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Old 04-19-2011, 02:58 PM   #16
onebuck
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Hi,

Thanks for the links Dugan.
 
Old 04-19-2011, 03:42 PM   #17
travisdh1
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Exclamation

I like Open Source Software (OSS) because the licensing on most of it is much more reasonable than closed source/commercial software. If you actually read the license on many of the commercial software packages today you'll find things like "the license provides for this software to be run on one cpu" or "is provided without any warranty" type things that really make me feel like I have to handcuff myself before I'm allowed to use the thing. Now that I think about it some more, if someone uses a Micro$oft compiler Micro$oft probably actually owns the software that I wrote using them.

Then you have the open source products where even the commercially sold stuff is much more reasonably priced and/or free. Plus you can go take a look at the code whenever you please, which is nice if I want to tweak something for my purposes. (The best example of this that I use every day is the Zmanda backup system which is commercial software based on the OSS amanda backup system.)
 
Old 04-19-2011, 03:49 PM   #18
MTK358
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Quote:
Originally Posted by travisdh1 View Post
If you actually read the license on many of the commercial software packages today you'll find things like "is provided without any warranty"
Open-Source software says the same thing, too. For example:

Code:
$ gdb
GNU gdb (GDB) 7.2
Copyright (C) 2010 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
License GPLv3+: GNU GPL version 3 or later <http://gnu.org/licenses/gpl.html>
This is free software: you are free to change and redistribute it.
There is NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by law.  Type "show copying"
and "show warranty" for details.
This GDB was configured as "x86_64-unknown-linux-gnu".
For bug reporting instructions, please see:
<http://www.gnu.org/software/gdb/bugs/>.
(gdb)
And in this page (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-howto.html), it says that you have to put this in every GPL-licensed source code file:

Code:
   This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify
    it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by
    the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or
    (at your option) any later version.

    This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
    but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
    MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.  See the
    GNU General Public License for more details.

    You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License
    along with this program.  If not, see <http://www.gnu.org/licenses/>.
 
Old 04-20-2011, 07:38 AM   #19
Hangdog42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by osanthropologist
So Hangdog, you've found F/OSS to be mainly a commercial asset?
I guess the answer to that is it depends. I use Linux/FOSS on my personal machines as well as in my business. However, there is no doubt that on the business side FOSS has saved us some serious cash. As a very small company, those savings are crucial.


Quote:
Originally Posted by osanthropologist
Do you think that it fits well into the current format for software distribution that exists?
I guess I don't entirely understand your question here. Personally, I see little difference in any aspect between FOSS software and commercial software. Probably the biggest difference is in the realm of support. You probably have to be more self-reliant to use FOSS than proprietary software.

Quote:
Originally Posted by osanthropologist
Why do you think proprietary software is so huge none the less?
That's easy. It is a combination of familiarity, marketing and the ability to pass the buck. When something goes wrong, the CIO/CTO wants to be able to pick up the phone and yell at someone outside of their organization (after all, they run perfect organizations). With FOSS, it is harder to find that level of accountability from vendors (although it certainly can be obtained from Red Hat, IBM and others).

And don't underestimate the teaser discounts offered by proprietary vendors like Microsoft and Oracle. Their sales forces are very skilled at bringing prices down to seal the deal, and then later (when you're pretty much hooked on their stuff), prices start rising significantly. Really look into the concept of vendor lock-in, it is one of the major tools in use in the proprietary software world.

The other aspect, at least in the industry I work in, is that FOSS doesn't function very well for a lot of things. For example, take a look at the LIMS market (Laboratory Information Management Systems). This is one market that is crying out for a decent FOSS solution, yet it doesn't exist. The commercial vendors in this space are uniformly loathed, yet the customers don't band together to do anything different. The process of installing and customizing a LIMS system is so insanely painful, that once done, no one willing goes back. LIMS customers would much rather be kicked in the groin on a daily basis by their existing vendors than be kicked in the groin on an hourly basis by a new vendor.
 
