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back to article New Red Hat CEO checks open source claims

The news that the operations chief from a major US airline, Jim Whitehurst from Delta, is taking over at Red Hat from Matthew Szulik is a further sign of the growing legitimization of open source and Linux in the eyes of corporate, mainstream America. It underscores how the “suits to sandals” ratio in the open source and Linux …

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Linux

Future Predictions Predicated on Facts Presented as IDFiction?

Is one thing clear, the richest people in the world in 2 year's time will have built their fortunes from using software? But purely paper Squillionaires content with Using Hardware for Software Purse, with the Expensive Toys Creditted to Wealth Generators merely Active Tools 42 Generate even more Interesting Wealth, which all that IT and the System needs ...... for ITs 42 Feeds.

Which in Fact would be much more AIDFiction rather than stonewalled behind offensive defence forces.

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Linux

The way to cash in on GNU/Linux

Well it looks like the software is a "Loss Leader" for flogging hardware bits, support, services, Bespoke stuff and customerisation. I believe the marketroidic term "Value add" should rear it's ugly head here.......

Code can be produced for a couple of quid a day in any 'developing' country so why bother paying for over-priced lines of text from the u.k. or u.s. ?

Better still if someone (and does it really matter who?) is going to produce the stuff for nothing, wrap it in a 'service' and flog it !

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Bronze badge
Linux

Paying

"If, as seems likely, that in the not-too-distant future all software will grow from open source initiatives, who will actually pay for programmers?"

A question as old as the Free/Open Source software phenomenon itsel, and proposed answers are as old, starting from ones in the GNU Manifesto back in 1985 or something like that. Generally it seems open-source software will be initially written or commissioned by some user with a need and capabilities to do something about it, then it gets refined and maintained by a community, if the code is good and interesting enough. Many companies have also hired programmers to improve or customize some piece of open-source software for their needs. The thing about software is that after some initial scaffolding is in place, it can be developed incrementally. So the answer to "who pays the programmers?" is basically "some don't get paid but do it for their own needs (or for fun) anyway, others get paid by users, one way or another".

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Open source free

The artical states "open source packages such as Red Hat's Linux while not free are less expensive than proprietary equivalents - no names mentioned"

This is not true I would say Red Hat Linux can be less than proprietary equivalents but not always...in my enterprise Red Hat and Solaris OS are effectively free

However the real cost is paying for support and updates and in this example Red Hat are a little more expensive.

Overall though good that Red Hat are bringing in an external top manager...they need to understand what an enterprise expects at the moment they are not there.

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Gates Halo

Yer Yer heard it all before

Recod Profits for Microsoft this year!

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Stop

You plank

<quote>It is worth re-iterating here that open source software is not always "free". Indeed, some of the more recognized and successful open source packages such as Red Hat's Linux while not free are less expensive than proprietary equivalents - no names mentioned.</quote>

You link from the word "free" to GNU's page about philosophy of free-as-in-freedom software, and then willfully misinterpret it to discuss why some open source is not free-as-in-beer.

If you don't get it any better than this, why are you writing about FOSS in the first place?

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Anonymous Coward

@BKB

Well, to counter your well thought-out and logical points I can say only "Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong" and "wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong."

PS What does "Linux desktop and others" mean?

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Gates Horns

@BKB

You are sprouting old news, my friend. If anything, closed source (think Vista, Office, Adobe Reader, Realplayer) etc. etc. are more bloated than the FOSS equivalent.

It doesn't really matter, as the war is won. It will take a number of years for it to happen, but FOSS is moving so quickly and closed source so slowly that sometime before the next Windows (5 years, so let's call in 10) Linux will already be better than it in every area, including all the things enterprises want.

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Bronze badge
Linux

@Mike Street and Anon

Actually, BKB is correct. I take it neither of you have seriously used GNU/Linux or other FLOSS? I'm thinking in particular of that bizzare boated, buggy balls-up that is XOrg 7.3. And let us not mention UDev or Freetype 2.

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Joke

Re: It's just wishful thinking

"* Obvious bugs don't get fixed. Sending a bug report to an open sourcer usually results in some kind of insulting response."

That's because you are supposed to fix it yourself.

If you don't have a permanent staff of programmers you really can't support open-source --- Just like the old mainframe shops where everything was custom....... Is this whole open source thing really a conspiracy to keep programmers employed????

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Linux

MS

Reported record profits according to them because they forced people/companies who were not paying for their software to do so, how does Linux stack up when actually have to abide by Microsoft EULA, have to pay the licensing fee. I think you'll find Linux any flavor beats MS on the bottom line every single time. Vista is not better than Linux any flavor look around you may see some evidence of this.

