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Has Open Source Jumped the Shark?

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the 100-yard-shark-hurdles dept.

Software 250

AlexGr writes to tell us that Jeff Gould has a somewhat jaded look at the commercial push of Open Source and what that may be doing to the overall Open Source movement. "I've been a Linux fan for years, but lately I wonder if the drum beating from the big IT vendors in favor of open source hasn't finally slipped over the edge from sincere enthusiasm to meaningless — or in some cases downright hypocritical — sloganeering. The example that brought this gloomy thought to mind was a recent IBM press release touting a 'new open client solution' as an 'alternative to vendor lock-in'. Wow. Imagine that. An alternative to vendor lock-in."

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250 comments

He doesn't understand Open Source at all. (5, Insightful)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 6 years ago | (#18930921)

IBM's talking about an "Open Client Solution" doesn't mean Open Source at all. It might mean Open Standards, it might just mean multi-platform. This one happens to use Linux, but it is clearly Linux hosting propreitary software.

Lots of companies use Open Source to make a buck in some way, and some of them either mis-represent what is Open, or they don't get it at all. I saw an Oracle representative give a talk on "Free Software from Oracle" in Belfast last year. It turned out that he thought Free Software was software they don't charge for. Fortunately, Richard Stallman was out getting a massage, he gave his own talk an hour later. The audience tore the Oracle guy to shreds and insisted that he say "cost-less" instead of "Free" for the rest of the talk. IMO it was a pretty low moment for Oracle.

But what does this have to do with the Open Source / Free Software community? Not too much. IBM and Oracle would say the same thing about "Data Mining" or "Self Healing" if that was the buzzword that would help them make a buck that day. It's just outsiders misrepresenting themselves. Yes, outsiders. Even if IBM participates in Open Source projects, selling Lotus is an outsider activity. The best thing you can do is point it out, but don't blame it on Open Source.

His sympathy for Red Hat being "exploited" is wildly absurd and shows his failure to understand who made the software in Open Source products. Red Hat did not, for the most part, make the system they are selling. People like me did, and Red Hat did not pay us for it. And if you want to use that software in Debian or CentOS, that's fine with us.

Overall, he doesn't show much of an understanding of how Open Source is paid for and where the innovation comes from.

Bruce

Re:He doesn't understand Open Source at all. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18931085)

It might mean Open Standard...

Ummm, that's what "open" meant for a decade before the term "open source". It's a bit unfair to complain that people haven't stopped using it. I realize that 14-year-old Linux kidz don't understand that, but you should.

Fortunately, Richard Stallman was out getting a massage...

Now, there's a terrifying mental image.

The audience tore the Oracle guy to shreds and insisted that he say "cost-less" instead of "Free" for the rest of the talk.

Stallman hasn't been made dictator yet, you know, not even in Cuba. We're still allowed to use "free" in its normal meaning.

Re:He doesn't understand Open Source at all. (1)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 6 years ago | (#18931377)

mod parent insightful -
they never said open source. The whole article seems to be based on assumptions of things not said.

Re:He doesn't understand Open Source at all. (4, Insightful)

Coryoth (254751) | more than 6 years ago | (#18931551)

The audience tore the Oracle guy to shreds and insisted that he say "cost-less" instead of "Free" for the rest of the talk.

Stallman hasn't been made dictator yet, you know, not even in Cuba. We're still allowed to use "free" in its normal meaning.
Sure, but it seemed pretty clear that the conference in question was a Free software conference, and while you are allowed to use free in its normal sense there, you can expect to get heckled for it. If I go to a math conference promising a talk on "Group Theory" and then start talking about the behaviour of mobs of people, well, I can expect some flak for that. That doesn't mean mathematicians control the meaning of "group", but it does reflect the fact that you should really have a clue about your audience and what they mean by key words -- just as the Oracle guy should have done.

Re:He doesn't understand Open Source at all. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18931847)

Sure, but it seemed pretty clear that the conference in question was a Free software conference, and while you are allowed to use free in its normal sense there, you can expect to get heckled for it.

First, maybe that was obvious to you from the initial post but it wasn't to me. (I have no idea how many massages Stallman gets. For all I know, you can run out of an MCSE convention, pull him off his table, rinse him off and bring him in to heckle a speaker.)

Second, while I get your point (my main point was the confusion of "open" and "open source", anyway) isn't there something a little creepy about advocates of "freedom" crowing about forcing someone to use their terminology? Score one for freedom!

Re:He doesn't understand Open Source at all. (3, Insightful)

Coryoth (254751) | more than 6 years ago | (#18931945)

First, maybe that was obvious to you from the initial post but it wasn't to me.
Because most run of the mill software conferences you attend have audiences filled with people who are apparently religious about the distinction between Free and free? And they have Stallman in attendance as a speaker? Come now, it wasn't that hard to read between the lines and figure out the context. I think it was more a case of your own prejudices resulting in a kneejerk reaction without bothering to actually read and consider what was said.

Re:He doesn't understand Open Source at all. (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 6 years ago | (#18931277)

The audience tore the Oracle guy to shreds and insisted that he say "cost-less" instead of "Free" for the rest of the talk.
They should have made him say "free-as-in-beer"[1] instead, since costless isn't accurate -- reduced usabilty of code is a cost, for example, as is overcoming vendor lock-in.

I know it's semantics, but it's very important that businesses who might want to use open-source software understand that closed-source software, even if provided free-of-charge, is nowhere near costless. If anything, I'd say using the word "costless" in preference to "free" could be more damaging to acceptance of open-source software in the long run.

Zero INITIAL cost (3, Insightful)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 6 years ago | (#18931389)

Old movies of the 60's and 70's used to portray a drug pusher giving someone a hypo of heroin with a 500-dollar bill wrapped around it. Shoot up and the money's yours, but the pusher will get it back soon enough, 'cause you'll be hooked.

