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GNU is Not Unix

Open Source Victories of 2008 378

Posted by kdawson
from the brief-look-back dept.
Meshach writes "Ars Technica has an interesting run-down on the major open source victories of 2008. Some, like Firefox 3, we can probably mostly agree on. Others — KDE 4 comes to mind — will be more controversial. And Mono 2? What else should be on the list?"
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Open Source Victories of 2008

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 03, 2009 @11:33PM (#26316823)

    Others â" KDE 4 comes to mind â" will be more controversial.

    How is that controversial? Oh, the Gnome heathens? Well, they'll be dealt with in 09.
     
    2009 will be the Year of the Linux Desktop...Wars.

    • Re:I like KDE 4 (Score:5, Interesting)

      by 3vi1 (544505) on Saturday January 03, 2009 @11:46PM (#26316919) Homepage Journal

      KDE4's fine... once you're talking 4.1 and later. The 4.0 stuff was very alpha quality, though a necessary step to get developers to actively start supporting it.

      They probably meant that the controversy would be because 4.0 was a temporary step backward from 3.5 in features and stability.

      • 4.1 is a lot better than 4.0 but still hasn't caught up with 3.5. I'm really hoping 4.2 gets us closer. Should be just a few more weeks.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by 3vi1 (544505)

          I'm using the nightly releases now; it's much closer to 3.5 in stability and has addressed all of my feature concerns.

          • Re:I like KDE 4 (Score:5, Informative)

            by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Sunday January 04, 2009 @12:46AM (#26317331)
            I take it you are not very demanding with features or stability? Things that are completely broken in 4.1:
            • SSL -- There is no SSL configuration tool, poor documentation on where SSL certificates are stored or how they are stored, and bugfixes are barely even on the horizon right now.
            • Keyboard shortcuts -- not only are global shortcuts still not working, but KDE4 seems to kill shortcuts set by other applications, even when those shortcuts are working when I run the application not in KDE.
            • OLE -- 3.5 had solid OLE system that worked exceptionally well. 4.1 has an OLE system that is flaky, poorly unified, and poorly used. Maybe 4.2 will fix it? Maybe we won't see a fix until 5.0.
            • Bluetooth -- I should NOT be using Nautilus for browsing Bluetooth filesystems.
            • ArK -- I should not have to extract files from an archive to view them. Assuming that ArK will even get me that far, which it sometimes will not.
            • Samba -- Samba support should be integrated with Dolphin, or supported by embedding smb4k using the OLE system; see above.
            • Configuration -- I should be able to rely on my configuration settings remaining set. Over and over, I see my settings being forgotten when I hit "Apply," even for things that should be a no brainer: setting the default application to open a text file.

            You can check the KDE bugzilla if you are curious about just how many things need to be fixed. KDE 4 is a complete mess, and was completely mishandled. It is getting to the point where, embarrassing as it would be, they should probably scrap it and start over by porting KDE3 to Qt4.

            • Re:I like KDE 4 (Score:5, Insightful)

              by lord_sarpedon (917201) on Sunday January 04, 2009 @01:47AM (#26317699)

              A few years ago...I never thought I'd use GNOME, what with its child-proofing mentality.
              But now its the only choice that's both functional and actually supported.

              (Functional is a relative term. The release that shipped with Intrepid has entirely broken session management, which is a regression from even the ancient releases)

            • Re:I like KDE 4 (Score:4, Informative)

              by JackieBrown (987087) <dbroome@gmail.com> on Sunday January 04, 2009 @04:11AM (#26318247)

              SSL, ArK, and Samba though dolphin are working great in the 4.2 pre-release.

              Actually, expect for ArK, the other two have been working since 4.1.

              The configuration thing you mentioned I have never seen before and I don't use bluetooth so I don't know if you are right on that or not. (But based on your other comments, I doubt much of what you say in regards to KDE 4.)

              And as far as checking the bugzilla as some kind of indication against KDE 4, the vast majority bugs are not for KDE 4.

            • Re:I like KDE 4 (Score:4, Interesting)

              by R15I23D05D14Y (1127061) on Sunday January 04, 2009 @04:23AM (#26318293)

              >> they should probably scrap it and start over by porting KDE3 to Qt4.

