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Linux Foundation Makes Open Source Boring 87

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the just-add-more-monkeys dept.
superapecommando noted an essay by Glyn Moody where he writes "In the early days of free software, the struggle was just to get companies to try this new and rather unconventional approach, without worrying too much about how that happened. That typically meant programs entering by the back door, surreptitiously installed by in-house engineers who understood the virtues of the stuff — and that it was easier to ask for forgiveness after the event than for permission before. [The Linux Foundation tries] to take all the fun out of free software. They are about removing the quirkiness and the riskiness that has characterized free software in business for the last decade and a half, and seek to replace it with nice, safe systems that senior management will instantly fall in love with. In a word, they seek to make open source boring for the enterprise. That's not only good news for companies, it's a really important step for the Linux Foundation."
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Linux Foundation Makes Open Source Boring

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  • So? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DarkKnightRadick (268025) <the_spoon.geo@yahoo.com> on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @11:22AM (#33215818) Homepage Journal

    What's the story?

    • Agreed. The summary is "not news" and the blog entry itself is a rhetorical argument in favor of the "Open Compliance Programme"; slightly spammish, but mostly boring. News flash: Managers are conservative and want something proven to work, rather than the latest and greatest.
      • Re:So? (Score:5, Informative)

        by bsDaemon (87307) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @11:28AM (#33215868)

        I think the news part is that the Linux Foundation is apparently releasing tools for dependency mapping and license inspection so that you can actually tell at a glance what licensing requirements you're going to face. Apparently it inspects dynamic and static symbol tables to see what you're linking against and in what way to find out if you're technically a 'derivative work' or not, among other issues.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          Thanks. I skimmed the article and missed the actual functional details near the bottom. Kinda wish they'd started with "What's new" then explained why it mattered, rather than explaining why "something" mattered before specifying what "something" is.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by idontgno (624372)
            Yes. The summary makes this article look like a complete case of "Not News for Nerds, Stuff That Doesn't Matter". (Most of the article is, but there appears to be some geek goodness toward the end. And some of the über nerds here will sniff that dependency and library management isn't an issue if you'd just compile it all from source every time.)
        • Since there are multiple views on linking with regard to the application of the GPL, don't these tools thus require assumptions based on opinion rather than absolutes?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dc29A (636871) *

        Not just that, managers want something even a monkey can configure and maintain. Ease of use, or as TFA puts it 'boring' is good in my opinion. It's not coincidence that Ubuntu is the most popular Linux distro, it's easy to use and lot of times, it just works.

      • Yeah, I read the blog article after I commented and I'm still left wondering what the news is.

        Is it that the Linux Foundation has found a way to make FOSS less risky? Important, but not front page news. I'd put that on page 2 or 3 of the business section if I were running a news paper.

        I would suggest something more important as news, but I'm biased so I won't. As this comment states [slashdot.org], the biggest "news" part of the article are the compliance tools.

        Meh, move along, nothing here to see.

      • by bytesex (112972)

        ... Managers are conservative and want something proven to work, rather than the latest and greatest.

        Except when Sun says that Java is 'enterprise ready' and 'proven technology' (I heard this gem when Java was oh.. six years old and had libraries to do, well, practically nothing) - because then anything goes. Nothing against Java, mind you - just saying that a big name and lots of marketing go a long way in turning that notion upside down.

    • by Pharmboy (216950)

      Eventually Windows will be seen as "risky", so we will have to sneak it in the back door and install it on computers. And the wheel goes round.

      Ok, maybe not. Like you, I'm wondering wtf is the story. Linux has been the adolescent struggling to sit at the big people table since the early 90s. Eventually it gets old enough to as some of the old farts die off.

      • by Xtifr (1323)

        Eventually Windows will be seen as "risky",

        Eventually? Eventually? Oh, you mean by the PHBs. Yeah, that might require a little more perceptiveness than they actually have. :)

    • by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

      Try RTFA, maybe it's in there?

      Come on, seriously, it's a link to an opinion piece about Linux software, and you can't see how this applies to a news for nerds aggregate?

      I mean, wow.