I think of a lot of zero-initial-cost proprietary software that way. If you're not going to pay for it, you'll pay for the limited set of stuff that it's compatible with. It's interesting how many corporations are addicts, and how their management isn't faulted for that.

Thanks

Bruce

It all costs, even F/OSS (4, Insightful)

anomaly (15035) | more than 6 years ago | (#18931705)

Bruce,
With all due respect, it seems to me that all software costs. Your distinction about initial costs would directly apply to F/OSS too.

I used to work for a company where vendors were excited to say "used by company XYZ" or they wanted us to assess whether the product was worthwhile for enterprise deployment. Even assessing the compatibility of those tools costs something - our time ain't free, even if the vendor asks for no money!

You also mention "the limited set of stuff that it's compatible with" My experience with F/OSS as a whole is that it tends to be compatible only with the one use case that represents the itch the author needed to scratch. Of course, it is possible to take the source and scratch my own itch - if I want to invest the labor to customize a hack to solve my problem, but many times it's less time and hassle to pay for the packaged work.

There was a time when I thought "who would pay for a TV show on iTunes?" I found myself in the middle of a "part one of two" episode, and didn't see part two on the program guide in the near future. I started to think about illegitimate P2P downloads, and then realized that for a mere $2 I could save myself the time and hassle of downloading for "free" (copyright violations aside.) My time and my integrity were well worth $2, and that's been my experience with software, too. Many times the "fit and finish" of commercial code is worth much more than the actual dollar cost to me.

All software costs. Sometimes F/OSS costs more, sometimes less. Sometimes commercial software is a better deal than F/OSS. There's room in the ecosystem for lots of business models.

Respectfully,
Anomaly

Don't confuse ROI with Acquirement Cost (2)

tjwhaynes (114792) | more than 6 years ago | (#18932073)

My experience with F/OSS as a whole is that it tends to be compatible only with the one use case that represents the itch the author needed to scratch. Of course, it is possible to take the source and scratch my own itch - if I want to invest the labor to customize a hack to solve my problem, but many times it's less time and hassle to pay for the packaged work.

The point of Free Software (and to a lesser extent Open Source) is to achieve source code compatability. Binary compatability is a "nice to have" but it is not essential to allow any user to benefit from the software.

That's not to say that you may save money in the long term by having a provider package your software for you and charge you a fee for doing so - but that's not the point of Free Software.

All software costs. Sometimes F/OSS costs more, sometimes less. Sometimes commercial software is a better deal than F/OSS. There's room in the ecosystem for lots of business models.

F/OSS costs you NOTHING to acquire. Whatever happens after that, you still have the software, the opportunity to compile it, change it and distribute it further. If your time is money, then the time spent compiling the software is a cost "to you". If I compile software in the evening at home, there is no financial cost to me.

Microsoft and other commercial vendors love to beat the ROI drum, because they can't win against FOSS on the acquirement cost basis. Funnily enough, only a minority of companies use the ROI metric for their future planning (I think the last figure I saw floating around CIO-type magazines was 31%); the reason is simple enough - most companies are concentrating on solving problems and improving productivity. If existing FOSS solutions fit a companies needs, they will use it. And yes - they may well pay Redhat or Canonical to service those FOSS solutions.

Cheers,
Toby Haynes

Re:Zero INITIAL cost (0, Offtopic)

winkydink (650484) | more than 6 years ago | (#18931721)

Hmmm... Interesting that movies from the 70's would portray a $500 bill as it was removed from circulation in 1969.

Re:Zero INITIAL cost (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18931727)

> I think of a lot of zero-initial-cost proprietary software that way.

As what, as a bogus myth?

Sometimes there's no alternative. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18931739)

But we sometimes end up in situations where there is no alternative, even if we wanted to move away from one particular company's products and services.

Take the financial industry. We often have to store and manage absolutely huge amounts of information. We're talking data loads here that knock Oracle on its ass. So our only option so far has been DB2. Even then, it just barely handles what we're throwing at it. And no, systems like PostgreSQL, MySQL, and whatever Sybase is offering now probably won't even handle 1/10th of what we'd be throwing at it.

So we do face a form of vendor lock-in. But it's really only because IBM is the only company on the planet capable of supplying us with the products we need to get our job done. Open source software can't really do a damn thing for us.

Re:Sometimes there's no alternative. (0, Offtopic)

Coryoth (254751) | more than 6 years ago | (#18931877)

Out of curiousity -- have you looked into Teradata at all? It certainly offers scalability to ridicolous data volumes.

Re:Zero INITIAL cost (2)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 6 years ago | (#18931817)

To a certain extent, the same is true of the support-based revenue model for open source software. The difference is the ability to go elsewhere for the service.

The key, I believe, is that people (and organizations) who purchase software need to account for the full cost...
It's interesting how many corporations are addicts, and how their management isn't faulted for that.Well, we all know that current cost-savings is valued more than potential future cost-savings. It's also hard to concretely demonstrate the indirect increased costs of proprietary software -- and without demonstration, those savings will be ignored.

Finally, though, what I think is often overlooked by the open source community is that corporations are inherently conservative. Many managements prefer to be locked-in, since it gives them an easy reason to not change.

Re:He doesn't understand Open Source at all. (4, Insightful)

zyl0x (987342) | more than 6 years ago | (#18931279)

"It turned out that he thought Free Software was software they don't charge for."

That's what the rest of the world thinks when they hear "free". Just because the OS community has a different meaning for it, doesn't mean the word's definition has been permanently changed. "Buy one get one free" doesn't mean the second one is promised to be hand-crafted by the community.

Re:He doesn't understand Open Source at all. (4, Interesting)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 6 years ago | (#18931499)

"It turned out that he thought Free Software was software they don't charge for."

That's what the rest of the world thinks when they hear "free"

Yes, but he was speaking at a conference organized by FSF Europe and organized by people like Ciaran O'Reardon. He very clearly had not done his homework.

