions, i still find that too short of a release cycle) there is *no* roadmap other then directly related to the kernel. There is no beta system to show a developer road map, no enduser solution map, and no training map.. training seems to be specific to distro, which doesn't mean doodoo to an admin (since all distros are familiar) but to a corporation/business specifics do matter.. so with all these certificaitons going, there is no specific cover all certification roadmap.

Like i've express my OPINION before, i believe for linux to be stable, for personall and business use, it needs a long term plan, and short term updates. It doesn't need short term plans and long term updates :) By what i mean, slow down the release schedules, Business like 3 year product life cycles.. that means from 6-7 there should be a good few years to get your monies worth (yeah, yeah, its free. but installation/support in a business environment isn far from free). .1 releases should be minor upgrades or patch releases.. kernel upgrades should have some form of controlled distribution. and distributors should have long term plans in beta. Like redhat 7.0 for example should be in a long term beta.. throw in Xfree86 4.0, kernel 2.4 beta's, the newest kde, the newest gnome, the newest office apps, debug the system as a whole, give endusers/developers something to work with and work from, but most of all, it shows a roadmap of whats to come, and provides ample time for business to ramp up to that product

I love linux, i'm not dissing it, i love open source, its agreat concept. but for business, it needs something i can gurantee my job and and the company can gurantee its data on. not just something i get for free or something i can look at the source at..

Um, I agree, but... (4)

smoondog (85133) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629098)

I think a lack of focus is inherent in the Linux movement. There are no managers running around telling people what to do. I think this is, competitively, a much better strategy for large base software design because so many people want so many different things....

M$ is very focused, they are a company. I might argue that the individual companies within the linux movement (RH, etc) each have goals and management strategies of the same feel as M$'s. I think that all of the companies together make up this so-called lack of focus. I strongly feel this is a good thing and the reason that other OS's have failed in light of M$ (such as OS/2) is because they were very similar to M$. M$ has a hold on the market, the only thing that will change that (IMO) is a radically new philosophy on software development.

-- Moondog

"Tim" (1)

linuchristo (17002) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629099)

the intro to this story referred to "Tim" without a last name so naturally I assumed it meant Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the Web (and the first Yahoo-like subject index, btw).
but it means that windy Tim O'Reilly.

Open Source vs. Open Standards (1)

Mr O (35045) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629100)

Although the article had many good points, and was well written, I felt like it was often talking about Open Standards (Formats and Protocols), instead of open software, which should probably be seen as a different thing. Open standards are seen differently in the eyes of the law. Once software is open source (at least under GNU), one cannot modify it and make it "their own". A company could, however, take an open standard, extend it, and make it proprietary. This is something we saw a lot of between Netscape and Microsoft during the browser wars.
I think the distinction is important, because there is no legal way to prevent people from extending open standards. However, open standards are probably just as, if not more important to what I would like computing to be like as open source.

Da Linux movement (1)

Your_Mom (94238) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629101)

Linux is not and should not be pushed as a 'Desktop Environment' I use my Windows PCs as my 'desktop' machines and they co-exist with my Linux NFS/HTTP/Samba/(ETC, ETC, ETC...) Servers. I use my Linux Boxen for my software development and LAN Administration. Two fields (among many) that Microsoft really lacks in comapred to *NIX (IIS? *throws up in his trash bucket*) Yes Microsoft Systems are bulky, unstable, and generally just suck ass. But they are what most people use and most software is designed for it. (Plus when is Starcraft for Linux coming out? Huh? ;) ) But when it comes down to it. Linux is far better low-end server (and if you have money/time/effort, a great high-end server) then a 'Desktop' Machine

Now don't get me wrong. Right next to my windows box I have a nice Linux box which I use for 'Desktop' Purposes. Whenever MS can't get something done that I want it to do (which happens all to often, I switch over to it.

Also. I think that EVERY OS has their fanatics, including Microsoft (All those 3l33t h@x0r d00dz that hang out on AOL) just A. the media pays more attention to us because we are "the new kids on the block" and we have more to prove, and B. Most MS users really have no clue how to use e-mail ;)

Plus, anyone who quasi agrees with this, ever try Be? Its a great system and it interfaces greatly with my LAN, Unfortunately the CD I had is among the missing so I don't have my box anymore (SAM! GIMMIE MY CD BACK! I KNOW YOU ARE OUT THERE!)

Aw shucks, it ain't so bad... (1)

ratman (6987) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629102)

Right now we have low-level protocols like TCP/IP, we have medium-level protocols like HTTP. On top of that, we're going to have various kinds of XML-based data-exchange protocols. Dave Winer's XML-RPC is a sign of things to come. It's a bad sign that Microsoft knows more about this than the leaders of the Linux community. They've already incorporated it into a new protocol that they are calling SOAP.

At first, I agreed with Tim. But, after thinking about it, I am not worried. In fact, I'm happy for Microsoft. Yes, they are still trying to take an open platform and engineer it into their own technology tarbaby. And this does threaten a lot of what we hold dear. Microsoft is tilling new ground, and that's good for us all. We all know their seeds won't germinate. So, in the end, there will be opportunities aplenty.

Almost right (5)

jflynn (61543) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629103)

I agree with Tim O'Reilly quite a bit. There is truth in the statement that to maintain something you should oppose it. Also that a destructive focus is not sufficient, you have to create something new, not just rail against the old.

But, and it's a big but, ignoring Microsoft can't work until they no longer unfairly control the hardware and software markets. If merely being better than Microsoft was sufficient, BeOS would far more successful than it is today. We can and should ignore Microsoft on the day the following can be asserted with truth:

1) Hardware vendors are just as likely to create drivers for Linux as Microsoft.

2) System vendors can't be pressured successfully by Microsoft to avoid using competing products like Linux or Netscape.

3) Microsoft no longer dominates standards thru controlling the OS platform used by nearly everyone.

It would be nice if Microsoft just started playing fair. But I don't expect it. Rather I expect them to lie, cheat, and steal as necessary in an attempt to ensure dominance. Desperation is rarely pretty.

His point about web applications being the future is worth consideration. The advantages in making large databases like Amazon and Yahoo available that way are quite clear. I don't quite see the clarity of that view when it comes to editors, compilers, or games however -- though I could be wrong, I much prefer local programs on my own computer for those.

The other point he makes that is well worth considering is about the open nature of web development. Clay Shirkey did an excellent paper [shirky.com] on this subject a while back. You may find many of the other papers on his page [shirky.com] of interest as well.

Microsoft is the borg (1)

Elias Ross (1260) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629104)

Microsoft is the borg, I'm sure if they had their way they'd wipe us out. It's all about their embrace and extend that leads Linux users to resist. We fight back not because we resent MS, but if we don't Linux would die out.

As for "roadmap," I've never seen a use for one. There are certain incremental goals, but it is stupid (in software development) to consider them more than say two years in advance. Things change too rapidly, it is more advantageous to promise less than to promise more and, as we might say, "drive off the road" into oblivion.

MS was about ready to drive off into oblivion, but they got back on track and delivered IE and internet apps. If they were following their "road map," they would have lost to Netscape.

finally a noteworthy aritcle (1)

British (51765) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629105)

I'm glad to see a response to all the linux advocacy shown here.

One thing, bashing MS 99% of the time is not going to benefit the Linux movement one bit. You can quote differences, make comparasons, etc, but nitpicking on every little bad(or what you percieve* as bad) thing about Windows,etc isn't going to help at all

It's funny to see people talk about MS trying to take over the computer world(or simply "being successful"), and then they talk about installing Linux on everyone's computers, toasters, PDAs, cars, etc. So MS used by the masses is bad, but linux used by the masses is good?