              I agree 100% that the KDE 4 lacks a horrible level of features for a release series, thus far. The 4.2 betas are more stable and usable for users than 4.0 and 4.1 combined (:P Literally if combining means combining bugs)

              That said, since porting would involve re-reading and recoding the whole old codebase, and reimplementing would also involve re-reading and recoding the whole old codebase, I think that scrapping the _very nice_ desktop framework is a very poor suggestion.

              Really the new Desktop model is better than the old. The current implementation sucks from lack of features - but it is a better start than a 3.x port. The underlying work are complete enough that a port is now simply beyond a waste of effort. KDE 4 is here to stay, and this is not a bad thing.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by oakgrove (845019)
              For your global shortcuts, at least, you can always just use xbindkeys [hocwp.free.fr]. A very powerful global shortcuts daemon. It's completely independent of the window manager and should be in the repositories of most distros. It gets really interesting when you combine it with the xmacro [sourceforge.net] GUI scripting program to do things that aren't CLI scriptable such as certain types of interactions with virtual machines. For example, I like to hit a hotkey in Linux and certain things automatically happen in a virtual machine I'
        • by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Sunday January 04, 2009 @12:33AM (#26317239) Journal

          Disclaimer: I am using KDE4. I like it for what it could be. As it is, I'm looking at alternatives.

          Replace "4.0" with "Vista", "4.1" with "Vista SP1", and "4.2" with "Vista SP2" -- and, for good measure, "3.5" with "XP Pro", and you have a fair sense of what's going on here.

          In fact, Microsoft has handled this better -- they still fix bugs in XP.

          In KDE4, and in some of the bigger KDE4 apps (like AmaroK), there's this completely new, exciting, amazing version which almost has all the features you needed from the old version, in a very cool-looking but annoyingly different way, and sometimes crashes. Then there's the old, boring, unsupported version, which does everything you want it to do, but has some annoying bugs and deficiencies -- yet whenever you point them out, people close the bug "wontfix" as development has stopped on that branch, and the KDE4 version will be done so differently the bug is irrelevant.

          At least Windows has a mostly-working version -- XP. KDE has no working version.

          An example of something that worked in 3, but is broken in 4: The panel. Everyone always said, "Don't mind that, it's fixed in 4.1." Well, I'm running 4.1, and I can tell you, it's not even close. How do I make the panel thinner vertically? How do I adjust its translucency -- how do I give it a completely transparent background, but solid foreground?

          An example of something that doesn't work anywhere (wontfix in 3, not done yet in 4) is encoding scripts in AmaroK. There's no longer a GUI option to tell AmaroK what your preferred format for a device is -- if you've got an iPod, it's going to give you mp3s, whether you want them or not, even if you can handle AAC just fine. Yet the KDE4 version of AmaroK doesn't yet support encoding scripts in any way, so my choice is mp3s, or no encoding at all. WTF?

          Maybe I'm just using the wrong distro? I was pretty appalled at Kubuntu's handling of Intrepid. Bluetooth is broken, due to conflicting versions of a few packages. The only available solutions are, use the commandline (I tried, didn't work), go back to Hardy, or use the Gnome bluetooth GUI.

          Isn't that why you use a distro in the first place? So bullshit like this doesn't happen?

          Here's hoping by 4.5, they'll finally attain the functionality of 3.5. Maybe they'll still have some users left by then. Meanwhile, I'm going to take a long, hard look at going back to Fluxbox or straight Compiz.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            At least Windows has a mostly-working version -- XP. KDE has no working version.

            Is kde 3.5 not mostly working?, or did I misread most of your rant? Have you actually thought about trying any other distros that have kde 4 and see if they have those problems?

          • by The Master Control P (655590) <ejkeever AT nerdshack DOT com> on Sunday January 04, 2009 @02:14AM (#26317819)
            KDE4's panel is one of those things that you figure out and then say "WhereTF was the tutorial for this?" That is, after you figure out that you have to manually add it because it's not there by default. You can right-click where it doesn't have any programs or on the edge, and there's a rectangle you can click+hold and drag to change size I think.