Bruce

Re:He doesn't understand Open Source at all. (2, Insightful)

JonJ (907502) | more than 6 years ago | (#18931603)

So, when you think of free speech, you only think of cost?

Re:He doesn't understand Open Source at all. (5, Insightful)

iabervon (1971) | more than 6 years ago | (#18932139)

Nonsense. People worldwide know about the meaning of "free" as "acting without compulsion". It's just that they tend not to expect people to be providing software that acts without compulsion, unconstrained by the desires of the user or anybody else. The problem with "free software" as a term is that, with the correct meaning of "free" and the standard compositional grammar, it means something like SkyNet, not something like Linux. It is supposed to be interpreted by analogy to "free speech", but that's an idiom, which was fixed by the phrase "freedom of speech" being well-known and actually making sense (people have "freedom of speech", which means the people, not the speech, are free, and are free in the sense that "freedom" goes exclusively with). If OSS users were commonly said to have "freedom of software", maybe "free software" would be interpretable, but as it is, there's only one grammatical reading that makes any sense, and that reading is not what's intended.

Re:He doesn't understand Open Source at all. (4, Insightful)

McDutchie (151611) | more than 6 years ago | (#18931367)

Lots of companies use Open Source to make a buck in some way, and some of them either mis-represent what is Open, or they don't get it at all. I saw an Oracle representative give a talk on "Free Software from Oracle" in Belfast last year. It turned out that he thought Free Software was software they don't charge for.

Um... in spite of Richard Stallman's rather pathetic attempt to redefine the English language, that is what the term "free software" actually means. You cannot legitimately criticize the Oracle representative for using the English language correctly.

Re:He doesn't understand Open Source at all. (4, Insightful)

Coryoth (254751) | more than 6 years ago | (#18931673)

Um... in spite of Richard Stallman's rather pathetic attempt to redefine the English language, that is what the term "free software" actually means. You cannot legitimately criticize the Oracle representative for using the English language correctly.
Given what Bruce was saying, I think it was implicit that this was a Free Software conference (Stallman was there, giving a speech, and the audience knew, and cared deeply, about the distinction between Free and free). Under those circumstances I think you can very legitmately criticise the Oracle guy. If I go to an Oracle conference and spend my time talking about Delphi (that's where the oracle [wikipedia.org] was after all) and Pythia, and the latest archaeological findings, I think I can reasonably expect to get criticised, despite the that I am using the English language meaning of oracle correctly. Have a little awareness of your audience, and the context in which you are speaking...

Re:He doesn't understand Open Source at all. (1, Insightful)

DaleGlass (1068434) | more than 6 years ago | (#18931683)

So what do you call the "free as in freedom" software in English, then?

Languages like Spanish and Russian have different words for "freedom" and "it doesn't cost money", but English seems to be lacking in that respect.

Re:He doesn't understand Open Source at all. (1)

Frequency Domain (601421) | more than 6 years ago | (#18931849)

So what do you call the "free as in freedom" software in English, then?
It's not very common, but how about "karmaware"?

Re:He doesn't understand Open Source at all. (1)

Sax Maniac (88550) | more than 6 years ago | (#18931963)

So what do you call the "free as in freedom" software in English, then?

The word is right there in front of you: it's called freedom. Sure, it's a noun, not an adjective, but we verb nouns all the time so it stands to reason that we can also use nouny adjectives.

Re:He doesn't understand Open Source at all. (2, Insightful)

Frequency Domain (601421) | more than 6 years ago | (#18931779)

I disagree that Stallman has attempted to redefine the English language. He himself noted the ambiguity of the word "free", and clarified his intent with the (in)famous quote "Free as in freedom, not as in beer."

Re:He doesn't understand Open Source at all. (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 6 years ago | (#18931921)

Stallman isn't the only one to use other definitions of "free". I'm not a huge fan of the guy, but come one... he's actually using the older meaning!

Re:He doesn't understand Open Source at all. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18931979)

>Um... in spite of Richard Stallman's rather pathetic attempt to redefine the English language,
>that is what the term "free software" actually means. You cannot legitimately criticize the Oracle
>representative for using the English language correctly.

So I should assume when you say Free country, then it means I dont nned to pay for it?, can I buy USA?. Hmmm so I guess your comminist enemy was not redefining the english language..., it all depends on the context.

Where do these come from???, go back you your football (or elliptical crappy thing thaqt should not be called ball) game.

Re:He doesn't understand Open Source at all. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18932143)

Actually...yes.

Really soon now you'll be able to purchase the whole USA for 1 Euro, due to exchange rates. Thank the Federal Reserve for increasing the money supply by 12% p.a.

Re:He doesn't understand Open Source at all. (1)

Russ Nelson (33911) | more than 6 years ago | (#18932005)

He was using the English language ambiguously. Other languages have no problem. "Libre" is free as in freedom, "gratis" is free as in beer. He should have been more careful in his use of the language. I'm sure he will in the future.

Re:He doesn't understand Open Source at all. (1)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 6 years ago | (#18932147)

Um... in spite of Richard Stallman's rather pathetic attempt to redefine the English language, that is what the term "free software" actually means. You cannot legitimately criticize the Oracle representative for using the English language correctly.


Just who is trying to redefine the English language? "Free" [google.com] has more that one meaning. The exact meaning is largely dependent on context [slashdot.org]. The Oracle representative was entirely in the wrong context.

Sometimes this ambiguity of context is an innocent misunderstanding. But what makes it a hot-button for Open Source followers is that this "mistake" is often done intentionally by those who have an interest in derailing interest in Open Source use.

Focusing on fees is a red herring. Yes - business is ultimately about the bottom line. But trying to maintain the focus on fees is more about ensuring the financial battlefield remains in territory marketing departments are well accustomed to fighting. Free Software is a disruptive business model while Gratis Software is the usual loss-leader to get a foot in the door.