I would prefer to see a safe co-existence. I'm figuring most, if not all the slashdot readers here are not racially prejudiced, but it seems like most of them are prejudiced against Microsoft. Linux and Windows both have their good sides and bad sides. I mean, if I wanted to run a web server, I'd choose Linux. If I want to make web pages, drafting, imaging, I'd chose Windows.

Hmm, if only all the MS bashing ever posted on here could be converted to useful source code.....

Open Source and capitalism (1)

RNG (35225) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629106)

Now if this is the case, we have a good answer for all those people saying, "This free software thing must be a bubble because we can't figure out how anybody's going to make money at it." My argument is that people are already making more money at it than we can count.

Very nice, but not quite right. The current media hype is a bubble that will eventually burst, but open source (ie: Linux, *BSD, Apache, Perl) got where it is now with no (or at least very little) commercial backing. If the commercial backing disappeared tomorrow, lots of us would still be hacking code for free. Remember, true innovation seldom comes from large, established players, but rather from kids experimenting around in a garage. If all the money disappeared tomorrow, Linux would still thrive in the hands of competent programmers. Open Source (for me) is not about money, bur rather about technological freedom. Think of free speech, not free beer ...

Correct!! (1)

Bothari (34939) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629107)

Linux supporters *are* spending too much time shooting m$ down. This in itself is dangerous: we could end up spending too much time criticizing and too litle time building.
Or, in other words, we better "Walk the walk" better than we "Talk the talk"!
Besides, Microsoft is, at the end of it, Irrelevant to us, we will win no matter what: There is no company to go banlrupt fighting them, and if we give-up there are thousands of ready, eager students for whom the ideia of a OSS OS is a sacred.

And we *do* need to "get on with it", people seem to be loosing too much time pointing fingers and too litle time doing useful things
"Shut up and code!" ought to be our moto...

No, I can't spell!
-"Run to that wall until I tell you to stop"
(tagadum,tagadum,tagadum .... *CRUNCH*)

SOAP (3)

DonkPunch (30957) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629108)

I take issue with the following quote regarding XML and XML-RPC:
It's a bad sign that Microsoft knows more about this than the leaders of the Linux community. They've already incorporated it into a new protocol that they are calling SOAP.

Ok, I'm far from being a "leader" in the Linux community (or any other), but I've been monitoring the XML-RPC and SOAP discussions for a while now. Many of the underlying grammars were clearly written by people who like COM. The data types conveniently mirror COM VT_xxx types. They CAN, however, be implemented in other languages and platforms. (IIRC, Zope implements XML-RPC.)

Personally, I have misgivings about SOAP being used for real cross-platform distributed computing in the future. It just seems to make too many assumptions about data types. XML-RPC seems geared towards replacing CGI -- it specifies port 80 for all communication (which seems a little narrow-minded to me). These may still become de facto standards because they are "good enough" for most cases.

I predict that for the next few years we will see several new XML grammars introduced. In time, we will eventually settle on a few that work best for most people. Maybe SOAP will be one of these, maybe not. Maybe it will be a derivative of SOAP. Maybe it will be something completely different.

Right now, XML-RPC/SODL/XMOP/SOAP have momentum and the backing of Microsoft and a few authors who want to be first on the shelf with "Designing Distributed Applications with SOAP for Dummies" I'm not aware of any alternatives to SOAP right now. Maybe there is no need for one.

If you've gotten this far in my long-winded post, you may want take a look at a few sites relating to XML and distributed computing:

http://discuss.develop.com [develop.com] -- SOAP discussion board.
http://www.xml-rpc.com [xml-rpc.com] -- XML-RPC specs and discussion.

My own shameless plugs:
http://www.maiermedia.com/lab/xml/opml.t xt [maiermedia.com] -- My OPML proposal for object persistence in XML. It's crude, but I think it has less platform affinity than SODL.
http://www.maiermedia.com/lab/xml/ opmlsample.txt [maiermedia.com] -- A sample of objects serialized in OPML.

At this point, I've shelved OPML because I don't see any point in competing with the SOAP crowd. If you do take the time to look at it and would like to send suggestions or feedback, my email address is donkpunch@maiermedia.com. I would love to get some input from people who aren't already convinced that SOAP is the best solution. Maybe I gave up on the idea too soon.


What Microsoft knows, but can't tell its customers (1)

IntlHarvester (11985) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629119)

Very early on, Microsoft figured out the power of personal computing revolution. They understood the restrictive nature of the host-terminal model and relative poor price-performace and arrogance inherit in the 'mini-computer' space. (Where the vendors have always been more interested in high profit accounting systems than in the user's ability to work with the numbers the accounting system spits out.)

This realization has lead to an enormous amount of desktop functionality crammed into Windows and Office. This has lead to enormous profits for MS and other desktop vendors. However, it's also lead to an enormous expensive mess of unmanagible systems and inaccessible data.

Enter the web revolution. To a large degree, the ABM folks back in 1995 were right - the web does make Windows obsolete because it allows corporations to push systems off of desktops and back into the datacenter where they belong, and at a price point which makes PCs look expensive.

And Microsoft is aware of this trend, but can't really address it straight on, because it's a direct attack on their profit base. So, they come up with basterized strategies such as "Windows DNA", where corporations are supposed to implement a network centered architecture that's all tied together by MS Office ActiveX components installed on each machine and a "web store" running on MS Exchange Server. It's a bastardized strategy, but it's their only hope to embrace (and extend) network-centric computing while enforcing the predominance of the desktop.

What worries me is that many Linux users aren't really aware of the "management" problem inherit in PCs. While Unix is certainly more network oriented than Windows, it seems that KDE/Gnome/etc are trying to address the "eye-candy" problem much more than they are trying to address the flaws in the Personal Computing model itself. This could be because Linux developers are often students or outside of mainstream MIS organizations.

The bottom line is that there's alot of tail chasing going on. By the time a "free" Office Suite gets to an acceptable function point and can import MS Office documents, it will already be irrelvant because those Office documents won't be "documents" any more, and instead will be locked up in Microsoft DNA-based network systems and will only be accessible by special network protocols and MS presentation software.

I don't think anybody has a real good solution to this problem. Bits and pieces are out there (CORBA, XML, etc.), but someone has to tie them together in a way that cheap enough and accessible enough for the desktop user. Unfortuantly, that someone is probably going to be Microsoft, and folks aren't going to be happy with the results.

Re:Desktop is *a* RIG HT place for Linuxites to fo (2)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629120)

> So yes, let's see Linux better tuned to the desktop, and with more desktop apps.

Agreed. Some of the lame press is starting to say that Linux was designed to be a server. No. It was designed to run on Linus' desktop. It just happens to be a good design, with the result that it also works well in data centers, embedded devices, and supercomputers, as well as on desktops.

All these areas can stand improvements. But let's not get the notion that Linux isn't for the desktop. I wouldn't have anything else on my desktop.

It's October 6th. Where's W2K? Over the horizon again, eh?

Re:Bullies (1)

Elias Ross (1260) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629121)

This isn't about bullies. This is about one company that destroys other companies. MS can't destroy Linux, so they will destroy standards, make agreements with hardware companies, spread disinformation, etc.

The focus should be on a better system, but clearly attention should be made on resisting the spread of FUD.

Free people do not need leashes (1)

FreeUser (11483) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629122)

The Linux community gets bad press in large part because many of the traditional rags are more than a little dependent on advertising from such industry giants as Microsoft. Linux is the first viable competitor to the MS hegemony in years, and as such it represents a big, fat target regardless of the political or philisophical bent of its users and developers.

