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Local Newspapers Use F/OSS For a Day 460

Posted by Soulskill
from the free-as-in-a-dying-industry dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Journal Register Company owns 18 small newspapers, and in honor of the July 4th holiday and Ben Franklin, the company's newsrooms produced their daily papers using only free software. The reporters were quick to note that 'the proprietary software is designed to be efficient, reliable and relatively fast for the task of producing a daily newspaper. The free substitutes, not so much.' I applaud the company for undertaking such a feat, but I hope their readership's impression of free software won't be negatively affected by the newspaper's one-day foray into F/OSS."
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Local Newspapers Use F/OSS For a Day

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  • For a day? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kangsterizer (1698322) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @02:05PM (#32792708)

    These guys have been using their proprietary software for decades, they're used to every single button.
    Then they switch over to radicaly different software interface (hi Gimp!) for a single day... of course they're way less efficient.

    Certainly some software might lacks polish, but the conclusion that if they didn't adapt in ONE day the software isn't as efficient.. that's really quite flawed uh.

    • Re:For a day? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 04, 2010 @02:10PM (#32792740)

      These guys have been using their proprietary software for decades, they're used to every single button.
      Then they switch over to radicaly different software interface (hi Gimp!) for a single day... of course they're way less efficient.

      Certainly some software might lacks polish, but the conclusion that if they didn't adapt in ONE day the software isn't as efficient.. that's really quite flawed uh.

      EXACTLY!

      My companies IT refused to install Visio on my machine (citing some limited licensing issue) so I installed Inkscape todo some vector drawing.
      I very quickly picked it up and can do all sorts with it.

      That was over 2 years ago. last month IT installed Visio for me since I had some other peoples drawings to edit and DAMN did it take me forever and a day todo some of the simplest stuff SIMPLY because I didn't know the equivelent or the visio way of doing some things. I know visio can do most of it (except equation drawing, sup perfect sinwave :D) because others in hte office use it daily YET I took some time because it was new to me.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Animaether (411575)

      That depends on what they were doing.

      Obviously one shouldn't expect to learn a different application through-and-through in just a day.

      On the other hand.. if e.g. Google Docs did not use a bolded B button to turn text bold, like every other application going with that defacto standard, but instead went with a normally-written T - for Thick - which those in the graphics industry might instead think is to insert a text field, I could well-imagine that the learning curve would be much greater than it had to be

    • Re:For a day? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by uvajed_ekil (914487) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @02:36PM (#32792876)
      When I was an unexperienced driver at 18 years-old, and had never owned a car, I bought one with the first manual transmission I'd ever touched. The first day was nearly a disaster, stalling repeatedly, lurching and shaking about, and requiring multiple attempts get moving from stops on hills. Simply driving was inefficient and slow (despite the car being a pretty nice old sports car), and required all of my attention. But I got used to it -- so much so that the next four cars I bought also had manual transmissions, and one was a newer, nicer version of that same car. Like the free and open source software mentioned here, manual transmissions take a bit of practice, but they are cheaper and can be at least as efficient (more mpg than older automatics, less maintenance), and being more in control is nice. A one-day test is a nice start, but that is nothing to make a decision on.
      • Re:For a day? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by quixote9 (999874) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @02:49PM (#32792946) Homepage
        Yeah. The inefficiency is all the software's fault, obviously. The part between the keyboard and the chair always knows how to use anything unfamiliar perfectly the first time.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jellomizer (103300)

      Open Source software has its strong points however it really depends on the target user groups.
      Most (Most means more then 1/2, and Not all) Open Source projects have a limited financial funding behind it, and is built with a rather loose organizational structure. So it is really software designed to fill the need of the programmers, others are copies of commercial applications. But there isn't the intervention of the PHB and Marketing and Sales. However these groups that we like to classify as hinderanc

    • These guys have been using their proprietary software for decades, they're used to every single button.