Old 04-20-2011, 11:27 AM   #20
DavidMcCann
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Here's one CEO's take on why his company switched to FOSS and what the advantages were:
http://news.cnet.com/2008-1082_3-5065859.html
 
Old 04-21-2011, 08:36 AM   #21
osanthropologist
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MTK, what I'm really trying to get at is whether or not you think the licensing of proprietary software is a purely commercial manifestation, or has some deeper philosophical underpinnings.
stretcher, though you think it'll take longer don't you at least think that the end product is going to be better? Is it fair to make that general a statement?
I'm generally more inclined to agree with Onebuck and dugan, that it would be easier to fix bugs and identify issues when a larger number of people were involved.
Dugan,that metaphor you bring up, 'free beer', is one I've heard before. Could you elaborate a bit? Also, thanks for noticing, this is actually the same project but I decided to open a thread on a more specific issue to try and guide the discussion a bit better.
 
Old 04-21-2011, 09:29 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by osanthropologist View Post
MTK, what I'm really trying to get at is whether or not you think the licensing of proprietary software is a purely commercial manifestation, or has some deeper philosophical underpinnings.
I'm not really sure what you mean. Anyway, I don't really think about it much, I just like FOSS better.

Anyway, I would at first guess that the purpose of proprietary software is for corporations to guard their secrets, but on the other hand there is a lot of Windows freeware that is proprietary, so it's not like they're protecting a source of money. I really don't know.
 
Old 04-21-2011, 10:33 AM   #23
dugan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by osanthropologist View Post
I'm generally more inclined to agree with Onebuck and dugan, that it would be easier to fix bugs and identify issues when a larger number of people were involved.
I have not made this point. As a university researcher, you should be better at handling your sources.

Quote:
Dugan,that metaphor you bring up, 'free beer', is one I've heard before. Could you elaborate a bit?
Uhm, you're months into a university research project into open source software and you've never encountered the phrase "free as in speech, not as in beer"? Are you serious?

This is as good an elaboration as any:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gratis_versus_libre

BTW, can we have the name of the school you are attending, your real name, and the homepage of the department you are doing it for? As you can see here, other (legitimate) students who came here to conduct research have not hesitated to post that information:

http://www.linuxquestions.org/questi...survey-871889/

Last edited by dugan; 04-21-2011 at 11:37 AM.
 
Old 04-21-2011, 11:19 AM   #24
cascade9
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@ dugan- agreed, how can anyone be months into a research project on open source and not run into 'free as in beer'?

Quote:
Originally Posted by osanthropologist View Post
MTK, what I'm really trying to get at is whether or not you think the licensing of proprietary software is a purely commercial manifestation, or has some deeper philosophical underpinnings.
I know, I'm not MTK358

It can be either, or both.

Some proprietary software is closed because the authors dont want somebody looking at the code to reverse engineer it for whatever reason. The best example of this is the nVidia proprietary drivers. They are 'free' as in no cost, but nvidia feels (rightly or wrongly) that if they opened the code, rival GPU manufacturers would be able to figure out how the nvidia hardware works. That is also why nvidia wont release detailed spec sheets that would help developers make the free, open source drivers....

Some software is proprietary is because the author/s dont want 'someobdy stealing their code'. Or even using the code to figure out how they have solved a problem, then using that idea to solve the same problem, or a similar problem (even if they arent 'stealing' the code).

That attitude can go from 'totally closed, you cant see the code at all' through to 'open soruce, but with major restrictions'. Sometimes with crazy and/or nonsense restrictions. A good example of that is the Monkey's Audio license agreement (point 4 in the SDK and source code is almost funny....)

Quote:
Monkey's Audio Program License Agreement

1. Monkey's Audio is completely free for personal, educational, or commercial use.
2. Although the software has been tested thoroughly, the author is in no way responsible for damages due to bugs or misuse.
3. The redistribution of Monkey's Audio is only allowed in cases where the original installer and components therein have not been modified.
4. The use of Monkey's Audio or any component thereof from another program requires compliance with the 'Monkey's Audio SDK and Source Code License Agreement'.
5. Installing and using Monkey's Audio signifies the acceptance of these terms. If you do not agree with any of the above terms, you must cease using Monkey's Audio and remove it from your storage device.