In any group as large as the user base of Linux (estimated between 5 and 20 million last I read), there will be those who spout tripe, insults, and are otherwise poor "representatives" of their respective opinions. This is true of MS Windows, Linux, BSD, beos, Macintosh, and probably just about every other product and operating system on the planet. The sometimes incredibly selective quoting of Linux advocates, taken from the bottom of the barrel is interesting, if only because it provides a great deal of insight into the attitudes and biases of those doing the quoting. While I would prefer it if Linux got better press, and if those more zealous and less diplomatic advocates would hold their toungs, I think most informed people realize that the lowest common denominotor quotations which so often appear are hardly representative of the community as a whole.

thank god for beos and bsd flavors. alternative operating systems with a leash on their respective communities.

If I want to wear a leash I'll go visit my dominatrix, thank you very much.

not to mention... (2)

Wah (30840) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629123)

...the current environment where if you make your software good enough it will either be bought, stolen, assimilated by M$ depending on the day of week (or whatever makes them the most money). This, IMHO, stifles true innovation, basically forcing companies to live in the shadows to survive (much less compete), or at least avoid the attention of the big gorilla. At the very least I advocate Linux as a way to bring competition to the market and ultimately better software to my machine and my friends'/family's. (Note: better software DOES NOT MEAN more features)

Imitating Windows is self defeating (1)

ed_the_unready (5193) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629124)

Tim makes a great point and I'm glad he said this. Windows will not be talked to death, but more importantly, it will not be *imitated* to death. My fellow former OS/2 users can cringe with me as I recite the mantra, "a better DOS than DOS, a better Windows than Windows!"

Whether we're talking about the OS or the applications, the traditional Microsoft architecture and the assumptions built into them are wholly and irrevocably incompatible with a *truly* networked system typified by Unix or the Internet. As annoyed as I might be with Microsoft's quality or ethics, it is ultimately their archaic single-user, local hard drive mentality that I reject. It served the purpose of bringing computer technology into the mainstream of society and providing an economy of scale, but its day is gone, as evidenced by the hilarious and/or pathetic attempts to integrate networking and multi-user capabilities into the Microsoft legacy.


Absolutely right (2)

El Volio (40489) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629125)

Linux needs to focus on what it does well, and how to improve the things it wants to do well but hasn't reached yet. All this focus on "anti-M$" really tends to take away credibility from the OS and the community.

Re:Desktop IS the wrong place for Linuxites to foc (1)

delirium_9 (26055) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629126)

I have to agree with this statement. Currently I'm working for a large financial institution and they are planning to migrate as much of their client PCs to thin clients and then just run all of the applications off of a terminal server. Doing this effectively means that the clients can use almost any OS, or not even have one. As Sun has demonstrated with their rather cool looking Sun Rays (Saw a demo of one, the smart card logon was really neat!), this is something the industry as a whole seems to be moving to, at least on the enterprise side. So to keep costs down we may see every thin client running a Linux of some sort, but if the servers are all running Win200x then it won't really matter because our computing experience will still be defined by Microsoft. This isn't a vision very far into the future either, there are already companies that are offering home users the ability to run Microsoft Office on an application server. Microsoft knows that the desktop is not the future, shouldn't we?

Linux should embrace and extend Microsoft. (1)

AJWM (19027) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629127)

O'Reilly has a good point. To a large degree the current KDE and Gnome efforts, and things like KOffice, AbiWord, etc are attempts to copy Microsoft, with much less focus on doing better than Microsoft (except in terms of code quality), or on focussing on the next generation of applications and standards.

While this (what MS referred to as "chasing taillights") is certainly necessary to capture mindshare and useful in terms of producing better apps and user interfaces for Linux, it's also a limited goal.

How about "embracing and extending" Microsoft apps? Sure, get the functionality down, the ability to read MS Office formats, etc. But take the apps (and the desktop) a few better than that.

Provide function (and not just bells'n'whistles, or feeping creatures) that goes beyond Microsoft's apps. (Themeability in a desktop is nice, but for most folks it's a "nice feature" rather than some critical function they'll learn they can't live without.) Find new app areas (so called "killer apps") that Microsoft hasn't even thought of yet. (Not that this is easy, but this is where the thousands of creative individuals of the bazaar can do better than the rigid structure of the cathedral. The trick is getting it to a point where it's useful before copy artists like MS can embrace and extend the new idea.)

Is this just to bash Microsoft? No. But O'Reilly has a point about what Microsoft, via its own products, is doing to the open protocols of the net. (Go back and re-read Halloween II [opensource.org] to refresh your memory about MS targeting protocols.) If we want the net to remain open, if we want our open software to remain useful, we need to ensure that softare that embodies open protocols stays dominant -- which means being better than proprietary software that perverts those open protocols, whether that proprietary software is from Microsoft or anyone else. (It's just that Microsoft is the biggest, and admitted (via the Halloween docs) offender in this regard.)

(And if it means embracing and extending a proprietary protocol/format to do it -- hey, that's the risk you run with proprietary protocols.)

Re:Desktop IS the wrong place for Linuxites to foc (1)

delirium_9 (26055) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629134)

I have to agree with this statement. Currently I'm working for a large financial institution and they are planning to migrate as much of their client PCs to thin clients and then just run all of the applications off of a terminal server. Doing this effectively means that the clients can use almost any OS, or not even have one.

As Sun has demonstrated with their rather cool looking Sun Rays (Saw a demo of one, the smart card logon was really neat!), this is something the industry as a whole seems to be moving to, at least on the enterprise side. So to keep costs down we may see every thin client running a Linux of some sort, but if the servers are all running Win200x then it won't really matter because our computing experience will still be defined by Microsoft.

This isn't a vision very far into the future either, there are already companies that are offering home users the ability to run Microsoft Office on an application server. Microsoft knows that the desktop is not the future, shouldn't we?

Re:other os's (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1629135)

"thank god for beos and bsd flavors. alternative operating systems with a leash on their respective communities." Bull fuckin shit! BSD nuts are worse than the Linux zealots. Dont push that crap.

Linux is there (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1629136)

I just installed Suse 6.2, Linux has arrived. The publisher has put superhuman effort into tying up loose ends, tracking down bugs, and polishing the interface. kde is really slick, and the included manual is a model of helpfulness. Their efforts have paid off, and it's because the Suse staff focused on doing their best effort. It raises the bar for everyone.

Caldera and RedHat had better clean up their acts, and fast. They can start with looking at the security of a stock install, and finish with a correctly constructed .xinitrc.

Am I the only one grown tired of Tim O'Reilly and his slapdash, incoherent books? Their technical books are the worst I've ever seen, with topics started and dropped without warning. Linux survived despite his efforts, not because of it.

Finally, Sybex has jumped into Linux. This OS will take off once well written texts are available for it.

Re:This is not a flame. (1)

IntlHarvester (11985) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629137)

My point was that it's not about individual choice. It's about the choice of corporations/organizations. That's why this battle often gets phrased in all-or-nothing terms, because right now it is All Windows-and-Nothing Else.

Most users have no input on what operating system they run, and therefore have no choice. (And if they have a home computer, they probably just want it to be compatible with their work computer.)

Off the rails (1)

syusuf (91554) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629138)

I think the Linux community is shooting itself in the foot by trying to play catchup with MS on the GUI front.