            I've got my fair share of complaints about KDE4. kwrite's tabbing - dude, WTF went wrong here? Konqueror's default icon view - Tiny icons AND shitloads of whitespace - sucks, and my sane settings won't seem to save Its file-management performace is heartbreakingly bad. Konq 3.5 and 4 both take some time to generate previews for the 4000 lolcats floating around my documents dir; 3.5 smoothly scrolls while doing so - I right well expect OpenGl-accelerated 4.2beta to. And please, God, make it so that when I switch to konqueror tab Y typing resumes going where it was if I had a textbox selected.

            And since you mention Amarok 2 I'll join you in crying about that disappointment. 2.0, to be blunt, stunk, and it really turned me off to KDE4 since 1.4 won't start due to different audio architectures. In hindsight, I think it was the dealbreaker. mp3blaster is nice and mplayer -loop 1000 works, but I like being able to hit meta-z/c/b to go through things.
            • A full third of the window is taken by an about-song panel with no obvious way to get rid of it. 1.4 does it right by letting you click an unobtrusive context label on the sidebar.
            • Totally screwed up playlist display. Different entries are different sizes? They look like they're vaguely trying to group themselves, but failing. WTH, over! One song = one 12-point bar with name, serial number and rank. And due to the aforementioned about-song taking 1/3 of the screen, I can't get my song info all on one line.
            • Gives up too easily. I recently pulled half a gig of random classical MP3s down and tossed 'em into Amarok so I could get a feel. Knowing how p2p is, several were corrupt. Amarok 1.4 will keep trying to play (skipping whatever it can't) until hell freezes over. 2.0 pops up a "too many errors" message inside its window (which will not be seen if it's minimized) and gives up. If it's going to give up that easily, at least make it grab my attention and say why my music keeps stopping.
            • My pause button doesn't work! How in the fuck did it get to alpha, let alone release, with a broken pause button? I hit pause, it blinks and goes right back to playing.

            Now, I really like KDE 3. I've been using it since whatever came with Mandrake 8.2 was new. I knew KDE 4 would be different, it being a total rework and all. And there are a lot of things I really like that were done really well. The windowing system (sans a few configuration menu fubars), the scribble-on-desktop applet, the color scheme and widgets - awesome job. Konqueror 4 (as long as I don't try to save a file or browse my porn) - awesome job. Yep, that plus Konsole covers 9/10 of what I do. But until at least some of the issues I join SanityInAnarchy in ranting about are fixed, I'm not going to make the full leap (marked by copying my email from ~/.kde to ~/.kde4.

            In short, my KDE4 trial left me with the same handful of "If they would just fix this damn annoying thing" complaints that so many would-be Windows users walk away from Linux with. Which is a shame, because as of 4.2beta2 they've got about 90+% of "it" nailed as well as or better than 3.5. I truly think that most of these shenanigans could have been avoided if they'd tested the final RC on 100 people who'd never used the alphas or betas before and fixed the top ten complaints, whatever they were, before going gold.

          • by stilborne (85590) on Sunday January 04, 2009 @05:28AM (#26318503) Homepage

            "KDE has no working version."

            3.5 is still out there and used by millions.

            "How do I make the panel thinner vertically?"

            in 4.1 is was rather "hidden": there's a little strip at the top of the panel controller (right click on the panel -> Panel Settings, or click the toolbox button on the far right of the panel) that you can click and drag on. in 4.2 there's a nice obvious button that says "Height" (or "Width" if it's a vertical panel)

            " How do I adjust its translucency"

            select a Plasma theme that provides a translucent panel, which the default theme does. it requires compositing (aka "desktop effects") to be working, however.

            the fake translucency in kicker was an insane hack (trust me, i did the bulk of the coding to get it to work ;) and it of course wasn't perfect: it only showed your wallpaper, not windows and heaven forbid if the wallpaper was animated or anything like that.

            "-- how do I give it a completely transparent background, but solid foreground?:"

            use a completely transparent SVG. =) in 4.2 there is a control panel in system settings (in the Advanced area) that lets you mix and match individual SVGs should you wish to.