Liberated Software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18932175)

Liberation movements have dealt with this language issue long ago. Call it "Liberated Software" together with "software liberation movement". And FSF should change its name to "Software Liberation Front".

Re:He doesn't understand Open Source at all. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18931409)

"The audience tore the Oracle guy to shreds and insisted that he say "cost-less" instead of "Free" for the rest of the talk. IMO it was a pretty low moment for Oracle."

So, when 'The Free Software Association' starts talking free, we should be able to tear him a new one and force him to say "I Dictate The Terms To Which You Can Use This Of Which You Are Not Free To Agree Or Not To If You Decide To Use Even A Single Line Of Code".

I'm sorry but not costing anything is closer to free than the GPL. I like the GPL and use software based around it quite a bit, but it is doing the organization a disservice to state that you are free using it. This freedom comes at a great cost to some.

Open Source has jumped the shark because of folks like Stallman and not because of folks that are pragmatic about the idea like Torvalds. Everytime I hear from the former I throw up a little and think that using closed source software just isn't that bad. And then I hear from the latter and I realize how wrong I was. But the shark has been jumped because of the religious centered zealots in the crowd.

That's why I got away from Linux. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18931913)

I used to be a pretty heavy user of GNU/Linux. But then I kept seeing more and more crap like this. On one hand, we have people on mailing lists, newsgroups or other forums who'd go on and on about how the GPL "maximizes freedom". Of course, they fail to realize all of the restrictions that the GPL imposes. They say that the restrictions are there to guarantee freedom. At first I believed them. But then I realized that they're just full of shit.

So now I tend to use BSD-licensed software wherever possible. Yeah, somebody might create a closed-source product based on some BSD-licensed source code. Good for them! They have the freedom to do that. And I still have the freedom to use the pre-forked code. So we're all better off.

In Soviet America: +2, Formerly Patriotic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18931419)


Shark jumps Open Sores.

Re:He doesn't understand Open Source at all. (2, Insightful)

Angostura (703910) | more than 6 years ago | (#18931427)

" It turned out that he thought Free Software was software they don't charge for. "

Which is a perfectly valid meaning of the word "Free".

I see your last paragraph starts with the word 'overall'. I've no idea why you bought up the topic of a one piece work garment in your post, but please don't do it again. It is confusing since one word can only ever have one meaning.

Re:He doesn't understand Open Source at all. (2, Funny)

g1zmo (315166) | more than 6 years ago | (#18931997)

It might have been confusing, were this a Dickies [dickies.com] message board. But the sales guy's misunderstanding of the term 'free' as it would be used at an FSF event is clearly his own fault.

Re:He doesn't understand Open Source at all. (4, Insightful)

LordNimon (85072) | more than 6 years ago | (#18931501)

It turned out that he thought Free Software was software they don't charge for.

And he's right!

If he had said "open source software", then you'd have a point. But he just said free software, which only means software that is provided without charge. Sorry Bruce, I normally agree with everything you say, but not this time. The open source community has no right to redefine common English words.

Using the right buzzwords (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 6 years ago | (#18931523)

These days it is important to be saying trendy things. Wall St is a cat-walk of fashionable corporate behavior and you have to be doing some of the right stuff, be that offshoring, diversifying, core competetncy etc. These fashions will sometimes change 180 degrees within a year (eg. diversification to focussing on core products). These days you also must be doing something Open.

So what does "Open" mean? Different things in different contexts.

And while I'm typing... why does RMS think he has the right to define what "Free" means? I can fully understand why the Oracle guy would later use the term "costless". After an RMS rant, the term "Free" would be very confusing; any competent speaker would do the same. GPL sofware is hardly "free" by some dictionary definitions: "not controlled by the will of others". A bit ironic that the "Free Software Foundation" (who supposedly push freedom) feel they have the right to dictate which of the many definitions of "free" http://www.thefreedictionary.com/free [thefreedictionary.com] may be used in a software context. Isn't imposing your will on others anti-freedom?

GPL clearly does impose a will on others in that it is highly selective about what software it associates with. You're free to associate with me so long as you're GPL/straight/Catholic.

And before I am branded as an anti-OSS guy, I've written, and continue to write, heaps too - much of that released under GPL.

Re:He doesn't understand Open Source at all. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18931543)

Hi Bruce,

I'm sure the Slashdot admins will IP ban me for even saying something like this to one of their "golden calves," so to speak, but do you think you could take a break from posting on Slashdot and...I don't know...actually do something relevant like you used to?

Troll (0, Troll)

Tennguin (553870) | more than 6 years ago | (#18931555)

The author is simply trolling for page hits. I mean come on the tile gives it away... it is a purely polemical position. Of COURSE Open Source hasn't jumped the shark... please. This guys argument is that because open standards are universally considered a "good thing" the use of such terms in advertising means it not be. Talk about idiocy.

Re:He doesn't understand Open Source at all. (1)

Ryan Amos (16972) | more than 6 years ago | (#18931857)

[quote]His sympathy for Red Hat being "exploited" is wildly absurd and shows his failure to understand who made the software in Open Source products. Red Hat did not, for the most part, make the system they are selling. People like me did, and Red Hat did not pay us for it. And if you want to use that software in Debian or CentOS, that's fine with us.[/quote]

And even people on the CentOS boards will tell you that if you're doing mission critical stuff that absolutely must be stable, buy RedHat for the support. It's not that expensive.

Re:He doesn't understand Open Source at all. (1)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 6 years ago | (#18932035)

I saw an Oracle representative give a talk on "Free Software from Oracle" in Belfast last year. It turned out that he thought Free Software was software they don't charge for. Fortunately, Richard Stallman was out getting a massage, he gave his own talk an hour later. The audience tore the Oracle guy to shreds and insisted that he say "cost-less" instead of "Free" for the rest of the talk. IMO it was a pretty low moment for Oracle.