Take a look at any corporation and see what OS they are running on their desktops. That is not going to change, no matter how pretty you can make your window manager! Definitely Linux's most potential is on the server "backoffice" side but instead of developing that potential we have fallen into the trap of trying to compete with Microsoft on the GUI front, while in the meantime Microsoft is pumping out more and more server tools that are shaping the protocols that will be used in future! I shudder to think of the wasted energy going into gnome/kde/whatever instead of optimising Linux as a product that can easily fit into a business's computing environment. Sure there are packages that go some way there, but there is still a lot of work to be done. It's no good arguing about front ends when the basic functionality is not as good as it could be!

I like Linux. I like UNIX. Not because it has the potential to be a "better windows than windows" but because it is flexible, stable, and has fine grained control over resources. Forget about taking over the world. Let's just focus on getting our foot in the door of businesses, so we can keep the protocols and standards as Open as possible.

Re:Desktop IS the wrong place for Linuxites to foc (3)

Brian Feldman (350) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629139)

I run FreeBSD because I simply want the power and stability of a great OS. I don't run Windows because it's slow, unstable, a huge mess of incoherency and scattered inconsistencies. What I want in an OS is to actually have control over it. Open Source is about control and software superiority. With many people working on a project, it quickly can become best of breed. I have control over the entire OS when I use an Open Source system. If I find a bug, I can fix it.

With Windows I have a bloated monstrosity which, while trying to be everything to everyone, is purely unuseable to me. Things are far too simplistically designed and making things "click-simple" isn't worth any of that. You're trapped in something you can't truly control, can't fix, and can't expand upon. You lose every bit of flexibility that should be possible on a computer when you run Windows.

But, of course, you do have applications which you need on an OS, since after all, what good is an OS unless you have something to run on it? Many apps in Unix are simply much more well-done than those in Windows.

You say you want a lightweight Programmer's OS. Unix is not that. Unix is a system that can be almost everything to everyone witout sacrificing anything. Yes, the "base distribution" over the years has grown, but so has hard drive space and memory availability, not to mention pure speed of the computers. Don't forget that in Linux a distribution is not the OS. The kernel is the OS and the distribution just happens to run on top of it. There are many distributions to choose from , and they're not all going to be bloated past belief or inflexible to configure. You make that choice when choosing between Open Source OSes and distributions.

Also, the bloat is not the same as Windows's bloat. I can speak for FreeBSD, since that's what I run, here. There is a relatively small base system which includes the kernel, utilities, base applications, base data, base libraries and includes. This is the core of the OS. In the base you also have things for developing. development, such as the compiler, assembler, linker, debugger, and various binutils. This gives you flexibility: you have what you need, and nothing too esoteric. I have what I need to rebuild and modify the system to my liking except the source install itself.

After installation, you can install any non-OS components you like from ports or packages. There is just about every type of program an end-user would need, and you install what you want. Sure, because of this systems become different as different configurations are made and programs installed. But the OS is still the same underneath it.

In a closed operating system, you're stuck with what they give you without being able to uninstall much of it. The result is that you have no control over hundreds of megabytes of cruft you'll never use. Windows is appropriate for the desktop because of applications you say? Well, there are good applications for any platform. You're not going to find server applications, for instance, that are better on a closed system than for an open one. Why? When you're serious about your application, you care about the OS and what you can make it do, not the cruft surrounding it. Serious development is better done on an open platform.

Besides, who said Windows is a better desktop in the first place, EVEN just for applications? I am writing this using Mozilla, which still has a bit of a way to go before being truly finished, but is very useable and much faster than Netscape Navigator or Internet Explorer. I run LyX and get professional typesetting, not just dinky "word processing," when I use it and LaTeX. I run OLVWM and have a much nicer GUI than possible on Windows, coupled with the much more flexible XFree86 3.9.16 than Windows's GUI could be. Of course, I'm not tied down, and can change my system's GUI components at will. I have my GNOME Panel and apps, giving me the familiar toolbar (much more flexible though), a CPU meter, a mixer, themeable clock, command-line tool, application menus, and any of various small applications and dockable applets. I have my TiK for my instant messaging needs, exim and pine for mail needs, the GIMP and KIllustrator for graphics, mp3/mod/avi/mov/mpg players, audio applications including the ver-present sox, and my full development system with DDD for graphical debugging.

In other words, I have a full desktop system, and my choice from many other apps should I ever want those. How can you say that Windows or BeOS are the only systems which should be on desktops when it's obvious a better OS than Windows can have everything else you'd ever need, too?

Re:What can Linux *Deliver*? (1)

jessedl (100221) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629140)

Didn't Apple deliver the GUI? Apple is another wild card in the whole issue anyways. Though many will be hard pressed to take it seriously, Apple is making huge strides with their new systems (iMac, iBook, G3, G4, etc.) and there are still hundreds of millions of people on the planet (in the country even) that are still not wired... I see the whole notion of supply/demand being obliterated by the fact that supply will become endless (at least in this industry) and demand will be not for simple products but for incredible products -- which will be non-existent as long as one entity (MS) has the power.

Embedded systems and XML everywhere (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1629141)

Those are two important future oriented technologies ... IMHO the future won't be completely network centric there'll still be discrete and standalone devices like small handhelds and appliances (already many of those use parts of BSD and Linux).... even workstations will continue to exist. So GUI's and desktops are OK to focus on ... we just need to be a bit broader in what we mean by those 2 concepts. Given our X heritage the idea of a desktop anywhere and a networking oriented GUI should be second nature to us ... it isn't to MS.

As for the apps of the future ... what? Full multimedia e-mail on't we have that already?

Brain dump ....

XML uses

We need to start formatting documents and config files in XML/RDF (for backwards compatability the XML engine could just refer to files in /etc): the network is the computer and the document is the database baybee! Down with the Registry and up with flexible easily programmable API's!

We also need a GUI that can be created from XML and display properly on/in X, PostScript, Berlin, console, Win32/GDI etc ... the XUL/XP-whatever stuff from Mozialla is a start.

More MultiMedia

Open standards set the pace in text based stuff (HTML! ASCII!) - even MSWord.doc's will fall to XML - but in multimedia we're far behind. There's no easy to detect reason for it either ... Multimedia we have the standards we can rebuild it ...

Lets get SMIL and SVG working! Down with QuickTime, DirectX, Netshow, etc. etc.

XP standards based multimedia! Cooperate with W3's working groups on this - and Be Inc. too they seem committed to this ...

We. Need. To. Blow. Those. Proprietary. Formats. Out. Of. The. Water.

Yes give me IPv6, bash and a lightweight XML/XUL based GUI on my hand held ... damn QNX's GUI is som small it fits on a one meg floppy!

What can Linux *Deliver*? (2)

ElitistWhiner (79961) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629142)

When IBM wanted an OS - MS delivered
When users wanted GUI - MS delivered
When Busines demanded std apps - MS delivered
When IT wanted client/server - MS delivered

Tactically, MS has reversed roles:

MS delivers a network - people use it
MS delivers a browser - users take it
MS delivers music - people listen
MS delivers auctions - people bid

MICROSOFT know they are in the *Delivery* business. Linux has delivered an OS - people use it and MS notices... MS is reiforcing its franchise by Golden Handcuffing delivery customers with services.

Linux would do well to consider what & how best to foster delivery services within their own franchise - before they lose that...

/. delivers news/info - Techies love it
RH delivers support - users buy it
(add to list your best business case)

Re:Linux should embrace and extend Microsoft. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1629143)

The Gnome project, in particular IS moving beyond merely copying popular Windows functionality. AFAIK it is not ready yet, but I recently read about a new programmers "IDE" framework where you could plug together your favorite editor, debugger, etc. and upgrade pieces independently because of well-defined interfaces. This example fulfills, IMHO, the promise of putting CORBA on the desktop and is way beyond "OLE" or "COM" or whatever they are calling it these days.

