[ILUG] Re: Claims about Open Source technology
bryano at europlex.ie
Fri Apr 30 12:55:29 IST 2004
Matthew, I'm going to CC the Irish Linux users mailing list on this, also
apologies to the list for the top posting, it's the format the dialog has
taken, so far.
To be quite honest, I'd hardly expect a commentator from Sun Microsystems to
advocate Open Source technology over closed, since, Sun, itself is involved in
no Open Source projects.
Indeed it's Sun Java Desktop offering based on Linux, used closed source Sun
only appendations in an attempt to make the desktop saleable.
Sun, it seems is quite prepared to use the Open source Linux Kernel, the Open
Source compilers and C runtime that supports the Open Desktop environment and
then 'sell' it.
I wish they'd make up their minds, either Open source is bad, or it's good.
In my experinece and yes, I'm a convert from Microsoft advocacy to Linux and
open source advocacy, Windows and Microsoft code is counter-intuitive when
talking about interoperability.
In so many instances Micrsoft has taken action to ensure that Microsoft only
products can operate with Microsoft only products.
Take the Microsoft Web proxy, it uses a Microsoft only authentication protocol,
which means that you have to use a Microsoft web browser, in order to use that
web proxy, or use a browser, where the Open source developers have reverse
engineered the authentication protocol.
Hardly, what you'd call an environment of interoperability.
True enough, Open Source developers write code to accomplish specific tasks and
so the software is functional.
Take the antithesis, the coming Windows.NET and Avalon platform in the upcoming
It will have applications that are distributed over a network, as a core
function, but, tell me, why does your Word processor need to be a distributed
It doesn't, Microsoft is attempting to use it's dominant market position, to
claim back the Server market, which it is loosing apace.
The logic being, if you have applications that need to work over a network,
you'll have to use Microsoft technology to do it.
For this reason, myself and the Senior R & D engineer here, will probably
advocate moving of our upcoming GUI systems to Java, the competitor technology
Again, I think it's a little counter intuitive to claim that an application
who's every line of source code, one can scrutanise, is less interoperable,
then a closed source application, which is based supposedly on 'Open Standards'.
What, like the Microsoft Web proxy?
What's interoperable about that?
Also, in the Open Source community, if an application or other piece of
software is badly written, it's not used!
Apache, is a great webserver, and it's widely used, so, it is consequently
widely deployed, but, you're not locked into Apache or another webserver called
boa, by closed standards, propiatery formats and 'singular' Operating systems.
Apache and friends function on any operating system that can run on a >= 16 bit
CPU, the complete opposite is true of Microsoft's IIS, which only runs on
Windows and only runs on supported Windows platforms and you , the user have no
choice over whether or not you use it, since, in my instances, Microsoft just
tries to muscle it's software onto the industry.
Which is the corollary of Open Source software, which is, ostensibly used, in
my opinion at least, because of it's proven merits, rather then the ability of
a market dominant company to force it onto the industry.
Check out this link, which has just been posted to the ILUG on deployment of
Open Source technology in a large corporate environment in a US firm.
> Hi Bryan
> Thanks for the e-mail. I always appreciate feedback. I suppose I knew
> the e-mails would come rushing in today.
> I just want to start off by saying that I have no aversion to Open
> Source, I just don't see it as a panacea in the public sector or
> anyplace else. I am a strong supporter of Open Source, I am just not an
> absolute supporter of it.
> I also want to say that agree with you; open source developers do
> absolutely make an effort to ensure that software they create is
> interoperable. Thanks to those efforts, there is a great deal of
> interoperability in OSS and I think that as open source developers
> continue to push to have their software deployed in the enterprise, OSS
> will become even more interoperable.
> As it stands now, there are problems. Some of them are not design
> problems, but they exist nonetheless.
> The following may seem like overkill, but I suspected a response from
> readers so I have complied some opinions to back up that statement.
> THIS IS IMPORTANT: I want you to remember that I agree that most open
> source software is open standards based, I simply want to make the point
> that there are notable integration and interoperability issues with OSS
> as well, partly because of the methods used to create it.
> I also want to make it equally clear that I do not believe that all
> proprietary software is based open standards. My own computer is a
> testament to how poorly Windows works with countless applications from
> other developers. But many people, particularly non-technical people,
> have confused open source with open standards. I was not arguing in my
> article that Open Source software is not based on Open Standards. My
> point is only that Open Source does not have to be based on open
> standards in order to be considered open source.
> Here are some opinions about why OSS can -- but does not always -- have
> interoperability problems.
> · Eduardo Gutentag, Sun Microsystems' main guy for XML
> Standardisation and the head of Web Technologies and Standards at the
> company has argued that one of Open Sources' biggest problem has to do
> with the fact that open source developers tend to lack adequate testing
> facilities for their software. He also says that since so much of open
> source development is focused on creativity and not bug fixing -- which
> is less exciting -- problems have arisen.
> · Michelle Levesque, a researcher for the Citizen Lab at the Munk
> Centre for International Studies at the University of Toronto, has
> published a view on the problems with OSS, which include user interface
> issues, documentation issues and, importantly, a focus by developers on
> features rather than the core, which can lead to interoperability
> issues. Open source coders also tend to design with themselves in mind,
> not the audience.
> · Gartner's Nikos Drakos has argued that saving from Open Source
> software in the public sector are unlikely to exceed 10 percent of
> overall software ownership costs over the next five years. This is, as
> he says, because there is "a big question mark over whether we can ever
> develop open source solutions to meet all of our IT needs." Integration
> and interoperability problems are big parts of those unforeseen costs.
> I'm sure none of this will lead you to agree with what was written in
> the article, but I do hope that you will at least acknowledge that some
> experts see integration and interoperability as a problem. Again, it's
> an equally big problem for proprietary software, which is, I hope,
> something that we do agree on.
> Thanks for reading electricnews.net.
> Best regards,
> Matthew Clark
> At 11:13 30/04/04, you wrote:
>> The open source software movement, meanwhile, is not focused on
>> pushing common technical standards, although many in the movement
>> support such initiatives. Open source backers aim to create a market
>> where software code is open to development and modification, which can
>> in some instances undermine interoperability.
>> I'm sorry Matthew, but, you're quite wrong.
>> Compare the security expoits available for Internet Explorer versus
>> Netscape/Mozilla/FireFox and friends.
>> I don't question your journalistic integrity, but, I do strongly
>> question you're interpretation of the facts at hand.
>> Also, I don't understand what seems to be a strong aversion to Open
>> Source that, comes through in your article.
>> It seems a little counter-intutitive to claim that a propiatery
>> Software company *has* open standards, when by nature, the standards
>> are 'propiatery'.
>> Bryan O'Donoghue
>> Embedded Software Engineer
>> Europlex Technologies Ltd
>> Clonshaugh Business & Technology Park
>> Dublin 17
>> T:+353 (0) 1 2500500
>> F:+353 (0) 1 2500590
>> E:bryano at euoplex.ie
> Matthew Clark - http://www.electricnews.net
> Deputy Editor, Dublin, Ireland matthew at electricnews.net
> tel +3531 676 9995
> 7 Lower Fitzwilliam Street, Dublin 2, Ireland
> ElectricNews.Net <> daily tech news & reviews
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