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No Respect for Windows Open Source 551

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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  • 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 provi
    • Nobody should be promoting the use of VBScript or whatever that crappy Basic derivitive is that people use to write ASP

      It's written in VB.NET, hence the name DotNetNuke.

    • by rwven ( 663186 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @07:47PM (#13928074)
      oh come on... If i wrote some open source app for windows it's not like i have some secret mission to promote Microsoft. Keeping it open source just means that you can take my source-code and port it to LINUX, thus furthering your "secret mission" of linux domination. :-P
    • 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.
    • ...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...

      We're all geeks here, no need to deny it.
    • by Bogtha ( 906264 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @08:07PM (#13928248)

      Nobody should be promoting the use of VBScript or whatever that crappy Basic derivitive is that people use to write ASP

      ASP is a language-independent framework. While VBScript is popular, there are two languages shipped by default, JScript being the other. You can also install other components to allow you to use other languages, such as ActiveState's PerlScript. In this particular case, it's VB.NET, which (I believe) is substantially better than traditional ASP VBScript.

      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

      With all due respect, that particular complaint doesn't mean much when you are converting it to Perl and PHP, seeing as that's the way a good portion of the rest of the world feels about those languages too.

      • I recognize that ASP has some advantages in the way it handles components - especially third-party components, but VBScript is a nasty language. It compromises much of it's flexibility in the name of user friendliness, but then fails to be all that friendly.

        Ruby is an example of what VBScript should have been but completely failed at. PHP is, at it's heard, a procedural language but very robust and powerful applications have been built with it that would have taken many times more lines of code were they
  • 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.
    • 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 Short Circuit ( 52384 ) * <> 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 [] and this [], instead. Or just do a search for open source vs free software [].
        • by zsau ( 266209 ) <slashdot@thecarT ... minus city> 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".)
      • To resolve this issue make sure you can run on []
      • 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 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).
        • by RoLi ( 141856 )
          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.


    • My perspective (Score:3, Interesting)

      by einhverfr ( 238914 )
      I use and recommend a lot of Free/Open Source software on Windows. I just don't use Windows for my own purposes, so most of these solutions tend to be cross-platform.

      I don't use Windows because I don't like the terms of the EULA. But I don't make that decision for my customers. In these cases, complimenting Windows with Free/Open Source software (like SpamBayes, Cygwin, and the like) makes a lot of sense. So while I make my own software use decisions around the stack argument, I want my customers to hav
    • by jc42 ( 318812 )
      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.

  • Not true (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gregbains ( 890793 ) <greg_bains@ho[ ] ['tma' in gap]> 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.
    • True, and I respect anyone who releases something useful as open source for general usage. However, as a personal ideal, I try to have my programs be as compatible as possible, and that's another reason why I use something like PHP, which can run on Windows, Linux, and practically anything else. Honestly, the reason they use ASP is probably because the person who started the project specialized in ASP and needed to scratch an itch (i.e. making a better CRM).
      • Re:Not true (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Rei ( 128717 )
        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 [], 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' :)
    • 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, 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)

    • Re:Not true (Score:3, Insightful)

      by xstonedogx ( 814876 )
      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
    • Re:Not true (Score:3, Interesting)

      by RAMMS+EIN ( 578166 )
      ``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.''

      I disagree with you on every count. Windows may have 90% of the desktop market, but the figures are different in other segments. W
  • 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...
    • 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.

    • Re:On the contrary (Score:5, Interesting)

      by The_Dougster ( 308194 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @08:04PM (#13928217) Homepage
      I personally use almost 100% open source stuff on my windows machines, but thats because of the following:

      • I'm already a long time Linux user
      • For me, its a productivity boost to use familiar apps
      • I'm not trying to convince somebody else to use it.
      • I'd rather spend my extra money on other things.

      I routinely install Cygwin, OpenOffice, Dia, Python, Ghostscript, GIMP, and several other lesser apps on my own personal windows machines. Aside from games and CAD, I can get a pretty complete system using free software.

      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.

      • 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 Anonymous Coward
    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?
    • 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.

    • 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.

      I don't personally agree with this statement. This is one of those logical fallacies, maybe a Straw Man []. Running on proprietary hardware has little or nothing to do with the fact that the software itself is Open Source.

      I always kind of felt that Stallman and his crew basically made the GNU userland so that when their expensive UNIX li

  • by grasshoppa ( 657393 ) <skennedy@AAAtpno ... inus threevowels> 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.
    • 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.

  • 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! 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 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"?
    • Re:vocal minority (Score:2, Insightful)

      by cheesybagel ( 670288 )
      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.

  • 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
    • Re:Idiotic (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bcrowell ( 177657 )
      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 th
  • Hell, I even depend on the stuff to get my work done. I mean, real work: I use mozilla at my place of employment, for example, and it definitely makes me both more and less productive than internet exploder (depending on whether I'm using it for work, or for slashdotting.) And, I tend to use cygwin everywhere.

    But, at the same time, I totally understand the argument that people who write OSS for windows or port OSS to windows are part of the problem (tm). If we want to defeat windows - and I hope we do, be

    • If we want to defeat windows - and I hope we do, because it sucks - we shouldn't be supporting windows by making it more usable.