Some points, but also some old tactics. (1)

stevew (4845) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629145)

I've got a few problems with what this gentleman says. He says that Raymond comes down too hard on the FSF, and that Linux couldn't have happened if the tools from GNU hadn't been there. I was around then, and it would have been harder, but other tools WERE in place at the time. Linux sprang from a disastisfaction with Minix among other things. There were tools that were built from this starting point that would have made the difference. I think he is wrong on this point.

He also talks about a "Special case of Applied Science" for what OSS folks do. Why not just call it "Engineering???" Why does he have to make up a new set of words for an old concept?

Generally - this article comes off as something aimed at deflating ESR's sails. He's using inflamatory words such as Marxism to describe what ESR wrote. I didn't see that concept in Eric's writtings myself. Is there a hidden agenda some place?

Re:People Are Missing the Point Here!! (4)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1629147)

Tim's point is that Microsoft (and the world) is shifting to a new battle field

Yes, thank you. Exactly.

Let me see if I can concretize this a little, at least from my point of view.

Right now, if I want to buy books over the Net, I go to Amazon. Now, I dislike Amazon's web site. It's carefully designed to feed me all sorts of data that I don't want. Amazon doesn't want me to buy the single book I decided to buy; if I do that, they've lost. They want me to buy dozens of books, *and* sign up for Amazon mailing lists, *and* move my book conversations from Usenet over to Amazon-managed chat boards, *and* put buy-from-Amazon links on my web pages.

I despise that. (Other people don't, but I'm talking about me right now.) I dislike that for many of the same reasons I dislike using Microsoft software. They're ignoring my goal, and in some cases deliberately making it harder, because their goals are totally different.

So. What if Amazon (or whoever) builds their entire web presence on Linux and Perl, and I use Lynx to shop there? Is that a victory for open-source software?

Yes and no. Yes, because they're using OSS, and that has benefits (stability, low costs, interoperability, choice of browser.) But no, because no matter what software is involved, I'm still having this crappy time buying a book.

This is O'Reilly's point: that the "no" part of that is going to get very important compared to the "yes" part. I agree; that crystallizes a whole bunch of my misgivings about the way the Net is evolving. If the OSS movement is about choice, I want choice about what I do. Five years ago, that was to run applications on a desktop machine. I still do that, but now I also buy books on the Web. Times a-change.

Here's the question, I guess: how can the principles of open software development be applied to, well, whatever the buzzword is for the Next Thing?

Obvious answer: Have Amazon offer shopping data, in a standard interchange format, so people can use it without going through Amazon's idea of a book portal. (That's what O'Reilly had in mind, and why he was talking about it on XML.com, hint hint.)

Obvious followup: Why should Amazon bother? They've got a proprietary lock on what they do, and they're making money on it. (Sound familiar?)

We need to think about what advantages an open approach offers to that -- analogous to the advantages that open-source development offers to software. Then, of course, we have to convince the web sites.

-- Andrew Plotkin (erkyrath@netcom.com)

Reminds me of Apple vs Microsoft. (1)

vitaflo (20507) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629154)

I found this an interresting read because it reminds me of the way things have been with Mac fanatics. The number one goal was to kill Microsoft. Anything even related to MS was (and is) torn apart, and burned at the stake. Why? Because Mac fanatics who don't get the real picture want there OS to be "number 1", because they feel it's "better". This is why Bill Gates was booed when he showed up on the screen at MacWorld a year or two back. Granted, I have my own opinions on which OS I prefer (MacOS for applications, Linux for programming), but I don't see how watching Microsoft die off is going to make my prefered OS better. If that were to happen, then in the end I'd be just like the person I once hated.

I also think people fail to realize what it means to be number one. It means you're the big dog, you're the one everyone "cool" hates (and the ones the "lamers" love). The saddest thing about this whole thing is that those people who really feel that Linux will be the demise of Microsoft are going to be the same ones who ridicule Linux when it does, and hop on some less popular-yet-"cool" OS's bandwagon.

Peace to all those who just want a good, stable, dependable, fun, easy to use operating system, regardless of who makes it.

Does Tim have stock in Amazon.com or what? (1)

Cycon (11899) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629155)

Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed that Tim O'Reilly loves to tout Amazon.com as the ultimate web-based killer app? He used it as an example in the ORA Open Sources book, I seem to recall him pointing it out in another article recently, and now we're hearing it again in his LinuxWorld keynote. I'm no conspiracy nut, but isn't it true that the Linux/Open Source community as a whole is ORA's largest customer base? Maybe he's just trying to sell more books by having people think about Amazon, but here's my real beef:
If the web is going to be the new platform for the next round of "killer applications" isn't it about time you started offering a few new example, Tim? I've personally never heard of anyone buying a computer so that they could specifically visit a certain online vendor such as Amazon. The closest information source that might be considered a true "Killer App" would have to be AOL. I *do* know a few people who have bought computers (or sometime bought *new* computers) just so that they could get onto America Online. At the beginning of every year of college I've scratched my head in astonishment as incoming freshman would dial-up to AOL from their dorm rooms, all the while they had LAN access to my university's T-3 connection. The last two years most of these people actually already had Ethernet adapters in their brand-new computers, but didn't know that they could get on the internet through it, or that at the very least they could still log on to AOL through TCP/IP (which many of them continue to do even after they learn they don't have to)
In all seriousness, I'm not trying to negatively critisize Tim O'Reilly, but I really do believe that it's time that he started offering further proof of web-based "killer apps" besides Amazon.com

Next Time: How much stock does Microsoft have in ZDNet anyway?

Re:Linux is there (1)

Malacai[GDI] (48381) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629156)

... but you, my friend, are not.

Can you recall the days when geeks were a dormant, lackluster commercial audience? I can.

Can you recall the days when book stores threw up the "computer books" section next to "SciFi" as an afterthought? I can.

Can you recall looking at the shelves only to discover that Mr. O'Reilly seemed to be the only one willing to take a chance with us, to believe that *nix-based texts did have a place in the market? I can. And I was damn pleased. Sybex, Wrox, you name it, they all pale in comparison to the technical tomes written under his tenure as publisher. People refer to some of those books as bibles or like supermodels: with short names and nicknames:

"The Bat Book" and "D&B" are two of my favorites!

Tim should be thanked.

Have a nice day. Coward.

Oh, and once you write or publish a technical text, I might give your words a bit more credibility.

Re:We have to fight Microsoft to keep choices open (1)

Foogle (35117) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629157)

How can you say "We have to fight Microsoft to keep the choices open" and be serious? Hello? The choices are open. Hell, there are more choices now then I can ever remember (good choices anyway). Who gives a flying fuck if MS doesn't feel the same way. What can they do to us? Run us out of business? Well, sure - maybe people like RedHat might suffer at the hands of Microsoft, but Linux as a whole is invulnerable to their attacks.

We've already creative a great alternative. Microsoft doesn't have to lose for us to win - we've already won. It's not world domination but, seriously, what's the point in that? If we simply get the message out that "Linux is a viable alternative" then we've done our job - let the people decide for themselves after that.


"You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

Sorry about the italics - It happens... (1)

Foogle (35117) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629158)


"You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

Re:None (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1629159)

Lord knows we've forced everyone to have Bob on their desktops...
Opinions expressed by me are not necessarily those of my employer

Re:Kill 'em! (1)

Foogle (35117) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629160)

Hello? Notice anything about your analogy?? 8th graders are immature. They have low self-confidence and need reassurance and peptalks from people they look up to. Sometimes (when I read AC posts) it seems like the Linux community is a bunch of 8th graders, but I know that's not the case - we shouldn't belittle ourselves and our operating system by making it a battle with MS and a personal vendetta. Let's keep it down to earth, okay?