Monkey's Audio SDK and Source Code License Agreement

1. The Monkey's Audio SDK and source code can be freely used to add APE format playback, encoding, or tagging support to any product, free or commercial.
2. Monkey's Audio source can be included in GPL and open-source software, although Monkey's Audio itself will not be subjected to external licensing requirements or other viral source restrictions.
3. Code changes and improvements must be contributed back to the Monkey's Audio project or made freely available, unless exempted by written consent of the author.
4. Any source code, ideas, or libraries used must be plainly acknowledged in the software using the code.
5. Although the software has been tested thoroughly, the author is in no way responsible for damages due to bugs or misuse.
6. If you do not completely agree with all of the previous stipulations, you must cease using this source code and remove it from your storage device.
http://www.monkeysaudio.com/license.html

Also, see point 2, "viral source restrictions". Its thats not philosophical (and political!) then I dont know what is.

BTW, looking at things as a binary opposition of 'oepn source/proprietary' these days is overly simplifying what is becoming a very complex issue. See Chromium/Chrome. Chromium, open source. Chrome, closed source, but based on the open source Chromium code....
 
Old 04-21-2011, 12:45 PM   #25
choogendyk
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Here is another situation. Large academic libraries use software to manage their collections that is incredibly complex and expensive -- cost in the 6 figures (U.S. Dollars). In a recent case I was tangentially connected with, different software companies were competing for a multi-university contract. The company whose software had the edge was a relatively new company, and the Universities were concerned they might not exist a few years down the road. That would be a huge investment of money, time, training, resources, etc. down the drain. So, they negotiated a code escrow in the contract. The source code gets deposited with a third party for safe keeping and is regularly updated. If the company goes bankrupt, the Universities get the source code.
 
Old 04-22-2011, 09:24 AM   #26
osanthropologist
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Firstly, I'd like to apologise to all for my rudeness. My name is Jack Kavanagh and I am an undergraduate anthropology student in the University of East London (http://www.uel.ac.uk/hss/programmes/...thropology.htm). Dugan, apologies to you also, the last thing I wanted to do was twist your words, I did not mean to misunderstand you. I'd also like to thank you for the link to the book, it will be very useful for me.
As regards my 'free beer' question, I have read about it before and do understand it. However, what we're told to do in anthropology is to ask people to explain things in their own words and that's what I'm trying to do. I realise at the same time that hackers often respect self-reliance but we're told all the time in university not to be afraid to ask obvious questions. I hope that this explains why I continue to ask what seem to be stupid questions.
So, Hangdog, you feel that the lack of support for open source is a more important distinction between the two than the fact that OSS is free? Do forums such as these pose any sort of a challenge to customer care professionals in terms of support? Also, why is it that no open source projects have developed around the LIMS market? To my untrained eye it seems that building software like that, to integrate a load of hardware and software together, would be very difficult, but surely that is not the only reason.
Cascade, that's really brilliant about the “viral source restrictions” and you're right, that is definitely a political statement. I agree also about simplifying the relationship between open source and proprietary software, it has been one of the main things I've been trying to avoid in my work so far.
Choogendyk, that's an interesting situation you bring up but I wonder, would owning the source code be enough to recompense the university for their loss?
Once again, sorry to all for not making my real identity apparent sooner and for my generally poor forum etiquette.
 
1 members found this post helpful.
Old 04-22-2011, 10:30 AM   #27
onebuck
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Hi,

Code deposits & agreements are nothing new. Most independent coders will provide code at a price per contract. That may include future support or independent support, pay by support use.

FOSS can be kept in house with modified code. If you as a contracted programmer wish to share then that's were things start to get jumbled. I mentioned programmer tool boxes, you had better get things in writing to protect your property and what can be shared/passed. Retention of writer's/coder's utilities or tool box snippets should be addressed at the on set.

Most independent programmers still sign NDA for the type of software being developed, along with a contract. That NDA protects everyone, that is if the member is experienced with agreements of this sort. If a large project then you should have a good attorney and the freedom to share the contract(s) information to protect yourself. You get into issue(s) when there are project teams and disclosure problems amongst each team. Of course that depends on the project expanses and management styles.

Basically you get a data set/program requirements/design criteria and the required operations that you must create then pass to the responsible members via management. Individual interaction may be limited by the contractor not the project members. Lead will dictate as to who, when, what and where things are exchanged or discussed.

Personally, I prefer not to code with friends, colleagues is possible but if you value the relationship then no. Keep personalities out if possible!