      Decades? Quark Xpress, one of the more popular packages, fell out of favor after just over a decade and changed considerably with each release. Adobe CS (along with Quark's lethargy in going to Mac OS X, insane software license activation, and always-buggy releases) drove Quark virtually out of business; they've barely survived. CS's UI was completely different, but people still loved using it.

      And

      • by Cylix (55374) *

        Don't try to fix it yourself at a restaurant.

        I offered to come in and be a cook for a day. I pretty much felt their home menu was terrible and the chili was awful. Instead, I got a lecture on how chili will vary with the weather and whatnot. (Things I already knew about food, but regardless I still make a pretty good batch of chili.)

        On the plus side they didn't really last very long. Turns out you can only serve something people don't like for so long.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by PitaBred (632671)

        If the rest of the world wants to pay the developers to build that software, I'm certain that many would jump at the chance. The fact is, people get something for free and then they bitch when it doesn't do everything they think it should do, because it's never been something important to the developers.

        Tell me, when you're doing your hobby, say, gardening, what would you do if some random schmuck came up to you and said "I really like peas, and you aren't planting any, so you suck. You should plant peas."?

        • by TheGreek (2403) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @04:35PM (#32793648)

          If the rest of the world wants to pay the developers to build that software, I'm certain that many would jump at the chance. The fact is, people get something for free and then they bitch when it doesn't do everything they think it should do, because it's never been something important to the developers.

          Tell me, when you're doing your hobby, say, gardening, what would you do if some random schmuck came up to you and said "I really like peas, and you aren't planting any, so you suck. You should plant peas."?

          That would depend on whether or not I'm telling passers-by that they're schmucks for shopping for food at supermarkets instead of growing their own free food.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by the_womble (580291)

            The problem is that the FOSS alternatives are often better - I would say usually better for commonly used apps.

            The problem is that they are not better for every single app from the point of view of every single user. I do not view that as a problem.

            For my usage open source is usually superior, with the exception of Excel for really big spreadsheets (even that is not really something I do any more either) and spreadsheet graphs. That is well worth putting up for, for the advantages of FOSS:

            1) Linux had had

        • by GlassHeart (579618) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @04:51PM (#32793730) Journal
          No, they bitch because some advocates told them that free alternatives are just as good or better.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Tell me, when you're doing your hobby, say, gardening, what would you do if some random schmuck came up to you and said "I really like peas, and you aren't planting any, so you suck. You should plant peas."?

          That depends. Before he does that, are a bunch of people running around telling everybody to stop eating their store bought groceries and to eat from my garden instead?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by the_womble (580291)

        Like it or not, the open-source community has proven to be relatively horrible at listening to its user base; half the time, you're told "if you don't like it, fix it yourself."

        I was taking you quite seriously until I got to that.

        Do proprietary software vendors always add every feature you request? Open source developers, like proprietary developers, MAY act on feature requests if they think its worth doing. Open source gives you the additional option of fixing it yourself, or paying someone to do it.

        A good many open source developers will also be willing to to add features they think are unnecessary if you are willing to pay for it - do Adobe give you that option?

        The restaurant a

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Grond (15515)

      These guys have been using their proprietary software for decades, they're used to every single button.
      Then they switch over to radicaly different software interface (hi Gimp!) for a single day... of course they're way less efficient.

      Did you read the article? They produced one issue with free software, but they've been working on it for a while. For example, "News Editor Paul Tackett has been working days and nights, on top of his usual job, to set up most of the day's pages in a layout program called Scr

    • Re:For a day? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by grumbel (592662) <grumbel@gmx.de> on Sunday July 04, 2010 @03:04PM (#32793048) Homepage

      Then they switch over to radicaly different software interface (hi Gimp!) for a single day... of course they're way less efficient.