I am highly amused. Was it only 10 years ago that it was thought that 'Free Software' was a poor term because of the overloading of the word 'Free'. But now it seems that the 'no cost' meaning of the word is coming under attack in the software world at least. :-)

I love this. (2, Interesting)

StarKruzr (74642) | more than 6 years ago | (#18932199)

La-dee-da, randomly reading Slashdot stories, BOOM, Bruce freaking Perens gets FP. Only on Slashdot.

I think the real question the article was asking was "Has the Linux-in-business buzz jumped the shark?" I think the answer is unequivocally yes, not because Linux is overrated, but because it is so widely deployed and such a fact of life in business now that trying to sell yourself as "OMG WE DO OSS SOFTWARE SOLUTIONS TO MAXIMIFY YOUR CAPITALIZATION POTENTIALIFACTION" is just redundant and useless. Great, you sell Linux solutions. So does everybody else.

Portability != Open Source (3, Insightful)

mhall119 (1035984) | more than 6 years ago | (#18930931)

So IBM announces that Lotus Notes is portable across OS platforms and the author somehow equates this to Open Source, by some twist in logic I can't even begin to understand.

Re:Portability != Open Source (2, Insightful)

Brad_sk (919670) | more than 6 years ago | (#18931717)

Dude...clearly IBM it trying to make some bucks from the work "OPEN" here...C'mon its not any twisted logic.

Commercialization (5, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 6 years ago | (#18930941)

I don't think it's necessarily 'jumped the shark' for to do so, it would have had to do something inherently dangerous or stupid as a grasp for attention (like the writers for the Fonz). Rather, I would point the finger at Commercialization of Open Source [slashdot.org] instead. You can read everyone's views on that from the conversation from Saturday if that helps.

I think the vendors who (they're not fooling anybody here) are in the end loyal only to their shareholders. If their motives overlap with the community's then suddenly it's an open source project. Problem is, that project cannot fail for it would hurt the company's edge and prospective foothold. As a result, you see hilarious press releases like you cited.

Once again, the community is usually in good standing with good intentions until a member (usually a vendor or large company) mangles something. Blame the mangler, not the group working together. They're the attention whores and their motives are not to promote open source but are really shady/hilarious Machiavellian moves to deepen their pockets.

Re:Commercialization (3, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 6 years ago | (#18931821)

I would point the finger at Commercialization of Open Source instead.

Openness has nothing whatsoever to do with commercial/non-commercial status. In fact, the term 'Open' was originally applied to commercial systems which were nonetheless based on open standards, or whose source code was available to purchasers of the system on much more restrictive terms than the GPL or BSD licenses.

Open Source was always commercial. If it wasn't done by a commercial company, then it involved the ability to interoperate with commercial software and/or standards. Now, if you want to talk about the commercialization of Free Software, well, that's a slightly more interesting topic (although, I think, done to death.)

I think the vendors who (they're not fooling anybody here) are in the end loyal only to their shareholders. If their motives overlap with the community's then suddenly it's an open source project.

Yes, that sounds quite logical to me. Where there is congruence of interest there can be confluence of effort.

How is this different from any other system, natural or not?

Or put in a totally different way, how does one company's misuse of the term "Open Source" ruin it for the rest of us?

oh noes!!! eleventyone!!!! (3, Insightful)

edittard (805475) | more than 6 years ago | (#18930969)

I was into Open Source in the old days when they just played small gigs, before they sold out and went commercial. Seriously, TFA sounds like it's written by a whiny emo kid who's sulking because his favourite band aren't cool now that more than 3 people have heard of them.

Umm? (1)

Zeebs (577100) | more than 6 years ago | (#18930987)

I may be missing something, but what? If you don't want to work on a commercialized open-source project, ummmm I don't know... How about don't?

Take the source and make hippie-love-fest-2.0 thats the point of open-source no?

Re:Umm? (2, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#18931081)

Take the source and make hippie-love-fest-2.0 thats the point of open-source no?

Is that gonna be like hippie-love-fest-1.0 except with even more user interaction? If so, count me in!

Is the author of this article a complete moron? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18930993)

Obviously.

What a pointless rant (4, Interesting)

sirwired (27582) | more than 6 years ago | (#18931013)

The IBM press release mentioned nothing about open source, other than to mention that open source envrionments (in this case, referring to Linux) worked with the announced offering. (The only other occurances of the word "Open Source" in the article refer to the VP's job title.) It did not claim that the offering was open source. The use of the term "open" (as used here) to refer to products that will run on multiple operating environments is not new, and substantially pre-dates the term "open source".

IBM is simply announcing a client offering that will run more-or-less identically on multiple OS platforms. No, this isn't very big news, but it isn't as bad as the article author made it out to be.

SirWired

Re:What a pointless rant (1)

wrook (134116) | more than 6 years ago | (#18931355)

And this is why the use of the word "open" is difficult and misleading. Potential users of this software can easily misunderstand the point behind using open source software just because of the name. I think we need a name change. We need a name that suggests the liberty and freedom you get from using open source software.

I suggest that we call it "free" software! /me hides

Jumping the Shark (2, Insightful)

CokeBear (16811) | more than 6 years ago | (#18931019)

Jumping the shark has jumped the shark.

Re:Jumping the Shark (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18931231)

If I ever meet you, I'll buy you a beer for that one. You just hit the problem with that term right on the nose.

Re:Jumping the Shark (3, Funny)

danpsmith (922127) | more than 6 years ago | (#18931333)

Jumping the shark has jumped the shark.

Correct, I much prefer the Tom Cruise inspired phrase "jumped the couch."

Re:Jumping the Shark (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18931371)

Gentlemen (and ladies), mod this up.

Or, to paraphrase Woody Allen... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18931477)

What we have here is a dead shark.