      What are you doing here?

    • by tuxgeek (872962)
      Exactly !
      Someone bitching about a linux desktop being stable, as being boring?
      There are several cutting edge distribution that are not very stable such as Debian Sid.
      If a thrill is what you're after, try running your business on one of those.
  • by snookerhog (1835110) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @11:25AM (#33215834)
    then I'm all for boring.
    • by Kepesk (1093871) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @11:36AM (#33215950) Homepage
      Sitting all alone, in the corner of the server room... waiting for something - nay, anything to happen. The only thing you have left to hope for is the odd hardware failure... Each failed drive is like a joy ride, each blown out power supply is like a day at the fair.

      Soon, you find yourself wishing, hoping for these things to happen. Then one day you can't resist anymore. You plug way too many things into the same power source, causing an outage. Finally something to get out of your seat! It feels so good to actually have something to do.

      This happens a few more times. Never the same thing twice; you don't want people to catch on, right? But even then it begins to lose its interest. Where are the software crashes, the mystery failures that used to happen with the old systems? Sometimes they took days to figure out. There's no mystery anymore.

      Then one day it happens. You finally break down and sneak a Microsoft product onto one of your servers...

      Is open source software the gateway drug to Microsoft?
      • some firemen like playing cards at the station house

        others like dashing through a burning warehouse with steel toe boots and a pickaxe

        to each his own

        • by Pharmboy (216950)

          All firemen like dashing through a burning warehouse. That is why they become firemen, at least all the ones I know. They want to "do good" and/or be a hero, and/or get that extreme adrenalin rush that only real world danger gives you. The cards are just something to do between buzzes. Only a few are pyros looking for a constructive outlet.

      • by AHuxley (892839)
        Clippy goes live: It looks like you are getting bored. Do you want some advice? You should use more Microsoft. You can get more overtime that way.
      • There is a saying a bored systems administrator is a good one. However a really good one is busy improving their systems to make them run faster/better and more efficient as well implementing new features to help the company grow, and not wasting their time fixing problems that really don't need to happen.

        • by vlueboy (1799360) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @12:43PM (#33216880)

          However a really good one is busy improving their systems to make them run faster/better and more efficient as well implementing new features to help the company grow, and not wasting their time fixing problems that really don't need to happen.

          Working as an admin myself, I can tell this is just a manager's dream. The way IT runs, we are plumbers... nobody expects you mucking around in their production sinks unless something is leaking. Matter of fact, we are staffed in ratios such that you never have much time to improve efficiency. If you have any time at all, management will either promote you to train others AND do admin stuff, or they will stick more of their own projects under your belt.

          When you give your all as a great admin, you're shunned for unduly raising standards for lazy admins. Managers and coworkers remind you to "keep problems buried to stay employed re-fixing them," and even clients say that "IT at this company is useless and already too slow, so why do you need to waste 3 hours countering the next meltdown when you said one lesser fix can have our system patched up to run in 1?"

          So we all, or most, want to do good and clean things up, like any "great" doctor would. But there are doctors that love it when they can avoid operating and instead enslave you under certain medicines you for life, as approved by them while their bills get paid.

        • And, if you've really got time on your hands, you could create and release some FLOSS system administration tools.

        • by perlchild (582235)

          Most of us can't do that without the approval of change control boards, do you really want us to hurt you?

      • by dkleinsc (563838) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @12:41PM (#33216850) Homepage

        You know, there's another solution to this perennial boredom problem: Reading other people's email.

      • For a second I thought you were making a song to the tune of fullmoon [youtube.com]
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Reminds me of the old joke:

      "There's an ancient BSD curse - 'May your computer run an interesting operating system.'"

    • Dude, seriously. The "quirkiness" comes from whatever's cutting edge. Want quirkiness? Create something new! You can't just hang around debugging quirky software and expect it NOT to get better, unless you're a terrible programmer. I don't understand complaints like this. Linux is a solid operating system! What did they want for their work? If they want to work on something more edgy, they should build something more edgy.
      • by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

        Mmm... quirky = unreliable/unpredictable, cutting edge or no. Cutting edge is more likely to be unreliable or unpredictable until it matures, by which time it is generally no longer cutting edge.

