Linked by Nicholas Heron on Thu 8th Aug 2002 20:17 UTC
Original OSNews Interviews This interview took place just a few months ago, but for some reason we didn't got around in publishing it. (oops... :-) Some things have changed since the interview took place, but most of the information presented there is still valid. Read more for the interview with Xandros' VP, Mr. Michael A. Bego.
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curious
by Jim on Thu 8th Aug 2002 21:11 UTC

He stated the Xandros team consists of about 40 developers, anyone know how many developers are working on Lindows and Lycoris, or various other mainstream distros?

RE: curious
by Eugenia on Thu 8th Aug 2002 21:18 UTC

This interview was actually done before the lay offs that happened at Xandros a few weeks back. I think now they have about 30+ employees.
"We did lay off about 20% of our staff a month ago, not the rumored 60%, but that will not affect our launch plan," Bego said at DesktopLinux last week.

Lycoris is the smallest so far, I think they got about 5-6 employees only, maybe a bit less, maybe a bit more.

I think they are about 30+ employees at Lindows.

Hurry Up
by Anonymous on Thu 8th Aug 2002 21:27 UTC

I wish this blokes will hurry up or they wont be a xandross at all!
Corel linux at its time was brilliant and streets ahead of others as far as the desktop is concerned, so im looking forward to xandros a lot, i just wish they would hurry up.

Incomplete
by Darius on Thu 8th Aug 2002 21:33 UTC

He says that the first beta was due out in the next couple of weeks, and then says that they'll make an announcement in about 6 weeks about which office suite they plan to include.
So, I think beta 1 might be missing a few things ;)

RE: Incomplete
by Eugenia on Thu 8th Aug 2002 21:35 UTC

Do not forget Darius. THIS interview was done MONTHS ago, but Nicholas did not publish it in time.
Xandros is already on Beta 2 today, and beta 3 will be released during August. Beta 1 was actually released in February 2002, I think.

Jobs...
by Romendo on Thu 8th Aug 2002 23:39 UTC

So they laid off quite a few people (one fifth of the whole company). On the other hand they look for quite a few people on their web site.

Another company, that shall remain unnamed, has been looking for quite a few employees for the last few months. They even removed some of the openings from the web site - only to put them back a few weeks later. They are still searching for people.

Is it a common thing nowadays to misrepresent yourself? Do they offer these jobs only in order to look better in the eyes of potential investors? This is becoming more and more ridiculous.

Anyway, I can't wait to see Xandros but from what I can tell it won't be that amazing. The beta 2 lacks a lot of polish and from Bego's comment the other day on this site it seems that they haven't even started to polish things up. No matter if you like Microsoft or Apple, they do an amazing job in the field of graphics design.

Re: Eugenia
by Darius on Thu 8th Aug 2002 23:39 UTC

Do they actually have an office suite included yet ?

Re: Eugenia
by Eugenia on Thu 8th Aug 2002 23:47 UTC

So far, no. Mr Bego said that they will announce something at LinuxWorld, so I suggest we wait for their announcement. ;)

Xandros = Linux parasite
by Michael on Thu 8th Aug 2002 23:51 UTC

19. Will you be open-sourcing Xandros?
Michael Bego: We’ll be releasing some of our code, but in order to continually fund R&D we won’t be releasing all of our code.


Xandros is another sort-of-GPL project that is commercially leveraging the GPL Linux codebase but not returning all their code to the public as they are supposed to do.

In effect, they will be in violation of the GPL. I don't belive there are any exceptions to the "viralness" of the license.

If Xandros does not put all their code back into the Linux domain, they are a greedy parasite, nothing more.

If you cannot build Xandros yourself, then it is worse than a parasite, it is a perversion.

If they wanted to build a non-GPL OS, there were plenty of choices for them. Linux is GPL.

#m

RE: Xandros = Linux parasite
by Eugenia on Fri 9th Aug 2002 00:07 UTC

> Linux is GPL.

The Linux kernel is GPL. Xandros is more than a kernel. If another license gives them the right to create proprierty applications, for example, in the case they have bought the commercial version of Qt Unix, then, why not do it? They have every right to do so.

Of course, whatever is GPL, should be still GPL and get opened up, but for parts that are not GPL, like XFree86, a commercial Qt etc, Xandros does not owe to anyone to open up their sources and potential changes they made, giving the upper hand to Lindows or Lycoris or ELX or whoever else to steal their work. They should only open up whatever it has to be opened up by the law and the GPL. For the rest, they are free to do whatever their respective licenses allows them to do.

RE: Xandros = Linux parasite
by Alex on Fri 9th Aug 2002 00:15 UTC

Well said Eugenia ;)

That's it! I fully agree with that.

To GPL or not to GPL
by Michael on Fri 9th Aug 2002 01:09 UTC

The bulk of Linux code is actually GPL. Yes, the kernel is explicitly GPL, but much of the rest of the code is also GPL. As you pointed out, there are exceptions.

I think the point of the GPL is you can publish source code without the fear that it will be "stolen" or hijacked.

How do we know what Xandros based on GPL code and what they did not? I am wary of an OS that has thousands of fixes to KDE that are not available in the main KDE branches. Yes, I know these are 2.X KDE today, but tomorrow they will be KDE 3.X fixes that are unavailable. And what about this office suite? How much work there will not be returned to an open system?