            "Yet the KDE4 version of AmaroK doesn't yet support encoding scripts in any way, so my choice is mp3s, or no encoding at all. WTF?"

            yes, there are some features missing in the first "dot-oh" release of Amarok2. there's an Amarok release coming in January that covers a lot of these (rather amazing how fast that goes, really), though i don't know if this is one of them. i do hope you've filed a feature request on bugs.kde.org.

            oh, and if you're tempted to say "they should have just held 2.0 until January, then", don't bother: making releases from the code repository is an absolutely requirement to keep open source projects moving, and one of the downsides of that is that often a first release of a new series isn't what a consumer-grade user is going to what to cut their teeth on. that's why there is another step in row, e.g. distributions. not that they seem to always be doing their users the best favours lately in that regard. *shrug*

            • by Matt Perry (793115) <perry.matt54@ya h o o.com> on Sunday January 04, 2009 @01:56PM (#26321243)

              "KDE has no working version."

              3.5 is still out there and used by millions.

              Then that should be a clue that the KDE developers need to still be fixing bugs in 3.5.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              3.5 is still out there and used by millions.

              And is no longer maintained, to the point where big, obvious, probably easy-to-fix bugs are ignored, because it's in 3.5, not 4.x.

              Either one is going to give me showstopper bugs.

              in 4.1 is was rather "hidden": there's a little strip at the top of the panel controller (right click on the panel -> Panel Settings, or click the toolbox button on the far right of the panel) that you can click and drag on.

              Thanks, someone else just pointed that out to me.

              I've also noticed how when I do this, it breaks the clock applet more than it was before.

              the fake translucency in kicker was an insane hack (trust me, i did the bulk of the coding to get it to work ;) and it of course wasn't perfect: it only showed your wallpaper, not windows and heaven forbid if the wallpaper was animated or anything like that.

              Yes, I understand that. It would be nice if the real translucency/transparency at least provided the same features, though.

              I said "adjust" its translucency, not "make it translucent by whatever th

        • About 3.5 more weeks [google.com].
      • Re:I like KDE 4 (Score:5, Insightful)

        by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Sunday January 04, 2009 @12:24AM (#26317195)
        Uhm, 4.1 is only marginally better than alpha quality. Perfect example: yesterday, I needed to import a CA public key for use in all my KDE apps. There is no tool for this, and I actually had to use 'cat' to append the certificate to the system certificates file. That is an embarrassing oversight, and forces one to question just what sort of design practices, if any, were adhered to by the KDE 4 team.

        You say that 4.0 was a temporary step backward from 3.5? 4.1 is still a step backward, just slightly less of one. 3.5 derived a lot of its power from a very solid, well refined OLE framework, and 4.1 has yet to even approach that. In 3.5, it was seamless to browse a tarball, because the ArK component would embed right into Konqueror. ArK does not embed into Dolphin or Konqueror in 4.1, and in standalone ArK, you cannot open most files without extracting, which is annoying and basically defeats the purpose of a tool like ArK. Many users, myself included, use (or used to use) keyboard shortcuts for various actions -- yet that is still completely broken in KDE 4.1, and worse yet, some application shortcuts are broken if you run the application with KDE as the WM, but work just fine if you use something else.

        If the KDE team does not get their act together fast, and give people some sort of hope with the 4.2 release, KDE is going to die.
        • Re:I like KDE 4 (Score:5, Insightful)

          by scruffy (29773) on Sunday January 04, 2009 @12:48AM (#26317343)
          I agree. Frankly, KDE 4 sucks. KDE 3.5 was polished and efficient. KDE 4.1 is well, not even close to where KDE 3.5 was. To pick one example, panel hiding is still buggy. Sometimes it hides, sometimes it doesn't. The number of options on panel hiding are now yes or no rather than a gradation of possibilities. I'm wondering if we'll get to KDE 4.5 where things are good again, and then we'll come to some screwy KDE 5.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by lbbros (900904)
            Ahem... there is NO panel hiding in 4.1. Your distro must have backported the feature from trunk (4.2 has not been released yet). Put the blame on them if it doesn't work properly, not on KDE.
        • Re:I like KDE 4 (Score:5, Informative)

          by stilborne (85590) on Sunday January 04, 2009 @05:17AM (#26318465) Homepage

          "I needed to import a CA public key for use in all my KDE apps"

          Konqueror -> Settings -> Configure Konqueror -> Crypto -> SSL Signers -> Import.

          "That is an embarrassing oversight,"

          *cough*

          "3.5 derived a lot of its power from a very solid, well refined OLE framework, and 4.1 has yet to even approach that"

          the "OLE framework" in KDE is called KParts, and the infrastructure hasn't changed one bit between KDE3 and KDE4.

