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back to article The forkers saving open source from a corporate bear hug

Open source has long had a strong corporate element to it, perhaps starting in earnest when IBM pledged to spend $1bn on Linux back in 2000. Despite the benefits of corporate funding of open-source software - more money, more source code written - some question whether open source has become too corporate. For those who worry …

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Open Source culture vs Corporate culture

Exactly! ...and the leadership is exactly what's gone wrong with Gnome, Mozilla, everything Oracle touches, etc..

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Open Source culture vs Corporate culture

Open Office! A shining example of how not to do it. Long live Libre Office.

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Anonymous Coward

Corporate And Open source, What's The Problem ?

I don't think there is a problem, neither pure capitalism nor pure socialism works as classic socialism lacks the profit motive and classic capitalism lacks social responsibility. Mix the two together and you get a more rounded perspective.

Closed source gives me the willies as you can't see how crap the coding is, fix any bugs, locate hidden back doors (oooh conspiracy theory) or build on the existing code-base.

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Re: Corporate And Open source, What's The Problem ?

End users don't care about how crap the source is, if it does the job and they get the results they need. It could be written in ZX Spectrum basic for all they care.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Corporate And Open source, What's The Problem ?

10 PRINT "And what would be wrong with that?"

20 GOTO 10

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Ru

Re: Corporate And Open source, What's The Problem ?

End users don't care about how crap the source is

This argument pops up quite a bit, and rather misses the point. Unintelligible and unmaintainable source should be cause for alarm; but it is something that most folk never get the chance to see.

If you asked these end users if they cared about the fact that bugs would take months to fix and features could never be added and that the system will never be ported to any other platform because of the atrocious state of its codebase, they might well say "yes, we do care".

Luckily for a lot of companies, most users don't ask that question, and it is perfectly acceptable to tell them to bugger off if they ask to see any source.

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Bronze badge

Re: Corporate And Open source, What's The Problem ?

End users don't care about how crap the source is

They care, but just have no means of assessing it. However, would you rather use software which has not released a new version long time ago, or one which releases new versions on regular basis? If no new version was released in a long time, would you ask yourself a question why is it?

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Re: Corporate And Open source, What's The Problem ?

@Bronek Kozicki

Depends. We release maintenance builds every month, and we have two major release a year. Some years ago we had 4 major releases a year. Often our customers report that the updates are too frequent, and most are several major release behind.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Corporate And Open source, What's The Problem ? @John Lilburne

If it's written in spectrum basic then you have the source code and not some obfuscated crap.

Doh.

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Silver badge

Re: Corporate And Open source, What's The Problem ?

> End users don't care about how crap the source is,

How would they know, since they can't see the source?

How about you buy a new car, pop the bonnet and find that it is hacked together with bits and pieces from all sorts of machine gently hung together by bits of string and spit, like some strange steampunk art piece? You might wonder how reliable it was going to be. Perhaps it would give you years of reliable service, but I know that I would have more confidence in any car that I owned if it looked like the manufacturers had put at least *some* thought into its design.

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Meh

Re: Alternate reality

Goes to show to you, maybe - I think it's obvious to everyone else.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Alternate reality

That's because the comment wasn't your usual anti-MS drivel, it seems to be something you've actually thought about rather than you knee has jerked onto the keyboard.

Also, it's still not shilling to disagree with you.

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Silver badge

Re: Alternate reality

Hallelujah!

Clearly, it is the Time Foretold, the Hour of Linux on the Desktop ushered in under the wise tutelage of Eadon, Prophet of Android!

Or alternatively, maybe you just weren't as annoying as usual.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Alternate reality

Looks like his "Indian summer" was painfully short-lived. Back to earth with a bump and a sound chiding.

Poor Eadon! ;o)

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Silver badge

Re: Alternate reality

Eadon - at the time of writing 7 have downvoted you. This means 1 shill is still in a meeting.

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Thumb Up

Open source vs proprietary

I tend to look at things this way. There are three criteria I look for in a solution:

→ It works

→ It's supported upstream

→ It's open-source

I'm mostly happy with 2 out of 3. So if there's something that's proprietary, I'll be okay with it so long as it works and there's support for it.

Case in point, at a lot of customer sites, we use VMWare Server 2 to run VMs atop a Windows host. Last place we used it, it was a 32-bit version of Windows Server 2003. It worked well, and only got replaced because they needed to allocate more than two CPU cores to a VM. At the moment, they run VMWare Player, which mostly works, except it won't start as a service.

At another site, I tried to get it going on a 64-bit Windows 2008R2 box. Ubuntu would start to boot off the ISO image, but would hard-lock when it started booting the kernel. My hand-crafted VM did similar. Quick investigation revealed VMWare Server was no longer supported, so out it went, and in went VirtualBox and VBoxVMService. That has been happily running the VMs for months now at this new site (a defence base).

Had VMWare Server been still supported, I might've considered installing a newer version and/or chasing up a fix, and continuing to use it. No support, and no source, means I can't fix it, and they won't fix it. Open source, I at least have a hope, and I generally will contribute things back, even if upstream isn't that interested.

This, my friends, is what separates the likes of Pedro from a freetard. Not just something being free, but something we can adapt, improve and give back to in a meaningful way. :-)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Open source vs proprietary

You could look at ESXi, it's much faster than server and generally better supported, it's free also, but official support costs.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Open source vs proprietary

So is VMware server, which he already uses.

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Thumb Down

"You could look at ESXi," [was Re: Open source vs proprietary]

We do, and guess what… we have already decommissioned one of the two ESXi servers, and will soon be decommissioning the other.

A fatal flaw though in the particular use case where VMWare server was being used, is that it cannot be installed onto an existing server installation, you have to completely wipe the box, install ESXi bare metal, then re-install your old OS onto a VM.

Messy, and cannot be done remotely. (Did I mention these were defence bases at remote sites?)

Where we do use ESXi, the requirement to use only a small subset of hardware, proprietary client that only runs on Windows (both of us on the network admin team are Linux users) and a general lack of flexibility means it really isn't working for us — add to this, closed source, not supported… out it goes.

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Happy

Congrats for the article

Thanks, Mr Asay, that article made sense - and erroneously ignoring the non-corporate/non "core" developer/bug reporter, documenter etc in open source is probably a lot of companies do...

What is 2013 coming to (alternatively: what have I been drinking)? Asay articles I like and I sometimes even understand amanfrommars!

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LDS
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Yes, we developers don't like to be paid.

We just want people like Asay to become very rich on open source software while we keep on living in basement and eat pizza only.

There is no "one size fits all" open source model. Some projects may live happily without a corporation backing them, others won't. Some developers will be happy to contribute because they have enough free time and/or find their pay adequate for their needs, others will work only if a company gives them the time and a pay they find adequate.

But of course Asay would like developers who are paid by someone else to happily present code to his company so he can make millions... but other companies who have invested heavily on open source should have no right nor control on their projects. I would assign him a "Stallman award".

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Yes, we developers don't like to be paid.

You want to be paid ? Be a man and go proprietary with your code. Don't use open source as a bait and switch and most important, don't plunder the work of those developers who decided to offer it for free. That's what Stallman said. Don't like it, don't eat it then!

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Hmm

The more you looked at the code the more you understood what the product could do. Well and good.

I read this entire article and I *still* only have a hazy idea of what this product does.

A case of poor documentation paired with poor technical writing, rather a Zen-like comment on the state of all too many OS offerings.

Oh well.

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Did he fork?

Reads to me that he didn't end up forking either time. When he had the cycles to invest, he got what he needed. You give, you get.... the open source way.

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