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No Respect for Windows Open Source 551

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the open-source-is-as-open-source-does dept.
man_of_mr_e writes "Shaun Walker, one of the founding developers of the DotNetNuke Portal/CMS has written an interesting piece about Open Source software on the Windows platform. "It's hard being an open source project on the Microsoft platform. Because no matter how hard you try to exemplify true open source ideals, you will not get any respect from the non-Microsoft community." He also says "There are Open Source zealots who believe that unless an application is part of a stack which includes 100% Open Source services and components, that it can not claim to be Open Source. [...] But does this "stack" argument actually make any sense?""
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No Respect for Windows Open Source

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  • by FyRE666 (263011) * on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @07:42PM (#13928031) Homepage
    his reminds me of that Star Trek Voyager episode a friend of mine watched and told me about because I'd never watch that. The Voyager was chasing down some other Starfleet ship that had modded there ship by using direct port alien injection. They were squishing Martians or something to make warp 1000 to get back to Earth. So this story is exactly like that; the DNN team are essesntially doing a good thing (like the alien mashers getting their people home), but in a bad way (helping the evil company by providing it with free apps that promote their product).

    Personally, I don't trust them. In this case, I'd encourage them to go closed source. Nobody should be promoting the use of VBScript or whatever that crappy Basic derivitive is that people use to write ASP (I've converted a lot of this garbage to PHP/Perl, and everything I've seen written using ASP has been absolutely horrific - the worst, least optimised crap I've ever seen - hell I could do better way back when I used to sit in my high-chair bashing away on my toy learning computer - last week it was. Now I think of it, maybe this is why IIS seems slow and wobbly; it's burdened with coping with the worst "Programmers" on Earth.
  • Open source is... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sinryc (834433) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @07:43PM (#13928035)
    Open source is open source, no matter what platform. Just because you use Windows does not mean that you beleive that everything should be DRMed or closed. If you write something open souce, you know what, thats good enough for me.
  • Not true (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gregbains (890793) <greg_bains@hotTOKYOmail.com minus city> on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @07:43PM (#13928039) Homepage Journal
    Considering still 90% of people, inc me, use a Windows environment, having your software work on it is not a bad idea, unless you want to cut 90% of your market off without even trying. Get people onto free open source software and they may try your OS. I wouldn't have tried Linux if I hadn't tried OSS such as Firefox/OO, yes it's silly but I didn't know about it before them.
  • On the contrary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rwven (663186) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @07:43PM (#13928041)
    I hold more respect for people willing to produce open source products for windows. Mainly because of the people this article is written about. I think there's some sort of irony to giving away something so open on top of a platform that stands very much for closed. Maybe that's just me though. I don't see a lot of people griping when their Closed-Source ATI linux driver keeps their video card running on their "open source" OS...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @07:43PM (#13928042)
    Why is this a surprise? Devlopers of closed-source software on Linux get a similar lack of respect (oracle excepted)
  • by Memophage (88273) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @07:44PM (#13928048)
    Unless an application is running on a system in which the processor design, motherboard schematics and BIOS firmware are 100% Open Source, it can not claim to be Open Source.

    Sound reasonable?
  • by grasshoppa (657393) <{skennedy} {at} {tpno-co.org}> on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @07:44PM (#13928052) Homepage
    No, of course not. These are zealots we're talking about. Logic rarely has anything to do with it.

    As to the argument: What are the overall goals of OSS? I suspect you'd get 10 different answers from 5 different people. But even if you define the goal as free and open software, you'd still want OSS projects on windows to create a transition medium. So the zealots would still be wrong.

    In short, ignore them and keep up the good work.
  • vocal minority (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Enahs (1606) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @07:45PM (#13928055) Journal
    It's just a vocal minority. Chill. Most people aren't that particular.

    Seriously, I love the fact that people are passionate enough about something that they're willing to write Open/Free Software for Windows. After all, it's a VERY popular platform, and unlikely to go away any time soon. Firefox? Sure! OpenOffice.org? Yes, please! These two projects are helping keep things at the office I work at both safe and legal. ClamWin? Why not? I could go on, but I won't.

    A good analogy would be the days when kuro5hin.org was worth reading. You'd have material that was getting voted to sections and the front page all the time, but you'd only see comments like "stop posting this crap, we don't want to read it!"