If they publish the code, with appropriate licenses, and include instructions on how to build the OS, I think that is within the spirit of Linux.

My question is one of idealogy.

How much mojo will Linux lose if more and more of it moves into the private domain?

Something I read a while back which touches on this concern:
http://www.osopinion.com/perl/story/17201.html

Excerpted from the article --

Freshmeat.net recently reported that 71.85 percent of the 25,286 software branches (packages) it tracks are GPL-licensed (the next two most popular were LGPL with 4.47 percent and the BSD licenses with 4.17 percent).

Sourceforge.net recently announced that the GPL accounted for 73 percent of the 23,651 "open source" projects it hosts (as on Freshmeat, the next most popular were the LGPL with 10 percent and the BSD licenses with 7 percent).

Red Hat Linux had more than 30 million lines of source code in version 7.1 -- and that 50.36 percent of those lines of code were licensed solely under the GPL (the next most common were the MIT license with 8.28 percent and the LGPL with 7.64 percent).


So, clearly there is much of the Linux world that is GPL, much more than just the explicitly GPL'd kernel.

I believe the GPL is one of Linux's strengths as a platform. I would not see it diluted. I'm not saying all code should be GPL exclusively, but that GPL should always be one of the available licenses.

#m

Question
by Eugenia on Fri 9th Aug 2002 01:13 UTC

Is YAST2 and that installer/control panel from SuSE GPL?

SUSE YaST2
by Michael on Fri 9th Aug 2002 01:35 UTC

I don't this piece of SuSE is GPL. But I am far from an expert on the various bits and pieces of SuSE Linux.

From a message thread on KDE development
http://www.kdenews.org/1013639318/1013704058/1013709975/

"What bothers a lot of people is the YaST license. You can look at the source, but that's pretty much it."

I'd have to check with SuSE itself to see for sure.

#m

Licenses
by Romendo on Fri 9th Aug 2002 01:44 UTC

Linux is more than just a kernel. No single person or company is in control of the "whole thing". The Linux kernel is clearly GPL, so is all the GNU stuff. However, this is not all that makes up a distribution (as shown above in the case of SuSE's YaST).

The more successful Linux is going to be, the more people will write non-GPL coded. That is just my opinion, of course, but I think it is inevitable. There are only so many people that want to give away their code under the GPL. It is hard to make money by using the GPL. Not impossible, but difficult.

The more you read about Linux and software and companies, the more you realized that companies are releasing a lot of stuff under GPL - but not everything. And that remaining part is always used to make money. I guess nobody has figured out how to survive on GPLed software alone.

Re: To GPL or not to GPL
by Spark on Fri 9th Aug 2002 01:47 UTC

If Xandros makes changes to KDE, they indeed have to provide the sourcecode whenever they give away binaries of it.
But for all their optional tools that are writting from scratch, they don't need to. Of course it isn't nice to use 90% free code and than not to give back in free code but it's perfectly legal... (unless they are using a GPL license like the free Qt).
YAST, as Eugenia stated, is a perfect example. It's not GPL, it's not even free software or OSS. While it fullfills almost everything of the OSS definition, it violates the first and most important one, that you are not restricted in giving away the source, for money or not.

What makes me wonder is that most people bitch about SuSE not providing free of cost downloads of their ISO images (which is their best right), while they don't care the slightest that their main and most important additional tool is (although it might sound harsh for just one violation) proprietory.

This shows that most people still only see the free beer in free software.

Not that I would have anything against free beer...

Think dual license vs. single license
by Michael on Fri 9th Aug 2002 01:48 UTC

Many companies are doing dual licensing -- GPL and a commercial license.

MySQL is a good example of dual licensing. As it Qt, the foundation of KDE.

What I don't want to lose is the GPL license for non-commercial use.

You'll end up with Windows in no time at all if everything goes non-GPL.

#m

YAST2 = Published Source
by Michael on Fri 9th Aug 2002 01:50 UTC

At least the code for YAST2 is published. You can see it, understand it, compile it.

I didn't get the impression that source for Xandros is going to be published.

#m

GPL surviving
by Spark on Fri 9th Aug 2002 01:53 UTC

"I guess nobody has figured out how to survive on GPLed software alone."

"Nobody" isn't exactly true as there are already numerous companies surviving with businessmodels around free software. RedHat and Ximian are those large examples, but there are much more small companies like those cygwin guys which make quite a good living.
It's just difficult to build an empire around GPL software. ;) And I doubt that we will see this anytime soon. I like that. This is also a reason why I'm not afraid of RedHat. Even if they would turn into evil, you can see how easy it is for other companies (Mandrake) to catch on. At the end you can't survive in the GPL world without really satisfying your customers, that's the big difference. There are no license tricks or whatever to enchain customers to your offerings.

Re: GPL surviving
by Romendo on Fri 9th Aug 2002 02:03 UTC

On the other hand many developers just say you don't have the "right" to "demand" anything. This is not very encouraging either.

BTW, Cygnus (maker of Cygwin) was bought up by Red Hat.