      While I agree with that, I have some doubts that their view would have changed a lot if the test would have been done for weeks, month or years. I have used Free Software pretty much exclusively for the last 10+ years and a lot of stuff still just feels broken and/or incomplete, compared to the proprietary stuff I used back then. The reason is simple, professional proprietary software is developed to solve a problems people have, if it is not good enough, it might get overrun by a competing product. Free Software on the other side might start with solving somebodies problem, but after that it often just ends up being stuck in maintenance hell. Nobody goes out to actually analyses what people are using the software for and how it could be improved for that usecase. Either it kind of sort of already fits or people will be stuck with a half finished solution for a long while to come.

      See Gimp, that multi-window interface has been an annoyance for what? A decade? Yet we still don't have that fixed. We might get that fixed in the next big release, maybe, but thats 10 years to long. Same with higher color depths, it has been a request feature for ages, even got a fork (FilmGimp/Cinepaint), yet mainline Gimp still can't do it. In the commercial world you might have quite a bit of an issue if you let users wait for ages, yet in the Free Software world that is pretty much standard. The only exceptions to this seems to be the commercial endeavorers like Ubuntu where they actually optimize the software for the user and not just randomly patch along.

      Of course, thanks to it being Free Software I can go and patch it myself [blogspot.com], but often times that is just not practical.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by turbidostato (878842)

        "The reason is simple, professional proprietary software is developed to solve a problems people have"

        That's wishful thinking. Professional proprietary software is developed to make money, not to solve people's problems. As such, within proprietary software as soon as you can reach your goal (making money) more effectively by locking in customers or lobying with third parties instead of fulfilling users's need, there they'll go.

        All of your rant -not to say there are not valid points, goes for some project

        • Re:For a day? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by grumbel (592662) <grumbel@gmx.de> on Sunday July 04, 2010 @04:14PM (#32793540) Homepage

          goes for some project management objectives that while probably easier to find within open sourced software packages are in fact independent of the distribution license.

          The difference is that in a commercial piece of software it is not the developer making the decisions. If the boss says the users demand X, then the programmers will have to implement it in one form or another. With non-commercial Free Software the developer is making the decisions and requests by users are either ignored or even actively blocked. Of course you can have commercial Free Software, as in the Ubuntu/Canonical case, then you can basically have best of both worlds. The problem however is that Ubuntu just can't fix all of the Free Software out there, they don't even have enough man-power to just pack and support it. So yeah, its not the license, its just a development model that is very common in the Free Software world.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Draek (916851)

        Since you've barely used propietary software for ten years, let me tell you: it's the same thing. Windows' terrible CLI, something that's been bothering admins and power users since at least Windows 2000 has only now been somewhat addressed with 7's PowerShell. And let us not talk of the wait we had to get proper, usable PNG support in IE, and I fear if it weren't for Firefox et al we'd still be waiting.

        It's cute, this idea of yours that the commercial world is like one of those wildlife docummentaries you

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by sortius_nod (1080919)

      One thing I find highly amusing is their claim that the proprietary software is "efficient, reliable and relatively fast".

      Having worked as support in a large media company, I can assure you that the proprietary software is the biggest problem with publishing. The makers are slow to fix any bugs, if they ever do, they don't adhere to any standards (software will output 2.5GB pdfs for a single page, wtf?), and the interfaces are usually throwbacks to the 1990s if you're lucky. There was many a day that the pa

  • Learning curve (Score:3, Insightful)

    by commodore64_love (1445365) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @02:06PM (#32792718) Journal

    I bet if they switched from their Windows software to a Mac OS software, they'd experience similar results. It's inevitable that when you jump from one style to another style, you'll experience some slowdown in the work.

    • Re:Learning curve (Score:5, Insightful)

      by AnswerIs42 (622520) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @02:26PM (#32792802) Homepage
      Nope, not that much of a difference between mac and PC versions of Desktop publishing software. I use both nightly at work... and I work at a newspaper.

      Really though, news rooms should not even touch all of that stuff.. they write the articles and the editor places them in the document, final document gets sent to me where I do my voodoo and make 4 color post script files and PDFs and generate plates for the presses.