"You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

GPL irrelevant in the age of infoware? (1)

linuchristo (17002) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629163)

if infoware is going to become more important than software, then perhaps the GPL needs updating to prevent the dominant infoware vendors (Amazon.com, AOL, ...) from being able to build monopolistic, proprietary infoware apps (websites) atop GPLed software.
again: distributing software is likely to become less important than operating web sites. the GPL currently gets its power by regulating the distribution of (modified or verbatim) GPLed software. it does not attempt to regulate the operation of a website built on GPLed software. so for example, it does me no good to insist that my online bookstore use GPLed software: that online bookstore can still become the next bully of the computer industry. in this way is the GPL in danger of becoming irrelevant--or at least not as effective as it could be if we take Mr. O'Reilly's words to heart.

Re:Is the Bazaar really a bureaucracy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1629165)

Actually, I believe that the Open Source community can respond more quickly to changes than Tim gives it credit for. For example, how long did it take from the recognition of the need for a friendly desktop environment (say, at the time of the birth of KDE) to the point we are at now with *two* great desktop environments. I don't know the precise date of the start of the KDE project, but it was no more than a year and a half since I first heard of KDE. Once a need is recognised, the community can be very quick to respond.

It used to bother me that there are not many middle-tier object technologies and "application servers" that are open source. It still bothers me that Sun is taking such a restrictive view of the specifications of the Enterprise Java platform, which is the primary contender in this area. But it doesn't *scare* me, because I know that at some point enough like-minded developers will come together to form a critical mass on implementing such a thing, or some company will open-source their product to gain mindshare. And when they do, I give it a year at most before it becomes a mainstream product (like linux now) and 2-3 years before it dominates its market (like linux in 2 years:) )

[Side note: when I say "linux" I don't mean to exclude the BSDs or Hurd, but there's no universally accepted and concise way of referring to all of them]

- Stuart (sab39 but temporarily cookiless and I can't remember my pw)

Re:I agree... (1)

Gregg M (2076) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629167)

Rather than trying to beat Microsoft at everything, why not invent new stuff that nobody has thought of before?

Thanks for the advice Bill, now go back to counting your money. Who the hell needs a browser or Java? You could add that to your myths page.... Linux doesn't have apps. Linux doesn't have a browser. Linux doesn't have Java.

Desktop IS the wrong place for Linuxites to focus (2)

d_linux (100169) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629174)

The markets that I see linux fitting into quite nicely are WebFarms/MID Sized IT Shops That Need Dependable DNS/WINS/HTTP/FTP/Print/CIFS services. The desktop market is a place where end users LIVE. The average end user cannot and will not have the time or the technical know-how to config their systems. The more focus put into making Linux-King O the Desktop, the bigger the foot print, the bigger the overhead, thus defeating its original purpose... A lightweight Programmers OS. We don't want to end up with a 2gig OS! I say we continue to push Linux into the backoffice areas and let BeOS or someone else tackle the desktop. D/

This is not a flame. (2)

Foogle (35117) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629176)

But after reading some of these early posts, I'm really thinking that somethings rotten in the state of the Linux community.

Why does Microsoft have to lose for us to win? Why can't we just be happy in making a great operating system that millions of people can enjoy? Do we have to make it into a competition? Unless you own or work for a Linux-based company, I just don't see the reasoning.

I thought the whole point was that we're not in it for the money, right (obviously)? So who cares if MS puts up anti-linux pages? What's going to happen? It's not like a loss of sales can hurt an Open Source community. So I say: Take a step back. Let Microsoft do whatever the hell they want. I don't care. I'm going to use Linux anyway, and I know most of you out there will do the same. But for the love of god, don't make it personal.


"You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

I agree... (1)

Kismet (13199) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629177)

Rather than trying to beat Microsoft at everything, why not invent new stuff that nobody has thought of before? I think that is a great way to make an OS really succesfull, especially if the new apps are something that folks can really use.

The battle of the Dekstop is a Myth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1629178)

Currently as it stand Microsoft dominates, the desktop market and it will continue to do so as long as it can prevent consumer applications from migrating to LINUX, (i.e. I would like to see Ibm's Lotus products all open source and ported to Linux),but as it stands I don't think a large company such as IBM is willing to do so.
BTW: Linux should look beyond the PC BOX, maybe PDA's embeded linux devices and so on.

Linux Mustn't Blink (1)

Amos (83010) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629179)

Torvald and Co are quite reasonable to be very concerned about Microsoft. The history of the company is rp
competitors who are now pushing daisies instead of software. DRI, case in point.
The MS machinery is competivorous -- it starts salivating at the first smell. ANyone hoping to extend a business fguture into the OS space needs to be very alert, constantly, or the rug will disappear from under them mysteriously.

That said, technical excellence is the long-term guarantee of Linux survival assuming they can fend of the fangs of MS' troops. It may be with Bill a little older and the Feds a little smarter they (MS) won't get to do again what they did once.

other os's (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1629180)

this is one of the reasons that the linux community gets bad press. because of the anti-microsoft focus, extremeists/zealots/idiots start advocating linux in a non-healthy way and end up giving "the world out there" a bad taste in their mouth. someone needs to read the linux advocacy mini-HOWTO! we are supposed to be ambassadors, not guerillas.

thank god for beos and bsd flavors. alternative operating systems with a leash on their respective communities.

Re:Yeah. (1)

toolie (22684) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629182)

I agree with this totally. Linux wasn't about 'Kill MicroSoft' from the beginning. It was about having a choice in which OS you use. If people were more focused on improving Linux rather than bashing MicroSoft, Linux would become a 'real' contender for ordinary users. Eventually, Linux will be able to oust MicroSoft based solely on its features rather than the crowds of people screaming 'Death to MicroSoft'.

We have to fight Microsoft to keep choices open (2)

Paul Crowley (837) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629183)

The idea of ignoring Microsoft and just working on building a good alternative is very appealing in theory. It certainly sounds better than being "anti-" anything, you come across as a more reasonable human being, and it's a very commonly voiced idea.

The trouble is that Microsoft don't feel the same way. Microsoft aren't interested in co-existing with alternatives: they want alternatives destroyed, they want Windows on every desktop, and they'll fight like dogs to leave us all with no other choice. They just don't have a very live-and-let-live attitude to the marketplace, and I don't think being nicer would convert them.

When I say I want them defeated, I mean I want them defeated in this goal. I don't mean I want the company to fold, the tens of thousands of employees on the streets, and the operating system unsupported - though it's an appealing image. I simply mean that I want them to turn into another operating systems vendor, another applications writing company, another participant in a marketplace which offers a choice.

For Microsoft, that is defeat. And so if we're trying to create alternatives, if we're trying to maintain a choice, then we're already anti-Microsoft whether we like it or not.

That's true... (1)

Foogle (35117) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629184)

Except that it's not.

Sure, workers may not get the choice about what OS they use, but their bosses do (or their IT people, or whomever) and when it comes down to it, it's their decision to make anyway. If I want my employees using BeOS (for whatever reason) then they'll use BeOS. If it's a bad business decision then it's my fault, but it's still definitely my choice.

So what if Linux replaced Windows in the business niche? Then the workers would be stuck with Linux just like their stuck with Windows now. The only distinction is that you think you're entitled to say that Linux is a better choice for them, and therefor, a better thing to be stuck with. Well, I've got news for you, there are certain things that Windows does that I prefer over Linux (and I'm a hardcore Linux user).

