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Chris Stone on Open/closed source

Novells vice chairman Chris Stone talks about open source and stuff at http://www.itconversations.com , top of the front page.
Its pretty interesting. I bring it up here because the talk touches on many of the same points Joel covred in strategy letter V ( at http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/StrategyLetterV.html )

Eric Debois
Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Software developers who care about earning money doing software development should oppose open source strongly.

Open Source Software lowers the developer salaries in general, exactly like the outsourcing does.

George
Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Ummmm, nope, nohow.

Simon Lucy
Wednesday, May 26, 2004

George, would you explain your reasoning behind this opinion? I really don't see what open source has to do with salaries of developers.

Egor
Wednesday, May 26, 2004

That's right George!  If you want to ensure you can still be paid large amounts of money for wasting your creative energies re-implementing something that's been done a million times before.

Personally, I'd prefer to be paid to write something new, thankyouverymuch.

I see Open Source as a natural capitalistic counterbalance to the common EULA.  You can't just put out crap that barely works anymore.  Commercial software is not in danger -- unless it was actually crap that some random college students could put together by themselves in a year.

Richard P
Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Complete nonsense.  My involvement in opensource has drastically improved my earnings.  Of course this is because I create open source software and benefit from the recognition (which results in job offers and higher salaries) and support requests that come from it (which results in much higher billing rates).  I would imagine that open source software would hurt you if you just sit by and never get involved.  I wonder which one you are.

Oren Miller
Wednesday, May 26, 2004

"""If you want to ensure you can still be paid large amounts of money for wasting your creative energies re-implementing something that's been done a million times before"""

That's pretty standard in SW development.

 
Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Yeah, except that when you implement something in your own software that is open source, you need to share your whole software as open source now. So says the most common GPL license. I get it that it says: "Use any of this code, your code and any changes to our code become copyleft.
Obviously such strategy works for IBM and other service company who give away software for free and then charge on hardware and service, but how does the open source fit into my one man operation developing and selling software for small and mid-size businesses.

Poof
Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Luckily, most open source software is highly technical software, installed on servers or used by developers during the development process.

With the scaling-back of IT spending in recent years, my freelancing billing rates have plummetted. Fortunately for me, I'm using all open source software in my implementations. So, rather than having licensing fees sucking away at my revenues, I get to keep a greater percentage as profits.

Open source software helps me, even though I have rarely (though not never) contributed something back into the open source realm.

Benji Smith
Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Maybe it doesnt. Its not like you are required to use GPLed code or anything.

Noobody says you should go OSS if it doesnt benefit you.

Eric Debois
Wednesday, May 26, 2004


Hey Poof, you need to read the GPL a bit more closely...


As long as you *clearly delineate* your code from GPL/other OSS code, you're fine.  You don't have to give up the source.

ie.  If you use a GPL Java library, you have to include the source.  As long as you *do not* jar the files up with your own and have distinct and seperate jar files, you're fine and don't have to give the source to any of your stuff.

KC
Wednesday, May 26, 2004

"""Open source software helps me"""

Open source == commodity == cheap.

Instead of high skill level custom development ($$$), now you're just doing sysadmin type customization/installation ($).

 
Wednesday, May 26, 2004

> As long as you *clearly delineate* your code from GPL/other OSS code, you're fine.  You don't have to give up the source.

This is about as clear as mud.  I have to admit to this day, even after talking to their reps, I still don't really understand mySQL dual licensing scheme.  They make is sound like any app that written to take advantage of mySQL must be OpenSource under GPL.  They then try to scare you into their commercial license. 

If this isn't what is meant by mySQL's license I would gladly have someone explain it to me.

christopher baus (www.baus.net)
Wednesday, May 26, 2004

> """Open source software helps me"""

> Open source == commodity == cheap.

> Instead of high skill level custom development ($$$), now you're just doing sysadmin type customization/installation ($).

This is a mad argument.  I recently deployed a squid content cache.  I could have used a high dollar solution from Cisco, Microsoft, etc., but Squid did the job.  I could do the same job for a lower price and make more profit than if my competitor used a commercial product.  Either way, I still have to deploy a content cache.  In my opinion using Open Source made my skills more valuable.

christopher baus (www.baus.net)
Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Should be bad, not mad, argument. ; )

christopher baus (www.baus.net)
Wednesday, May 26, 2004

> My involvement in opensource has drastically improved my earnings.  Of course this is because I create open source software and benefit from the recognition ...

