Re: Linux stifles innovation...

From: Michael H. Warfield (
Date: Sat Feb 17 2001 - 15:14:07 EST

On Sat, Feb 17, 2001 at 03:05:36PM -0500, Dennis wrote:
> At 07:01 PM 02/16/2001, Alan Olsen wrote:
> >On Fri, 16 Feb 2001, Dennis wrote:

> > > 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.

> You are confusing "progress" with "innovation". If there is only 1 choice,
> thats not innovation. Expanding on a bad idea, or even a good one, is not
> innovation.

        I think you are obviously the one who is confused. You are right.
If there is only 1 choice, that's not innovation. And that's what closed
source is. Open source is typically castigated because it HAS SO MANY
choices. We are often overwhelmed by choices. Sometimes, those choices
narrow through natural selection and evolution, and that's a good thing too.
Close source is the mono-choice. You take what the vendor gives you and
that's it. If it doesn't work, tough, wait for the next release cycle
and pay us again to fix our bugs. That's real innovative.

> Designing something differently to make it better is innovation. I suppose
> you could argue that redesigning linux every few years is innovation, but
> unfortunately its the same cast of characters doing it, so its not very
> innovative.

        I think I agree with the comment that I've seen more innovation in
the open source movement than anything that has come out of closed source.
One could very safely argue that the entire Internet grew out of a form
of Open Source movement. Closed source gave us things like EDI and SNA
and SDLC and a host of other proprietary ideas and networks that have been
buried by the Internet. "Profs" (IBM's idea of E-Mail) was swamped by SMTP.
The Web originated in Open Source. Entire markets have sprung up where
there was none before out of Open Source.

        No... Close Source and proprietary protocols are then anthema to
BOTH progress and innovation. When innovation is done in a close arena, it
gets done for closed limited ideas and tightly restricted to what profits
the inventors and nothing more. It's when it becomes more open that the
real innovation occurs and things are created that the original inventors
never envisioned.

        Without Open Source and it's predecessors, we would not have the
Internet as we know it today. Companies back then (and I worked for
some of them) could not envision a network as we know it now. Several
of them saw no future what so ever in the "Internet". One of them even
went so far as to proclaim that Novell was the be all and end all of
networking and nothing would ever amount to anything on this petty worthless
Internet thing.

        History has proved them wrong and history has proved that Open
Source is the provider of choices not the limiter of choices.

> DB

> >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".
> >
> >Hmmmm...
> >
> >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
> >was.
> >
> >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
> >attached.
> >
> >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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 Michael H. Warfield    |  (770) 985-6132   |
  (The Mad Wizard)      |  (678) 463-0932   |
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