      • I bet if they switched from their Windows software to a Mac OS software, they'd experience similar results. It's inevitable that when you jump from one style to another style, you'll experience some slowdown in the work.

        Nope, not that much of a difference between mac and PC versions of Desktop publishing software. I use both nightly at work... and I work at a newspaper.

        I've seen Windows people try to use a mac and get angry and frustrated, saying macs are stupid because files don't open when they select them and press enter, and that it's stupid for an OS to require that you use the mouse to open a file, and it's all stupid.
        I silently demonstrated the proper use of "command-O" and "command-arrowDown" to teach them that stupid is as stupid does, but they were still very frustrated that it wasn't exactly the same as on Windows, said it was stupid not to copy the most popula

        • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

          I silently demonstrated the proper use of "command-O" and "command-arrowDown"

          Neither of which is very intuitive, but memorized key-combos are sure useful.

          The problem is, that the perceived need to make interfaces more "intuitive" has also made them slower to use for those of us that don't mind learning a few shortcuts.

  • by jd (1658) <imipak@noSPam.yahoo.com> on Sunday July 04, 2010 @02:11PM (#32792746) Homepage Journal

    If the reporters wrote up the specific problems they were finding (such as what was slow, what was particularly difficult, etc) and submitted them to the developers, the developers would have a potentially very rich mine of information to work from. Sure, some of the issues will be ones of "X doesn't work the way Microsoft does it" - annoyances that slow adoption rates but not really bugs per-se. But there will likely be other comments along the lines of "in reporting, it would be very useful to do Y", or "as an editor, back in the cut-and-paste days I could do Z but this is so hard to do in software" - things neither FLOSS nor commercial WP/DTP does well, that FLOSS could potentially overtake on.

    • by Shinobi (19308) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @02:28PM (#32792818)

      Odds are they will be met the same way my father was met by the GIMP developers, i.e told to fuck off and do the changes himself, despite him not being a programmer at all, just an advanced hobby photographer. He spent almost a week laying out what, how and why, writing a couple of pages of structured and well-described suggestions.

      • by ScrewMaster (602015) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @02:53PM (#32792986)

        Odds are they will be met the same way my father was met by the GIMP developers, i.e told to fuck off and do the changes himself, despite him not being a programmer at all, just an advanced hobby photographer. He spent almost a week laying out what, how and why, writing a couple of pages of structured and well-described suggestions.

        I don't find that hard to believe at all. The thing is, if you're a programmer working in the software department of a larger organization, you will have other people whose job it is to find out what customers need. That information is ideally codified into reasonably detailed specs and passed on to the software engineering staff.

        Your typical small software house or open-source project doesn't have that luxury: developers usually are required to deal with end-users directly, and depending upon their personalities (and general level of professionalism) that may not work very well. True professionals in any field try their best to leave their egos at home, and when they get to work accept that there might be a better way of doing things. In a word, openmindedness. It's especially important when it comes to user-interface design: it truly does not matter how great a solution you feel you've created if your users think it sucks. When that happens, you go back to the drawing board and figure out something better. But the first step in that process is an admission that you're not perfect, and that your work can, in fact, be improved upon.

      • Well, that's an oft-heard complaint with any open source project, of course.. especially the free-as-in-beer ones; "You have the code, YOU make the changes if you think they're so important!" - completely ignoring that the user may not exactly be a programmer.
        Even if you then say "enough of this" and pay somebody to make those changes for you (which your father could possibly do - perhaps get together with other people who also think it's a good idea and pool together the money), the odds of getting those c

      • by lawpoop (604919)
        It sucks to be treated so brusquely, but he really did go about it the wrong way. GIMP developers are not at his beck and call. They're doing what they want to do, not meeting client or audience demands.