Resorting to a bunch of carefully reasoned but completely false reasons makes me think you are talking out your ass, especially say Microsoft and Adobe are doing well - they are not doing well what you see from your ground hugging position is just the lip on the edge of the abyss they will soon plummet into.

Thats not wishful thinking it's happening now. Putting business nuts in a vice may make some short term profits but eventually it forces them to choose something they can use and still make something for themselves.

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@ Not That Andrew

"I take it neither of you have seriously used GNU/Linux"

Actually, I use Ubuntu 7.10 on a daily basis. I was also a daily user of Windows from 3.1 to XP Pro.

It's quite simple - Ubuntu has come so far in the last year that it is now better than Vista in many areas (interface, bloat, performance, security) but still worse in some (wireless, gaming, graphics). The pace of development (and adoption) is such that in a couple of years, unless MS release another OS (but a working one that doesn't require another new computer this time) the decision will no longer be a difficult one to make.

Why do you think MS is talking up the SAAS paradigm?

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Alert

Open vs Closed

BKB - You're generalising.

Different projects have different strengths and weaknesses. In many cases your arguments hold weight, but take Open Office as an example and see how much clout its gaining on the desktop, (in many cases under Windows), to see how an Open Source product can offer significant benefits over it's closed source equivalent. It's not so much the open or closed nature of the product, but it's other attributes including cost that gives that success or failure badge.

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Bronze badge

Yes, lets take OpenOffice.org

Under GNU/Linux (or BSD) and XWindows, Oo.org is incapable of printing or dispaying many Opentype fonts (ie Postscript-style OpenType fonts), although apparently the SVN code now better supports displaying them (not printing). Is considered this a high priority bug, considering that Opentype allows support of a far greater range of international typefaces than Truetype? Apparently not, it may not even be properly fixed in OO.org 3.0. For your further edification read issues 16032, 43029 and 78858 among others on the OO.org bugzilla.

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Paris Hilton

BKB

I used Linux for about 8 years straight and I have to agree with most of BKB's comments.

I'd also like to note that - as the article mocks - these types of articles really do come out every year.

Even the whole fuss about Vista is same-old, same-old. *Every* new Windows is far more bloated than the last one, but nobody remembers that far for some reason. Pretty much every complaint about Vista was leveled at XP, and now the anti-Vista crowd just wants to talk about how great XP is.

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Boffin

BKB, OpenOffice.org and reality

First, a bit of background: I've been "in the process" of switching myself and clients from Microsoft Office to OpenOffice over the last two years. I've been running exclusively OpenOffice on my own systems for nearly a year now. I support roughly 3,700 users in 71 companies in five Asian countries who are, with fewer than a dozen (users) as exceptions, running MS Office-free systems. These include banks, government contractors, electronics firms, the management offices of a grocery chain you've probably shopped in if you live in Singapore or Malaysia, and so on.

Once the installs were done and the training completed, actual second-level user support takes approximately ten hours per week. At least three client organizations have cost and productivity metrics that say they're saving the entire cost of the conversion and training in, at most, *every six and a half business days*.

The grocery chain plan on hanging onto some of their XP licenses until late in 2008 but are aggressively pursuing alternatives to downgrading to Vista. Their Vista pilots were, in a word, unsuccessful... partially because they were using their existing, year-old, XP-class systems, partially because the negative response to UAC was so strong (despite generally positive user experiences for Mac and Linux security in the same organization).

OpenOffice is saving real companies real money, and the good ones are passing along those savings to the customers through lower prices, improved services, or some mix of the two. It's where sendmail was five years ago - most of the people who kvetch about it the most have the least real knowledge of it.

Now, on the other hand, if you'd chosen to pick on Firefox 2.0.0.???, I wouldn't have been too ticked. In 30 years of IT, I have seen very few programs that so eagerly hand incredible amounts of rope to the user, with which to hang himself. If I'm not careful, I can wind up with 4-5 open instances of Firefox, with 25-30 tabs between them...at some point 2.0 hits an internal brick wall and falls over. At least it can resume on restart to where it was within a few seconds before the crash. I have yet to see this with Opera 9. I devoutly hope that Firefox 3 fixes the memory management problems (as first reports of the beta indicate that it does).

The point of this ramble is twofold: there are dogs and winners in the free/open source software world, just as there are dogs and winners in the commercial/proprietary world - and your list of either will differ from mine because your needs and usage are different. Secondly, as with all topics, it greatly improves one's credibility if one refrains from making overly broad generalizations without at least the appearance of supporting detail to back it up - especially in an arena (such as El Reg) where doing so is likely to trample on the experiences/insight/intelligence/faith of others. Blind faith has never been particularly effective at combating blind (other) faith; much less effective against logic and/or reason.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled blather.