Re:Jumping the Shark (2, Informative)

Himring (646324) | more than 6 years ago | (#18931623)

I am with you. I thought it was a phrase that only applied to tv series. I think it has to do with the happy days episode where Fanzi tries to "jump the shark" -- an episode which marked the decline, for fans, in the show's writing and staying power....

Using it outside a broadcast tv show is new to me....

Re:Jumping the Shark (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 6 years ago | (#18931725)

Reality has a liberal bias - what the hell does this mean? Your reality is different from mine.

Re:Jumping the Shark (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18932133)

>Your reality is different from mine.

That's fine. your reality has nothing to do with anyone else's.

Takes One to Know One? (4, Funny)

richg74 (650636) | more than 6 years ago | (#18931027)

As others have already pointed out, this announcement really isn't about Open Source at all.

Nonetheless, for some of us who are old enough to have done business with IBM in the 1970s and 1980s, having them talk about avoiding "vendor lock-in" is a useful test to see if the old irony detector is still working.

Good intentions aside (1)

just_another_sean (919159) | more than 6 years ago | (#18931059)

I think that as long as the community is able to keep companies on their toes and incapable of creating too much trouble or confusion in the open source market place then I want them contributing. Even if there intentions are disengenous or self serviing as long as an open source project gets a leg up or another industry standard, piece of hardware or killer app gets implemented as open source we all benefit in the long run.

Keeping companies honest, to use Linus's phrase, is probably akin to herding cats but unless all OSS projects everywhere are ready to "just say no" to any and all help, financial or otherwise, from all corporations I don't see how the community at large, or even just one project, can afford to refuse help from big business.

As for IBM talking up the advantages of avoiding Vendor Lockin; yes it's ironic, but IBM does seem to genuinely want to make a busines case for OSS and in my mind isn't just paying lip service. They can't just go all open and altruistic tomorrow though, they do have shareholders after all. So far I'd say they've been pretty give and take about the whole thing though.

Re:Good intentions aside (2, Interesting)

shaitand (626655) | more than 6 years ago | (#18931393)

'Keeping companies honest, to use Linus's phrase, is probably akin to herding cats but unless all OSS projects everywhere are ready to "just say no" to any and all help, financial or otherwise, from all corporations I don't see how the community at large, or even just one project, can afford to refuse help from big business.'

Exactly. It isn't the job of open source, free software, or the community to keep companies honest. It's the job of the community to maintain the integrity of the community. Hitler could fund development for all I care, I'd still take it. As long as corporations aren't buying out independent free software developers then I don't see a problem.

I am actually more concerned about prominent free software developers being given jobs by corporations. Of course these people need to eat and I am all for them making a living and being able to work on free software full time. What concerns me is that in such a situation the corporation has bought the right to 'lobby' those developers as much as they please, if not dictate what they work on outright. This has resulted in a more pro-business stance and sympathy for the concerns of these entities, many times at the expense of individuals, users, and the community at large.

Linus himself is probably the most clear cut example of this. Please don't misunderstand, I'm not intending to put down Linus in any fashion, he has done and continues to do a great deal for the community. That said, since entering the corporate workplace Linus has become very sympathetic to commercial entities and their concerns.

Re:Good intentions aside (1)

just_another_sean (919159) | more than 6 years ago | (#18932055)

Linus himself is probably the most clear cut example of this. Please don't misunderstand, I'm not intending to put down Linus in any fashion,

I do understand what you're saying and I tend to agree. Linus definately has it hard, he's about as high profile as it gets. I still think he does a pretty good job of staying unbiased though, at least as much as I can tell from my place on the sidelines.

And now this is going to sound like bashing, but I can't hold back, to me the name that comes to mind first and foremost when reading your post is Miguel De Icaza and Novell. I'd like to believe his stance on where he is right now is genuine and that he doesn't just drink the Novell kool aid but it's hard to say and he definately ends up sounding like the company apologist these days whenever he discusses Novell.

Corporate sponsership of free software doesn't have to mean buying out all right and title to it, I guess what I menat in my original post is that it's up to each projects' developers to make sure that doesn't happen to them. That and a little pressure and scrutiny from the end users of said projects.

No, it's just the nostalgia that's gone (2, Insightful)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 6 years ago | (#18931077)

No longer is the common image one of a dirty geek coding away with some beer in their home after work. It's now a corporate sponsored coder in many cases. The populism has been defeated, which is a good thing. Populism usually fails to amount to anything because it expects the world to change for it, rather than for it to compromise with the world.

Re:No, it's just the nostalgia that's gone (4, Insightful)

Dhalka226 (559740) | more than 6 years ago | (#18931613)

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man."

-- George Bernard Shaw

Re:No, it's just the nostalgia that's gone (1)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 6 years ago | (#18932211)

It has only lost its populism because it's beginning to succeed. Not the other way around. The other poster quoting George Bernard Shaw has it right on the nose.

But, who's the Fonz (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18931087)

If "Open Source" has jumped the shark, who's the Fonz?

Re:But, who's the Fonz (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18931819)

Die in a fire you cock sucking uncle fucker.

Lotus is a common bundle. (1)

ushering05401 (1086795) | more than 6 years ago | (#18931143)

The rant is lame & is muddling distinctions.

On another note... I know plenty of college students who end up with Lotus on their new laptops because it is a cheaper bundle than MS Office.

So Lotus can now be bundled with Linux machines. Nice.

Baby-steps to the elevator.

Regards.

Jumped the shark? (1)

merc (115854) | more than 6 years ago | (#18931195)

I confess I don't know what this expression means. Does it have anything to do with Henry Winkler and/or the Fonze?

Re:Jumped the shark? (1)

owlnation (858981) | more than 6 years ago | (#18931407)

Yes. It's a TV expression. It usually refers to the point in a TV shows run where it began to go down hill. Or where the studio introduced characters or plot lines that are preposterous, to garner ratings - invariably resulting in the alienation of all previous fans.