        Your father is not a programmer and cannot contribute to the GIMP project in terms of code. But he *can* contribute his well-thought-out documents by just posting them on a blog or forum or discussion board -- basically open source them. If people like his ideas, they will talk about them, link them, etc.
        • Wait, from what the GP post describes:

          He spent almost a week laying out what, how and why, writing a couple of pages of structured and well-described suggestions.

          It sounds like he did exactly what you suggest. I didn't see anything in the GP post that suggest that he was making demands, but rather, offering suggestions.

          • by lawpoop (604919)

            It sounds like he did exactly what you suggest. I didn't see anything in the GP post that suggest that he was making demands, but rather, offering suggestions.

            It's good that he wrote those documents. It's not good that he sent them to the GIMP devs and expected them to say, "Yes, sir! We'll jump right on it!"

            The proper thing to do is to put those documents ( or the information therein ) on his blog, or promote them generally on the internet. This is what I suggest he do -- we've already established that he's made such documents.

        • by Shinobi (19308)

          He DID bring his own ingredients: He contributed by spending a week describing and structuring suggestions, based on his over 35 years of doing photography. Unfortunately, that's something the GIMP people were at the time at least unable to comprehend the worth of. Ah well, my father just ended up buying a new license for Photoshop, as well as Lightroom. In terms of serious photography, even on the hobby side, the cost for those is small change.

      • by ddt (14627) <ddt@davetaylor.name> on Sunday July 04, 2010 @03:02PM (#32793038) Homepage

        For future reference, suggestions are better received when they come with funding to write them, even if the pay is very modest.

    • by braeldiil (1349569) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @02:29PM (#32792826)
      In theory, that information would be very useful to the developers. In practice, it would have no value whatsover. The developers would do one of the following: a) ignore it b) ask for a patch c) treat the suggestions as a personal attack and launch a flamewar. Open source software may have some virtues, but taking constructive criticism is definitely a major weakness.
  • Googled Docs (Score:2, Informative)

    by knifeyspooney (623953)
    FTFA:
    ...and the reporters have filed their stories in Googled Docs instead of Microsoft Word.

    I guess they meant they used free-as-in-beer software for that edition -- or whatever Googled Docs are. (Perhaps you get them when you type TheGoogle into a Word document [theonion.com]?)
  • by ronocdh (906309) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @02:14PM (#32792760)
    FTA:

    the reporters have filed their stories in Googled Docs instead of Microsoft Word.

    Since when is Google Docs considered free and/or open source software? I thought most of the free software movement agreed that cloud-based solutions were a big threat to software freedom. RMS must be rolling in his—er, make that Ben Franklin....

  • Summary inaccuracy (Score:3, Informative)

    by PrecambrianRabbit (1834412) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @02:17PM (#32792770)
    While the summary states that they used free and open source software, the article only states that they used free software. Their writers used Google Docs, which is free but not open source, instead of Microsoft Word.
  • I believe we're in another "free" vs. "Free" situation here. The summary implies that it was an experiment to transition to F/OSS software. But the word "open source" never appears in the article.

    In the associated video [youtube.com], they call it a "Ben Franklin" experiment and make reference to the "A penny saved... [wikipedia.org]" quote. In the article the only software projects they list are Scribus [scribus.net], which is indeed open source, and Google Docs [google.com], which is gratis but not open source. (I have no doubt Google uses plenty of open sou
  • by kge (457708)

    When we moved at our office from one ERP system (novell based) to another (SCO unix based ha!) we too cursed and yelled at it first. After using the program for a year we got the hang of it. Some years ago the system was moved to (Suse) Linux (at my advisal) and now we would not know what to do without it.
    When I decided to go from the Atari ST to PC in 1994 I had the choice of Windows, OS2 and something called Linux.. I switched to Linux and have not regretted it. Now at the office we run some Windows only

  • Sounds lame but (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CODiNE (27417) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @02:33PM (#32792844) Homepage

    They proved a newspaper can successfully be made using only F/OSS. One day? Imagine one year with a programmer or two tweaking the software to work just how they want it. It could blow away the existing stuff and enable a resurgence in amateur newspapers.

