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Think Tank Report On the State of Open Source

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the looking-in-the-mirror dept.

Linux Business 110

AlexGr writes to recommend an account of a meeting a couple of months back of representatives from more than 100 software companies discussing the state of open source software. The outcome is outlined in a 16-page report, 2007 Open Source Think Tank: The Future of Commercial Open Source (PDF). Among the surprising conclusions: participants noted a growing similarity in methods between open source and proprietary software development. They predicted some kind of convergence, where the best of both approaches gets adopted in each camp.

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This article is nonsense... (5, Insightful)

jkrise (535370) | more than 7 years ago | (#19050063)

For instance, at last year's Open Source Think Tank meeting, participants were expecting open-source software to achieve greater predominance. However, licensing and support issues have slowed the adoption of open-source solutions at the enterprise level.

Licensing and Support issues with 'Closed Source' software is precisely what drove enterprises to Open Source! Enterprise care a hoot about GPL v2 and GPL v3 wars.. they aren't interested in redistribution.. just that the Damn Thing Works (TM) !

Yo! Douche Bag! Up Your Nose with uh Mello Roll ! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19050091)



Yo! Douche Bag! Up Your Nose with uh Mello Roll ! Uuuuyuh

Re:This article is nonsense... (1)

El Icaro (816679) | more than 7 years ago | (#19050109)

Not to mention there are inherent differences in how open and closed source works (e.g. anyone can add at any time vs. add very specific features for very specific product releases) which will never converge. I think it's more a case of closed going towards open than both joining in the middle.

Re:This article is nonsense... (1)

Oligonicella (659917) | more than 7 years ago | (#19050149)

Wasn't there an article just in the last week or so about the inability of people to get their enhancements and features added? You will never find CS adopting the idea of people adding and modifying willy-nilly. Specifically, what attributes of OS do you see CS adopting?

Re:This article is nonsense... (3, Informative)

b1ufox (987621) | more than 7 years ago | (#19050435)

Indeed it is nonsense.

But...hey what is this MS was a platinum sponsor?

May be tomorrow they will sponsor Suse for Enterprise ...huh

Microsoft offers excellent documentation. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19051601)

Although their software tends to suck, Microsoft at least offers very good documentation. Such documentation is essential for enterprise-class users. Unfortunately, most open source projects do not have anywhere near sufficient documentation.

Even worse, some projects (I'm looking at you, Mozilla) have documentation available online that is just plain wrong. An example of this is the documentation concerning the embedding of their Gecko rendering engine in other applications. There are several different online documents available. Some haven't been updated since 2002, and are basically irrelevant today, yet no note of this is made. So developers must sift through the online documentation, trying to find what's still relevant, what's blatantly incorrect today, and so forth.

Sure, they have some embedding examples. But they're barely commented! We don't need pages and pages of comments. But two or three sentences describing some important points would go along way towards making things easier for developers. The Mozilla codebase and API has a long history, and consistency is something it often lacks. So we do need such hints and notes to truly understand the codebase.

Re:Microsoft offers excellent documentation. (1)

l_mannell (1055618) | more than 7 years ago | (#19052433)

While I wouldn't agree that Microsoft provides excellent documentation (trying to figure out how to accomplish task x through the Win32 API the first time can be hellish), I do agree that most open-source projects, at least the ones that I've encountered, have little documentation, no documentation, or very poor documentation for use by either future developers or end-users.

I feel that a lack of coherent man pages or other help files designed with the end-user in mind is one of the reasons that Linux is commonly viewed as "too hard". When one wants to accomplish a relatively simple task, one shouldn't have to consult 4 wikis, 2 IRC channels and countless HOWTOS to get the answer because the help file sucks. One incident that comes to mind was the Help system in Ubuntu 5.04 "Hoary Hedgehog", where several topics consisted of "Fill this in later".

Re:Microsoft offers excellent documentation. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19052799)

Using the Win32 API isn't always easy, but that's mostly just because it's a convoluted API. At least the documentation makes it somewhat possible to figure it out.

I like using OpenBSD because they have a very strict policy when it comes to documentation. When a developer makes a change, that change is documented in the source code and the man page. The change isn't accepted until the documentation is satisfactory. That's what the Mozilla project needs to do: implement a checkin scheme that forces the developers to write good, solid, relevant documentation.

Re:This article is nonsense... (4, Informative)

Zonk (troll) (1026140) | more than 7 years ago | (#19050483)

For instance, at last year's Open Source Think Tank meeting, participants were expecting open-source software to achieve greater predominance. However, licensing and support issues have slowed the adoption of open-source solutions at the enterprise level.

Licensing and Support issues with 'Closed Source' software is precisely what drove enterprises to Open Source! Enterprise care a hoot about GPL v2 and GPL v3 wars.. they aren't interested in redistribution.. just that the Damn Thing Works (TM) !
Seriously, how can anyone read this [microsoft.com] and find it more acceptable than this [fsf.org] ?

Re:This article is nonsense... (3, Insightful)

level_headed_midwest (888889) | more than 7 years ago | (#19050515)

They are either a masochist or a lawyer. Probably a lawyer as there is only so much self-flagellation that a masochist can take before he uses the safety word.

On masochism... (2)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 7 years ago | (#19051331)

I'm just a beginner, but you don't need the "safety word" in cases of self-flagellation. You just stop.

Re:On masochism... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19052829)

Not unless you're a sado-masochist :)

Re:On masochism... (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 7 years ago | (#19059787)

What if you're a sadomasochist schizophrenic?

