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back to article Chinese IT shops love the free-ness of open source

If everything is free in the Land with No IP - not TCP/IP, but rather intellectual property - then it stands to reason that IT managers and programmers in China would love open source software. And according to the fourth annual open source survey done by Actuate, a maker of open source business intelligence and reporting tools …

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Anonymous Coward

You can have a license fee and open source code.

And you can have no license fee and closed source code.

Open source code that allows for modification is very useful for many types of software: programming languages, libraries, services and development tools. As the software type changes and becomes more to do with non technical users the openness of the software becomes pretty irrelevant and focus shifts squarely to the license fee.

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Coat

water is wet

My physics teacher pulled me up on this when I'd made a facetious comment in class once. Thereare far better wetting agents than water. We add soap to water, for example, to make it a better wetting agent.

So: is water wet? Well, not particularly. I cite as evidence the vast profits made by messrs procter and gamble in improving the wetness of water with their multifarious detergents.

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Source Code

My company recently switched ERP platforms. The new system does not provide the source code (the old one did). The business logic contained in compiled modules is no longer visible to us. There is no way for us to troubleshoot now except by the use of trial and error. Getting to the root of problems without source code is taking much longer. In several cases now, all I can do is verify that a process was not working as advertised. When such problems are found, there is no way to fix them. I can only submit it as a change request to the vendor. When/if fixed, it is only available in the next patch release. Vendor patches have proven a major all or nothing exercise likely to break as many things as they fix. I want source code please.

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Alert

open sauce is ok but will it keep?

I mean everyone knows how to make sweet and sour!

Seriously though what will be the challenge of the future is chinese software outfits taking open source and trying to ignore the GPL and make it closed. Richard Stallman will have his work cut out I think.

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Alert

open sauce is ok but will it keep?

Everyone knows how to make sweet and sour - but f you leave it foe a few days it goes mouldy.

Seriously though what will be the challenge of the future is chinese software outfits taking open source and trying to ignore the GPL and make it closed. Richard Stallman will have his work cut out I think!

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Gold badge

"it stands to reason"?

"If everything is free in the Land with No IP - not TCP/IP, but rather intellectual property - then it stands to reason that IT managers and programmers in China would love open source software."

Er, no. You've lost me there. In a land with no IP, all software is free and there is no cost barrier to just taking the best of what's available. But apparently even when the price is right, Balmer's product is still wrong.

But of course, China *isn't* a land with no IP. It is a land where all the IP belongs to the government and you can get into real trouble for using the wrong software. So perhaps we haven't really learned anything here.

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Paris Hilton

In China, All Beer is Free

I always thought that in China, all software is treated as free (as in beer)

So what exactly is the attraction for them?

When I was in uni a couple of years back, my classmates were exclusively asian (not all Chinese but mostly)

None of them showed any interest whatsoever in free software, they all had (often) insanely malware infected copies of XP and Vista along Photoshop and the full suite of MS dev tools and other proprietary crap.

I'm pretty sure they didn't pay for most of that crap.

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Gandalf

Ken Hagan, have you ever lived or worked in China. If you had I think you would soon realise that all IP does not belong to the government. Presumably you are one of the millions who think everyone in China still wear Mao suits and rides bicycles. Think again they wear Gucci and drive Mercs.

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What spegru said

He's right - what are the odds that these enthusiastic adopters of open-source code are obeying the GPL and making their improvements available back to the community?

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Anonymous Coward

@Ken Hagan

Damn, beat me to it.

Chinese developers love open source for the same reasons that everyone loves open source (excluding people who fall for MS marketing bollocks which presumably the Chinese are protected from): if you have a problem with it, you can get it fixed; you're never forced to upgrade to a newer version; you can get a list of known bugs from the outset; etc.

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Thumb Down

not so popular...

All of this banter over "haz 2 b free w/ sauce soz I can recompile bugz cuz I'm l33t"... is pure B.S. No offense... or maybe some... ;-)

What, maybe 0.00000000000000000000000000000000000000001% of the population could even have a hope to fix any code bugs in even the simplest app and do a recompile?

Not to mention, 98% of the source code out in the world is undocumented poorly written crap.

This so-called reason for open source and free source code is pure baloney. I see lintards and open source advocates touting this all of the time, and except for an extremely miniscule amount of the population, no one else cares and no one else would ever use or need the source.

If you or your company are getting stuck with a developer who writes crap and never maintains it, then you or your company needs to rethink their position. And if you are that l33t of a programmer, then why aren't you just writing the software yourself?

Personally, I would rather have my software maintained by a professional, not some wannabe hacker dweeb in the building's basement. Oh, and I am a professional software developer in case anyone was wondering (used to do asm embedded OS's and drivers years ago, now do special vertical market tools and part-time IT)...

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@deegee

Did you misunderstand everything everyone above said when advocating open source?

This isn't about your dad compiling his browser to iron out a bug -- it's about organisations who employ their own coders using open source because their own coders, who they have already, can fix it rather than relying on 3rd parties -- who have more than one customer to deal with.

As for code you wrote yourself -- within the confines of your organisation it is, effectively, open source -- any in house developer can review your source and adapt it or bug-fix it.

I see this kind of thing going on within the company I work for all the time -- problems can be solved without re-inventing the wheel and if there are any bugs the source code can be reviewed and the problem tracked down.

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Pint

@Cameron Colley 12:56

Perhaps you had better go back up and re-read what "everyone above" said...

Then you will see why my comment is relative.

AC 11:00 ...

Bruce Ordway 16:17 "... I can only submit it as a change request to the vendor."

etc.

Almost every company I know does not manage their own code and software. A couple manage their own simple database apps usually written in MS Access or similar.

As I stated, most source is crap because most programmers don't know what they are doing, they think that code is self-documenting, or that if they use obscure methodology it will give them job security.

And if you have to rely on a vertical market vendor and they can't fix issues in a timely fashion, then you need to re-think who your vendor is and re-examine why you are paying them money.

Sure, you can perhaps fix some bug you run into in their code, but then what are you going to do when they release a future update that breaks your fix or introduces other issues if you attempt to compile in your fix? You are going to be constantly chasing your tail.

The vertical market tools that I develop are in conjunction with a large global company that provides middle-ware. Pretty much every new release from them to their licensees breaks every licensee's code drop who has had in-house programmers mess with stuff, so the licensees are having to constantly freeze at old code.

To state that including source is a viable maintenance feature for all companies is total hogwash. For the vast majority it is not a direction I would ever recommend.

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