    • by flogger (524072)
      It takes more than software to publish a paper...
      A small press and the paper for it is a serious investment.
      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        It takes more than software to publish a paper...
        A small press and the paper for it is a serious investment.

        It's not so much about starting a paper as keeping one going. Alternative sources of news are becoming available and even vaguely credible. This is an alternative source of workflow tools.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      One day?

      I believe the transition took longer than a day; but they only used the 'alternate free workflow' for a day.

      My evidence is that in the article [jrcbenfranklin.com] they say:

      News Editor Paul Tackett has been working days and nights, on top of his usual job, to set up most of the day’s pages in a layout program called Scribus.

      (Emphasis added.) Also in the video at about 0:18 [youtube.com] the narrator says:

      Paul Tackett, our newseditor. He's been our Scribus hero of the week. Our Ben Franklin man of the week. Man of the month, really.

    • It bears frequent repeating that the organized effort to create FLOSS for ethical reasons preceded the organized effort to create FLOSS for pragmatic reasons, i.e., the Free Software Foundation preceded the Open Source Initiative. It required a lot of effort by people who, because of an ethical commitment, were willing to put up with software that wasn't as good as proprietary software, before you had a foundation of software that, as it turned out, worked better than proprietary software.

      If there were news

  • Classified ad paper (Score:4, Interesting)

    by innocent_white_lamb (151825) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @02:36PM (#32792874)

    I set up the computers and provide technical support for a small publishing company that prints two weekly classified ad papers (place your classified ads for free, the paper is sold at gas stations and convenience stores); about 15,000 physical papers are printed weekly. Plus there is an online subscription available for people to purchase
     
        The software is a combination of stuff that I wrote myself (the ad database, the program to create the plates for the press, etc) and Scribus, Gimp, and OpenOffice. LTSP is used to support thin client terminals for the staff that enter the ads into the database. Apache and sendmail for their web/email server.
     
    The whole operation runs on Centos 5.
     
    No worries about Windows viruses and everyting runs on automatic pilot as far as I'm concerned, most of the time.

  • by Jim Hall (2985) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @02:42PM (#32792908) Homepage

    So, staff at The Saratogian have used Windows software for years and years and years. They moved to Linux for a day and found that things were different, and "different" was hard to learn. Why am I not surprised?

    Here's what they said in TFA:

    News Editor Paul Tackett has been working days and nights, on top of his usual job, to set up most of the day's pages in a layout program called Scribus. ... For today's print edition, Tackett has duplicated the familiar components of The Saratogian from scratch, with the goal being that you won't know the difference between the look of today's paper and tomorrow's. ...

    That sure sounds hard. Tackett had to spend days to reproduce templates and layouts that have been built up over years. Yes, doing that kind of work would be hard for anyone. I give this guy huge credit for accomplishing it. But I also give kudos out to Scribus [scribus.net] for being able to support it.

    You know, moving from one environment that you know really well to one that you don't - it's always hard. We Linux users have trouble, too, moving from Linux to Windows. Don't believe me? I did it for my work, [blogspot.com] and I'm constantly finding things in Windows that "just don't work right" or "work stupidly".

    Linux is just easier for me. But I've been using Linux at home since 1993, and running Linux at work since 2002. Until 2009, that is, when I was "asked" to move to Windows for work.

    This whole "move to Linux in a day" thing is a neat "publicity stunt within the journalism industry" (their words) but migrating in that short a time is very very hard to do. If you're going to move an organization to Linux, there are ways to do it [blogspot.com] so you won't stress your users too much.

  • by telso (924323) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @02:45PM (#32792920)

    For today's print edition, Tackett has duplicated the familiar components of The Saratogian from scratch, with the goal being that you won't know the difference between the look of today's paper and tomorrow's. Likewise, photographers Erica Miller and Ed Burke have used free software instead of Photoshop for their pictures, and the reporters have filed their stories in Googled Docs instead of Microsoft Word. Online Editor Steve Shoemaker is posting video and stories to a free website, in addition to the regular site at saratogian.com.