        Quirkiness is fine for homebrew stuff or experimental settings, but it is very, very bad in an enterprise setting in which reliability is important.

  • by whuddafugger (942622) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @11:26AM (#33215844) Homepage

    I'd say my experience has been similar in that we often usezZZZZZzzzzz *snort* zZZZZZzzz......*snore*...zzzZZZZzzzzzz.........

  • by VGPowerlord (621254) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @11:26AM (#33215854) Homepage

    So, basically, this is the same story that everyone else is running about the Linux Foundation releasing a set of tools to help companies check GPL compliance, but with a confrontational headline and summary?

    • by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

      I thought it was confrontational as well (I kept thinking "Enterprise stuff is supposed to be boring"), but then I read the last line of the summary:

      That's not only good news for companies, it's a really important step for the Linux Foundation.

      So, yeah, it sounds like he's pissing all over the Linux Foundation, but he's not. He's praising them. Just not very well.

  • But that's a good thing in my book. Takes a little longer to get things set up and configured, but once you do, it stays working. No Wednesday am WTF?! No panic when the virus of the day rolls around.

    It took Microsoft until Windows 7 to produce an OS almost as boring.

  • by joeflies (529536) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @11:35AM (#33215940)

    Was there a struggle to get open source into businesses? I thought "In the early days of free software", the whole point was that the developers sought to provide free software in terms of libre, and as gratis as a side effect. Stallman wasn't trying to get businesses to use his software, he was trying to make the software he needed available for free because he saw that the software business was not distributing code or providing the freedoms to tinker and improve software enjoyed under the MIT heydays.

    • by bsDaemon (87307)

      They mean the early days of open source, not free software. Open source is like free software with less neck beard and socialist revolutionary rhetoric. They looked specifically to get into the enterprise by changing the way they dressed the same products in different packaging.

    • by nomadic (141991) <nomadicworldNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @12:05PM (#33216250) Homepage
      Was there a struggle to get open source into businesses? I thought "In the early days of free software", the whole point was that the developers sought to provide free software in terms of libre, and as gratis as a side effect. Stallman wasn't trying to get businesses to use his software, he was trying to make the software he needed available for free because he saw that the software business was not distributing code or providing the freedoms to tinker and improve software enjoyed under the MIT heydays.

      Then the libertarian contingent jumped in; they loved coding, but like the majority of libertarians, they were obsessed with money. They had to reconcile free software with someone, somewhere (not even necessarily themselves) making money, because that is the greatest societal good.
      • by Raenex (947668)

        They had to reconcile free software with someone, somewhere (not even necessarily themselves) making money, because that is the greatest societal good.

        Even Stallman never had a problem with people making money on software, as long as the source was distributed, modifiable, and redistributable in modified form. The problem, from a libertarian point of view, is being required to distribute source code.

        That said, I highly doubt that the original open source founders were driven by libertarian views, but rather by pragmatism and not being outright hostile to those who wanted to follow the closed source model.

        • by nomadic (141991)
          The original GNU guys weren't I think, I'm talking about the latecomers, the late 90's OSI types who insisted that it was important that companies jump on the free software/open source bandwagon.
    • I think the writer is referring to the early days of the "FOSS as political statement" movement, which came some time after Stallman's "FOSS as philosophical statement" movement.

  • Include pr0n. That ought to make it interesting.
    • Re:Pr0n? (Score:4, Funny)

      by Ironhandx (1762146) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @11:43AM (#33216014)

      I believe the above suggestion, however immature and redundant it may seem, could actually lead to the "Year of Linux on the Desktop" finally happening.

      • by Kjella (173770)

        Yeah, because that'd so improve Linux' image as the OS for basement dweller nerds who can't get laid. And even for those of us who don't mind porn, playing on sex to sell something is so overdone, cheap and lame. It's got nothing to do with the product but let's throw a half-naked lady in our ad, go buy. I'm not sure there's actually that much good porn which is legally distributable, it's just that copyright seems to mean even less for porn than everything else.