Re:This article is nonsense... (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#19051199)

How many enterprise customers do you think actually read those things? A lawyer or two might, but that's just to say that it isn't harmful, not to evaluate it for how good it makes them feel.

If you have a service that does $1,000,000 a year in business, $0 and $10,000 are effectively the same price for one time items for that service, so the perceived capabilities and quality of the different products are what you are looking at.

We have a winner (1)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 7 years ago | (#19051307)

"How many enterprise customers do you think actually read those things?"

Bingo. They read the pitches from the vendors, which contain gigabytes of FUD saying e.g. there's no company "standing behind" open source software (which, of course, is false). The pitches do not mention that their own EULA disclaims every liability it possibly can.

Re:We have a winner (2, Interesting)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#19051433)

Sure they disclaim liability, but Redhat is pretty much in the business of saying "You're better off with us than you are without us" (which is fine, but that's their business in a nutshell). Big contracts are all about support, not licensing details.

Re:This article is nonsense... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19051979)

I know most home users don't read them but Enterprise customers don't read licensing terms?

The problem isn't with FOOS or proprietary software, it's the stupid users that buy/license products without knowing that they entitled and forbidden to do with it.

Re:This article is nonsense... (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 7 years ago | (#19051417)

Licensing is partially a red herring. Nobody reads the Microsoft EULA unless/until they get a shakedown from the BSA.

Where licensing does become important is that people do understand that they need things like client licenses, and that Microsoft have (either by accident or design; I think design) made it fantastically complicated.

Look at the annual Microsoft tax in the form of "subscription" licensing (pay per year and get a discount of around 20% on the outright purchase price - gee thanks, don't strain yourselves, MS) and it's enough to make anyone think seriously about evaluating open source, particularly if there's no particular reason an application needs to run on Windows.

Re:This article is nonsense... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19051549)

Seriously, how can anyone read this and find it more acceptable than this?
Easy. Lawyers get paid a hell of a lot of money, on an hourly basis. They love this crap.

Wrong (2, Insightful)

amyhughes (569088) | more than 7 years ago | (#19050777)

The concern corporations have over licensing of open source has very much to do with licensing and support.

1) They do not want to be compelled to release their own software, and GPL does not make clear what constitutes distribution. They send their internally-developed software to company divisions all over the world, which may or may not be sold in the future, and to vendors and suppliers. Sometimes they make licensing agreements with third-parties to support or even take over internally-developed applications. Does that constitute distribution?

So, they play it safe and forbid the use of GPL code for development.

2) Who do you call for support?

Re:Wrong (2, Informative)

Knuckles (8964) | more than 7 years ago | (#19050877)

GPL does not make clear what constitutes distribution.

FAQ does [gnu.org] .

Re:Wrong (0, Flamebait)

amyhughes (569088) | more than 7 years ago | (#19052887)

That's a FAQ, not a legal document. Actual, real-life lawyers within corporations nix GPL software. I'm afraid a good ol' OS "we know what we're doing" doesn't hold much weight with them.

Re:Wrong (2, Interesting)

charlesnw (843045) | more than 7 years ago | (#19052937)

Um no? I know of several major corporations using GPL and other licensed software all through there operations. Believe it or not merit based evaulations are the norm.

Re:Wrong (0, Flamebait)

amyhughes (569088) | more than 7 years ago | (#19053143)

My statement was intended as an example applicable to some organizations, not as a generalization.

Don't let that stop you from evaluating yourself so highly, though. This is slashdot.

Re:Wrong (1)

Knuckles (8964) | more than 7 years ago | (#19053435)

The FAQ is mainly there to help people who cannot read a legal document. An actual, real-life lawyer would know that spreading the software within one and the same organization cannot mean distribution.

Re:Wrong (1)

raftpeople (844215) | more than 7 years ago | (#19057285)

What about a division? A wholely owned subsidiary? Lots of different reasons to have different tax id's with complex webs of ownership, I don't it is that simple.

Re:Wrong (1)

M. Baranczak (726671) | more than 7 years ago | (#19051807)

1) First: As the other guy pointed out, the GPL is very clear on that point. Second: if you're worried about re-distribution, it would make more sense to ban all closed-source software, since its licensing terms are much more restrictive than anything in the OSS world. Third: the GPL isn't the only open license out there, so even if your argument made sense, it would only apply to the GPL, not to the others.

2) There are companies out there that make a lot of money by providing support for open-source software. Red Hat, Sun, Novell, IBM, MySQL... you've heard of them, right?

Re:Wrong (1)

turbidostato (878842) | more than 7 years ago | (#19059733)

"The concern corporations have over licensing of open source has very much to do with licensing and support."

The concern corporations have over licensing of open source is a hill completly made out of FUD shit, full stop.

"They do not want to be compelled to release their own software"

There *own* software? Are we talking about software they themselves developed? The article was clearly about software *used* by companies, not *developed* by them. Anyway the GPL doesn't compell anyone to release or redistribute neither their own software nor software externaly aquired. So that's nothing but FUD.

"and GPL does not make clear what constitutes distribution"

So what!!!??? On one hand I think is almost perfectly clear what constitutes distribution, but in case it wasn't clear, are there not lawyers and judges? On the other, what if it really wasn't clear? In case of doubt you don't redistribute and you are safe -that's what you do with privative software, don't you? And on the other hand (yes, I'm three-handed) how in hell can anyone seriously say that's a problem "with OS software"? Are not privative licences subjected to *exactly* the same kind of problems? So how can someone say on straigth face "that's a problem on the OS camp" when *exactly* the same problem, only worse lives within privative licenses? FUD, I say.