Vis a vis - the point in Happy Days where The Fonz jumped a Shark on waterskis.

Sadly, it has no reference to laser beams - because a few aimed at TV execs wouldn't be a bad thing.(especially Fox ones - Firefly, Drive etc...)

In the context of this article, I think that it does not mean exactly quite what the submitter thinks it does. I suspect he is jumping the metaphor.

Re:Jumped the shark? (1)

SwordsmanLuke (1083699) | more than 6 years ago | (#18931411)

"Jumping the Shark" refers to a late-season episode of Happy Days (I believe) in which the Fonz ends up on water skis and jumps over a shark. The phrase itself typically indicates that X (where X is the entity jumping said shark) has passed it's point of usefulness and is now trying too hard to justify its own existence.

Re:Jumped the shark? (1)

mashade (912744) | more than 6 years ago | (#18931455)

It has *everything* to do with Winkler!.

It comes from an episode of Happy Days where the Fonz actually jumps a shark on his motorcycle. As always, wikipedia [wikipedia.org] to the rescue if you require more details.

Re:Jumped the shark? (1)

2short (466733) | more than 6 years ago | (#18931647)

"I confess I don't know what this expression means."

It means something is past it's prime. Typically it would refer specifically to a TV show, and would mean said show had exhausted whatever decent premise it may have had, and was now resorting to silly gimmicks, like jumping a motorcycle over a shark.

Try not to be confused by the usage in the article summary, which doesn't make any sense.

"Does it have anything to do with Henry Winkler and/or the Fonze?"
Yes, everything.

No Jumping Yet (1)

adickerson0 (884626) | more than 6 years ago | (#18931251)

I do think "Jumping the Shark" is the right phrase, it referrers to the original loosing its meaning by becoming generic and contrived. True open source is far from common, at least in terms of a for profit business. The problem is that the corporate world wants some fancy new Jargon to use at the investor meeting - embrace and expand. However if you are looking for a lifetime, integrated solution with a strong relational paradigm and groupwide strategic enabling futures, look no further. OpenSource, or as we like to call it Alternative Source (TM), promises a proactive harmonized opportunity based on a cost competitive re-engineered solution meeting the needs of enterprise with confidence and a logic-based mindset.

Speaking of sloganeering: (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 6 years ago | (#18931257)

What the heck does "Jumped the Shark" mean? This is the first time I have heard this phrase.

If we're going to have a sensible discussion we need to understand the terms - especially those used in the original question that kicked it off.

Re:Speaking of sloganeering: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18931325)

Hehe. It dates back to the TV show Happy Days. In one episode, the Fonze on water skis jumped a shark. This was considered a pretty low part of the show and I think it was near its run. I typically hear the phrase in relation to TV shows and movie/book series, where they have resulted to something almost "unbelievable" or something just downright stupid.

Re:Speaking of sloganeering: (2, Informative)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 6 years ago | (#18931429)

From Wikipedia: (Jumping the Shark [wikipedia.org])


Jumping the shark is a metaphor that was originally used to denote the tipping point at which a TV series is deemed by a viewer to have passed its peak, or has introduced plot twists that are illogical in terms of everything that has preceded them. Once a show has "jumped the shark," the viewer senses a noticeable decline in quality or feels the show has undergone too many changes to retain its original charm. The term has also evolved to describe other areas of pop culture, including movie series, music, acting celebrities, or authors for whom a drastic change was seen as the beginning of the end. These changes are often attempts to attract their fans' waning attention with over-the-top statements or increasingly overt appeals to sex or violence. Some have broadened its use to simply describe any decline in appeal for the subject in question, without requiring a significant "jump the shark" moment.


More specificly it refers to an episode from the latter years of Happy Days, (if you don't remember the show or it's cultural impact when it was running, don't bother reading further). At the end of the episode Fonzie, in his customary leather jacket 'bad boy' attire, dons a pair of water skis and literally performs a jump over a shark. This is seen by many (especially after the term was coined) as the definitive point when the show went from entertaining to just crud.

Re:Speaking of sloganeering: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18931763)

Hey guy, I found your block, it was off in the weeds over there. Looks like it got trolled off.

What's the problem here. (1)

Qwavel (733416) | more than 6 years ago | (#18931317)


If Linux was to become more then a hobby OS it needed to get commercial interests involved. The unpaid OS developers can and have done a lot, but they can't do everything.

Naturally, the marketing departments play fast and loose with the meaning of words - they always have. If you are looking for accuracy in marketing then you'll be looking for a long time.

I personally would not be interested in Linux if it decided to stick its head in the sand and play the corporate game. I want something I can use both at home and at work.

XML, part duh (1)

Baavgai (598847) | more than 6 years ago | (#18931379)

Open Source is a buzzword (buzz phrase?), like XML before it. For a time, it will be used to seem "inovative", in tune with trends, all that happy PR speak.

The result will be that people who would have never heard the term will recognize it, but still have no clue what it means. This is the fate of all buzzwords.

It's nether good or bad, it just mean I get to continue to torture sales reps when they vomit up sales speak like, "our Open Source, standards compliant system works only with our exclusive, patented technology. Oh, yeah, you have to use Internet Explorer."

Who got the idea (1)

Daishiman (698845) | more than 6 years ago | (#18931403)

Who got the idea that closed-source IT companies would prop up open source projects just to promptly kill their own business models? The author is clearly an idiot or a naive idealist.

These companies prop up Linux and FOSS because they want an open platform, that is, a standard platform that's not controlled by any one vendor, so that they can have complete control over their product. If you have a Windows-only app and Microsoft decides to screw with you, you're SOL. Similarly, Oracle wants Linux to free itself from other, competing UNIX vendors (Oracle runs on AIX, but what happens the days that IBM goes all willy-nilly on DB2?). IBM wants Windows gone to increase the market for Linux-based servers (and by extension AIX and others)), etc., but they will NOT kill their own products.