I'm not saying that Windows is better than Linux - not hardly - but I don't see how replacing Windows with Linux somehow gives workers more "choice". Their bosses still decide what goes on their systems. Don't blame Microsoft for what the business world does.


"You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

Re:other os's (1)

jtn (6204) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629185)

Wow. Nice work, backing up your kneejerk response with hard factual evidence. Or maybe that got cut off.. At any rate, I see the opposite. A typical BSD user isn't a fanatical zealot. They just use their OS in peace because they believe they have the best solution for their problem, period. Why do so many Linux users have a hard time with his?

Re:Absolutely Correct (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1629186)

I'm glad your so absolutly certain of that, but the CD-ROM (or some other physical, removable media) will always be useful to me, I have little desire to do everything remotely. Don't make predictions just because you want things to turn out that way.... ...that's just ignorant

Lot's of people involved with Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1629187)

Look, there are so many people involved with Linux, either on the "programming the core apps" or on the "evangelizing Linux" side. Because we have so many more people than Microsoft does, we can easily assign a four people to target each Microsoft employee and still have a very capable reserve force for any other contingencies.

Forget the competition... (1)

jessedl (100221) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629188)

The Linux community had started out pretty nicely but has lost its way as of late. Forget trying to compete with Microsoft or out-do their work. Find a place for Linux and a reason for it to exist and all will be fine. I believe the future of Computer Operating Systems will be customization. No, not desktops and pretty icon shit, *real* customization. Think about smart houses needing software to run them and cars and fast food, and grocery stores, and digital paper and everything! So there will be people whose soul occupation is made by molding and shaping computer operating systems for others. This is where Linux can grow into something bigger...

a couple of app ideas here ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1629189)

A completely OO RAD development environment and database (similar to CAI's Jasmine). Or how about 'funtional themes' rahter than cosmetic ones. For instance, have as in install option a complete developer kit (SDKs, compilers, IDE, etc.) or for artists a graphics pack. I'm not talking OS-only features like what we currently have but complete tightly integrated OS/App packages that are all optimized and glued tighly together. We can also step up the effort to get free or near free (not necessarily open) s/w ported to Linux for personal and academic use. All these things would make Linux more appealing for the masses (including me ... who currently would like to migrate to Linux but would need the right hardware support and a good OO development tool {ie not C++ or Java!!!!}).

Re:Off the rails (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1629191)

I shudder to think of the wasted energy going into gnome/kde/whatever instead of optimising Linux as a product that can easily fit into a business's computing environment.

What the hell do you consider optimizing? What the hell do you think we should be working on?

Yea Lets forget a GUI and add some new features to Emacs, that would be a good idea!

Jihad against Micro$oft and death to infidels (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1629193)

Why are you making such a rational post? Dude don't you know you are talking about Linux (rulez!) and Microsoft ($uck$!) on Slashdot? You must not mention Microsoft without a flaming rant else you will be moderated down. Jihad against Gates and death to infidels who refuse to bow before the penguin!!!

Re:Off the rails (1)

tweek (18111) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629194)

I think the Linux community is shooting itself in the foot by trying to play catchup with MS on the GUI front.

I agree on this point. Sort of. Who says the MS GUI is the one we want to emulate? It just isn't intuitive(see previous posts from me about the whole subject), yet we burn cycles with kde/gnome and the startbar look. I understand that people don't want to learn a new interface but the interface from Mac to windows is different yet people learn that when they move to Macs nad vice-versa. I guess the whole power of it comes in the fact that a user could design any interface he wants though. I just wonder where the idea that pretty == good OS?

As a community, what should we do? (1)

SomeoneElse (90418) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629196)

It's a quagmire we're placed in from what I can see in the discussion so far -- what direction do we go in? Do we conquer the server with a superior, though complex server OS, or do we conquer the desktop with an easier to use OS?

This discussion of client/server attack is a moot point. The distributors will take care of that. For instance Mandrake, Caldera and Corel are clearly targetting the client, while Debian, Slackware, and RH are going for the more advanced and server spaces. So as to which direction Linux as a whole should go in, I say it shouldn't have a central direction like that. Honing things like SMP, firewalling, and fault tolerance make it great in the server space. Polishing the GUI makes it a great distributed computing system thanks to the power of X Windows. So when someone says we need to change direction, I respectfully disagree. Linux is moving in all directions -- something only open source software can do due to the size of the development pool. So let's beat the desktop by introducing a better desktop paradigm, and at the same time let's stomp the server space by coming out with better ideas and technologies for servers. But by targetting a single niche with Linux (okay, we'll be the web development platform everyone will use!) we'll end up being just a small niche player like BeOS.

As always I could be wrong, and I'm sure there will be those who will gleefully tell me I am. But the great thing about Linux is we're going everywhere with it, and that, in a nutshell, is one of the keys that makes it as popular as it is.

Just my .02

Re:true enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1629204)

i was comparing the zealots of linux to politicians, not linux 8-)

Re:None (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1629205)

Right now, MS has a stranglehold on the desktop market. They use this as leverage to tell people what they want: IE integrated with your desktop, a 40MB e-mail application, MS BOB, whatever. If that stranglehold were taken away, perhaps the direction of the industry would be put into more responsble hands. Nothing should be forced down our throats.

Re:hippies suck. (2)

ucblockhead (63650) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629206)

Yes, this is true, the linux community should worry about making the everything *BETTER* than Microsoft...

I agree, but I'd go even further and change that to:

"Yes, this is true, the linux community should worry about making everything *BETTER*..."

To focus on "beating Microsoft" is a fundamentally reactive strategy that is, I think, besides the point. Personally, I don't give a shit if Microsoft is "beaten". I just want software that doesn't suck.

Kudos to Tim O'Reilly (3)

sinnergy (4787) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629207)

What a very thought provoking and timely speech. I only wish I could have been present to hear it from the man himself. In either case, he brings up many interesting points. The crux of the whole speech revolves around this statement from him, "We need new business models. And those models are not always what you might expect."

In general, we Linuxites have to remember some important things if we are to ever prevail:

1) Money/compensation is a driving force. We can't ignore it.
2) The OSS *can* make money, just not how we expect it to make money
3) We have to support vendors who are more than "hip" to the OSS system. We don't need lip service. We need to seek out vendors that truly incorporate OSS as part of their entire business model. What will this model look like? I can only begin to guess.
4) Keep your eyes on the prize. If, as a community, we succumb to the tunnel vision concept of, "Kill Microsoft!", all hope is certainly lost. As an anecdotal example, look at Apple and their Macintosh fiasco in '84. In many respects, I see similarities in the Big Brother image in their infamous 1984-esque commercial and much of the Linux rhetoric I read here day in and day out. Look what it did to Apple. I imagine if they would have focused on reality a bit and what really mattered, things may have turned out differently.

All I'm asking is a little reality from the community. Read the article, please. Follow your mother's advice about the big bad bully. Ignore him and he'll eventually go away. I suspect this will be the same with Microsoft. The more focus *we* put on them the more press they receive. Let's focus on our own merits and achievements and strive to make not just a better product, but the best product we can.

It *has* been done before... that was the whole point behind Linux in the first place, no?