Just exactly about the "worriness" of the excess of open software licenses. How in hell came this issue when *each and every* license for a closed software product is different to any one else? At least (quote from the very article) about 60% of all open source is license under the GPL, you see, the exactly same license: once you validate it within your company you gain access to 60% of all open source. Can you please tell me two single instances of privative software from two different companies with *exactly* the same license, like is the case with the GPL? Does have Microsoft Office the same license than Autodesk's Autocad? How can anyone say on straight face that sees a problem on managing about half a dozen "main" open source licenses and at the same time not seeing a problem managing hundreds of privative ones? FUD again, I must say.

"They send their internally-developed software to company divisions all over the world, which may or may not be sold in the future"

Try to tell me on straight face you are not FUD-ing. How in hell would made any difference what the license (either privative or open -or more than probably no specific license at all) is in this case?

"and to vendors and suppliers"

Again, can you please explain us, black on white, what's the exact danger, or are you just FUDing? Oh! and good luck trying to do the same with privative software. Does your "corporate license" of your privative-licensed ERP solution allow you to deploy it on a different division? On the new premises acquired on a merger? Are you allowed to distribute it to internal contractors? what about consultors?

"Does that constitute distribution?"

So what? What your all-in-house internal deployments license exactly is? How will you be sure there will be no more "legal holes" than in the GPL? Are you sure you aren't going to expend more attorney-money trying to validate all those single-case (and different) licenses you must prepare for those different cases? Can you really say it won't be legally easier (or at least not more complicated) to use whatever code you see fit and then -exactly as you would do otherwise, make a two-part agreement whenever you see rise the need? FUD, FUD and only FUD is what I see here.

"So, they play it safe and forbid the use of GPL code for development."

Yeah, that's the safe bet. So you haven't provided a single factical proof (Uncertainty) except general waving (Doubt) in order to create Fear. What do you think we have here? Yes, you are right: F-U-D. FUD.

"2) Who do you call for support?"

How the hell can be any relationship between what's the distribution license and who to call for support?
Hint: Disregard the fucking distribution license and call whoever you signed a support agreement with. What? You didn't sign a support agreement for your Debian deployments? Then where do you think you are? I'll tell you: exactly in the same point than if you try to ask for support for your Microsoft Vista deployments without signing a support agreement. ...with the slight difference than there is just *one* company to contract high level support agreement about Vista, both in theory and practice. Do you think Microsoft is not aware of that fact and will use it for their own benefit, not yours?

So, again, your question "who do you call for support?" which implies that somehow you don't have the ability to sign support contracts about your critical enterprise open source packages (well, maybe you don't have such ability, after all, but that doesn't mean others lack such an ability too) while there's no such a problem with privative ones is made in order to produce Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt.

Companies care about the GPL (1)

ubuwalker31 (1009137) | more than 7 years ago | (#19053555)

From the Report:
"Confusion over OSS license terms is a major issue, as ISVs and customers of open source do not fully understand license obligations."

"The sheer number of OSI-approved licenses was not a major concern to most participants."

"Incompatibility of licenses--specifically that software distributed under the GPL often cannot be used with
software distributed under MPL, Eclipse or Apache licenses--was a serious concern for everyone."

"Think Tank participants bemoaned the lack of a business-friendly license that adequately addresses issues such as copyright, patents, attribution and indemnification."

"These licensing issues have led to higher-than-expected legal costs for opensource vendors vs. proprietary vendors of comparable size."

"GPLv3(Draft2)was a subject of much concern at the Think Tank....Fears included the potential for a fork in Linux...The anti-DRM provision was universally disliked,as it was viewed as social policy masquerading as a software license. Overall,
participants generally felt that businesses would manage to reduce their exposure to GPLv3, mainly through policies restricting the procurement or use of GPLv3 software. This could have serious repercussions on the future of opensource if many open source projects are license their software under GPLv3, forcing customers to make hard decisions on whether or not they should continue using GPL software, including Linux."

Whoa! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19050073)

My mommy looks like Jim-Bob Hawley!

Surprising? (4, Insightful)

dour power (764750) | more than 7 years ago | (#19050105)

Among the surprising conclusions: participants noted a growing similarity in methods between open source and proprietary software development. They predicted some kind of convergence, where the best of both approaches gets adopted in each camp.
Why is it surprising that developers (open or closed source) have adopted the useful parts of each others' development models? They don't exist in vacuums...

Re:Surprising? (4, Insightful)

jkrise (535370) | more than 7 years ago | (#19050189)

Why is it surprising that developers (open or closed source) have adopted the useful parts of each others' development models? They don't exist in vacuums...

Once upon a time, Open Source developers were called all sorts of filthy names... like gypsies, hippies, communists etc. etc.

Now that 'Enterprise Customers' have adopted these software systems into their networks, the Closed Source world would like to inform you that they have changed... since it's now apparently fashionable to be a hippie.

Re:Surprising? (0, Troll)

hswerdfe (569925) | more than 7 years ago | (#19050487)

Once upon a time, Open Source developers were called all sorts of filthy names... like gypsies, hippies, communists etc. etc.
you forgot capitalist.

Can I be a Think Tank too? (4, Insightful)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 7 years ago | (#19050137)

Who declared these people a "think tank"? Most of the people on slashdot think about Open Source/Free Software sometimes. Bill Gates does as well. Is HE an "Open Source Think Tank"?

Re:Can I be a Think Tank too? (4, Funny)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 7 years ago | (#19050143)

Does that mean we get a real Tank? Can I be in a think tank too?