Okay I know that there are quite a few GPL advocates out there and I really have nothing wrong with GPL. HOWEVER, I do know for a fact that you cannot make money off of GPL code unless it is a highly advanced application that only a select set of individuals know how to use and build on correctly. I know that there are arguments that GPL can actually make money, but I would like a real world example of GPL code making enough money to keep coders alive.

Then there's the issue of "Why GPL?" I mean even the die-hard debian users rarely ever look at the code. Everyone wants to do binary installs anymore and when anyone does a source install they're just doing a ./configure && make && make install. I know very few people who look at the source code to see what is actually happening inside the program itself, and on top of that the only motivation I've ever seen anyone have to elaborate on a GPL program is to enhance a feature or fix a bug that the maintainer hasn't or won't.

I'm all about giving back to the community, but I also wouldn't mind being debt free in the future. My hobby code is GPL'd because it's just a hobby and I want it to stay that way, if someone elaborates on it, they can do so, but it'd be hard to base a business off of my code. For serious code everything is released as a binary ONLY and it stays that way, why? Because I want the monopoly on my code, I don't want someone else taking my code and making money off it, especially if I could have been making that money.

So is Xandros in the wrong? Hell no they aren't. If they want to keep their code to themselves then they should be allowed to. I think that since most all the developers for Xandros are linux developers that if you wanted the source to something specific, they would more than likely let you have it. Just because it seems that quite a few applications are released under the GPL this does not mean that a linux specific program/driver has to be. I suppose we should start to go after nVidia while we're at it and similar companies like win4lin, crossover, etc. ... lots of things for linux aren't GPL'd ... and for good reason.

Money and GPL
by Michael on Fri 9th Aug 2002 03:23 UTC

HOWEVER, I do know for a fact that you cannot make money off of GPL code unless it is a highly advanced application that only a select set of individuals know how to use and build on correctly. I know that there are arguments that GPL can actually make money, but I would like a real world example of GPL code making enough money to keep coders alive.

A lot of companies are making money off of selling or supporting Linux, or offering applications for Linux.

Red Hat
IBM
Sun
SuSE
Debian
Oracle
HP
Intel
Dell
(all the other Linux companies)

Is this money being made by directly selling GPL source code? Of course not. But what things does a non-developer end user actually buy source code for? Not much.

It's not the code license that is the big factor. It is whether or not you are delivering any value with your code.
It's whether or not there is a business case for what you are doing.

For most companies, they offer no compelling value proposition -- independent of what sort of source license, if any, they offer.

It is fear that prevents people from seeing that Linux is a HUGE COMMERCIAL SUCCESS using the GPL.

I'm not saying for every business, the GPL makes sense. But for the Linux world, it is the foundation.

And certainly, if the legal system doesn't work, then GPL doesn't work.

#m

RE: Money and GPL
by Eugenia on Fri 9th Aug 2002 03:28 UTC

Michael, please, be serious.

Give us Linux-only companies please. No IBM and Dell who offer Linux just for the hype, or for very specialized purposes and they actually making money from hardware and not from Linux itself.

>Red Hat

Maybe the only *Linux* company that might be making some good money. Mostly because of their Cygnus department.

>Oracle HP Intel Dell IBM Sun

None of these qualify.

> SuSE
AFAIK, SuSE is in deepsh*t currently, and they are looking forward for UnitedLinux to bring them some money in.

>Debian

Debian? Making money? The last time I checked they were asking for hardware donations from users in order to do some testings.

They do give back
by Jim on Fri 9th Aug 2002 03:30 UTC

I think most would agree that in order for the company to survive portions of its code will have to stay closed source. Yes they have made a ton of changes to the GPL code they are using, and yes they plan to make the modified sources available as GPL requires. Not all of those changes and ideas will be useful for mainstream Linux, but some of them will be, and as such they will probably make their way into the standard packages that the “rest of us” use.

In the same way that Windows cannot be looked at as a simple ecosystem, Linux should also be looked at as a wider, deeper, more complex ecosystem. Not just selling source code!

Red Hat makes a lot of money off of things other than simply selling Linux distributions. Support and consulting for example.

IBM makes money from Linux supporting and consulting.

IBM also offers Linux applications -- FOR MONEY.
Oracle offers Linux applications -- FOR MONEY.

If these companies didn't make money off of the platform, would these ports exist? Probably not.

Would IBM invest over $1B in Linux because they thought they'd lose all that money? I don't think so.

Also, I'm avoiding looking at a snapshot of a company in a down economy. You could argue the entire United States is failing because of the giant deficit.

Debian in stronger times was making money. Same with SuSE.

Damn, if you BELIEVE it's not possible, then it's not possible.

#m

RE: Money and GPL
by Romendo on Fri 9th Aug 2002 03:46 UTC

>Red Hat

Maybe the only *Linux* company that might be making some good money. Mostly because of their Cygnus department.

----

If it is because of the Cygnus department, then Red Hat certainly doesn't qualify as Linux-only company either. One of my previous employers had some Unix software, actually quite an application used by Sun. We ported it to other Unices and Windows. We used Cygwin because it was the easiest way to do it. Then they changed the licensing and it would have cost us an arm and a leg. It was in the order of $30,000 or $40,000. That is a lot of money for a company that itself hasn't made any serious money yet. And that was just for the Cygwin licenses. So, this income for Red Hat wouldn't even matter in this discussion. Cygnus tools can be used on a wide variety of platforms. Plus, Red Hat barely makes any money. It is the market leader. Imagine how tough it must be for any other Linux company out there.