A little conspiracy theory (1)

tweek (18111) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629208)

I wonder how many of these seemingly prolinux posts are attempts to discredit linux as a desktop os? I'm not saying the are but sutff like this makes me wonder. I agree that Windows and linux and bsd and beos and apple can all live together. My beef with microsoft comes with thier business practices and lack of sportsmanship (not that anyone said they HAD to have any). If linux flops on its face today, as one poster said above, I will still use it. Remember that we slaved away for years as users of Linux in almost complete anonimity and it still got better with each new kernel. Unless linux/bsd become obsolete, they will be my OS's of choice.

Re:This is not a flame. (1)

llywrch (9023) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629209)

>Why does Microsoft have to lose for us to win?

I fear that this may be the case, but the war was started long before Linus thought to even enquire about POSIX standards.

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO & major shareholder: ``All we want is our fair share of the market. And that's 100%."

Until MS recognizes the right of other OS & software products to exist, we will have people crying, ``Microsoftus delenda est!" Or perhaps even armed hackers leading war elephants over the Cascades to bring the war to Redmond.

(If you can't STR, look up ``Punic War" in any decent encyclopedia.)


Kill 'em! (1)

scumdamn (82357) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629210)

Isn't this focus on Microsoft just a way to motivate people? Isn't it like the 8th grade football coach saying "Let's go out there and Kill 'em!" He knows those eighth graders are in last place, couldn't kill anyone, and will most likely go down in defeat, but he's trying to get them psyched up. I think it's great that we're focussed on Microsoft. There are some things about Windows that can be coopted, and it IS the dominant operating system, so it's a good thing that we have our sites set on knocking them out of first. Note that there aren't people trumpeting smaller goals like "Let's bump SCO out of first place in the x86 Unix market!" or "Let's become the most popular Unix like operating system!" or "Let's become number two!"
We want to be number one. We'll do anything we have to in order to accomplish that. Make things easier? Sure! Improve SMP performance? Not a problem! Of course we see "killing" Microsoft as the goal. They're number one right now, and they're cocky as hell. Of course they need their asses kicked a little. Forget this pacifist shit. We need to annihilate them! Get excited, people! We can do this! We can be number one! There will be freedom and choice, but we'll make sure that nobody would want to use a different operating system. How? Not by using Microsoft's proprietary methods, but by making the product so damn good that you'd have to be crazy to use anything else. We can do it, people! Let's get out there and code!

Re:This is not a flame. (1)

IntlHarvester (11985) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629211)

Why does Microsoft have to lose for us to win?

Well, for the vast majority of users, the operating system is whatever their employer says it is. This makes desktop operating systems somewhat of a zero-sum game. Either they are "the standard" or they are only in place for nitch uses. (And if you are a 'nitch' Linux user in an all-Windows desktop shop, more power to you - just realize that you are 1/1000th of the user base.)

If "world domination" is ever reached, it means that thousands of Windows computers are going to have to be reformatted and have Linux installed. This assumes that Linux is an adequate replacement for Windows on the desktop. Meanwhile, Microsoft has been working for years to promote Windows as a general solution So, you can see where the contention arises ("Windows Everywhere" versus "World Domination")

And, yes, I realize that World Domination was originally somewhat of a joke, but thousands of /. posts indicate that people are taking it very seriously.

Is the Bazaar really a bureaucracy? (1)

sansbury (97480) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629212)

When I look at the processes by which open standards like Apache, HTTP and HTML are created, I often wonder whether the need for "consensus" trumps the need to innovate quickly.

Hegemony and control are valuable when time-to-market becomes a key concern. This does not necessarily produce a good product but it might produce a winner in the marketplace. Open Source seems great at building revolutionary new ideas (slowly) but not so good at responding to the sort of fast-moving changes Tim O'Reilly suggests are underway. Does anybody agree?

Colin Kingsbury


People do what they want to do... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1629213)

Look at the amount of programmers KDE & GNOME tapped into... a lot of these people probably would not even be contributing to open source projects if the drive for the desktop wasnt there. It isnt an either or situation... Plus whats wrong with building a desktop OS on top of the linux kernel? It doesnt change the kernel. The distro becomes "2 gig", the kernel remains the same.

Absolutely Correct (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1629224)

Linux folks are way too focused on Microsoft. The result is that they are trying to just be a better Windows instead of looking over the horizon at the future - which is pure internet computing.

Desktop apps, CDROMS, and "gold code" are dead concepts. In the future, apps will be hosted at servers and will change daily. Version numbers will be useless. CDROMS will seem archaic.

Short hairs (1)

NutZac (18515) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629225)

I don't know that even Microsoft started out from the beginning wanting to get everybody by the short hairs. Once you get in that position it takes a lot of strength of will and strength of purpose and high moral fiber not to take advantage of it.

I love this quote. There is so much truth to this. High moral fiber is something that we can all aspire to having. Microsoft lost it long ago.

Re:This is not a flame. (1)

Foogle (35117) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629226)

Do you really care whether Microsoft says it's okay for us to exist? I'll bet you don't. So let them try to keep 100% of the market - I won't try to stop them. I'll just keep on working with my Linux system, and writing my own software under the GPL.

You see, they can't defeat Open Source by outselling it, and I don't want to defeat them. It's just not important to me. Let them do what they want - and we'll do the same.

And the day I see Linux hackers on war elephants is the day I buy an iMac (without LinuxPPC) :)


"You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

What is "distribution" when it comes to web apps? (1)

IIH (33751) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629227)

One of the methods that the GPL has to "encourage" free software is that any software that integrates GPL code, must also fall under the GPL. Hence, if a company wants some functionality provide by a GPL projects, they have two choices. a) merge it with their own, licence the result under the GPL, or b) write the functionality themselves.

This works fine for "normal" distributed apps, but take the example of a "web app" when the app is running on the server on behalf of the client. Is this "distribution" of the program? Could a company take GPL code, combine it with their code, and never make their code changes public? If you browse a web site that uses a GPL web server, are you entitled to ask them for the source of it? From my understanding of the GPL, you are only allowed to ask for the source, if you have recieved the corresponding binary.

This article brings up the point that we have to be careful that with the changing landscape of software "distribution", and of "software" in general, that the freedom we've require in software doesn't get lost.

Re:None (1)

khaberz (5813) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629228)

Exactly. That is something different than saying "get rid of MS" (I am assuming it was you who wrote that).
I want noone to have a stranglehold of the market. Not Bill Gates and not Linus Torvalds. The more competition, the more choice, the better.

I don't understand that there are people who are satisfied with what MS offers them, but I respect their choice. My Choice is a different one and I am sure there are more than enough people who don't understand that choice either.

Get used to the fact that there are people who want exactly what MS offers. This is not a bad thing for the Linux-community. It's competition. It's choice.

The Linux Motto... (4)

kris (824) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629229)

Summarizing Tim in a single sentence: Chase the dream, not the competition..

Consider the (Open) Source (3)

puppyscent (95780) | more than 14 years ago | (#1629230)

Wow, am I glad that Tim took the opportunity of a keynote address to express this pov, and with such conviction.

To focus on Linux vs. Windows is like driving with both eyes fixed on the rear-view mirror. Or like my old track coach said "You'll always run slower if you look behind you to see where the competition is."

The concept and reality of "Internet Speed" will eventually determine the success or failure of products, companies, and their respective paradigms.

While Microsoft is very powerful and very rich, they're also very big. And their culture of software intellectual property and a tremendous dependence on the desktop computing metaphor could very well be their downfall.

For Linux-mavens (or, more specifically, anti-Microsoft-mavens) who only think victory is measured by how many choose Linux over Windows, remember that the computer world is bigger than your desktop.

But anything I write here is soooo much better said by Tim!

Re-read the article. Print it. Post it.

Our revolution isn't about taking power away from the establishment and giving it to us, it's about not having a center of power at all.

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