          "ArK does not embed into Dolphin or Konqueror in 4.1"

          it doesn't embed into Dolphin, no, because that's not Dolphin's design goal. i don't have 4.1 nearby to test this on, but in 4.2 you can navigate directly into tarballs seamlessly in Konqueror.

          "you cannot open most files without extracting"

          currently Ark relies on KParts for previewing files without extracting. an "open with" that would extract to a temporary location and launch the app would be nice, though.

          "some application shortcuts are broken if you run the application with KDE as the WM,"

          which shortcuts would those be? actually, better yet, go to bugs.kde.org and report it there so it can be handled.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Jurily (900488)

            it doesn't embed into Dolphin, no, because that's not Dolphin's design goal.

            What? What kind of *nix file manager leaves out tarballs? Hell, even Explorer does zip.

            Rule of thumb: if it does less than mc, it sucks.

          • Re:I like KDE 4 (Score:5, Informative)

            by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Sunday January 04, 2009 @11:12AM (#26320045)
            "Konqueror -> Settings -> Configure Konqueror -> Crypto -> SSL Signers -> Import."

            Maybe this is fixed in the nightly builds or in 4.2? I am using 4.1.3 right now, and yes, that option *exists* but it does not work, it does not propagate the public keys globally, and it does not retain those settings after hitting "OK." Claiming that is the solution to my problem is kind of like calling your alpha release "version 4.0 stable." Hmm...

            "the "OLE framework" in KDE is called KParts, and the infrastructure hasn't changed one bit between KDE3 and KDE4."

            Except that the use of KParts has changed. In KDE3, all the KParts components played well with each other (except for the Kontact KParts, which only embedded in Kontact), which is exactly what OLE is supposed to do. In KDE4, a few components still embed in one another, but nothing on the level of KDE 3. The OP was claiming that KDE 4.1 was approaching 3.5 in terms of functionality; where are the useful, play-nice-with-others KParts?

            "it doesn't embed into Dolphin, no, because that's not Dolphin's design goal. i don't have 4.1 nearby to test this on, but in 4.2 you can navigate directly into tarballs seamlessly in Konqueror."

            Then Dolphin was poorly designed. I do not need a file manager if all it does is browse normal, already mounted file systems. Dolphin certain supports some level of OLE, the fact that it cannot embed an ArK component is, once again, an oversight, and an embarrassing one. Maybe this will be fixed in 4.2.x? 4.3?

            "currently Ark relies on KParts for previewing files without extracting. an "open with" that would extract to a temporary location and launch the app would be nice, though."

            And once again, they do not play well with others. Why not have an Okular component embed into ArK? Why force me to extract a PDF file just to view it? If the file manager does not embed an ArK component, and ArK cannot embed an Okular component, then why would I use Dolphin/ArK when I could just use a terminal? In 3.5, there was no question: KPDF embedded in ArK, ArK embedded in Konqueror, and the software stack was more useful than trying to navigate using just a terminal.

            "which shortcuts would those be? actually, better yet, go to bugs.kde.org and report it there so it can be handled."

            http://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=165441#c2 [kde.org]

            Notice that they did not even PLAN to fix it in 4.1. Maybe it will be fixed in 4.2? I can only hope so, because it is clumsy, annoying, and frankly stupid for shortcuts to fail. What is very odd, though, is the kxkb shortcuts work in Fluxbox; oh wait, that is confirmed too:

            http://markmail.org/message/dxz6fntbrp73cljl [markmail.org]

            Again, NO PLANS to fix. Why are there no plans to fix this? Keyboard shortcuts are the only way to keep a large GUI like KDE from being too clumsy to use, but they are sitting around scratching their heads and not even trying to get this working. Again, one is forced to ask just what design methodology they are adhering to, if any. Another commenter noted that there are other shortcut daemons; is that really what we are stuck with?
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by orthogonal (588627) *

        KDE 4.1 looks like Gnome, only worse. The default font sizes are HUGE, and the default antialiasing is horrible. The launcher button on the kicker panel, instead of just showing applications, shows a tabbed panel that starts on the "favorites" tab; to actually launch an app, I have to chose the application tab, then get a list in a HUGE font, when menu, instead of cascading, are replaced by sub-panels, and the replacement is made slower by stupid animation.