Re:Can I be a Think Tank too? (1)

alphamugwump (918799) | more than 7 years ago | (#19050471)

YAY! The Major is going to let us post on slashdot today!

RESET THE WORLD!

Re:Can I be a Think Tank too? (1)

dramenbejs (817956) | more than 7 years ago | (#19053093)

Does that mean we get a real Tank? Can I be in a think tank too?
Platinum sponsors of the think tank are Microsoft and Novell, it explains everything.

Re:Can I be a Think Tank too? (1)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 7 years ago | (#19050157)

Bill Gates does as well. Is HE an "Open Source Think Tank"?

Nah... maybe a Think Truck or Car. But on the other hand Balmer could be one. A chair shooting think tank.

Re:Can I be a Think Tank too? (0, Offtopic)

eldepeche (854916) | more than 7 years ago | (#19050905)

DID YOU HEAR

one time somebody said ballmer threw a chair one time

lol

Re:Can I be a Think Tank too? (5, Funny)

sayfawa (1099071) | more than 7 years ago | (#19050227)

You may be onto something. Everytime some stupid internet or patent law is close to being passed, we can summarize the prevailing thought on /. and submit it to the media as coming from an official think tank. We just need some sophisticated sounding name that won't be immediately associated with /.

Re:Can I be a Think Tank too? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19050239)

We just need some sophisticated sounding name that won't be immediately associated with /.

How about the "Open Source Pontification and Debate". "Lab."?

Re:Can I be a Think Tank too? (1)

turbidostato (878842) | more than 7 years ago | (#19059795)

"How about the "Open Source Pontification and Debate". "Lab."?"

I think that, given is Slahsdot "Open Surveillance Tank Global" would be somehow better.

Re:Can I be a Think Tank too? (2, Funny)

The-Ixian (168184) | more than 7 years ago | (#19050649)

How about "We Think Furiously"

Re:Can I be a Think Tank too? (5, Funny)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 7 years ago | (#19051061)

We just need some sophisticated sounding name that won't be immediately associated with /.

How about: National Enterprise Research Devision
Or: Global Electronically Evaluation Kommittee
Maybe even: Digital Organization of Reviewing Karmawhores

Re:Can I be a Think Tank too? (1)

Ominus (852224) | more than 7 years ago | (#19052747)

stupid new moderation system doesn't give me a second chance to click "funny" instead of "overrated", so i'm replying to make the bad things go away.

ApostropheColon? (n/t) (1)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 7 years ago | (#19051479)

nosdkfjnalk j ashbfkjhv w ehb gw hk

Tanks should not think (1, Offtopic)

Dareth (47614) | more than 7 years ago | (#19050243)

Tanks are meat shields. They are to absorb the damage and keep the agression of monsters away from the "softer" damage dealers and healers.

Until they can get their basic tactics right, they might as well ask what Leeroy Jenkins [wikipedia.org] thinks about Open Source!

Re:Tanks should not think (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#19050385)

I know this is meant to be a joke, but this could very well the most insightful thing posted so far.

This 'think tank' IS there to take the brunt of the abuse, so that the corporations behind it can slip in and do what they want while everyone is attacking the tank. In this case, what they want is probably to absorb more open source ideas while maintaining their 'closed source is better' stance. 'Embrace and Extend' and all that.

Or they could be planning a subversive blow later to show how their exposure to Open Source was 'bad' and a bunch of other FUD.

Re:Tanks should not think (1)

MysteriousPreacher (702266) | more than 7 years ago | (#19056697)

You're doing a good job of tanking the mods - you built up some nice aggro there.

Re:Can I be a Think Tank too? (0)

-noefordeg- (697342) | more than 7 years ago | (#19050329)

I Think,
therefore I Tank...
*sigh*

Re:Can I be a Think Tank too? (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 7 years ago | (#19050433)

Sure. All you have to do is gather a moderate number of people around you, say at least two or three more.

Then you get somebody to pay you all salaries, in return for which you bloviate for pay where you once bloviated for free.

Simple.

Re:Can I be a Think Tank too? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19050691)

Somebody's paying? Yey! Let's all get tanked and think about it!

Re:Can I be a Think Tank too? (0, Offtopic)

romland (192158) | more than 7 years ago | (#19050849)

Think Tank looking for Think DPS and Think Healer for Wailing Caverns. We're leaving once we have five.

Re:Can I be a Think Tank too? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19050851)

Bill has created multi-billion software business in over two decades. That is something 99.99% writers of /. cannot never achieve. But still they like to rant about Bill, even they would not be as smart as he is.

Give Gates credit he deserves. Without the one there would not be another. He made home computing be what it is, like it or not.

Re:Can I be a Think Tank too? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19052383)

Yes, Bill Gates has created a multi-billion software business over two decades. I assume you know the illegal tactics he used to achieve this.

I don't agree that he made home computing what it is today either. I was computing at home with various kit computers (just like he was on the Altair) long before he stopped doing acid and eating pizza in order to concentrate on spoiling our fun. I also (barring a life changing 3 month period of hell when I used windows in '97) avoid his company's software like the plague and am more happy and productive because of it.

Like it or not, you are a windows slave.

Re:Can I be a Think Tank too? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19054481)

don't agree that he made home computing what it is today either. I was computing at home with various kit computers (just like he was on the Altair) long before he stopped doing acid and eating pizza in order to concentrate on spoiling our fun.
Nobody gives a fuck about you and your kit computers. When talking about home computing, we are talking about "the masses". They bought their first system with Windows on it. They had fun with it. They are why pc's are so cheap now. That is Bill Gate's legacy, and your denial isn't going to change that.