Folks, an Oracle license costs $40000 per processor per year. I'd say "unwise" is an understatement to the idea that they'd suddenly turn around and start contriburing patches to MySQL for nothing.

Even so, this is still for good, because if all this means that open platforms proliferate, it only gives competing FOSS software running top a chance, meaning, everybody wins: Businesses that want to pay through the nose for proprietary product support will continue to do so, and the rest will use FOSS product with or without commercial support. Call me an optimist, but I think that on the long run the FOSS alternatives will end up winning. I don't really care so long as I get to run a high quality Free software stack that has an option for commercial support.

One burned out blogger doesn't mean a trend (3, Insightful)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 6 years ago | (#18931437)

Open source is just barely starting to mature. That commercial influences are in the mix is a happy thing. Coders will continue to do what they love, and for all of the reasons that have made OSS and collaborative development a good thing.

Any coder-- any human for that matter-- can get burned out. Self-rejuvenation is a good thing and isn't limited to programming, development, and engineering. All of his diatribe points to frustration and stress. The basics haven't changed, but they have matured. Along the way, we get to shape this. He's seemingly feeling powerless against the Big Boys. That's natural, and the basics of doing code because you love it and want to contribute haven't changed. ANYBODY gets to use the code, subject to licensing-- little guys like me, and big guns like IBM and so on.

Just Slumbering through Commoditization (1)

LordMyren (15499) | more than 6 years ago | (#18931467)

Open Source Progress will be right back. We're just napping while GNOME and KDE finish providing suitable commodity desktop environments to emulate and replace Windows. Once there is a base, we should be able to site some higher mountains to start climbing again. Sorry we've been so rediculously lame and havent spurned any major revolutions in the past 5 years, we're getting right on it, love open source.

OSS + MPAA = argh (1)

cheezit (133765) | more than 6 years ago | (#18931593)

I just bought a Pioneer plasma TV this weekend. Some things of note in relation to this story:
- the TV picture is kick-ass. Great!
- the TV runs Linux. Great, though it is not hackable.
- the manual has a long section reprinting the various GPL and other OSS licenses from their embedded OS. Great!
- the TV has a Home Media Gallery which can connect to a media server and stream audio and video. Great!
- The TV's tuner has audio and video MONITOR OUT jacks. Great!
- However, the audio and video MONITOR OUT jacks are disabled when the TV plays networked audio or video, or when the HDMI input is used for video.

Why? Well, you might be streaming copyrighted material from your media server, and they don't want you to be able to create an analog recording. Never mind that you own the media (as I almost always do), or even own a DRM license (which in other cases I do), or that you yourself may be the copyright holder, or that you can create an analog copy straight off a regular player. No, instead Pioneer is in bed with Sony and Microsoft to lock up my system and prevent me from doing legitimate activities.

So, whether or not any sharks have been jumped, OSS-licensed works are now completely separable from the ethos and community that generated them, and large companies can create Frankenstein-ian combinations of technologies that enforce restrictions that are the antithesis of what OSS licenses are (supposedly) all about---freedom.

Is this new? No. And there is no license violation that I see. But it is mighty irritating.

New converts vs Old Preachers (3, Insightful)

Foofoobar (318279) | more than 6 years ago | (#18931599)

Well for the preachers of the virtues of open source, yes. It has jumped the shark in a sense but also no it has not because every now aand then a new group of apps come along that make even us jump up and pay attention again.

And keep in mind (and I know I'm about to get flaming causes I can feel the heat), we are still a minority when it comes to people outside of IT. Those people still have never even heard of open source, have no idea what it is or what ir means and don't even know that they are already using it and what the benefits are.

However, due to the fact that even politicians in several states now are calling for open voting machines, open document formats and other open processes and formats, it seems that they are beginning to get it and for them, it hasn't even begun to jump the shark. In their world, Fonzy just got his first leather jacket.

Stupid headline (1)

Zarf (5735) | more than 6 years ago | (#18931723)

You might as well ask "Has the automobile jumped the shark?" The answer to that question would be just as informative. Just as the article points out things like Open Source should become the "well duh" part of certain software strategies.

From a marketing perspective the marketing concept of "Open Source" may have jumped the proverbial shark... but from a marketing stand point the Automobile as a new and innovative buzzword concept jumped the shark about the time Speed Racer [wikipedia.org] came out.

Nobody runs around any more and sticks the word "mobile" at the end of things to make them cool any more. When was the last time you heard something like "Banana-Mobile", "Twinkie-Mobile", or "Penguin-Mobile" and thought ... Jinkies! I gotta get a look at that! ... seriously?

Folks, the Open Source - Mobile has left the building.

The Fonz (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18931747)

Does this mean that closed source folks can now sing Happy Days are here again...

Nicely worded, absolutely pointless (2, Informative)

ingo23 (848315) | more than 6 years ago | (#18932069)

The blog seems to be even less informative than the press release.
A vendor offers their commercial products for an open source platform! Outrageous!

What do you expect IBM to bundle with their open client? An Outlook Express?

I am not sure about the blogger, but I actually used (and still do time to time) the Open Client. It's not a perfect product, but it is definitely a big step towards an adoption of Linux as an OS platform in a corporate environment. Unfortunately in a corporate world it takes a bit more than a latest Ubuntu release to switch to a different platform.

Open Client does include a "native" Lotus Notes client, so if this is an environment of choice at your company, it might be a huge reason to look at the alternative to a Windows desktop.

With certain exceptions, Open Client does provide a working environment, in which I can do most of my job functions (and I am a developer). Yes, it's not as slick as Feisty Fawn, but good luck trying to make your corporate e-mail, IM and VPN work on your own!

Open != Open Source (3, Funny)

sameeer (946332) | more than 6 years ago | (#18932099)

Boy, I better think twice before asking people to open the door. Somebody might think I'm asking them to break it into pieces and distribute it to the neighbors.
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