If this is the case, you can't have been much of a developer to start with.

Also, to the guy who claims the GPL can be quarantined, you want to have a word with Eben Moglen. He and Stallman are just waiting to eat your lunch with mistakes in separating your code.

Me And The View Out The Window
Wednesday, May 26, 2004

If those jar files are licenced under the LGPL then there's no problem distributing in that way.

My views on the viral nature of the GPL and my general view of the GPL are well documented.  However, GPL is not OSS, Stallman will come round and giggle in your ears until you give up in confusion if you peddle that around him.

OSS is a different colour of animal to Free Software.  I wouldn't claim that Free Software is an example of moral degeneration or some kind of communist plot to rob worthy journeyman programmers of their daily salt.  Nor would I make any kind of comparison between outsourcing and OSS.

If you think OSS is somehow dangerous, then consider projects such as Apache or Postfix.  And if you think Wietse Zweitze Venema's life has been tarnished or made poorer by him giving away the sources then read here http://www.porcupine.org/wietse

Which will no doubt engender the response, 'Oh but he's an IBM Fellow, its easy for him', to which I might reply ' and how do you think he got to be one?'

Simon Lucy
Wednesday, May 26, 2004

"If this is the case, you can't have been much of a developer to start with."

And you can't be much of a debater.  Do you intend on explaining your assertion or is the fact that it came out of your mouth sufficient?

Oren Miller
Wednesday, May 26, 2004

I was commenting on the fact that people cite oss prestige as getting them a job.

Hundreds of thousands of developers get jobs without having to do an oss project. This suggests those who need to do an oss project first are not the best.

Me And The View Out The Window
Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Simon, I would suggest Wietse Zweitze Venema's career is predominantly that of an academic researcher. He got a PhD and did some software development. Good stuff.

The software happened to be open source but it could have been Google search algorithms or Longhorn.

Me And The View Out The Window
Wednesday, May 26, 2004

"Hundreds of thousands of developers get jobs without having to do an oss project. This suggests those who need to do an oss project first are not the best."

Ok.  So you just basically assumed a whole bunch of things.  Got it.  I've never been unemployed, and have been payed very well.  That being said, my open source project (three years old) is used by many major financial institutions.  These companies rely on my software for many of their important realtime financial transactions. 

Now of course both of us can apply for jobs to these companies, and you may be a great developer who interviews really well and has a really snazzy resume.  But then again they are already using software that I wrote which they rely on and have been able to analyze and test to determine the quality of it over an extended period of time.  They arn't going to have a lot of qualms about hiring me and paying a premium to develop code since they are *already* running my code.  Sending out a resume isn't something I've done in some time anyway as I'm sought out instead of running around trying to convince people to hire me.

Think about that next time you read the next post about how no one looks at their resume, or they can't think of what to put on their cover letter.

Now you can accuse me of being a bad developer, and I can accuse the same of you.  But then again, I've placed by work up for anyone to review, http://www.quickfixengine.org

You?  Who knows, maybe you're good, maybe not.  No one will really know until they hire you.  That's the point.

Oren Miller
Wednesday, May 26, 2004

As I gather you can use GPL'ed libs in your software and not release the sourcecode if you are using it only for personal use or if you are using the software internally in your company and are not selling or distributing it.

So if you are only using your software in your company there is no need to GPL it. If you are selling it then the GPL is a good way to make sure that you contribute back to the community.

If you don't like GPL'ed software then don't use it. There are a lot of LGPL and BDS licensed libs. And there is even a whole OS licensed BSD http://www.freebsd.org/ which people say is as good or maybe even better then Linux.

So no one is really forcing you to use GPL'ed software as no one is forcing you to drive a Honda, Ford or whatever.

blaZ
Thursday, May 27, 2004

The above would not be a correct interpretation of the GPL licence.  There is nothing limiting the licence in regards to how the Combined Work was originally intended to be used.

The only GPL licence that allows non-GPL and GPL code to be used in the same Combined Work is the LGPL.