RE: Why limit yourself to such a simple ecosystem?
by Romendo on Fri 9th Aug 2002 03:50 UTC

IBM also offers Linux applications -- FOR MONEY.
Oracle offers Linux applications -- FOR MONEY

-----------

Of course they do, they make a ton of money by selling Linux software, but that doesn't matter here because neither DB2 nor Oracle are under the GPL.

And as a software developer I don't want to provide support only. I want to sell my product and that is software. The GPL makes this impossible.

feeding the trolls
by Jim on Fri 9th Aug 2002 04:03 UTC

IBM has its own C compiler that is both slightly faster than GCC 3 and closed source. IBM has thrown a ton of money at Linux, not all of which is GPL'ed. If you think 100% GPL is the best way to run a software company prove it.

Re: feeding the trolls
by Spark on Fri 9th Aug 2002 04:41 UTC

"If you think 100% GPL is the best way to run a software company prove it."

Nobody is thinking that!
Of course the big bucks are in proprietory software. That is a given. See Microsoft or Apple or AOL. Those are world empires, you will never get to this point with a business model around free software.
But it also wrong that you will starve to death when doing nothing but free software. There are several points that anti-freesoftware zealots like to forget or ignore:

1) If you are in the business of writing free software and successfull (like Linus Torvalds, Havoc Pennington, Miguel de Icaza or even RMS himself), you will never ever have to care about your feeding anymore. You have something to show and you are well known. Can you imagine a Linus or a Miguel beeing unemployed, not finding a new job? I hardly can. They can basically work whereever they want. Some even get donated a lot of money so they don't need to work anymore at all. =) So while this won't make you a millionaire, it will certainly feed your kids and that's the only important thing, isn't it?

2) The advertisment. Companies developing popular free software are known and popularity today is the key to success. Just look at Trolltech. Do you think people would know them if it wouldn't be for KDE? I don't think I would. Another good example is Ximian. Almost everybody knows them in the Linux world and that's not because they spent tons in advertising but because they develop popular free software.
So while you don't get money from free software, you get VALUE. Value for which you would have to pay millions of dollars otherwise.
Of course you need a solid businessmodel to make use of all this popularity but if you have this, freesoftware development can be a very lucrative task.
Of course you would probably need to do some case study to find out how much value in popularity you actually get from how much free software development effort. This probably depends mostly on the popularity of said software. A software that everybody needs and that's one of the best of it's category (like Evolution) probably works best while it's much more difficult to get any value out of some small niche product or something that does suck.

3) There is all this talk about companies focusing on subscription and services and you don't actually see that in this area it really doesn't matter if the used software is free or closed? Making it free will severaly lower the development costs and improve the quality and popularity with the downside of allowing everyone to use it to provide similar services. You will just have to provide the best service to be successfull with this. If you don't fuck with the community it will more than likely support you instead of the competition (unless they are providing a much better service to a much lower price).

It's hard to make money in the Linux world. Okay. Why?

I think that's more about the relentless and punishing competition Linux faces from Microsoft, a proven monopoly, than anything about the GPL.

How would the market look if there were not one giant dominant OS/Apps company?

Did having closed source benefit Netscape? No, they were crushed by Microsoft all the same. Hammered to the fucking ground. How about Borland? How about Lotus? WordPerfect? Etc, etc. All these companies were crushed by Microsoft.

If any of the competitors had been open source with a GPL license, it would have given the market more choice. Just as Mozilla has the chance of restoring some choice to the market.

GPL is a market creator. It is not a Microsoft creator. You can make a small software biz, but not an empire.

I think 10,000 tiny software companies is much more interesting than 10 big companies.

But that's a choice for each to make.

#m

A return to a more open software industry
by Michael on Fri 9th Aug 2002 05:23 UTC

I grew up on PC software. My first machine that I had at home as an Apple ][+, eventually upgraded to include a Microsoft Z80 card so I could run Turbo Pascal. There were tons of small software companies. I think there were 5 or 6 assemblers, 5 or 6 BASIC compilers, many versions of Apple DOS-compatible systems, etc. Software was fun.

The GPL/LGPL help creates the ability to have many small ecosystems, each producing some core software and supporting it. It allows all these small ecosystems to interconnect as everyone can work on everything.

Is the GPL perfect? I don't think so. Yet, it does seem like a good step away from having the entire software industry dominated by a few large players.

Would you rather have a GPL world or a UCITA world?

That's more of the choice that you are facing.

Many small players leads to a fun, innovative environment and world that keeps more value closer to the creator of the value.

A few big players leads to a sterile, slow-paced environment that maximizes value for a few people, mostly super-rich shareholders.

In almost every industry where there are few players, the consumer, the customer, gets screwed. DMCA anyone? Who is a fan of that?

I know it's hard to think big picture when many are still in shock following the tech industry collapse and the current manic war mentality that is going around.

It is my personal preference, and I hope that of many others, that small software companies are given the support they need to flourish in the future.