        What OSS lack is killer apps, and I don't mea

  • Too boring
  • Interesting. I guess we can look forward to less obscenity in the comments of released FOSS source code. As well as the stated goal of making "sure developers did not leave comments in the source code about future products, product code names, mention of competitors, etc."

    Well, ok, that last bit about competitors may be a reference to swearing.

  • That is what FOS needs. It is fun working on state-of-the-art stuff. But it isn't fun being end user of FOS apps that are buggy because developers make new bugs before fixing iportant old ones.

    This is the problem with open source, since there is more freedom what to do. Often new releases are more fun to do than to fix old broken stuff. Just take a look at KDE and Linux distro releases, they come so often.

  • But it does make a point. Linux was for the uber geeks. Not for the corporate suits. Its good that we have reached a point where a discussion of the license is as important as the features of the software. .... AH!!!! Then I go read the article and realize its just a promotion for 3 tools being released. Upper management doesn't care for these tools. Maintainers maybe. What a waste of time.
  • by CAIMLAS (41445) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @04:13PM (#33220078) Homepage

    People like you - the idiots who like pushing shit through the back door and apparently like "quirkiness and the riskiness" of immature, poorly maintained, undocumented projects. Seriously: fuck you.

    You are the reason that Open Source has taken such a long time to adapt. I know of several IT contracting firms which will not touch Linux or Open Source in general because they have seen entirely too many instances of people like you and their work: technologically headstrong geek installs an Open Source product/project in an esoteric, convoluted fashion and didn't document the process (potentially only so he could fix it). He does his best to put as much customization and inter-dependence into the system(s) as possible. Then he moves on to do something else, and the customer is left holding the bag.

    I suspect you and my predecessor would get along just fine. He enjoyed fucking people over, too.

    Guess what? Most people would much rather be "bored" at work than have to fuck with something that broke because it was poorly conceived, and face the wrath of managers and users. THat's what the Linux Foundation (and those PFYs that fall in love with their recommendations/solid products) does for us: lets us sleep at night.

    There is a time and a place for "tinkering" and non-turnkey solutions - and it's called a lab. If you don't have one, you need one. It will save you time and money in the long run - it's the first step towards standardization and reduction of costs. It is very unprofessional (and foolish) to roll an untested product out to production without thorough initial testing - anyone who calls themselves an IT administrator or engineer and does otherwise is a fool.

    Any administrator worth his salt hates sketchy nonsense. This is why we don't run early release software and other such nonsense.

    It's different if you're in an "IT company" making something new, but yeah, as a general rule, sketch is bad.

    • Although you sound like someone pissed in your lunch, you have a point. Along with documentation I believe it's also the User Interface that matters. And I don't mean a pretty interface with transparency and stuff. I mean usability wise. Error messages have got to make more sense. User has to be notified in some way that the application is performing some operating in the background. For instance what the fuck is a layman supposed to understand by "Wrong architecture i386"? And seriously can't we have a Lo
  • I don't know if you have actually given a look at that "fun" code of the "golden age of free software".

    I have. I'm pretty sure that the programmer that did it had a great time and felt very smart when he wrote it.

    Undecipherable variable names. Functions with 200+ LOC and no comments. C macros gone grazy. I hope you get the idea.

    It sucked.

    I get it. Making maintainable, structured, easy to understand code is boring. Or not as fun as showing the word how mad your "regexp skillz" are. Well, it also sucks.

    I pers

  • No one wants quirky and risky software anymore than they want quirky and risky airplanes. Software is not playtime for developers.

  • I don't like Microsoft. I love the idea of open source. I just don't think the group-think is dead yet. People use microsoft because people use microsoft. People use word becauseeveryone else uses it and sends stuff around in it. Blaargh! Just imagine the world we could have.

    If I ran the world, (being the Nazi control freak that I am) I'd rule that we'd all shift to Mac, which would become open source. We'd keep the Mac creative guys in charge of brainstorming various projects, but also with input from t
  • How much does "boring" generally go hand-in-hand with "dependable"?

Nobody said computers were going to be polite.

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