Re:Can I be a Think Tank too? (0)

wrygrin (128912) | more than 7 years ago | (#19051123)

"tank", as in:

Two fish are in a tank. One says to the other "I'll man the cannon, you drive."

Linux doesn't need these as*holes (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19050151)

They can either comply, or it will be a matter of time before they are put out of business.

Think Tanks (3, Insightful)

nabasu (771183) | more than 7 years ago | (#19050165)

Am I the only one that thinks "Think Tanks" are payed shills and can never be trusted with _any_ report they produce?

Re:Think Tanks (3, Funny)

simm1701 (835424) | more than 7 years ago | (#19050217)

No you are completely wrong, think tanks perform a valuable service giving thoughtful insight and independant opinion on a variety of wide ranging and often specialist topics.

This report was provided by the commitee for think tank research, a think tank for the research industry. It has been funded by various large industry think tanks and we would like to thank them for the expense account they have provided during this period

Re:Think Tanks (1)

Dragonslicer (991472) | more than 7 years ago | (#19051821)

No you are completely wrong, think tanks perform a valuable service giving thoughtful insight and independant opinion on a variety of wide ranging and often specialist topics.
I guess Slashdot doesn't qualify after all.

Not a think thank (2, Interesting)

Per Abrahamsen (1397) | more than 7 years ago | (#19051161)

I read the report, and I believe the word think tank is misleading. It was a just seminar or workshop, where people in the industry exchanged experiences for their mutual inspiration and benefit.

A think tank is more of a permanent or at least longer term organization, where similar minded people tries to build a rational justification for their already existing viewpoints.

Both are actually quite useful. The seminars / workshops are a fine place to learn from others mistakes, so you can make your own new and exciting mistakes instead of merely repeating the old and boring mistakes made by others.

The think thanks are just about the only thing today that even attempts to raise political discourse above the level of sound bites. I'm very glad they exists, even those think thanks that support the opposing side.

They meant "brainstorm" probably (1)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 7 years ago | (#19051395)

"The 2 Open Source Think Tank was held on March 8-10, 2007, at the Silverado Resort in Napa,
California"

Heh. Sounds like it was prolly *lots of really hard work.

Re:Think Tanks (1)

just_another_sean (919159) | more than 7 years ago | (#19051215)

Considering the top two sponsers of this particular "think tank" are MS and Novell I think you may be on to something...

Re:Think Tanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19052873)

This is normally a consultants job.
When a company has competition and their customers are investigating alternatives, they employ a consultant to write a thousand page document on the competition.

Then, when one of their customers asks about it, or starts making comparisons, you just give them the huge and detailed documents. The larger and more detailed the better.

The customer rarely reads them, or checks up on any claims in said report, but has a warm feeling that everything has been understood and investigated, and there is little need to personally evaluate the competition.

It's all about maintaining the illusion of being in control of the market by being able to summarize and analyze it. Also, it gives the impression that 'something is being done'.

I bet this short (8 page) analysis in TFA is the precursor of a much larger study, which will not be publicly available and will be literally more weighty.

Some interesting points about Novell/MS (5, Informative)

Franso6 (976942) | more than 7 years ago | (#19050207)

Or the 'official' reasons for the deal (FTFA):

"(...)
Microsoft was represented by Sam Ramji, Director of Open Source Technical Strategy, while Novell was represented by Justin Steinman, Director of Marketing Linux and Open Platforms.(...)

(...)
From Microsoft's perspective, the deal it struck with Novell was driven mainly by customer demand. Sam described how its Interoperability Executive Council, which includes 30 top CIOs demanded interoperability between Windows and Linux, as both must coexist in the enterprise and neither will completely displace the other."(...)

(...)
From Novell's perspective, its motivation for the deal was primarily the need to differentiate itself in a meaningful way to gain share versus Red Hat. As number two in the market, Novell recognized that it simply could not gain significant share without a "game-changing" event. (...)"

Re:Some interesting points about Novell/MS (4, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#19050431)

Interesting! Mod parent up!

What people have to realize is that Microsoft is not a company with one cohesive strategy anymore. They fight battles on a number of different fronts ... it's spreading the company thin and people are scratching their heads wondering why Vista was late or why it didn't deliver on promises.

The bottom-line as to why the deal with Novell is simple: Microsoft may have a monopoly on the desktop, but in the server space it has nothing even close. There are very few Microsoft-only shops these days; most enterprise customers don't want to put all their eggs in one basket and very wisely so. So they adopt a mixed-platform strategy and CIOs rightly realize that the only thing causing any problems in interop between Linux and Windows is Microsoft, so they make demands. Novell wants a piece of the action because it believes that doing so will differentiate SuSE from Red Hat and put/keep them on top of the enterprise Linux market.

And unless you have a monopoly in a particular space -- the customer is king.

 

Re:Some interesting points about Novell/MS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19051007)

most enterprise customers don't want to put all their eggs in one basket and very wisely so. So they adopt a mixed-platform strategy


In my experience it's exactly the opposite. There's no *strategy* here, because Linux introduction in the enterprise is driven by technicians. The mixed platform emerged espontaneously.

Re:Some interesting points about Novell/MS (2, Interesting)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#19051717)

In my experience it's exactly the opposite. There's no *strategy* here, because Linux introduction in the enterprise is driven by technicians. The mixed platform emerged espontaneously.


Not at a lot of companies. For example, at Ford Motor Co., Linux adoption was initially started by technicians for a small number of things like routers, but through IT management became an official company strategy. Now most servers at Ford are either Linux or AIX or are moving to Linux or AIX.