#m

Obviously the point is being missed...
by SuperDuG on Fri 9th Aug 2002 05:58 UTC

GPL is not _bad_ in any way. In fact I think that it's a good thing. But I think that GPL should be a base for a closed source system. A GPL base provides a standard system of libraries and programs that can be used for closed source applications. I am rather happy that linux bsd and quite a few other OS's are opensourced. Why??? Because I know that when I write apps for these OS's that I can count on a certain number of libraries to be present or easily obtainable.

The problem that is faced with GPL today is that people who are really into the GNU movement, including Stallman, are deadset on everything being GPL'd and "free". I'm sorry, but there is no way that anything good can come from everything being free (ex. communism). If I spend the time I will want the reward and quite frankly name recognition is nice, but doesn't put food on the table.

Either way I will continue to classify what is "open source" for me and what isn't. Right now if I think it will make money, I will whorde it to myself and make money off of it. And there's nothing wrong with that.

Michael, you seem to have a big stink against Microsoft because they've stifled competition or brought what consumers feel are better alternatives to programs. I think that what you think is so "wrong" with microsoft is the way they market. Anyone can say they're against the way microsoft works and the business they practice, but if you were the richest person in the world ... don't you think you'd be whistling another tune?? I would go so far as to say that everyone is jealous of Billy G and microsoft. Why?? Because they are the biggest and the richest. They may not be the best, but they're certainly the standard and the standard is what is followed. Until there are killer apps ported over to linux (and codeweavers is doing a GREAT job) linux will stay exactly where it is, on bottom.

Don't get me wrong, I use linux, but linux does everything I want it to do. I don't need all my friends and neighbors to run linux to make myself feel better in the morning. I am a member of the mandrake club and I provide financial support to the programs I use the most, why? Because I know damned well that GPL doesn't make any money.

Obviously the point is not being missed...
by Spark on Fri 9th Aug 2002 06:40 UTC

"The problem that is faced with GPL today is that people who are really into the GNU movement, including Stallman, are deadset on everything being GPL'd and "free"."

No, only a few are. Most of us just have no need for proprietory software. Sorry, but I just prefer to use free software, it simply makes me feel better. I know it will be continued to be worked on and I do not depend on the company to do it. I know that I will have this software forever and I know that it can be easily ported, should I ever decide to switch plattforms (I don't think there is an Opera for NetBSD or GNU/Hurd, not sure though).
This has nothing to do with fanatism or anything like that. I'm not against completely optional proprietory application as I can't be forced to use them. But I will prefer open offererings when they are available. Galeon beats Opera in almost every aspect and is free speach so there isn't even a question on what I would choose.
This is a problem that developers of proprietory software will face more and more often. And that's why it will be more and more difficult to make money with proprietory software. For example try making money with a commercial webserver. Have a nice day beating Apache. ;)
Beating Mozilla as a browser would already be nearly impossible without a huge budget. And as free software will cover more and more areas, it will become increasingly more difficult for a startup company to succeed in those areas (not everyone has the budget of a Microsoft or SUN from the beginning).
The areas where I really see proprietory software shining is rather the small niche markets which don't spark enough interest in people to get a decent hacking community going (but those will always live in the danger of beeing obsoleted as interest in this market grows, so those companies should be flexible enough to change focus when needed) and, of course, shortliving entertainment software like games.


"If I spend the time I will want the reward and quite frankly name recognition is nice, but doesn't put food on the table."

Hmm, I think I already proofed you wrong. Really popular hackers will _always_ find a good job (if this is developing free or proprietory software doesn't matter) so they will always be able to put food on their table. Of course you need to be really talented to get such a good name recognition but you also need to be really talented to make a living from selling your proprietory applications.


"and I provide financial support to the programs I use the most, why? Because I know damned well that GPL doesn't make any money."

But guess how many people are willing to "provide financial support to the programs they use the most". ;) Those are quite a lot and should we ever get decent micropayment (this _will_ come some day), you will actually see a wave of donations for those projects. And this doesn't count the advertising effect in (which I previously mentioned and which you, of course, ignored ;) ).

Lincoln said it best
by Paul on Fri 9th Aug 2002 06:55 UTC

I wonder how many people paddle in my boat as we row around this constant bull that Bego tries to feed us. His reference to releasing some code translates into doing whatever they are required to by law; no more, no less. Not releasing code is to provide a competitive advantage, but only one goal exists, the destruction of a monopolistic company. This idea of competitive advantage over other distributions makes me think one thing, "A house divided against itself cannot stand."

Fact: Microsoft is an illegal monopoly
by Michael on Fri 9th Aug 2002 07:05 UTC

Michael, you seem to have a big stink against Microsoft because they've stifled competition or brought what consumers feel are better alternatives to programs. I think that what you think is so "wrong" with microsoft is the way they market. Anyone can say they're against the way microsoft works and the business they practice, but if you were the richest person in the world ... don't you think you'd be whistling another tune?? I would go so far as to say that everyone is jealous of Billy G and microsoft. Why?? Because they are the biggest and the richest. They may not be the best, but they're certainly the standard and the standard is what is followed. Until there are killer apps ported over to linux (and codeweavers is doing a GREAT job) linux will stay exactly where it is, on bottom.