    Who's "we"?
  • Idiotic (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dshaw858 (828072) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @07:45PM (#13928059) Homepage Journal
    I'm usually very understanding of people defending linux, unix, bsd... and in fact, I'm an avid NetBSD user myself. However, people who don't support open source software on Microsoft platforms are really just hurting themselves. For example, how can one argue against the "low quality of open sourced software" to a Windows user, who cannot try any open source software themselves? Mozilla Firefox has helped immensely in this regard, showing how open source software can truly trump proprietary software.

    I'm all for open source operating systems, but let's be realistic here: zealots who don't respect open source efforts on Windows are not only being stubborn, but are hurting their treasured cause.

    - dshaw
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @07:47PM (#13928066)
    Open source is open source, no matter what platform. Just because you use Windows does not mean that you beleive that everything should be DRMed or closed. If you write something open souce, you know what, thats good enough for me.

    The problem arises when a particular free, open source app relies on a proprietary library. Then in order to modify/compile the source, you need the proprietary lib (which costs money and is usually not modifiable), thus negating the "free and open" part of the situation.
  • by ThinkComp (514335) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @07:47PM (#13928069)
    Here's what I think of open source [thinkcomputer.com], at least from a technical perspective.

    From a legal perspective, there are 58 OSI-approved "open source" licenses last I checked, which together constitute at least 58 different definitions. There's no consensus on what it really means. Personally, I feel that if I can read the code, the code is open source. All the other factors are extraneous.

    However, one would think that in the spirit of openness, the open source community would welcome whatever contributions it gets, no matter how they're licensed. Sadly, that's rarely the case. I actually had someone threaten me with trademark infringement on the term "open source," when we released the Lampshade PHP framework [thinkcomputer.com] under a dual license [thinkcomputer.com] of our own. Of course, that person didn't own the trademark, becaues there is no trademark on the generic term, but whoever it was felt justified in threatening me anyway.

    If the open source community wants respect, it should be willing to treat people who contribute with respect, too. Scaring off contributors is not the way to go.
  • by p2sam (139950) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @07:49PM (#13928087)
    Why is this a problem? and why should OSS developers on the Windows platform care about opinions of zealots?
  • by Darius Jedburgh (920018) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @07:50PM (#13928097)
    Is there a story here? Even if these people were a majority it doesn't do anything to stop anyone who wants to write open source for whatever platform they feel like. Even if these people want to declare that freely distributed Windows source is no longer to be called Open Source it still wouldn't stop Windows users distributing software and calling it something else. So try as I might, I can't find even the tiniest shadow of a story here.
  • Cross Platform (Score:5, Insightful)

    by KrackHouse (628313) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @07:50PM (#13928099) Homepage
    If it's Windows only I could see how the anti-MS types would lose respect but if it's cross platform then intentionally preventing it from running on Windows would seem to be missing the point of openness.
  • A mute point (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Penguinoflight (517245) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @07:50PM (#13928102) Homepage Journal
    The kernel that is being run doesn't really matter to a user when they consider one specific program. Usually what matters is the librarys being used. While supporting Windows is a honorable goal, using Win32 exclusive libraries creates problems. The windows implementations of Gaim, and wget work well because the foundational libraries project authors used to write the software have been ported to platforms that did not already support them. When you choose to write an open source program using proprietary libraries, porting to a more useful platform is hard, and the lack of forsight observed is just frusturating.

    I think the quoted in this post was trying to get false sympathy. By using someone elses foundation you are gaining advantages that allow your job to be done more easily, However when that foundation is closed source you do no favours to people who would improve or port your project. So unless you want to do ALL the non-foundational work yourself, find a good open source foundation, or write your own OS foundation.

    This is more of a practical argument than a philosphical one. I'm sure the /. crowd will not assess many pity points for whining.
  • by andyross (48228) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @07:51PM (#13928111)
    The one thing missing from this article is the actual evidence of abuse from the broader Open Source community.

    I mean, sure, there are undeniably people who insist on running a 100% pure free software stack (I'm close to this end of the spectrum myself). And there are undeniably trolls out there who see the use of non-free software (more commonly MS software specifically) as evidence of moral corruption, idiocy, or malice. And these populations have some overlap.

    But so what? The reaction from the sane folks in the OSS community is going to be just, well, ignorance. As a full-time linux user, I will admit that I've never heard of "DotNetNuke" and have no plans on using it. It just doesn't enter my field of view, sorry.

    Ignoring projects isn't the same thing as "disrespect", and I suspect the author has confused the two.