        The kicker panel itself is way too large, probably

    • Re:I like KDE 4 (Score:4, Informative)

      by Asic Eng (193332) on Sunday January 04, 2009 @12:19AM (#26317169)
      I dunno - I've been using KDE for years, recently I gave Kubuntu a try (using it to setup the Christmas gift for my dad), and it came with KDE 4.1. Either there is still so much functionality missing that it's not usable yet, or the usage concepts are so far from my expectations that I couldn't get the hang of it. Looking around on the message boards seemed to indicate the former, so I switched back to KDE 3.5.6.

      One thing I found particularly puzzling are the plasmoids - I couldn't see the point. They seem to be basically applications which can not be re-sized, brought in the foreground or moved around. They are not in the task panel either. So why would I use a plasmoid instead of a application window? To see it, I would need to minimize every other window on the desktop.

      Then again - it didn't seem possible to add an application to the panel - only plasmoids. So no quick access to the 3-4 apps I need the most.

      Don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking it - it had a nice look to it, the eye-candy was neat. (The icons were damn hard to read though.) However I just didn't get the hang of it. At the time I couldn't find a general usage guide either, so I'd be curious for any insight you could provide.

      • plasmoids are supposed to be like the widgets in OSX or the widgets in Vista. As far as I'm concerned they're all pretty, but worthless no matter which you're talking about for any OS.
        • Plasmoids can be embedded in the taskbar, and could be useful for something like a little weather applet. Since Plasmoids use SVG, they fit well no matter what size you choose for your taskbar. There is potential there for something useful, but really, potential will only get us so far.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Plasmoids can be embedded in the taskbar, and could be useful for something like a little weather applet.

            In other words, the KDE team destroyed a perfectly functioning desktop environment to build a better Weatherbug. This is coming from a long time KDE user, Gnome hater, and still Fedora 6 user (previously Fedora 4 user). I can't upgrade to the newer Fedoras due to bugs. In other words, if it is not going to work "out of the box", there isn't much benefit. Maybe I will switch to Debian.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              Sadly, much as I like KDE, this is basically the case. Nobody really knows what Plasmoids are useful for, other than simplistic applets that we already had with other systems. It is kind of interesting to having something like Folder View...but not really useful. Unfortunately, the KDE team spent so much time worrying about Plasma and plasmoids and getting it all working that they neglected things like KHotKeys, KSSL, etc.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 03, 2009 @11:36PM (#26316843)

    Honestly, I wish people would just sit back, relax, and realize that there mere EXISTENCE of open source is the real victory here. Do we really need more than that? I have a choice in software. I have a freedom to choose. Neither Microsoft nor Apple dictate how I execute personal computing tasks.

    We won. Let's give it up with the smug articles about how our sh*t doesn't stink. It's really tiresome.

    • by theheadlessrabbit (1022587) on Sunday January 04, 2009 @01:14AM (#26317521) Homepage Journal

      Honestly, I wish people would just sit back, relax, and realize that there mere EXISTENCE of open source is the real victory here. Do we really need more than that?

      yes, we do. we need software that actually works.
      some of us have work that needs to get done. (that's why i use gnome and winXP.)

    • When your stuff isn't worth mentioning in the same breath as its proprietary competition (KDE4--how did it go so wrong? is the theme here, with Firefox and Google Chrome good counterpoints to this), you aren't "victorious," you're sucking wind.

    • by tsa (15680) on Sunday January 04, 2009 @04:37AM (#26318347) Homepage

      I'm so happy to have switched from Linux to OSX. After 10 years of jumping through hoops to get simple things done, struggling with software that's far behind in capabilities and ease of use compared to commercial software, and listening to conversations like this (it's crap now but in a few weeks/months/years...) I'd had enough. Now I have a system that works most of the time. And that is worth every penny I paid for it.

  • Nokia ad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tubal-Cain (1289912) * on Saturday January 03, 2009 @11:36PM (#26316845) Journal

    Of the 7 "victories" listed, 3 involve Nokia:
    Their opening up of Symbian
    Their purchase of Trolltech
    And the unveiling of Maemo 5

    Yay.