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Paris Hilton

ftp://ftp.cs.arizona.edu/snobol/gb.pdf

yer right, that pdf doesn't seem to open correctly on Evince but it does open correctly with KGhostview and KPDF and I dare to say seemed to open almost instantly (272 pages long) than on Adobe's Windows equivalent. Then again I would have to do some serious benchmarking to confirm this, which I might just do for the sake of getting rid of the misinformation people is so willing to spread day in and day out about the penguin.

On the other hand I have successfully converted myself, dad, mom and some friends to Linux in the last two months. I believe the key is to setup the machine for them (just as you would do with their Windows any day, but only much quicker and with less user intervention) and spend some time with them guiding them through the thing making sure they can still do what they used to.

Yes, sometimes you will get printing problems and I still don't fully trust NTFS drivers (haven't tested 3G and others lately though). But then again that's what a dual boot is there for, make sure they can still access their documents either by copying them to the HOME directory or mounting the Windows drive and slowly make them save them into EXT, ReiserFS or what have you.

Even if they have some scientific software needs (IDRISI for Windows) I discovered it runs perfectly under WINE. And then again there's a free alternative (GRASS). I will conduct benchmarks on this too (Idrisi on windows, Idrisi under Wine, and Grass all doing the same job), so that I can make an educated opinion on which is more beneficial for the actual user.

And I'll get my coat, because I am not used to post in forums. I believe this is my first time posting here, but I've just had it. If people are just allowed to puke in public even in Christmas I shall exercise my right to do so as well.

Or I'll rather put the PH to symbolise all those that just don't have a clue and are not interested to have it either.

Merry Christmas

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Linux

evince

Well, my point is that you CAN open that pdf document but it so happens that not with the default application in certain distro (thanks for pointing this out, I will change the settings for that type of file). You might need to do a right-click and then another click but that would render your .pdf as intended. No need to generalise or put it in a way that sounds like "Linux won't open PDF". I take it you knew other software would open that file correctly (KGhostview and KPDF for example) but you didn't bother mentioning it...hence disinformation. Or at the least not a constructive attitude which helps nobody (well maybe M$).

Before I go on into your next paragraph I have to mention though that Adobe Reader 8 in Windows opened that file flawlessly fast too, so no point in doing benchmarks there (at least in the PC I tried, perhaps benchmarking this in older machines would make a point).

Regarding breakness I have been using the debian distro on the Desktop for nearly a year on a E6300 and I have yet to get it thoroughly broken. Sometimes I might have run into dodgy stuff by installing conflictive software from non-debian repositories, but it was very easy to do "apt-get remove nameofproblem" and then either installing another version or look for a replacement.

It is a different way of doing things, but I feel as it is much easier and quicker to tell the computer "install this" or "remove this" than all the parade that Windows makes you go through whenever you want to do samely.

And many a times you can also find yourself with broken Windows due to dodgy hardware/drivers, welcoming you with a BSOD. Yes this can be solved, but you do have to take your time to boot in safe mode and do the deed and restart again hoping for the best.

In the worst case scenario the whole thing will be non-workable and the only viable solution (or the one most widely accepted) is to reinstall the whole thing, which will then take you a good half a day.

You can use Ghost too, but does the average user know how to operate that?

I haven't the time right now to pick on each of these: "poor documentation, unfixed bugs, badly designed code, imitations of other software, poor quality user interfaces" and I don't think it will be worth it as I doubt there's people looking at this that could benefit from this. To make it short:

- Barely anybody makes any proper documentation nowadays and I still have to find people that actually reads it when there is. The software in fact should be engineered for the average user and software not to need documentation (that's why we decided to use icons and stuff after all isn't it?)

- Everybody has bugs (and some of them take forever to fix them, see http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/12/20/more_vista_copying_problems/).

- I dread to think what the code will be like in some applications that have been building on top of the same code for years/decades where the programmers/tools have also been changing.

- Imitation as in the same software but now free of charge, and perhaps faster. Sure that at times it won't be as polished or fancy to the eye...but we also did switch from 35mm to digital photography because it was cheaper and quicker.

- And for dessert I'll mention another Windows parade about the user interface...clearing the recently used documents list. In XP it took me at least 3 times the amount of clicks and a lot more mouse travelling than it did in Gnome. I hope Vista helps that one too, because we should be heading for usability and getting the user rid of nonsense so that he can effectively get on with his/her life.

Cheers,

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IT Angle

RE: This is broken in the release version

Yes.

Not take over, increase the installed base in a slowly but surely manner...yes.

It's not black and white, there are different shades of grey. Not that Windows has to vanish for Linux or Mac to surface.

Or are we all still driving Black coloured Ford T's nowadays?

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