  • Port Up or Shut Up (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gbulmash (688770) * <.semi_famous. .at. .yahoo.com.> on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @07:52PM (#13928122) Homepage Journal
    Personally, I'm a big fan of platform-independent open source. I run XP at home and built myself a WAMPP development platform, using Windows XP, Apache 2, PHP, Perl, and MySQL. It makes my life easier, because I can use all my comfort-zone editors (text, bitmap, vector) and integrate the results into the dev site on the fly.

    Would I care if a project that was really useful to me on Windows wasn't viable on Linux? Yes and no. I think that platform independence is a HUGE plus in the FOSS world. It definitely earns you bonus points. It increases the level of freedom the users of that project have. BUT, users of that project are also free to port it to other platforms. I wouldn't be able to run my WAMPP environment if people hadn't ported the AMPP portion to Windows.

    Using more proprietary foundations like .NET do limit the usefulness of an OSS project, but only until people get interested in developing ports. If nothing else, you can build a forked project that uses the best logic and functions that aren't platform dependent and merges them with a more platform independent underpinning.

    If you're developing OSS for .NET, kudos on being open source, but you do miss the bonus points for being platform independent and don't whine about not getting the cred platform-independent projects of the same nature do. If you're an OSS user who sees this great project built on a proprietary stack and are pissed because it's not available for your platform, "port up or shut up".

    - Greg

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @07:55PM (#13928141)
    The Wine [winehq.org] get the same sort of flack, as do those working on ReactOS [reactos.com], which is actually a complete replacement for Windows.

    It's just platform chauvinism, plain and simple. It stems from a very simplistic world view, a sort of If you aren't 100% against them, you must be against us.

    The irony is, it's often those who whine and complain the loudest about Micro$oft that do the least to support actual Open Source development.

    Ooops, that was almost well thought out and reasoned... I should have just said: "You're new here, aren't you?"

  • by scooviduvoctagon (801935) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @07:56PM (#13928150)
    Unless an application is running on a system in which the processor design, motherboard schematics and BIOS firmware are 100% Open Source, it can not claim to be Open Source. Sound reasonable?

    It's called "argument of the beard"...

    Everyone has a different point at which they split the hairs.

  • Re:OpenFirmware? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TheRaven64 (641858) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @07:56PM (#13928161) Journal
    The question is not does it run on an open platform, but can it. Linux and NetBSD, for example, will boot happily on a MIPS system running on an FPGA - and the core can be downloaded from Open Cores under a Free license. That's probably a bit more Free than I feel the need to be, but I like the option being there. Software written using Windows APIs, however, will not run on anything other than Windows unless care has been made to port it to winelib or similar.
  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @07:57PM (#13928167)
    But since the source is open, can't you simply rewrite it to use another platform? I mean you are "locked in" to whatever platform you write complex code for. If you have a graphic app that relies on X and QT you are locked in to using a platform that has and supports those things. Windows, for example, won't work without adding components. However the idea is that since you have the source, you can rewrite the X/QT calls into Windows API calls and thus move it to another platform.

    Basically to me all this whining over openess of the whole thing sounds like just silly zealotry and isn't helpful.
  • Re:A mute point (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @07:57PM (#13928168)
    did you mean a "moot" point?
  • by temojen (678985) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @07:59PM (#13928182) Journal
    I've seen some pretty crappy PHP. Actually, the one I'm trying to fix right now is so bad as to lead me to believe that it was origionally written as a demonstration of insecure coding practices.
  • Re:On the contrary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by slavemowgli (585321) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @07:59PM (#13928183) Homepage

    I don't see a lot of people griping when their Closed-Source ATI linux driver keeps their video card running on their "open source" OS...

    That's because in reality, there aren't actually many people like that. Sure, you'll find the occasional flameboy on Slashdot (although Slashdot's population in general is better than its reputation), and of course you'll also have zealots like Theo de Raadt (who, while probably a genius as far as the technical side of things is concerned, unfortunately still can be quite the flameboy), but for the most part, most developers *and* most users are pretty reasonable and will respect your choices and opinions even if they don't share them.

    Maybe it has to do with the fact that the more reasonable developers are busy coding instead of making a fuss all the time, but I also think that people generally aren't given as much credit as they deserve. Every village has village idiots, even the global village, but you shouldn't judge the entire population based on them, and neither should you assume that the majority of the village's inhabitants are village idiots - because they aren't.

  • by Short Circuit (52384) * <mikemol@gmail.com> on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @08:05PM (#13928228) Homepage Journal
    That's why we have different Open Source licenses. There's the GPL, LGPL, BSD, etc.