I agree, Microsoft is the top dog.
But they got to be top dog illegally.
And they are rotten to the core -- an unethical company that believes theft, cheating, lying, etc are okay.

I have worked with them. They joke how they steal good ideas from startups and then crush them.

When I worked at Borland, Microsoft used underhanded ways of recruiting our top engineers away from the company, including offering them bonuses that came from their monopoly-funded giant bank account. They crushed our database market by pricing Access at $129 (with a $30 off coupon, effectively $100). They used their OS monopoly to kill Borland. Notice Borland went from the #1 PC database company to... nothing.

Even the government's lawyers didn't have trouble proving Microsoft has stifled competition. If the government had the cadre of super-top-dollar attorneys that Microsoft used, then Microsoft would be in even bigger trouble.

You seem to think it's okay that Microsoft illegally crushed their competition. People who have minimal or no choice anymore in OS/Apps.

It's a sign of ignorance to think you can out-compete a monopoly. Microsoft can kill any company it wants to. They have over $40 BILLION in cash.

Am I jealous of Bill Gates? No way. But I do care about the software industry which has been fucked since Microsoft become a giant overpowering colossus.

Microsoft has taken away one of the things that made America great -- the small business, in this case, the small software business.

And I don't think that's a good thing.

#m

At least one person sees where the real battle is.

Linux works because it is a chaotic open system that enables a swarm of developers to innovate rapidly. It works because everyone shares their progress, not hoards it to scrape out a dollar at their brother's expense.

No, I'm not including blatant rip-offs of Microsoft software. I'm talking kernel, file systems, windowing, the thousands of cool programs on Freshmeat, etc.

If Linux companies all fight against each other, there will be no Linux left.

Does Xandros support the LSB? What is Xandros doing to support ISV's? How will ISV's work with all the custom Xandros code?

If Xandros is not going to release their code back to the main Linux trunk, they should be banned from the Linux community. That means at least publishing ALL the code so it can be inspected and compiled!

#m

"Xandros - Debian", But Gentoo instead
by Clx on Fri 9th Aug 2002 10:19 UTC

How about an easy to use linux distribution like Xandros built on Gentoo instead.
It would have:
* Graphical Installer
* LSB complience
* Graphical configuration for the most commonly used tasks

It would have both portage and rpm, and the ability for
power users to create RPM:s from portage configurations.
Using rpm:s would be optional.

Thats it. Flame me of the surface of the earth :-)

Gentoo caters to those who believe in the spirit of Linux.

Get the code
Build the code
Run the code

It would be insanely great if Gentoo had the resources to put into bug fixing and ease of use.

However, Gentoo and Xandros will always have different audiences. I doubt Gentoo would invent some C: drive garbage. Gentoo is for the educated technically literate user. Xandros is for the ex-Windows user looking for a cheaper OS.

#m

Track Records
by Ellison on Fri 9th Aug 2002 11:39 UTC

I would to say that I would support this distro, but what he keeps talking about and some of the obsticals the thinks Linux hasn't jumped over yet, have. Mandrake and Lindows both have lucritive OEM deals. Lindows with Microtel and Wal-Mart, Mandrake with HP and Wal-Mart. He states that IT managers don't have Linux number one on their list. I disagree. More and more you can see how people manipulated my MS licensing have looked at Linux first. They look at Suse, Red Hat, Mandrake, and others, the one thing they haven't done is look at is Xandros. It's not out yet.

Everytime we get a company like this stating they will be the killer of Windows, they leave out one thing: how long they've been in business. When people look at Linux, they usually look at Red Hat becuase they have been around for a long time. They have support and a track record. Nowdays, they Look at Suse, RedHat, and Mandrake. They all have track records, support, and a history of making companies happy. They also retain their Linux roots while attacking the desktop market.

I hope Xandros makes it, but I see that companies will look at a track record before they look at flash in a pan.

Just my opninion,

Ellison

I'm ready to bet now
by m on Fri 9th Aug 2002 13:04 UTC

Michael, about a week ago you said your money was on RedHat to come up with something better than Xandros. After seeing how a company funded by LGB like Xandros, showed us the ugliest most terribly amateurish KDE interface I've ever seen (even as a beta), I'm betting for RedHat also.

Xandros cannot go too far on the desktop with a president that doesn't regard interface design as engineering, nor as a priority.

Quote: "We have a world-class team at Xandros, but one that has to date been 95% focused on technology and engineering".

According to Bego interface is just "graphics design", not engineering nor technology (I used to thing engineering is how you make technology). A "grapchics design" (remember that is not tech for Bego) which they are lacking a bit (completely), one would say that they have to paint more artistically. For Bego interface is just "appearance" over "the underlying technology". Seems like they have to make the company "more rounded" on something as unimportant for a desktop OS as "graphics design". "In the course" of that they are soliciting feedback.

"The ugliest massacre of the kde interface" (Blick) will not be fixed by sending feedback, go tell them constructively why you don't like this or that icon, is this man (Bego) computer illiterate?

My bet:
RedHat + their multimedia distribution + GNOME2 = will make the best Linux desktop.

If things don't change dramatically, Xandros will soon follow Corel, Stormix and Progeny. Under.

m,

Well, let's go to the table, then.
I'll certainly put my money on Red Hat.