    • by linhares (1241614)

      You must be new here!

      ARS' Nokia fanboyism [google.com.br] never fails to amaze.

  • Python 3 (Score:4, Informative)

    by dmomo (256005) on Saturday January 03, 2009 @11:43PM (#26316897) Homepage

    Pretty exciting stuff. Another notable open source victory was that of the release of Django 1.0 in November.

    Sadly, Django is not written in Python 3, and python 3 breaks backwards compatibility [linuxtoday.com].

    Since both the Django and python communities are very active, I suspect this will be remedied soon. I cannot wait.

    • Re:Python 3 (Score:4, Informative)

      by ubernostrum (219442) on Sunday January 04, 2009 @12:14AM (#26317139) Homepage

      Since both the Django and python communities are very active, I suspect this will be remedied soon. I cannot wait.

      You might end up in trouble, then; as explained by the FAQ [djangoproject.com], it'll be a while before Django officially supports Python 3.0.

      Remember: even the Python developers themselves are talking about a migration timeline of years, rather than a simple "next version of every library will be on Python 3" (which just isn't possible with any kind of responsible release process). See this summary I posted on django-developers [google.com] for some more information.

    • by wisty (1335733)

      For a lot of projects I would be skeptical of the value of Python 3 (as Python 2.6 has those cool multiprocessing and json modules); but Python 3 really fixes a lot of Unicode warts. In a web framework, I guess that's pretty important.

  • Wine (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 3p1ph4ny (835701) on Saturday January 03, 2009 @11:47PM (#26316935) Homepage

    Uh, Wine went 1.0? How is this not on the list, but Google Chrome is? Chrome isn't even open source, Chromium is.

    • Re:Wine (Score:5, Informative)

      by martijnd (148684) on Saturday January 03, 2009 @11:56PM (#26317023)

      Seconded -- Wine is making amazing progress, just check the biweekly changelogs to see how much progress its making.

      If this keeps up Linux becomes a solid games platform.

      • by CarpetShark (865376) on Sunday January 04, 2009 @07:42AM (#26319093)

        If this keeps up Linux becomes a solid games platform.

        VirtualBox 2.x (2.1? not sure) recently got 3d acceleration support. Most of the other open source VMs (as well as the proprietary ones) are also going to accelerated 3d. Combined with the general move towards multiple cores and hardware support for virtualisation, this is pretty much guaranteed to bring decent windows (and OS X) app and gaming support to Linux. If physics acceleration takes off more, it'll be the next milestone, but there's still time for that, and the 3d acceleration technology combined with things like OpenCL should help to make physics accel support a smaller/faster project.

    • by wisty (1335733)

      Yep, Wine is the coolest thing since Linux. You know it's there, and you know it's geeky and patchy, and you could just buy Windows and avoid all the bother, but sooner or later - BAMM it will be the obvious choice. (I write this from a Mac, but I still say that Linux + GNU + any good package manager is the obvious choice for an operating system - I just like my iLife, MS Office, and TextMate; and I like pretending to be a member of an oppressed minority).

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by cgenman (325138)

      Chrome got a lot of buzz and people talking this year. It also has a pretty solid / minimalistic interface UI, and brings forth some interesting ideas in browsing (generated start pages and dynamic searching comes to mind). Also, while Google has always been supportive of Mozilla, them putting their weight behind a browser *could* become quite significant.

      Also, my understanding is that Chromium is Chrome with the logo / branding stripped out for trademark reasons, similar to Netscape / Mozilla in the earl

  • by John Hasler (414242) on Saturday January 03, 2009 @11:53PM (#26316997) Homepage

    ...because there is no war.

    • by Draek (916851)

      On all software projects, specially F/OSS ones, there's always a 'war' against stagnation, and things like Python 3 and Mono 2.0 are such huge advances compared to what came before, that they can easily be considered victories in such a 'war'.

      Yes, it may sound a little like the "War on Terror", but at least in this case we all know it's just poetic language ;)

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Like2Byte (542992)

      When your opponent believes that you and he are not in a war, you have achieved 99% victory. When your opponent believes no one is at war with him he is a fool.

      There is very much a campaign against open source and very much a campaign against closed source.