    Each is tailored to a different situation. And let's not get into a debate about Open Source vs. Free Software. Not again. Please. For the curious, read this [wikipedia.org] and this [gnu.org], instead. Or just do a search for open source vs free software [google.com].
  • Re:vocal minority (Score:2, Insightful)

    by cheesybagel (670288) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @08:05PM (#13928232)
    When someone makes a cross platform OSS app which happens to work on Windows (OOo, Firefox, Thunderbird, GAIM), I consider that great.

    But when someone makes an OSS app which only works on Windows (Miranda), I consider it somewhat of a waste.

  • by kuzb (724081) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @08:05PM (#13928236)
    1) There is no operating system called "doze" - You might benefit from the link in my tagline.
    2) You can't defeat something unless you have something better to replace it with. Linux is not better from an end-user standpoint.
    3) People who port their software are NOT part of the problem. They are part of the solution. Exposure to what F/OSS is capable of will make it more likely that someone will use it in the future.
    4) People like you are part of the problem. You would limit choice based on platform.
  • Re:Not true (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rtb61 (674572) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @08:18PM (#13928336) Homepage
    It would seem that this is what this article is really about, playing the word association game, windows and open source, asp.net and firefox/open office. Of course those bits of code are open source but it requires proprietary closed source code to write and run (you can only use it if you keep paying to do so).

    Microsoft is uncool and trying to associate it with that which is cool linux,open office,firefox and thunderbird etc. is pointless excersize in marketing. Getting the community to write code for it for free to promote it's products is history (microsoft loves the BSD licence, you do the work so it can sell it back to you)

  • by istartedi (132515) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @08:19PM (#13928346) Journal

    The stack argument never made any sense. Over the years I've seen too many projects that claim to have Windows versions, and then when you download the source they don't include any kind of Windows build files (NMAKEs, project files, etc) or they say it has source for Windows when it really just has source for Cygwin, which isn't native Windows. Worse than that, I have even seen projects that just give you headers and libs with the Windows "developer" distribution. Or, if you offer to provide better Windows development files, they say they don't want them. This will often happen with project files for MSVC. Yes, I know they are subject to the format whims of MS's next release, but for cryin' out loud the format doesn't change that often, and there is nothing that says you can't provide NMAKEs and other, more stable build scripts too. Regardles, those MS files are part of the preferred method for modifying the program and I have even seen projects where the developers obviously used MSVC but wouldn't tar up those files. That's just cruel, because then I have to go through the hassle of re-creating them.

    Anyway, the stack argument is being invalidated every day by apps like Firefox and Open Office. It might not have taken so long if so many people hadn't been snobbish. People are more likely to replace their kernel when they can keep familiar apps then they are to replace familiar apps for the sake of a kernel.

  • by Krach42 (227798) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @08:19PM (#13928349) Homepage Journal
    It's not about it running only on Windows, it's about it running on ASP.NET, which is only available for Windows. They're distributing something that is free (as in speech) that can only be used on a proprietary non-free toolkit. (for the time, Mono is trying to fix this.)

    If there were Open Source alternatives for ASP.NET that were source level compatible, then there wouldn't be a problem. But forcing someone to purchase a license for windows, and ASP.NET is generally unacceptable from a free standpoint.

    It's like saying "You can say whatever you want, but in order to say it, you have to first write it down on this handy Gov-o-matic Scratchpad!"
  • Re:Not true (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Rei (128717) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @08:25PM (#13928389) Homepage
    Exactly - cross platform is the way to go whenever possible. That means choosing cross platform libraries from the start, instead of ones that tie you to a particular platform. As a developer of Vulture's Eye/Claw [darkarts.co.za], I can attest to the fact that we have many players who are Windows users, even though the project started out as unix-only. When our windows builder disappeared on us, we had more than a couple complaints about lagging windows builds of Vultures' :)
  • by Noksagt (69097) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @08:26PM (#13928393) Homepage
    I am a strong believer in F/OSS. Not only do I run it, but I contribute code [sourceforge.net] and money [northwestern.edu] (I also submit bug reports, patches, contribute answers to forums, and am an advocate of F/OSS to my peers). In short, I drink the Kool-Aid. I use only Linux and FreeBSD on machines I own (and I bought the machine on my desk at work, so I can use it there). I am a zealot. I think that an all (or mostly) F/OSS stack is something to strive for & that a lot of F/OSS software does work better on a free OS (usually because that is what the developers write it for & where it gets the most complete and knowledgable testing).