Simon Lucy
Thursday, May 27, 2004

blaZ, I'm afraid you're displaying the naivity I associate with open source enthusiasts. 

When developers get hired, it's not on the basis of how well they "interview." It's on the basis of what they've achieved and can do. There is no need that their previous activity be free software at all.

Me And The View Out The Window
Thursday, May 27, 2004

blaZ, why are you asking for a job from the bank anyway, if they want to use your software? Why don't you licence it to them and run your own business?

.
Thursday, May 27, 2004

"If those jar files are licenced under the LGPL then there's no problem distributing in that way."

This issue seems far from clear
http://weblogs.java.net/pub/wlg/258
http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=03/07/17/2257224

Just me (Sir to you)
Thursday, May 27, 2004

Personally I'd take the LGPL (in the sense of the Lesser, rather than the Library) to fit the separate jar files model.  There's no specific language in the LGPL (he says relying on memory), about the mechanism of linkage.

In the case of jars its really the runtime that's making the reference and there's no need to ship the actual  licenced jars with your own distribution.

The alternative view is that you can't licence anything run in any kind of sandbox as GPL or LGPL because the sandbox would also have to be so licenced.  I can't believe Stallman would want that.

Simon Lucy
Thursday, May 27, 2004

BlaZ seems to be correct, in asserting it can be used privately without having to be GPL-compatible.
http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#GPLRequireSourcePostedPublic

KC also seems to be correct, but perhaps misleading. One can aggregate code which doesn't call GPLed code. Probably even in the same jar file. Sounds pretty useless though.

Tayssir John Gabbour
Thursday, May 27, 2004

"""I recently deployed a squid content cache.  I could have used a high dollar solution from Cisco, Microsoft, etc., but Squid did the job.  I could do the same job for a lower price and make more profit than if my competitor used a commercial product. """


Or, you could've coded a custom cache server, and made a sh!tload more money.

Kinda proves my point.

 
Thursday, May 27, 2004

<quote>blaZ, I'm afraid you're displaying the naivity I associate with open source enthusiasts.</quote>

A poster below me already pointed out that I was correct but to be sure here is the link he posted: http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#GPLRequireSourcePostedPublic

<quote>When developers get hired, it's not on the basis of how well they "interview." It's on the basis of what they've achieved and can do. There is no need that their previous activity be free software at all.</quote>

<quote>blaZ, why are you asking for a job from the bank anyway, if they want to use your software? Why don't you licence it to them and run your own business?</quote>

What are you guys talking about I only posted a message about the GPL not about interviews or working at a bank!

blaZ
Thursday, May 27, 2004

But since we are talking about me, open source and jobs. I did once get a job offer while I was the project manager of a (failed) open source project. Talking to others I hear it happens all to time.

blaZ
Thursday, May 27, 2004

BlaZ - they got you mixed up with Oren. 

Blank -  about your comment "Or, you could've coded a custom cache server..." etc.  I've read this a couple of times and it still makes no sense.  How could you make more money by coding your own as opposed to using someone else's that costs you nothing?

I suppose you could charge more (you'd have to if only to cover development time)  but that wouldn't put you in a *more* competitive position would it?  Perhaps you could expand on the thought?

a cynic writes...
Thursday, May 27, 2004

Ummmm, but you wouldn't get to implement it yourself.

You would have bought the expensive application to do it instead.

And when it caused you pain and agony down the line you would have been up a certain creek without a paddle with your arse on the line.

Open source commoditises stuff that generally already has a commercial implementation. And odds are your company will buy that rather than paying for you to work on a total rewrite of something.

Also OSS gives you something that you can then modify to be useful to you - if there's a bug you can fix it. Vendor support is usually pretty worthless.

Andrew Shuttlewood
Thursday, May 27, 2004

You really don't see the money difference in coding a cache server versus installing one?

Jon
Thursday, May 27, 2004

I can see the cash difference between a consultant who deploys things and the company that creates the things to deploy. 

I can see the difference between a consultant who deploys a commercial solution and one who deploys a free of charge solution and passes on (say) 50% of the cost saving to the client. 

I just can not see the advantage in a consultant writing and deploying his own application when the alternative is deploying a mature functional application that is free of charge. 

a cynic writes...
Thursday, May 27, 2004

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