    Considering how much needs to be done in such a short amount of time, newspapers tend to use massive collections of templates and integrated scripts if it will save even a few minutes during a production night. Even if the new templates and scripts were prepared in advance (bug-free and fully-featured, I'm sure), those doing layout would be put at an incredible disadvantage, even if they knew how to use the new programs at the same technical proficiency as their current ones (which I'm guessing they didn't).

    A copy editor (who spends most of his job laying out a paper, not finding typos, despite his title) at the Montreal Gazette, a daily in a large city, describes transitioning from QuarkXPress to InDesign over a month or so [fagstein.com], in stages, with certain staff and sections learning how to use the new system each week. Anyone who thinks trying new specialized software for one day will result in anything other than total chaos is kidding themselves. ("Hey, we switched from Drupal to Joomla for one day and it was much less efficient and took a lot more time.")

    Also, the headline and summary are not completely correct: the paper used free (as in beer) software, some of which was libre and open source, some of which was not (Google Docs, likely the video site).

  • by Grond (15515) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @02:52PM (#32792976) Homepage

    The article mentions Scribus and Google Docs by name but dances around the GIMP, saying only that they used "free software instead of Photoshop." The GIMP's ridiculous name has cost it some valuable media exposure. How can the GIMP expect to be taken seriously by professionals when they don't even feel comfortable using the name?

    To me, this is a good example of how free software development being divorced from dependence upon market success is sometimes a bad thing. A proprietary program with a name so bad that professionals avoid using it in print would rapidly be renamed. In fact, the name would probably be developed by a marketing team and focus group tested first to avoid the problem in the first place. But in the free software world the developers are free to stubbornly hold on to a frankly terrible name because there's a much weaker market success feedback loop.

    • rename it (Score:4, Funny)

      by YesIAmAScript (886271) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @03:05PM (#32793050)

      The name The GIMP is ridiculous. It should be called Ogg GIMP. That'll fix it right up.

    • by FoolishOwl (1698506) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @03:18PM (#32793140) Journal

      Too true. The name GIMP is outright offensive. When I've mentioned it in conversation to non-FLOSS people, I've usually felt a need to apologize for the name. I'd guess that some organizations would be concerned about legal trouble -- discriminating against the disabled is illegal (in the US, anyway), and using "gimp" out of context might be interpreted as discriminatory.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by FoolishOwl (1698506)

        Come to think of it, I wonder if this is part of the reason Canonical has dropped GIMP from the default Ubuntu installation.

    • Look at many places where familiarity with such nuances of EN is practically nonexistant. GIMP is still barely used.

  • Exactly the two things that come to mind with I think of F/OSS...

  • by Locutus (9039) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @03:45PM (#32793312)
    This made me wonder what it would be like now if Paul Revere and or William Dawes had said, after a short ride, 'this is hard and hurts my butt. My throat hurts from yelling so much so thanks but no thanks. I'm done with this freedom stuff.".

    Or how about if the citizens decided it would be easier to just stay home instead of risking life and limb, and many giving up their lives, instead of fighting the British army.

    Life can be difficult but you almost never get anywhere without change or some effort.

    LoB
  • by devent (1627873) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @06:57PM (#32794450) Homepage
    Why aren't newspaper come together and build or enhance an open source software, just for the need of the newspaper industry? Like Google is doing with Android, car manufactures doing with Linux, supercomputer engineers doing with Linux, etc.

    The license should be GPL so nobody can just take the work and get an advantage over the other. But if then every newspaper pay the developers the costs should be just a small fraction to the costs they need to pay now.

    It's like with Linux, where a lot of companies are paying the developers, but the cost per company remains very small, comparing to paying for licenses or build an own operation system.

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