    That being said, I do still sometimes have to use Windows & I am happy to have F/OSS on that platform. I patch my own code to work around bugs that only impact Windows users & I have financially supported projects on that platform. I have even given money to good F/OSS software which is only on that platform. I am certainly not alone. Just look at the top projects on sourceforge [sourceforge.net]. Most run on Windows. Some run only on Windows.

    So...some of the best Windows-only/Windows-mostly F/OSS:
    Filezilla [sourceforge.net]--great (S)FTP client/server. Hopefully a *nix port soon.
    7-zip [7-zip.org]--excellent compression software. p7zip [sourceforge.net] is there for the rest of us, but updates take a while to reach us.
    PuTTY [greenend.org.uk]For your ssh/scp/sftp needs.

    I've given money to these projects & carry them around on a USB key (along with Thunderbird, Firefox, and vim). Cygwin is another handy thing to have if you have to be on win32 for very long.
  • by Rei (128717) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @08:29PM (#13928413) Homepage
    The idea being presented is to use OpenGL instead of DirectX, PHP instead of ASP, etc - to use things that *don't* lock you in.
  • Re:A mute point (Score:5, Insightful)

    by istartedi (132515) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @08:30PM (#13928427) Journal

    gAIM works "OK". It's useable. Same deal with Ethereal. These apps would be a lot better if they used the native Windows APIs, or if they used a wrapper that was abstract enough to give them more the feel of a "real" Windows application. Not getting the Windows common dialog savebox when I want to save something is annoying. I understand why they did that--it was probably a lot easier to port. If I were looking to write GUI apps cross-platform though, I'd make sure the wrapper I was using came as close as possible to the look and feel of the native GUI on all the platforms I was trying to support. GTK ports are just crappy on Windows in too many ways to ever be the method I'd chose. It's been a while but I've heard wxWindows is pretty good in this regard. If so, more people should probably use it.

  • by kuzb (724081) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @08:32PM (#13928437)

    1) It wasn't right then, it's not right now. If you really love Linux/Unix/Etc, then at least try to support it in a way that encourages new users. This brand of advocacy that you endorse just makes it so people think you're a raving lunatic with no objective opinion. You know, a zealot.

    2) Sure it can. Right now, OS X is better than Linux is, and it appears to have coexisted just fine in a Windows dominated world.

    3) Most people don't know anything about OSS, and are unlikely to move to Linux just to experience it. Face it, Linux users in general are the minority, and if you want to see that userbase increase, we need to slowly get these people used to the idea that OSS is not something to fear.

    [..]we shouldn't be supporting windows by making it more usable.

    4) Actually, as per your original post (see above line), you flat out said we shouldn't port OSS to Windows. That's limiting choice based on platform. Isn't part of the whole FOSS argument that you're giving the user choice and freedom?

    5) You take things way too seriously. Relax.

  • Re:Idiotic (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bcrowell (177657) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @08:35PM (#13928456) Homepage
    However, people who don't support open source software on Microsoft platforms are really just hurting themselves.
    I don't follow your logic. I use Linux. I've written some open-source apps that run on Linux. Most of them don't run on Windows. My life is fine. How am I hurting myself?

    For example, how can one argue against the "low quality of open sourced software" to a Windows user, who cannot try any open source software themselves
    There are a whole bunch of hidden assumptions here:

    1. You assume that the Windows user has a choice about whether to switch to OSS. Actually very few of them do, except in a few cases like web browsers. They may have lots of data tied up in proprietary file formats that can't be used in OSS. They may want to do things that you just can't do in OSS (like certain kinds of tax and financial stuff). They may use a particular closed-source app at work, and not have any choice about it.
    2. You assume they can't try OSS on a Knoppix disk.
    3. You assume that OSS apps are, in fact, high quality compared to closed-source ones. In reality, there are high-quality and low-quality OSS apps, and high-quality and low-quality closed-source apps. Maybe we shouldn't worry about the most effective way to convince people of something that isn't even true.
  • by jacksonj04 (800021) <nick@nickjackson.me> on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @08:37PM (#13928469) Homepage
    The trouble is, as you develop your skills you look over your old stuff and go "What the hell was I thinking of?" or "Damn that's a long way around..."
  • by Qwavel (733416) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @08:39PM (#13928495)

    So, why does your software (or any OSS) deserve any respect in the first place?

    For many of the 'zealots' that you are talking about, OSS doesn't deserve respect merely for the fact of being open. It deserves respect primarily beecause it is good software, and secondarily because it makes a contribution to a good cause.

    I, and most of us here, don't know enough about your software to say whether it deserves respect as good software.