Re:Some interesting points about Novell/MS (1)

div_2n (525075) | more than 7 years ago | (#19052925)

And yet in answering the demands of customers, Microsoft still found time to inject patents into the issue and crow about it to the media.

If there was anything about the deal that was positive, that event alone made the positive superfluous.

Re:Some interesting points about Novell/MS (1)

Mathness (145187) | more than 7 years ago | (#19053499)

Microsoft was represented by Sam Ramji

He should stick to what he knows, making (horror) movies.

Ooooh Ramji, nevermind. :p

The needs of vendors (4, Insightful)

mangu (126918) | more than 7 years ago | (#19050311)

FTFA: "establish an OSI-approved open-source license that better meets the needs of commercial open-source vendor"


How about meeting the needs of users? Any vendor is free to adopt any licence they want, it's up to the market, i.e. the buyers, to decide if that licence is acceptable or not.


All in all, the whole article seems like an intent to spread FUD against the GPL.

Sponsored by... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19050345)

This year's "platinum sponsors" were Microsoft and Novell.

Source: http://thinktank.olliancegroup.com/ostt2007report. pdf [olliancegroup.com]

Nuff said.

Re:Sponsored by... We need a new Godwin's Law (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19051897)

I seriously think we should create a "Godwin's Law" when referring to anything related to Free Software, Open Source Software or Linux. As nearly every article relating to the subject on Slashdot ends up having some sort of discussion about the MS/Novell deal.

Yes, Novell should not have signed the deal when it included "Patent Protection". Yes, Microsoft is a huge company that destroys all competition by any means necessary. Yes, the community is pissed about it.

Let's get over it already!

Re:Sponsored by... We need a new Godwin's Law (1)

Freed (2178) | more than 7 years ago | (#19056989)

Yes, Novell should not have signed the deal when it included "Patent Protection". Yes, Microsoft is a huge company that destroys all competition by any means necessary. Yes, the community is pissed about it.

Let's get over it already!


If the community is pissed about it, why should we get over it already? On the contrary, there has not been enough outrage about it--not until Novell backs out of the patent agreement.

Tank equals.. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19050371)

..goldfish equals stupid fish. enough said.

Apologies to the goldfish.

Also... (4, Informative)

b1ufox (987621) | more than 7 years ago | (#19050521)

1. The cost of starting an Internet company plummeted by over 80% from 1996 to 2004. This trend was largely enabled by open source software and powerful, cheap hardware.

2. IM is the preferred method of communication (with friends) for those under 25 by a wide margin and email is the preferred communication method for those over 25 by a significant percentage. This represents a major generation gap in communication modes.

3. User generated content is vastly increasing in both supply and demand, driven by such popular online properties as MySpace, FaceBook, YouTube, blogs

o Written content: 55M blogs today, up 800% in past year

o Visual content: homemade videos, mashups

4. Traditional media is losing authority with the younger generation, who are increasingly turning to "open" media for advice about music, products and services.

5. Companies are following these trends

o Adopting corporate blogs, especially by CEOs

o "Always-connected" management

o Rise of SaaS

o Virtualization of workforce

o Outsourcing

o Mobility solutions

How is this all related to Open source and its effects? I don't seem to get the point here.Is it just me or ridiculously off agenda?

What a waste of time ?... my time offcourse :-)

Re:Also... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19051159)

2. IM is the preferred method of communication (with friends) for those under 25 by a wide margin and email is the preferred communication method for those over 25 by a significant percentage. This represents a major generation gap in communication modes.

Nah, social networking sites like MySpace are the preferred method of communication with friends for those under 25. Instant Messaging has taken a serious hit from these kinds of sites with what amounts to displaying your conversation in public for everyone to see.

I guess I fit the description, though. I'm over 25, think email is the least-intrusive way to communicate, and prefer that for majority of communications. I do enjoy instant messaging, though I thoroughly despise Myspace and others like it.

-M

Re:Also... (1)

starfishsystems (834319) | more than 7 years ago | (#19052883)

How is this all related to Open source and its effects?

I don't think that it's possible to claim a direct relationship, but indirectly these trends create a market for certain capabilities. And if you develop software for the traditional office market, this might cause you to rethink some of your assumptions, for example, that you get to sell into a space which controls what goes on both the servers and clients.

The way things are trending, any software you put out there has to interoperate with whatever is already out there. And what type of software is agile enough and ubiquitous enough to interoperate bestest and fastest? That's how the discussion moves on to open source. I think.

the operative phrase is "executive summary" (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19050537)

This is really a quick highlight pen read for people who haven't being paying attention to the issues and can't be bothered with in-depth reading, i.e. Dilbert's boss and his colleagues. If subtract the introductory material, it's really about an 8-page report. And nothing insightful is presented, it's just a skim over some of the news surrounding open source over the past 3-4 years.

It should have been subtitled "The PHB summary".

what the...? (0, Flamebait)

b1ufox (987621) | more than 7 years ago | (#19050577)

The document also says this -
Universities are increasingly graduating developers that are familiar with open source technologies and
development methodologies. However a concern was expressed that due to the popularity of open
source development at universities, graduates may be lacking key skills such as sound architecture,
defining customer needs and product management.

What the...?Business and tactical way of saying open source development methodologies are inferior to closed source ones.Balls to you ,pansies. Linux kernel is an example which is designed better than any of your closed source binary blobs called as Vista and what not.
Being an year old University grad myself, i think they need to study in universities once again or better reconsider this insipid argument.