      "Defeating Windows" may be one way of accomplishing that, but it's not the only way.
      • We should ALWAYS BE MAKING COMPUTER SYSTEMS MORE USABLE. "Defeating Windows" may be one way of accomplishing that, but it's not the only way.

        It may not be the only way, but it's the best way.

        Usability goes beyond the GUI and the help. There's also the idea that you should be able to use your computer without legal, political, or monopolistic interference.

        Making windows slightly more usable by making it possible to run more OSS on it means that windows will be around even longer, exerting its ne

    • 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.
  • by ThinkComp ( 514335 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @07:47PM (#13928069)
    Here's what I think of open source [], 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 [] under a dual license [] 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 dslauson ( 914147 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @07:49PM (#13928089) Journal
    I know a lot of people are going to say that if you want to use a content management tool like Dot Net Nuke, why not just go Linux instead.

    That's sometimes easier said than done. I worked for a company that had a huge existing codebase in ASP and C#, and they had already bought the licenses for Windows server. The actual Microsoft Content Management Server was so insanely prohibitively expensive that it wasn't even an option. Dot Net Nuke saved the day.

    For the open source model to become what people want it to become, it needs to be not only embraced by the slashdot community of Linux nerds, but by everbody else, as well. Stuff like this is a good start.
  • Seems to me if you're going to be hard-nosed about the 'stack' idea, you wouldn't consider anything open-source unless it also ran on an open-source firmware (like OpenFirmware), and perhaps even open-source hardware...which doesn't describe the majority of Linux boxes out there, last I checked.
    • Re:OpenFirmware? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TheRaven64 ( 641858 )
      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.
  • 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.
    • 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.

  • I prefer programming on Linux because I find it easier. There is more *free* documentation, the standards are more open, and better programming tools are available for free. I have no doubt it evens out when you buy Visual C++ or something of that nature, but it isn't really an option for me. Linux, as I see it, is far more developer friendly; almost every system has a compiler, so you have a reasonable guarantee, as a developer, that a user will be able to compile your software without any extra packagi
  • 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.

  • Windows user here, but when I have a problem to solve, I look first to Open Source, usually a search of sourceforge.
    There are some very nice OSS windows apps, as well as *nix apps ported to Win32. There are also a good number of "Windoze" type comments which do nothing but let me know the maturity level of the author(s).

    Hint for the flamers - that maturity level would be low.

    If I'm trying to get a OSS project into a predominatly windows shop, I already face some sort of battle. My CTO sees a polishe
  • Port Up or Shut Up (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gbulmash ( 688770 ) * <> 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

  • putty and winscp (Score:2, Interesting)

    by truckaxle ( 883149 ) *
    I have a lot of respect for the developers of putty and winscp both are windows based open source project and work wonderfully. I have even given up using samba altogether now and use winscp exclusively as a file manager and file transfer.
  • I don't know much about this project, but perhaps the flak/non-repect that you are recieving is that by being Windows-only you are helping to support and maintain the MS monopoly/vendor lock-in.

    Again, I don't know much about this project - but is there a specific reason for being Windows only instead of being multiplatform?
  • Developing good OSS software on Windows is like tossing out life jackets to shipwreck survivors. They're not safe yet, but at least they aren't drowning. I love Linux and running on some of my boxes but the OSS software has been the most useful to me is Firefox running on my Windows XP machine and likewise for millions of others. Everyday I'm thankful to the FF team because it saves me many many hours of frustration that I had to deal with before when using IE. There's also Thunderbird. If you're measu
  • I have heard about DotNetNuke here and there, but not very often. This is surprising since it's supposed to be good, is free, and I often do work implementing content management systems. gets lots of attention partly *because* it supports Windows, so supporting Windows isn't the problem. The main reason why I suspect DDN gets little attention is because it's stuck to a proprietary system: Windows and IIS. If they haven't already, the DDN team should work on getting it working with Mono under t
  • Recently (Dec 2004) there's been some outspoken people saying that Free Software applications on win32 and other proprietary platforms is a bad thing. Well I'm outspoken, so here's my opinion.

    People should switch to GNU/Linux because they value their freedom, not because there's more apps, or because the TCO is lower. If they switch because of these secondary reasons they will be nothing but a burden on Free Software. These people are the ones who are after a free lunch and frankly, we have enough trouble f
  • may as well be cross-platform!

    I don't have any problem with OSS written for the Windows environment. It's just as cool as any other, but I am most accustomed to seeing any given project being written to support multiple platforms. I don't see any reason why any Windows-targeted project couldn't also be made cross-platform when using the appropriate libraries., Firefox and The GiMP are terrific examples of this sort of thing. It could only make a project more likely to live longer.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The Wine [] get the same sort of flack, as do those working on ReactOS [], 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: "Y

  • I think most OSS people just want to see your OSS Windows software running under multiple platforms. I think the lack of respect comes when people build things for windows which are then not ported to linux.