@osanthropologist I respectfully deny your request in the PM on 4-21-11. Nothing personal but too much on my table at the moment. Prefer to keep things within the forum to benefit all. Plus my anonymity is important to me. I can control what is textually posted.
 
Old 04-22-2011, 11:03 AM   #28
MTK358
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@onebuck

I don't understand what you keep talking about that programmers have their tool boxes that they refuse to share.

Whay would they not share the tools they use and how they custimized them?
 
Old 04-22-2011, 12:20 PM   #29
Hangdog42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by osanthropologist
So, Hangdog, you feel that the lack of support for open source is a more important distinction between the two than the fact that OSS is free?
If you do some digging into costs, you'll find that a lot of times the support costs outweigh the original purchase price of the software. Of course those waters can get muddy because the original purchase price often comes with some level of support built-in. But from the business standpoint, one of the factors in obtaining software is the ability to get help when something goes wrong. If you don't happen to have that talent on staff, you need to rent it via a service contract. There are plenty of well-respected companies doing that around Linux and other FOSS software (IBM, Red Hat, Novell, Canonical) and they do a good business. However, Microsoft has been a very keen competitor and has worked the vendor lock-in angle like nobody else. And as I said before, there are places like LIMS where open source simply isn't a player.

There is also a perception (a declining one, but still there) that "you get what you pay for", so anything available for free must be bad. I think the success of Linux in the server market has largely dispelled that, but it is still present in the desktop market.

Quote:
Originally Posted by osanthropologist
Do forums such as these pose any sort of a challenge to customer care professionals in terms of support?
In my experience not really. Forums like LQ tend to function a bit too slowly for them to be a first line of support. When something goes wrong usually upper management is in a lather and wants it fixed yesterday, if not the day before. The other aspect is that the answer quality is highly variable on forums. You do see people coming to LQ for support, but they seem to largely be from small, inexperienced shops that are running without any other forms of support.

Quote:
Originally Posted by osanthropologist
Also, why is it that no open source projects have developed around the LIMS market? To my untrained eye it seems that building software like that, to integrate a load of hardware and software together, would be very difficult, but surely that is not the only reason.
You got me. The LIMS market is complex, sure, but a lot of the complexity is redundant. LIMS vendors make a boatload of dough by solving a problem for one customer as a professional service, and then reselling the solution to other customers either as a professional service or by making it an "add-on" to the base LIMS systems. What is really weird is that customers know this is going on and still tolerate it.

I think the biggest obstacle is that an open source LIMS system would require a significant amount of funding and cooperation from several different companies to be successful and I just don't see the interest. Most IT shops in the pharma industry are seriously stressed and don't want to take on any additional burdens. Also, since there isn't a standard LIMS system out there now, the idea of evolving cooperation (like happened with the Apache Foundation) isn't viable.
 
Old 04-22-2011, 12:27 PM   #30
onebuck
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Hi,

Quote:
Originally Posted by MTK358 View Post
@onebuck

I don't understand what you keep talking about that programmers have their tool boxes that they refuse to share.

Whay would they not share the tools they use and how they custimized them?
A programmers personal tool box is comprised of code snippets, routines that are developed over time. Some are willing to share their tool box while others do not. I am of the latter, pay me for the use and that's another story. Do not confuse IDE, utilities or tools to develop a program: compilers/linkers/editors, filters or whatever with a personal tool box. Within the tool box are unique routines that help one to develop or integrate into a program adaptable snippets.

I've got code in the box as far back as the early 70s' for DEC, IBM and early Intel from my earlier days. Not very useful to the industry of today but to model then replicate is still very applicable and usable with a little more effort. Why give it away? Ego, not I. Even LAB code that I retain property rights for. Showing someone/students how to code for certain situations is one thing. To give valid proven code away, think not.

Not everyone wants to reveal something that performs in a certain way for egotistical reasons. Intellectual rights should be kept close to the vest if one values their time for creation.

I hope this helps you to understand the reasoning behind a good 'programmers toolbox/kit'. Look at it in a simpler way: would you share hand tools in a manner that prevents you from getting the tool(s) back? I think not or you would be forever purchasing replacement tools. Rent it, possible or sell it out right. Same way for code.

Hope this clarifies my position for you.
 
  


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