    But, if it only runs on Windows, then we know that it doesn't deserve respect as a contribution to a good cause. I'm not saying that 'windows is evil' or denying that Windows is the dominant OS, but there are many reasons why Linux (etc.) is a good cause. It even helps Windows users because it provides sorely needed competition to Windows and thereby helps keep MS in line.

    If someone writes software that runs on Linux, or that is cross-platform, then I know that they are at least trying to make a contribution to a cause that I and many others believe is good for us all. So they have my respect.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @08:41PM (#13928504)
    All that proves is the efficiency of Open Source in finding and reporting exploits. IIS is likely to have many more, but nobody's found them because they're not allowed to. Well, odds are crackers found them, but aren't telling.
  • by Bob9113 (14996) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @08:45PM (#13928549) Homepage
    From your site:

    In order to download DotNetNuke® Projects, you must register on the site.

    I'm thinking you're getting no respect in the Open Source community because you don't get it. The community is not about how you license your software (you don't even have to be a developer to be a member of the OS community). It's about the spirit of community and openness from which springs the compulsion to use a particular license for your software.

    The above statement from your site and your publication of an MS-only piece of software makes me assume that you accept Open Source because that's the way the world is and it is how one develops a resume these days, not because you like it. Is that necessarily true of you? I can't say for sure, but first impressions mean a lot, even your post somehow hits me as a little off - something about the whining or faulting others because you are not being accepted, like you need someone to bless your OS-ness, instead of just knowing you have it. I can't say exactly what all it is, but I'm guessing it's the same thing that has made others uneasy (perhaps some other poster will be more insightful in identifying the real causes).

    Moreover, changing that one line on your site isn't going to do it. Faking it won't work - if you don't understand, people will see it in a million ways. OS developers will see it and continue to give you no cred. If I'm wrong, or if you're willing to learn more and understand why Open Source is a good thing, more power to you. But until you do, you're probably in for a fair amount of continued disenfranchisement.
  • Re:Not true (Score:3, Insightful)

    by xstonedogx (814876) <xstonedogx@gmail.com> on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @08:52PM (#13928613)
    In my case I started using Linux because the only free apps I could find for Windows (years ago) were 100% crap pieces of shareware. Most of the free open source stuff was for Linux. I'm sure there were a lot of people who shared my experience and probably think that free software was a selling point for Linux until it become so readily available on Windows.

    I personally think your experience will be more common. Give people a little taste of geekdom and free stuff, and they might not be so afraid of trying something "weird and scary" like Linux.
  • by TheNarrator (200498) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @09:04PM (#13928709)
    Just go look at the stats on sourceforge, software that runs on windows gets 10x the downloads that linux software does. A great example is Postgresql which was ignored by many until it got a windows port. Who needs respect when you've got popularity?
  • Re:Beyond the FUD (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @09:07PM (#13928731)
    Open source Windows software that is cross platform has a tendency to be really shitty from a Windows user's point of view.

    Stuff like Ethereal and Gimp can get a job done, but leave you wanting to avoid open source if possible. GNU software tends to be the worst offender, words cannot describe getting GPG to work on Windows.

    Windows users expect a Windows interface, software that places emphasis on a good UI and that can do everything that 'normal' Windows software can do (for example the file open dialog being able to see the network).

    I understand your points about cross platform OSS being both more useful to the community, and not alienating it, but due to the way it looks, Windows OSS that was not designed with Windows in mind makes people from the commercial software world think free software is free because it's too unprofessional to charge for, rather than free as in speech. That last line is not a troll - going to a university that did not explain the OSS philosophy in their courses, the feeling was that the university ran free software because it was too cheap to purchase proper software.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @09:12PM (#13928762)
    M*soft will be rolling out Vista next year and 64 bit, yada yada. I'll buy it, you'll buy it, your company will buy it. Almost every new pc sold will have it installed. If you want to help the open source movement, you must develop for windows. Linux is not not a consumer os (yet). Right now it's for people who like spending 34 hours downloading, burning, compiling, coding, burning, downloading again (new distro this week), searching for drivers, formatting, reinstalling, switching back to windows after they've gotten fed up looking for whatever command they needed but couldn't get any help finding, and then finally trying again weeks later. I've convinced my office to switch to firefox and start using ghostscript for pdfs. Thanks to those who wrote these open source programs for windows. Thank you.
  • Kernel and Shell (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Spit (23158) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @09:56PM (#13929041)
    The kernel and shell are the easiest parts of a system to swap, considering the obvious similarities between modern GUI shells.

