16 December, 2007

more ramblings about vision and future ;-)

In the comments section on OSnews someone noted how it would be very hard to gain marketshare for FOSS due to the dominance (and use thereof) of Microsoft. I thought my reaction was worth posting as a blog ;-)

Indeed. Uptake of linux will go slow, and not at all if Linux doesn't offer advantages to both developers and users. We need to be clearly better than Microsoft and Apple. We need to out-innovate them and bring the latest technology at the earliest possible moment.

Yet it happens to be that we're particularly good at these things, and as our ecosystem grows, we grow faster and stronger. FOSS development techniques, unlike proprietary development models, scale pretty well.

As more and more companies are joining FOSS one way or another, we will cross some threshold were a FOSS system will have such clear advantages it will be impossible to ignore. Lower costs, better availability and more capabilities; and a more healthy ecosystem with more competition and smaller, more innovative companies.

In the long run, I don't think MS and the other proprietary vendors will be able to stop it - unless, UNLESS they can do so through legal and political barriers. But the tide is turning against them - Europe is slowly getting committed to FOSS, and it is keeping a close eye on abuse of marketpower - which is the only real asset Microsoft has against FOSS.

The above is why I think what is going on with KDE 4 is crucial. I've blogged before about that, and I also talk a lot about these things on forums... One on of these posts, I wrote about Novell and how they are (imho) wasting resources (re)writing stuff for yast in GTK. (probably worth reading before continuing. I didn't want to paste all my posts here...)

And one of the comments was that I was trolling. Now, I agree I wasn't very nice. Saying Gnome release announcements feel like a timemachine from the KDE 3.3 era - a bit harsh, I know. And also of course an exaggeration - there is regularly stuff in there which was not in KDE 5 years ago. Anyway. I did reply on it, but I think Segedunum put it much better:
Ahhhh, the emotive question of open source desktops. You can only go so far before pointing out the truth, and when you do, others are simply not going to like it -).

Aaah well. Time will tell what happens. At least we have big plans.

Another thing, as my previous dwarfhamster died (did I blog about that?) and I went through the mandatory period of mourning, I got a new one. This time not from Animal Protection (or whatever you'd call those guys in english, too lazy to look it up) but from a pet store. I'm not too fond of those, as they generally don't treat animals too well, but OK, it was a gift by a loved one ;-)

So the question to ya'll. How should I name him? Not tux or something silly, nor those horrible names like 'sniffy' or Blacky or whatever painfully cliche names ppl seem to come up with.


  1. You should name you hamster Thomas. That way you can buy this shirt and it just might be true.

  2. YaST was designed to be UI independent. It already had Qt and ncurses implementations of its widget set. It did not need to be re-written for the GTK version, simply implement all of the YUI widgets for GTK. Furthermore, much of this work was done by a community member, and polished off by Novell employees. So it is fairly inaccurate to suggest Novell are wasting resources re-writing yast in GTK.

  3. IMHO it is better to focus on the strong points of the competition kde and gnome share. to me it feels like you are being unnecessarily hostile towards efforts in the gnome camp...

    it is only through all the stuff that gnome and kde do together that they can manage to provide a competitive edge....

    by competing with each other they feed of one another instead of constantly being focused around the proprietary offerings - with whom to compete is much harder, mostly due to marketing.

    "wasting resources" is definitively over the top.

  4. Thomas might be what I go for. Having a thermonuclear pet hamster is pretty cool...

    Anyway, yes, I knew Yast is UI independent - but still, besides an commandline and an UI interface, what else would one need? Unless there is some obsessive need to get rid of Qt libraries I wouldn't know why someone would want to spend time on writing a GTK interface. I could have given examples like Galzium and Exaile, two projects which were/are very clear about the fact they just want to reproduce Kalzium and Amarok in GTK.

    I think those projects are a waste of time, but my argument goes further - I just don't get the big companies spending so much resources on Gnome/GTK. To me, it seems obvious one should go for the best technology out there. I know, company politics and such. I find it annoying to see how technically non-relevant factors have such a huge influence on what ppl use.