Red Hat has a legitimate Linux, they release source code, they are making good looking betas, they are releasing betas to those who want them, they have a brand, a real marketing team, distribution, etc.

You are absolutely right to point out the Bego doesn't seem to know what he is talking about. Usability is real engineering. And good graphics design requires rare talent.

And to top it off and tell the Linux community that they will be hiding parts of the source code.

All in all, the folks at Xandros sound like amateurs. They are making many mistakes and the accumulated error is already high. I wouldn't expect to see them around for very long.

#m

...
by rajan r on Fri 9th Aug 2002 16:20 UTC

I am wary of an OS that has thousands of fixes to KDE that are not available in the main KDE branches.

KDE is under the GPL (except the libraries, which is mostly in LGPL). There would be the source code available for the modifcations, but merging it back with the main KDE branches all depends on KDE developers.

And what about this office suite? How much work there will not be returned to an open system?

It is not clear what the office suite would be based on. If it based on something GPL/LGPL, obviously it would be open source. If it isn't, it wouldn't be open source.

So, clearly there is much of the Linux world that is GPL, much more than just the explicitly GPL'd kernel.

The last I count, from the binary size point of view, only 40% of my mandrake installation is GPLed. If I just when with plan vanilla Manrake + KDE (and nothing else) the numbers would be different.

However, their tools and so on would be under whatever license they choose.

I believe the GPL is one of Linux's strengths as a platform.

Also seen as it's main weakness.

RedHat and Ximian are those large examples, but there are much more small companies like those cygwin guys which make quite a good living.

RedHat sells services that deploy their distribution. Plus, they sell their boxes with propreitary third party software. They are profitable because they are the early comers, and were able to expand before profitiblity. Their main business is services- something not that profitable on the desktop.

As for Ximian, they make their money selling Ximian Desktop, which comes with proprietary StarOffice 6.0, and Connector (name?) for Exchange-compatiblity in Evolution.

IBM

They sell hardware using either SuSE or Red Hat.

Sun

IIRC, none of their software is under the GPL.

SuSE

YaST and YaST2 isn't even OSS.

Debian

Not a business

Oracle

No GPLed software

HP

They do have, like IBM, some GPLed patches. But again, they didn't sell anything under GPL. They sell their machines with Linux, big deal.

Intel

Hardly any GPL stuff that were made by them alone. Normally, the GPLed stuff is compatiblity patches.

Dell

They use RedHat on their machines, they don't make money out of GPLed software.

(all the other Linux companies)

Most Linux companies aren't profitable.

I'm not saying for every business, the GPL makes sense. But for the Linux world, it is the foundation.

You mean at GNU, GPL is its foundations. Linus released his code under the GPL because GPL was popular.

IBM makes money from Linux supporting and consulting.

They sell hardware that runs Linux. The people making money from Linux itself is either SuSE or RedHat. IBM makes money from the hardware.

IBM also offers Linux applications -- FOR MONEY.
Oracle offers Linux applications -- FOR MONEY.


These stuff aren't GPLed.

Would IBM invest over $1B in Linux because they thought they'd lose all that money? I don't think so.

No, so that Linux could run on its hardware, and they could make lots of money from the hardware. Plus, they can get rid on their propreitary OSes teams some time in the distant future.

You could argue the entire United States is failing because of the giant deficit.

Microsoft made a profit.

Nobody is thinking that!

Try Michael.

So while this won't make you a millionaire, it will certainly feed your kids and that's the only important thing, isn't it?

Linus is already a millionaire. But anyway, if feeding your kids is the only important thing, why not everyone works as waiters and cleaners?

2) The advertisment. [...]

This only works for certain companies that actually played a leading role in a software project that became famous. Only a handful of projects do become famous.

Did having closed source benefit Netscape? No, they were crushed by Microsoft all the same.

They didn't die because they product was closed source. In Win95, the only thing most people use IE for is to download Netscape. But with 4.x, Netscape completely fucked up the entire codebase, forcing a rewrite, and open source sounded the best way to do so.

How about Borland?

Borland rewrote their IDE while VS came out and stole their market.

How about Lotus? WordPerfect?

Internal problems in the company.

Just as Mozilla has the chance of restoring some choice to the market.

Mozilla probably would do just fine if Netscape had the amount of people working on Mozilla working internally, making a closed source browser.

In almost every industry where there are few players, the consumer, the customer, gets screwed. DMCA anyone? Who is a fan of that?

DMCA was pushed by almost all media companies.

Galeon beats Opera in almost every aspect...

I still could find the features I use most not available on Galeon.

...
by rajan r on Fri 9th Aug 2002 16:23 UTC


But they got to be top dog illegally.

Accroading to Jackson, Microsoft *maintained* their monopoly illegally, not getting their monopoly illegally.

And they are rotten to the core -- an unethical company that believes theft, cheating, lying, etc are okay.

The companies that opposes Microsoft (e.g. Sun) agress with lying. As for theft, they have been punished many times for stealing code - but so do other companies. As for cheating? They just wanted to play at the same rules as the smaller companies.

They joke how they steal good ideas from startups and then crush them.

I saw many start-ups copy ideas from Microsoft. It is a system where people copy from each other. If there weren't such a system, I just can't imagine where would technology be right now.

