Re: Linux stifles innovation...

From: Henning P . Schmiedehausen (
Date: Sat Feb 17 2001 - 13:40:28 EST

On Sat, Feb 17, 2001 at 02:58:45PM +0100, Jean Francois Micouleau wrote:
> On Sat, 17 Feb 2001, Henning P. Schmiedehausen wrote:
> > If IBM, Intel, Compaq, HP, Dell, SGI and other companies would
> > wholeheartedly drop their Windows support in favour of Linux, that I
> > would call "a move". If HP would spent only 5% of their driver writing
> > buget for Windows into Linux driver development, that I would call "a
> > move".
> I'm wondering if the $600 000 HP gave to VA linux and myself last year is
> only 5% of their driver budget.

> Henning, HP is supporting linux and the open source movement. They are
> paying people to port linux to the ia64 platform and the hp-pa risc.

Yes. They want to sell the IA64 and the HP-PA hardware. So it is
logically for them to fund people and companies that port the kernel
or build OS software for their hardware.

> They are supporting the open source movement by paying people like me to
> improve Samba.

Yes. They want to sell products which use this special piece of software.

I don't see HP supporting software authors to write CD-ROM burning
software for all CDROM writers just to be able to bundle Linux
software with their CDROM writers [just watching an HP commercial on

IMHO, this is no "basic change in company policy". HP and many other
companies understood that they have two ways to conduct their business
in the future: Being dependent on a company that dictates how to write
software, being forced to live with the way that company wants future
products to be and the fact that this company will always have an edge
over their competitors. Or the will support open _protocols_ like
CORBA, TCP/IP, XML and the like to keep their closed source products
working on many (especially their own) platforms and avoid the
strangle hold of a single company.

Linux is ideal for them because no company has "a grip" on the OS.
This is good!

But is it "commitment to open source"? Or just "keeping all options
open"? Because these companies still support their products on M$.

Most of the programs are in newer, larger and more mature versions for
Windows. Why? Did you ever try to write a non-web based GUI program
for Linux? For which Linux? Which desktop (besides using statically
linked motif applications or bare metal X11)? Which version of the
desktop? What tools do you get? How mature are the tools, especially
GUI builders and IDEs? Most developers in bigger companies are not
kernel wizards but just average run-of-the-mill-have-a-grip-on-c++
developers who code after specs.

Most companies simply use Java and leave the details to the VM. If you
write for Windows, you have an ugly and complicated API with lots of
bugs, but the API itself is stable since six (!) years. You can write
programs that run on 95/98/ME/NT/2000 unchanged. Writing them sucks
but it is possible. For Linux to do so, you must use almost bare X11.

Don't get me wrong. I am _happy_ that there are big companies
recognizing, funding and supporting Linux. But then it is for Linux to
grow mature and recognize that these companies don't do it because
they think "Linux is cool". They do it because they think "Linux is
business. Linux is profit. Linux helps us to avoid the strangle hold
of M$" No news here. No basic direction change here. They do Windows
and anything else for exactly the same reasons.

And they don't do desktop applications besides java applications and
Web stuff.


Dipl.-Inf. (Univ.) Henning P. Schmiedehausen       -- Geschaeftsfuehrer
INTERMETA - Gesellschaft fuer Mehrwertdienste mbH

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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Fri Feb 23 2001 - 21:00:15 EST