      For example: There were many office suites until Microsoft entered the arena...then most fell. The OSS answer was OO.o and probably others.

      IBM vs Sun
      IBM vs Microsoft
      Windows vs Linux
      Windows vs Mac
      Office vs OO.c
      IE vs Moz/Firefox

      then there was

      Google Chrome v

      • Mozilla made 75 million dollars in 2007, a little less in 2006. They have a healthy number of zero's in their bank account. I don't think anything other than fast cars, hookers, and beer are on the horizon for anyone in their executive.

  • Mono 2 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by N!NJA (1437175) on Saturday January 03, 2009 @11:54PM (#26317007)
    wont feel like a victory if MS decides to pull the carpet off everyone's feet someday. to my mind, the phrase "walking on eggs" illustrates perfectly the situation of those developing or relying on Mono.
  • AMD Anyone? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Josejx (46837) on Sunday January 04, 2009 @12:08AM (#26317115) Homepage

    I can't believe nobody mentioned AMD open sourcing all of the Radeon documentation. That's some of the biggest open source news this year imho.

  • Sun xVM VirtualBox (Score:5, Informative)

    by Eric Wayte (4583) on Sunday January 04, 2009 @12:26AM (#26317205) Homepage

    I know it was originally released by InnoTek in 2007, but VirtualBox has really taken off since being acquired by Sun. 3 major releases (1.6, 2.0, 2.1) this year!

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      VirtualBox isn't truly open source. VirtualBox OSE is crippled. For example, it doesn't support USB.

    • 3 major releases (1.6, 2.0, 2.1) this year!

      Big deal. If I write a shell script, revise it twice, and label them as versions 1, 2, and 3, was it as big of an accomplishment?

      That's not to say some major improvements haven't been made in VirtualBox, I am just pointing out that version numbers don't mean much

      See Also:
      Linux Kernel 3.0 [apcmag.com]
      Linux Kernel 0.95 [wikipedia.org]

  • by Facetious (710885) on Sunday January 04, 2009 @12:30AM (#26317227) Journal
    I read the list in TFA, and generally agree that these are decent to good projects, but I think articles like this miss the point in large measure. I use gvSIG and Quantum GIS for part of my job (GIS). I use Drupal for another part of my job (web admin). Most people, even open source advocates, are likely not aware of all of these projects. They are all open source, but they cater to niches. Thus, they don't make lists. That's fine though. Open source has found its way into every dark corner of software development. I think the phrase "paradigm shift," before it was a buzz phrase, describes what has happened. That these projects and hundreds like them are thriving tells me more about the victory of open source than any top ten list.
  • Faster = good. Regressions from FF2 = bad. Awesome bar = not so awesome.
    • <Abestos>I know I am in the minority here, but I actually kind of *LIKE* the Awesome bar. I type the first few characters of the website I want and usually it appears on the list. I also use things like tab file expansion in BASH, so it is an interface I am very comfortable with. I do agree that you should be able to turn it off.</Abestos>
  • by postmortem (906676) on Sunday January 04, 2009 @01:18AM (#26317547) Journal

    NetBeans and Eclipse namely.

    They cover C, C++, Java, Python, Perl, PHP, JavaScript, Ruby, UML, XML, SVN, and many more - totally free. The compilers and interpreters for listed languages exist freely on Windows, and all are open source.

    The best part is - these platforms are as good, and often better than paid versions such as Visual Studio.

    They are also very popular in enterprise...

  • pseudo-victories? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Eil (82413) on Sunday January 04, 2009 @02:32AM (#26317889) Homepage Journal

    Two of the best open source projects that I first learned about and utilized for "real work" in 2008 (though I don't know that they count as "victories"):

    Puppet [reductivelabs.com], the system administration automation system. (Like cfengine, but way smarter and easier)

    CodeIgniter [codeigniter.com], the PHP web application framework that doesn't box you into its idea of a web framework

  • Strange Ordering. (Score:5, Informative)

    by drolli (522659) on Sunday January 04, 2009 @04:24AM (#26318299) Journal

    In my opinion, the biggest victory is the availability of notebooks from larger manufacturers with linux preinstalled, for a low price (netbooks).

How many hardware guys does it take to change a light bulb? "Well the diagnostics say it's fine buddy, so it's a software problem."

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