    The applications are the hardest part to replace. Change apps until they are all free, then it's trivial to move them to a free kernel and shell.

    The true beauty of free software is its cross platform and hardware independant nature.
  • by jdhutchins (559010) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @10:25PM (#13929161)
    I think that the author of the article misses the real point. Most people writing OSS run Linux. That's a fact. People writing OSS are much more likely to write for a platform they use frequently, Linux. If you are writing an OSS app for Windows, most of the rest of the OSS community, running Linux, sees little point because they can't use your software.

    Few care about the nit-picky definition of "not being open because the whole platform isn't open" The author of the article misrepresents that for the general lack of interest most of us have in Windows-only software- we simply can't use it, and are therefore unable to see why we should care. That being said, many larger OSS projects maintain windows ports (firefox, gaim, etc), but they were Linux programs first for the most part.
  • by NutscrapeSucks (446616) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @10:31PM (#13929194)
    Why is this a problem? There's tons of Open Source which exists solely to interact with propertary libraries. (See VirtualDub and most Windows video open source software.)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @10:34PM (#13929216)
    The problem arises when a particular free, open source app relies on a proprietary library.

    You mean like KDE?

    For the uninitiated, KDE is not "free" on the Windows platform, nor is it even LGPL on any platform. This is because of the proprietary Qt library on which it is based. Here's a price list [trolltech.com].

    This means it is easier and cheaper to write and deploy software for Microsoft Windows than KDE. I really do not understand how anybody can badmouth Windows and then turn around and praise KDE when in some respects it's even worse. FYI, Qt / KDE is also the main reason that Gnome (a desktop environment that isn't crippled by it's licence) even exists.
  • by killjoe (766577) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @10:53PM (#13929321)
    "Basically to me all this whining over openess of the whole thing sounds like just silly zealotry and isn't helpful."

    Yes, it's widely understood that people you disagree with are by definition zealots. After all there can be no rational or reasonable reason not to accept your viewpoint, people must be disagreeing with you out of sheer zealotry and blind hatred of you and those things you love.
  • by zsau (266209) <slashdot@[ ]cart ... t ['the' in gap]> on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @10:54PM (#13929331) Homepage Journal
    The thing is, Free Software vs Open Source is precisely what this is about. DotNetNuke is clearely properly open source, and another open source developer couldn't criticise him because of that, unless they misunderstand what open source is.

    A free software developer, tho, could; he's almost as bad as a proprietery software developer--possibly worse--because, even though there's an adequate (perhaps not perfect) environment for which Shaun Walker could've written his tool using solely free software, he's encouraging people to stick with the proprietry base. His software is one of the temptations that we need to avoid if we're to obtain a fully free-software world.

    So yes: As an open-source developer, Walker has a legitimate complaint. As a free-software developer, he doesn't.

    (In case you're wondering, no, I have no idea how to spell "propriet[|a|e]ry".)
  • by hikerhat (678157) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @12:17AM (#13929692)
    Huh. I run all my software, even my linux box, on a non free, non modifiable CPU. Why do you draw the line at the software/hardware boundry? Don't forget that functionality that is provided by free open source software on some systems is provided by proprietary hardware on other systems. Consider RISC vs CISC processors, or graphics accelerators. If software is distributed under an open source license, even if it requires non-free (as in beer or freedom) components then I consider it free (as in freedom, not beer) and open. Sure, not everyone can afford the platform it runs on, but that's true of any software out there (unless your computer 'fell off the back of a truck' or was otherwise aquired for free).
  • Re:On the contrary (Score:4, Insightful)

    by radish (98371) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @12:57AM (#13929877) Homepage
    It is true though that for some unknown reason, corporate IT people won't even consider an open source app most of the time. Why businesses continue to hire these wastrels is beyond me though. Companies will throw millions of dollars into crappy proprietary software, then cut jobs when the red ink starts appearing.
    I work for a major investment bank, building front and back office systems. Most of what I (and my team) do day to day is in Java - I use Eclipse as my IDE, build the code in Ant/Maven, and never go anywhere without my Apache Commons libraries. We have code generation tools which are built on Velocity, and everything's tested with JUnit. The finished stuff runs on Linux blades, often under JBoss or Tomcat - http duty is obviously also handled by Apache. When it comes to debugging web apps nothing beats Firefox & the HTTPHeaders extension.

