Re: Linux stifles innovation...

From: Alan Olsen (
Date: Fri Feb 16 2001 - 19:01:42 EST

On Fri, 16 Feb 2001, Dennis wrote:

> objective, arent we?

Pot. Kettle. Black.

> There is much truth to the concept, although Microsoft should not be ones
> to comment on it as such.

What truth? I have seen more "innovation" in the Open Source movement
than I ever have in my 18+ years of being a professional programmer.

I don't see how having the source open removes "intelectual property",
except by showing that huge portions of the concept are flawed.

> For example, if there were six different companies that marketed ethernet
> drivers for the eepro100, you'd have a choice of which one to buy..perhaps
> with different "features" that were of value to you. Instead, you have
> crappy GPL code that locks up under load, and its not worth spending
> corporate dollars to fix it because you have to give away your work for
> free under GPL. And since there is a "free" driver that most people can
> use, its not worth building a better mousetrap either because the market is
> too small. So, the handful of users with problems get to "fit it
> themselves", most of whom cant of course.

Strange. I have not heard of any problems with that driver, except for
issues where the original hardware vendor kept implimentation details from
the open source community. (Citeing "IP issues".)

> Theres also the propensity for mediocre stuff to get into the kernel
> because some half-baked programmer was willing to contribute some code. The
> 50% of the kernel that remains "experimental" ad infinitum is evidence of that.

You must be looking at a different kernel.

I have seen little in the kernel that was "half baked". There have been
some things put in to test if they were good ideas. That is far different
than half-baked. Most of the bad ideas never get to the kernel. Linus or
Alan kick them out before they ever get that far.

> The biggest thing that the linux community does to stifle innovation is to
> bash commercial vendors trying to make a profit by whining endlessly about
> "sourceless" distributions and recommending "open-source" solutions even
> when they are wholly inferior. You're only hurting yourselves in the long
> run. In that respect MS is correct, because those with the dollars to
> innovate will stay away.

You claim that "open source solutions are wholely inferior to closed
source solutions".


Then why does everyone run with Apache instead of IIS? Could it be that
IIS is a piece of crap?

Feature for feature I would rather use PHP 4 over ColdFusion any day.

Sendmail is MUCH more stable than Exchange. (Even if it has config files
that look like they were designed by Carlos Castanada on a bad day.) If
not Sendmail, there are a couple of other Open Source mail programs that
are much superior in quality than the closed source counterparts.

As for the Linux kernel being "shoddy"...

Since when?

I can leave my Linux box running over night and actually have it do
things! I cannot say the same for Windows. I leave that running (same
hardware, different OS) and it is usually dead by dawn.

But your argument is even more bogus than that.

It seems that you argument boils down to a couple of thing...

"Closed source is better because you pay money for it."

"Closed source is superior because we have a company name and you don't."

Sorry, but most of the people who develop Open Source are profesional
programmers. They just have a different motivation.

Open Source is motivated by pride in what you can do and a desire to help
others by sharing that. They don't hide behind a wall of lawyers to keep
people from finding out what they did wrong.

I found out a long time ago that most "Trade Secret" claims were bogus.
It was either a common technique that had been adapted to a particular
purpose or it was being used as an excuse to hide how bad the code really

But my experiences with Open Source, as well as the others I know who use
it are quite telling.

If I have a problem with an Open Source program I can look at the code and
fix it. Or I can report the bug and it will get fixed soon after. The
programmers involved put the effort into it because their name is

My experiences with closed source companies are not as good.

In many cases, I was ignored because I did not represent a fortune 500
company. If the problem got fixed at all, it would be months before I saw
it and usually in a later release that I would have to pay for. (Usually
having features added that I neither wanted or would ever use.) In some
cases (like Microsoft security bugs) it would be treated like a public
relations problem instead of a software and quality issue.

I have also seen cases where problems were buried in development because
"no one will find out and if they do, we will just blame Microsoft".

I understand your desire to make money off what you do for a living. I do
object to you taring what I do as somehow damaging to the software
industry as a whole. (Especially since the closed source software
industry has been poaching off the open source community for years.
Microsoft seeking enlightenment with WinXP is only a minor example.)

I don't see how hiding how something works adds value to the process. | Note to AOL users: for a quick shortcut to reply
Alan Olsen | to my mail, just hit the ctrl, alt and del keys.
    "In the future, everything will have its 15 minutes of blame."

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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Fri Feb 23 2001 - 21:00:14 EST