Microsoft used underhanded ways of recruiting our top engineers away from the company

Nothing illegal about that. They aren't the first company, nor the last, who did such a thing. Employees aren't slaves to one company.

including offering them bonuses that came from their monopoly-funded giant bank account.

Jealous of a bank account they made for themselves?

They crushed our database market by pricing Access at $129 (with a $30 off coupon, effectively $100).

Why isn't anyone crying foul for pricing Linux at $0? Isn't that crushing Microsoft at the server market?

They used their OS monopoly to kill Borland.

Wrong, they used their money to kill them. Borland also didn't act like the smartest company around either.

Even the government's lawyers didn't have trouble proving Microsoft has stifled competition.

Through anti-trust, which I have the same views as DMCA - unfair. It's main existance is to protect weaker competition for their lack of business inteligence.

cadre of super-top-dollar attorneys that Microsoft used

Read the transcripts, you would notice Microsoft lawyers made a fool of themselves. If Microsoft used better lawyers, they wouldn't be this deep anyway.

People who have minimal or no choice anymore in OS/Apps.

I use Linux almost exclusively. I hardly use any of Microsoft apps. LOL, consumers do have a choice whether to buy something from Microsoft or not. What you are asking is that the government to protect any company, though matter how dumb they are.

Microsoft has taken away one of the things that made America great -- the small business, in this case, the small software business.

Companies who compete directly to Microsoft probably would find it a hard time, yet there are plenty of small software companies. These are the companies that had kept Microsoft monopoly.

Does Xandros support the LSB?

They said yes.

How will ISV's work with all the custom Xandros code?

Custom code as in patches that don't break binary compatiblity, or apps like a control panel etc.?

Xandros cannot go too far on the desktop with a president that doesn't regard interface design as engineering, nor as a priority.

Early betas of Windows XP and Mac OS X looked butt ugly. They had said they haven't completed their interface works. Just wait till it is release, for goodness sake!

Usability is real engineering

People had been complaining on how bad Xandros looked, not for its usablity.

damnit
by liberte on Fri 9th Aug 2002 16:53 UTC

Michael said:
"Gentoo is for the educated technically literate user. "
doh ;)
It ain't for me then ?
Michael, I didnt take the time to read your 10 or 20 comments but I'd like to know HOW can "Linux/OSS" company can make any money ?

Making money with open source
by Michael on Sat 10th Aug 2002 01:23 UTC

There's a lot to be said on the topic of making money of making money using open source. Rather than delve into another 10 or 20 comments... a link to an IBM article on the topic:

http://www-106.ibm.com/developerworks/linux/library/license.html?dw...

#m


Small Ecosystems
by Jay on Sat 10th Aug 2002 05:47 UTC

I generally agree with Michael - many small software companies are more interesting and fun than one big one. Microsoft became a monopoly and abused it with tremendous excess and relish. There should be strict penalties that they should suffer because of it. In the history of the USA, we have seen monopolies in business form at the end of the 19th century and at the end of the 20th century. And, in both cases, it wasn't a pretty picture and many turned away from democracy and free enterprise as a result. One would think we would learn from history, but we seemingly do not.

At the beginning of the personal computer revolution, people came together and shared everything - they gave each other information on how they solved this or that problem or how they implemented something new. They would even trade hardware components with each other. Anything to advance the cause.

Then, the companies formed and money and greed came into the picture and nobody shared anything. But, as Michael was saying, it was still lots of fun at first. The computer magazines were almost like tabloids with stories of companies feuding with each other and competing against each other. But, everything became more and more closed. The result was that the only people writing free or almost free software were people writing little utilities for love of computing. And, of course, there were the true and stereotypical Unix Geeks who wrote software, but it pretty much just circulated among their circles.

So, for many years, this entire area of computing was barren. Then OSS and the GPL came along. It is inevitable that companies are going to find ways to make money. And the GPL will be stretched and broken in many ways. But, the situation is different than it was the first time that happened. The GPL must remain, at least to the degree it can - the kernel and, I would hope, other areas of code. If the GPL remains, then the OSS movement will continue, even though there are companies making money. The first time around there was no GPL or anything to help produce a creative ecosystem of many small ecosystems, as Michael called them. If the GPL and the spirit behind it continue to move people, then that type of ecosystem can be possible. Even Microsoft could be part of that. It is when there is no rallying point, no focal ideal, that the wasteland is created. The wasteland of people fighting over which company is better, which one is stronger, which one is richer. The wasteland of standing by and watching Microsoft do what it did because there was nowhere else to go. How Linux and the GPL plays it's fate or destiny out is openended. It is still a question mark. But, as long as there is the GPL and many people who still follow its spirit, only good can come from that.

Oh...I don't have any children but, if i did, I would shine shoes, dig ditches, work in the mines, sell aluminum cans and do just about anything to feed them and care for them. As it turns out, that is the most important thing in the world :-)

GPL
by Bayerwerke on Sun 11th Aug 2002 18:24 UTC

GPL is great, but it's not THE reason I use the software. If Xandros writes code that runs on top, beside or underneath GPL software and it gives me a compelling alternative, then I will happily PURCHASE it without regard to it's source philosophy. Open source is nice to be able to look at but GPL is not required for me to think of using it. "compelling"