    But apart from that you're right - we're terrified of Open Source :)
  • by ammoQ (454616) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @04:08AM (#13930452)
    but open source software that runs only on Windows encourages the use of Windows
    and discourages the use of free operating systems. On the way to a fully free
    software stack, it's basically a dead end. You can't expect the members
    of the FOSS community to endorse that.
  • by RAMMS+EIN (578166) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @04:38AM (#13930528) Homepage Journal
    I won't deny anyone the right to spend their time the way they want to, but I can see why people writing OSS for Windows don't earn as much respect as those writing for a free *nix.

    The reason is that Windows is incompatible with existing OS API standards. This makes it difficult to port apps to or from Windows, whereas getting an app that uses mostly POSIX APIs to work on any other operating system requires a lot less effort.

    Thus, if you want to support multiple platforms, your choices are essentially to spend the extra effort and support Windows, or to support only the other operating systems and spend the effort actually developing your app. As I said in the beginning, you're free to chose as you wish, but I'd choose the latter option any day.
  • by RoLi (141856) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @08:36AM (#13931102)
    I run all my software, even my linux box, on a non free, non modifiable CPU. Why do you draw the line at the software/hardware boundry?

    By using this weasely phrase, you should already know.

    The point is that the IA32 commands (like those of most other CPUs as well) are all very well documented and open. In the case of IA32, there are even multiple vendors available. Also anybody can look up what exactly each command does.

    This makes it possible to compile most OSS software on many different CPUs.

    Windows on the other hand is completely closed. It is almost impossible to port an OSS project on the Windows-platform to anything else. (See Virtualdub as an example. It is Windows-only and will stay that way)

  • Re:Beyond the FUD (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @09:59AM (#13931502)
    Okay... hypothetical scenario for you:

    A long-time Windows developer has written a wonderful application using a Windows-only language. He was going to release it as shareware, but recently found out about the world of OSS, so has decided to release it as open source.
    To complicate matters further, we'll say that the app is Windows specific and unportable.

    If we take your argument, his actions are damaging to OSS, but I disagree. The program is useful and worth releasing; the fact that it released as OSS should be a point in its favour. He doesn't have the skills to write cross-platform code, but he is at least embracing the concepts of OSS.

    Developers are just like regular users in this respect -- if you want to wean them off Windows, they need to be given a chance to move to OSS gradually.
  • by jc42 (318812) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @10:39AM (#13931854) Homepage Journal
    Open source is open source, no matter what platform. ... If you write something open souce, you know what, thats good enough for me.

    Well, yes and no. One important issue that seems obscured by this way of framing the issue is the practical reason for wanting "open source": If you want reliable software, you need access to the source for all the software. Not just the app you're running, but all its libraries. And the system calls that it makes. And, ultimately, the hardware diagrams for the processor.

    If you reframe it as a "software quality" issue, it becomes clearer. As a programmer, I often point out that, on a closed platform like Windows, I can't guarantee the behavior of any of my code. The reason is simple: My code needs to call lower-level libraries to do its job. If I can't access the code to those lower levels, I can't really know exactly what they do. Since my understanding of the lower levels is incomplete, there could be surprises in special cases that will make my code misbehave.

    We saw an extreme case of this some years back, with the Pentium floating-point bug. In this case, the bug went all the way down to the hardware, where incorrect values were returned for a small number of inputs. Without access to code and circuit diagrams, you can't discover such things by any method short of exhaustive testing, which could take centuries.

    Of course, making everything "open" is of somewhat theoretical value to most users. But it is of value. The "many eyes" argument explains why: By making the details visible, it is at least theoretically possible to do an exhaustive analysis; with a lot of people looking at the stuff, you greatly increase the chances that someone will spot problems or devise tests that expose problems.

    But if anything under your code is closed, you don't even have the theoretical possibility of discovering problems until they bite you. Since your code is dependent on those lower levels, you can't make any guarantees about your code's behavior.

    Security people have been saying something similar for years. If you want real security, you don't run anything unless you have the source. And you compiled it yourself, so you know that the binary corresponds to the source. And you compiled the compiler yourself (using a compiler from a different source), so you have confidence that the compiler doesn't contain backdoor code like Brian Kernigan described in his famous paper. And your hardware guys studied the processor's diagrams to look for possible gotchas (or designed-in bugs) in the machine language.

    Unless all this stuff is open and available, you are utterly at the mercy of the lower-level stuff that you're calling.

    In particular, since MS Windows isn't open for inspection, no software running on it can be reliable or secure. We have no way of knowing what tricks may be lurking down there in the OS or system libraries.

For God's sake, stop researching for a while and begin to think!

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