    Apache, Mozilla, MySQL, PHP - these are examples of OSS projects where they are both cross-platform, and respected. I don't think they would have been nearly as well recieved if they were for Windows only. Of course, there is a large subset who think that anything designed for the Windows platform mus
  • The Java open source community has made that abundantly clear.
  • Predefined Notions (Score:2, Informative)

    by caperry ( 31048 )
    From my experience, there are a lot of people who make "free" software in windows and it's frowned upon becuase "it's a plot to install a virus on my system". Then there is the folks who feel that writing software for windows should earn them money no matter what. On the flip side, you can get a lot of flack for making non-free software on Linux or you can been seen as evil for charging for services that "should be free". Long and short of it: you can't please everyone. If it makes you happy and people
  • I'd say that some cases of Open Source on Windows are genuinely good, and others aren't so much. When it's open source that can run on Windows, I say "yay!". When it's open source that requires Windows, I balk.

    Part of the philosophy is to put choice into the hands of each individual. I give a lot more credence to OSS that can run on multiple platforms. Sure, you can run .NET projects on Mono or the like - but that's a hoop you have to jump through. You can't be truly confident in the success you'll ha

  • How open is C#? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Foofoobar ( 318279 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @08:13PM (#13928291)
    This is one reason why I don't use C#. People who use C# develop for Windows and Windows only (MONO be damned). C# is owned by Microsoft; true there is an open implementation but Microsoft has refused to support it, refused to allow them to their .NET conferences or anything else... which says they will NEVER support an open implementation of C#.

    It's like building an 'open source' house with wood that's owned by Bill Gates. What is going to happen to your house when Bill decides to start breeding termites on location? Bye bye house. And bye bye open source C# implementation.
  • 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 spitzak ( 4019 )
      I cannot accept MSVC project files for the simple reason that I want to be able to add, delete, and rename the source files in my software. If I distributed a MSVC file I have to remember to update that file. Better to not distribute anything and force the MSVC users to copy & paste the correct list from the Makefile each time.

  • Beyond the FUD (Score:5, Informative)

    by Draconix ( 653959 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @08:24PM (#13928382)
    (Meh, sorry to those I modded up, but I need to say this.) The article is (possibly intentionally) vague on what they mean by 'Windows OSS projects.' If you read into what DotNetNuke actually is, you'll discover that it is a Windows-only OSS project built on the .NET framework, and that they appear to be partly sponsored by Microsoft itself. The article is referring to Windows-only OSS projects, not OSS projects with Windows versions.

    Though I imagine projects like VLC, Freeciv, and Gaim occasionally have someone whining about their supporting windows, that's not what this is talking about, and frankly, where DotNetNuke is concerned, I'm with the 'zealots', despite having nothing against proprietary software. OSS has built up a strong reputation for being cross-platform, so an OSS project that's for Windows-only and is dependant on Microsoft technology is understandably going be frowned upon by OSS purists. Windows-only OSS developers are, arguably, not helping the OSS communities much, and they are especially detrimental to the spread of Open-Source and Open-Source-based operating systems. It's not showing Windows users that they have something nifty that they could still have if they decided to try linux or get a Mac, it's just further miring people in the Windows platform.

    Now, are these people against DotNetNuke still looking so much like zealots, or are they perhaps starting to look more like people against Microsoft who see this as yet another boost to Microsoft's power?
  • 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 [] and money [] (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 []. Most run on Windows. Some run only on Windows.

    So...some of the best Windows-only/Windows-mostly F/OSS:
    Filezilla []--great (S)FTP client/server. Hopefully a *nix port soon.
    7-zip []--excellent compression software. p7zip [] is there for the rest of us, but updates take a while to reach us.
    PuTTY []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 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.
  • by toby ( 759 ) * on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @08:58PM (#13928663) Homepage Journal
    None of the high rated comments mention the issue of portability (and they use the word zealot all too freely...reminiscent of certain other abuses of language lately, but nm!) Non-portable software is arguably a dead-end too, if it can't be ported to a free system when the time comes. A closed O/S, we have seen repeatedly, means obsolescence; it means the plug can be pulled at whim of the vendor.

    Since XP, technological measures have been in place (DeActivation) that can separate you from your applications (not to mention your data) at any time, through wilful act of the vendor, or fault in the system, and this is regularly experienced by customers of M$ and Adobe.

    It seems obvious that portability is part of the spirit of freedom as expressed in free and open source software. If your code can't migrate from Windows - then it's going to be taken from you and your users sooner or later.

  • 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?
  • by The OPTiCIAN ( 8190 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @09:07PM (#13928730)
    I've found a couple of situations where free software has a better quality implementation on Windows than linux. I came to mozilla for Windows from a linux background. Yet there are several niggly ways in which mozilla/windows is better than mozilla/linux. One of them is the fact that you can't use ctrl+arrow in the address bar to select by word in linux.

    Eclipse is far more responsive and cleaner-looking on Windows than linux.

    I've used postgresql on linux for years and years. The other day I installed postgresql for Windows and was quite impressed by the implementation. It works like a Windows app but doesn't compromise performance or power.
  • 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 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.

"No, no, I don't mind being called the smartest man in the world. I just wish it wasn't this one." -- Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias, WATCHMEN