Open Source is dead (1)

mw13068 (834804) | more than 7 years ago | (#19050723)

I for one will be happy when proprietary software creators "converge" on the idea that they should release all of their programs under the GPL or another sufficiently Free software license, with all that that entails. "Open Source" is dead. Long live Free Software.

Writers (1)

Grindalf (1089511) | more than 7 years ago | (#19050759)

I didn't notice any of the linux writers themselves contributing to this paper. Hmmmmmm...

I suspect... (1)

LooseChanj (17865) | more than 7 years ago | (#19050785)

That "convergence" is probably in the past. Similar problems, etc.

Timed openings (2, Interesting)

delire (809063) | more than 7 years ago | (#19051073)

participants noted a growing similarity in methods between open source and proprietary software development.
Considering the point at which the given software is released is necessary when comparing both software development approaches.

It isn't rare for an Open Source project to be entirely developed behind closed doors before its first appearance on the 'market'. This approach is typical of larger companies, like RH and IBM (which can afford an extensive internal testing roadmap) and doesn't at all imply that the software is closed source in itself.

Once finished such software is released under an open license after which point it is continued to be developed in collaboration with the community; particularly in areas relating to bug-squashing and building interoperability with applications not considered important at the time it went to market.

Is the development of such software then considered 'open' or 'closed'? I think it's hard to generalise.

linux? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19051107)

people still using that crap?

Shock News (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19051381)

Report finds that when compared to proprietary software, Free and Open Source fails to meet proprietary benchmarks. Main stumbling blocks are licenses which don't allow proprietary software to be adequately protected from an "IP" standpoint. Unnamed, vague, uncertain risks involved in the adoption of said software licenses, some of which are said to explode on contact with light. Customers complain of support centers telling them to perform operations utilising the R, T, F & M, keys. Report's main sponsor says, "stick with us, we've got the future mapped out. Our licenses are so good you don't even have to read them."

interesting Novell MS Q&A session.. (1)

rs232 (849320) | more than 7 years ago | (#19051909)

'Sam described how its Interoperability Executive Council, which includes 30 top CIOs demanded interoperability between Windows and Linux'

Then instead of a closed two company deal, why not open up the protocols to everyone, unemcumbered by patent and rand restrictions.

'Sam defended Microsoft from the accusation that its deal with Novell will lead to Microsoft suing other Linux distributors for patent infringement. Sam described Microsoft's patent portfolio as primarily defensive'

Depends on which end of the portfolio you are staring at, as Kissinger once said when asked to define the difference between an offensive and defensive weapon.

'Sam emphasized that Microsoft has robust patent licensing programs, and would much rather license its patents than sue'

Well, yea fat Tony would also much rather do a deal than have to pay somebody to break somebodys legs.

'From Novell's perspective, its motivation for the deal was primarily the need to differentiate itself in a meaningful way to gain share versus Red Hat. As number two in the market, Novell recognized that it simply could not gain significant share without a "game-changing" event''

It sure is a "game-changing" event but not in the way you imagined. A big part of the reason people choose Open Source is to not be locked into any one vendor. These utterances seem to imply that NovoSOFT Linux is somehow more legitimate than others, Red hats for instance. Imply being too kind a word, more like insinuate.

'The cross-licensing agreement .. was necessary as Novell required sanctioned access to Microsoft's code in order to develop open source interoperability without violating MSFT's IP'

Is there a lawyer in the house for I do not follow the logic. MS gives you access to the source code in order to promote interoperability. A reasonable request would be for your developers to sign a NDA. How by any logic do you have to sign away your companys IP rights to MS in order to view source code. Does the agreement mean that if I use a non-MS licensed version of SuSE that I , by default, acknowledge MSs IP claims against Linux.

'Novell consulted numerous open source leaders before signing the deal, including leaders of Mono, Gnome, Samba, and Linux. He said that these leaders had significant opportunity to provide useful and meaningful feedback on the deal to Novell and few chose to do so''

We heard not a whisper of this deal until the deal was signed. And we here on slashdot make it our business to know what's happening in techland. What were the names of these Open Source leaders, what did you tell them, who did respond, what was their response and who exactly didn't respond ?????

Re:interesting Novell MS Q&A session.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19052693)

Then instead of a closed two company deal, why not open up the protocols to everyone, unemcumbered by patent and rand restrictions.

That will happen the day after open source is opened up to everyone, unencumbered by the GPL or other licenses. Information wants to be free, maaaaaan! (but somebody still has to pay for it)

PDF? (-1, Offtopic)

Loc_Dawg (862613) | more than 7 years ago | (#19052083)

Interesting choice of file format.

to save you the bother of reading the whole report (2, Interesting)

rs232 (849320) | more than 7 years ago | (#19052669)

Platinum sponsors: Microsoft, Novell

What the f**k is Microsoft doing on an Open Source conference. Oh, I forgot, Novell gave them a complimentary pass in exchange for some paper.

[ indemnification FUD ]

'While customers .. negotiate license terms (such as indemnification) .. adequate internal compliance policies and procedures to manage risks .. GPL'

One of the 'sponsers' of this report having spent years and a whole heap of money on promoting IP and patent FUD now gets to contribute to a report on the indemnification dangers of the GPL, how f*****g ironic.