    Taka Jokosher - an multi-track audio whatever. There are many of those, most of which are better in both usability and features. Jokoshers greatest assets are some big names supporting it, and a good looking website. Yet it's all you hear about... Blegh. Nobody seems to value real quality...

    Of course, as a Psychologist, I should know these things. And I do. But it's still annoying ;-)

    Focussing on the strong points of the competition between KDE and Gnome is nice and lovely and all but I do think linux and the Free Desktop would be better of with a more efficient allocation of resources. Shouldn't that be said?

  5. Lovely that you want to name your hamster after me ;) I'm looking forward to the puns!

    On the Qt / gtk stuff. The amount of time someone spends on writing some functionality on top of either toolkit is widely different. Easiest proof is the amount of LOC taken to do the same.

    What would be a great idea is that someone write a QStyle that uses the GTK style engine and in that way integrate nicely, which is a technologically correct answer to the problem that Novell had. At least seen from a maintenance POV.


  6. I think that Microsoft is going to have problems in EU by doing what it is doing right now and have always done.

    I support Opera about idea that IE will be removed from Windows (it can still be there by default on Microsoft packet but it is needed to get removed 100% if user/OEM wants).

    I hoped that EU would order MS to remove WMP from OS so it could be removed from newer OS like Vista and not just bring Windows XP Edition N what were given 1500 copies to OEM manufactures and normal user cannot buy those anywhere so no one gets one. (i dont even know can you remove WMP from windows vista?)

    But now there is even bigger problem with Microsoft.

    All big companies has seen that OPEN SOURCE gives big good publicity to their product, even it isn't OPEN.
    Just like OOXML is "OPEN" and almost every application having stamp "FREE" to get users free download etc.

    Now there is coming problems for normal user to really understand what is OPEN SOURCE and what is "OPEN SOURCE".

    There should be stamp for GPL/LGPL for software what really is free or stamp what use any FSF license so users knows that application really is free.

    FOSS developers dont have such marketing funds like Microsoft (or any other like Apple) has. KDE developers dont have 500 million dollar to trowh KDE4 marketing when it gets released (or KDE 4.1).

    All what FOSS has is free speech and few corporations like Ubuntu and Mandriva what like to marget their own work more than whole community.

    So what FOSS need is support from EU, support from little companies and even support from goverments what give support to schools and so on for possible users in future. It is slow, it dont need so much money from one to anyone, it just needs time and little support from anyone.

  7. You should name him ClamAV - Clam for short. After all being a dwarf-hamster, he's Ham, not Spam...

  8. Novell is also pretty much the greatest contributor (along with Trolltech) to KDE; both economically, developer-wise, and by creating the most comprehensive distribution with KDE: openSUSE. Should we really care if they help other free software projects (like GNOME) while they still do so much for KDE? I wouldn't agree.

    YaST Qt is not going anywhere. In fact, it has just been ported to Qt4 to integrate better with KDE4, and to allow more flexibility with the look and feel of the installer.

    As for Qt/KDE applications being copied and turned into GTK -- I kind of agree, to an extent. However, to me it really does matter a lot of the time whether an application is KDE or GTK. For example, one of the main reasons I try to use Konqueror mostly is because the GTK open dialog, and general behaviour, really does drive me nuts sometimes. I know that if it's a KDE app it will in general be well integrated into the rest of my desktop and applications, and that I can take advantage of things like kioslaves all the time.

    The point with respect to implementing features that KDE has had for years often seems easy to do from one side. GNOME users would argue just the same however for both Krita and Dolphin (for example), where GNOME have had similar comprehensive applications for some time now.

  9. I had a couple of dwarf hamsters myself: those were called Guybrush (male) and Pininfarina (female).

  10. That really is interesting though... perhaps division in the open source community is strength. I mean, competition without a need for proprietary products.. interesting.

    As long as you adhere to standards... posix, x11, opengl, etc...

    I'm a gnome user now, but if I find I can replicate my current look and settings with KDE4, I'm definitely going to switch. I look forward to its release.

    Native screensaver desktop backgrounds.. *drools*
    none of this
    cd /usr/lib/xscreensaver && ./flurry -root

  11. Oh, if it's a dwarf hamster, then I totally demand you call him Gnome. :D


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