[ Lack of support FUD ]

'The lack of commercially available support for some open source solutions continues to be a big barrier to adoption'

[ not compatible FUD]

''Another significant barrier to adoption by customers is integration and interoperability'

[ Open source standards not standard FUD ]

''Open source lacks compliance with many standards when compared with proprietary solutions'

[ Open source is only ever used to bargan down proprietary vendors ]

'canny CIOs are using open source's reduced acquisition costs as leverage in negotiations with proprietary vendors'

[ Open Source vendors lack the personal touch FUD ] ( a new one on me ? )

''The CIOs agreed that some level of personal touch by commercial open source vendors is needed'

[ Open Source has no known positive attributes ] ( another new one on me ? )

'The fact that a product is open source is not viewed as positive or negative'

Conclusion: If Open Source has no added value as compared to proprietary code then we might as well stick with the lawyer proofed fully supported touchie feely version ..

In related news, the Pope said today ,in an address from the Vatican, that Devil worship is not viewed as positive or negative but Religions must focus on solutions that deliver believers needs.

Money well 'sponcered' on this 'report' methtinks .. :)

http://thinktank.olliancegroup.com/ostt2007report. pdf [olliancegroup.com]

Open source lacks standards compliance? (1)

yuna49 (905461) | more than 7 years ago | (#19057313)

"Open source lacks compliance with many standards when compared with proprietary solutions"

I admit I didn't read the report all that carefully, but this particular observation made my jaw drop. How can anyone argue that open-sourced programs lack compliance with standards when many of the most significant programs were written precisely to conform to well-established standards. Doesn't sendmail comply with RFC2822? Doesn't ISC bind comply with the various DNS standards? Don't MySQL and PostgreSQL comply with SQL standards? Some of these programs (e.g, the DBMSs) might have additional non-compliant extensions, but really how can anyone say that a program like Firefox is less compliant with what passes for the standards on the web than Internet Explorer?

Or are we talking here about "standards" like NTFS or, perhaps worse, "standards" like .doc or .xls?

My prediction is that in twenty years these types of arguments will have faded away as an entire new generation of IT people brought up on open source will be filling these suits rather than the guys around this table. Oh, and I'm at least as old as most of them if not older, but I haven't been put through the corporate mill like these folks, thank the gods, or I'd be writing stupid things like this myself.

On a somewhat-related note, did any of you see the list of the supposedly "most important open-source products of all time [eweek.com] " at eWeek? How this list could have excluded X, sendmail, bind, or kerberos is beyond me. Firefox is nice and all, but how much of an Internet would we have had without name services or mail exchange? Heck, even Microsoft decided to adapt Kerberos when it created Active Directory.

Re:Open source lacks standards compliance? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19059949)

"I admit I didn't read the report all that carefully"

That's probably why you spat your utterly nonsense.

If you read the report "that carefully" you would have noted that it says that open source usually *excels* regarding *technical* standards like, humm... RFC2822, SQL, IPv4 and the like, while it isn't so strong on industry procedure standards like, humm... ISO900x, S-O, or de-facto gremial standards like those on many bussiness fields.

Which, fairly enough, is quite true.

Haha! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19052817)

So the 16-page report covering the open source think tank is a .PDF document?

Anybody?

Re:Haha! (1)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 7 years ago | (#19053311)

What's the problem? You may have been brainwashed by all the "requires Adobe reader" icons, but I can assure you that is a filthy great lie. There are "i-tal" tools for reading and writing PDF files. Try xpdf, kpdf, gpdf or evince for reading, and don't forget ps2pdf (which is part of ghostscript) for writing. I recently wrote a nice little web app that works by modifying an existing PostScript file with some user-supplied data, then piping it through ps2pdf to STDOUT.

The open source method!! (1)

3seas (184403) | more than 7 years ago | (#19054019)

You put in what, where, when and how you want to.

Its really amazing how it was once laughed at and now all these articles trying to constrain what open source is.

Its like the single god and being saved thing goes... My god not yours....

But the hard reality, if there is a god, hes/shes not any one and all of them at the same time.

Want to add another facet to the open source jewel? Have at it, do it your way, I'll do it my way and everyone else will do it whatever way they so chose.

The fact that it comes together at all is a result of someone else taking it all and doing it their way...

Think tank 0f 100 companies???? I could have sworn there are more open source dev that what are at these companies...

mistake (3, Insightful)

nanosquid (1074949) | more than 7 years ago | (#19054089)

The mistake these people are making is that they are still thinking in terms of "vendors" and "customers". The point of open source software is that the users are the developers.

As soon as you have vendors in the mix, companies that expect to make money from the software, you have conflicting interests: vendors want to make money, and that money has to come out of the pockets of users. It doesn't matter whether the software is nominally open source, these companies are going to find a way to get at the money somehow.

Often, a "hybrid (open source/commercial) model" translates into simply "we're going to let people do a lot of development and bug fixing for us for free, and then we're going to sell the stuff commercially.

A simple rule of thumb is: don't use software under a "hybrid" or "dual license" model; somehow, you are going to be paying for it sooner or later.

Re:mistake (2, Insightful)

walter_f (889353) | more than 7 years ago | (#19056711)

The mistake these people are making is that they are still thinking in terms of "vendors" and "customers". The point of open source software is that the users are the developers.

Well said.

Open source does not fit into a "market" model in many aspects.

There's also the term "market share" that does not make any sense here - nearly all PCs purchased as complete systems will contribute to the market share of Windows as it comes pre-installed, most notably on notebooks. Even if some of them will be converted into "linux-only" on the day of purchase, this will not be reflected in "market share".

The problem with think tanks (2, Insightful)

durin (72931) | more than 7 years ago | (#19056457)

is that there usually is not much thinking involved.

software freedom as about people, not companies (1)

bug1 (96678) | more than 7 years ago | (#19059521)

Instead of asking 100 company representatives, maybe they would have been better of asking 100 users.

Its unfortunate that people care so little about liberty, they just come for the beer....
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