Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 30th Dec 2009 21:22 UTC, submitted by SReilly
Hardware, Embedded Systems What laptop does Richard Stallman use? A Dell, HP, maybe even an Apple? No - RMS uses a rather odd laptop, a netbook powered by the Chinese Loongson processor: the Yeeloong, a completely Free laptop. From BIOS to operating system, this machine is completely open source. Wired is running a very interesting article on the Loongson processor effort.
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MS knows this and is getting ready
by poundsmack on Wed 30th Dec 2009 21:35 UTC
poundsmack
Member since:
2005-07-13

MS knows the massive growth potential in china and with the growing presence of ARM based products as well Microsoft needs to think multi platform. This is where the Helios project comes in. It doesnt just relate to MS's mobile and CE efforts but to future versions of windows. I think OSnews did an article about it at one point, ah found it, http://www.osnews.com/story/22251/Another_Microsoft_Research_Operat...

MS is getting ready, think Windows 9 ;)

Edit: more info here http://research.microsoft.com/pubs/81154/helios.pdf

I should also mention that WinCE is already running on the Loongson processor. and starting with Loongson 3 there will be over 200 new instructions to speed up x86 instruction execution at a cost of 5% of the total die area.

Edited 2009-12-30 21:51 UTC

Reply Score: 2

PLan Member since:
2006-01-10

I wonder whether MS thought they'd seen the back of MIPS as a possible Windows platform ? Strange how NT's past is being revisited.

Reply Score: 2

Imagine that...
by sigzero on Wed 30th Dec 2009 21:35 UTC
sigzero
Member since:
2006-01-03

RMS using a Chinese laptop :-)

Reply Score: 11

RE: Imagine that...
by UltraZelda64 on Thu 31st Dec 2009 19:40 UTC in reply to "Imagine that..."
UltraZelda64 Member since:
2006-12-05

I don't think RMS would even care if a laptop landed as a meteorite from outer space in his back yard. If it had full source code, he'd probably use it.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Imagine that...
by Don Grayson on Sun 3rd Jan 2010 07:35 UTC in reply to "RE: Imagine that..."
Don Grayson Member since:
2006-01-01

Only if the source is 'free' as defined by the GNU, labels itself as GNU/Laptop and only runs GNU software with no patents or other attachments to non-free (as defined by the GNU) hardware, software.

Reply Score: 1

MIPS license?
by DigitalAxis on Wed 30th Dec 2009 22:02 UTC
DigitalAxis
Member since:
2005-08-28

I recall reading somewhere (perhaps Wikipedia, so take this for what you will) that the Longsoon is not 100% MIPS compatible, in part because they don't have a license to use the MIPS architecture. Either that, or that was why it was a China-only clone.

In any case, it'll be an especially impressive effort if it succeeds. I just hope the patent considerations around a MIPS-compatible device are taken care of, or it'll be a much longer road before anyone sees massive sales.

Reply Score: 1

RE: MIPS license?
by rbenchley on Wed 30th Dec 2009 22:11 UTC in reply to "MIPS license?"
rbenchley Member since:
2005-11-03

I recall reading somewhere (perhaps Wikipedia, so take this for what you will) that the Longsoon is not 100% MIPS compatible, in part because they don't have a license to use the MIPS architecture. Either that, or that was why it was a China-only clone. In any case, it'll be an especially impressive effort if it succeeds. I just hope the patent considerations around a MIPS-compatible device are taken care of, or it'll be a much longer road before anyone sees massive sales.

They purchased licenses from MIPS, so there shouldn't be any patent issues.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: MIPS license?
by mabhatter on Sat 2nd Jan 2010 05:52 UTC in reply to "RE: MIPS license?"
mabhatter Member since:
2005-07-17

"I recall reading somewhere (perhaps Wikipedia, so take this for what you will) that the Longsoon is not 100% MIPS compatible, in part because they don't have a license to use the MIPS architecture. Either that, or that was why it was a China-only clone. In any case, it'll be an especially impressive effort if it succeeds. I just hope the patent considerations around a MIPS-compatible device are taken care of, or it'll be a much longer road before anyone sees massive sales.

They purchased licenses from MIPS, so there shouldn't be any patent issues.
"


Most importantly they have 1 Billion potential users just in their boarders. When they start wanting 5% of the population to have new computers that will dwarf anything Intel is capable of producing worldwide. Inside their boarders US patents are really hard to enforce as China doesn't really respect WIPO or WTO when it gets in the way. What's the US going to do, stop making iPods and Netbook and dog food in China?

Reply Score: 2

Free Hardware?
by kwag on Wed 30th Dec 2009 22:31 UTC
kwag
Member since:
2006-08-31

" From BIOS to operating system, this machine is completely open source."

So, if GPL'ed software is "Free as in Beer", then where can I get one of these for "Free as a Beer Mug" ? ;)

I'm sure RMS did pay more than a beer for his machine ;)

Reply Score: 0

RE: Free Hardware?
by Carewolf on Thu 31st Dec 2009 16:34 UTC in reply to "Free Hardware?"
Carewolf Member since:
2005-09-08

GPL software is free as in freedom. Open source does not mean it has to be free as in beer. It is just something the software often is anyway,

Reply Score: 2

SPARC?
by Lunix on Wed 30th Dec 2009 23:16 UTC
Lunix
Member since:
2009-10-14

OpenSparc would seem to be more FREE (if you consider GPL free) than this.

Reply Score: 2

RE: SPARC?
by Vanders on Thu 31st Dec 2009 00:54 UTC in reply to "SPARC?"
Vanders Member since:
2005-07-06

MIPS has been Open much longer than SPARC and implemented by far more engineers than SPARC, so it's better understood. The Open Source development tools are probably slightly better for MIPS than SPARC.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: SPARC?
by computeruser on Thu 31st Dec 2009 02:09 UTC in reply to "RE: SPARC?"
computeruser Member since:
2009-07-21

hrm? The MIPS instruction set apparently can't be fully implemented (legally) without a license for applicable patents. Is this a problem for OpenSPARC?

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: SPARC?
by cb88 on Thu 31st Dec 2009 04:40 UTC in reply to "RE: SPARC?"
cb88 Member since:
2009-04-23

Are you kidding? first off MIPS is only as open as x86 in the IP sense that the ISA is open you have to design your own implementation and even then license it assuming you can afford it. There is no license currently required for SPARC and when there was I understand it was rather cheap (or so gaisler research says developer of the LEON Sparc)

There are full design specs and even HDL models (LEON and OpenSparc namely) available for sparc where is the model for the loonsoon (other MIPS models don't count since the implementation will be different)? I sure can't find any models for the CPU and all indications point to it being a proprietary implementation.

MIPS and SPARC are very similar from what I have read of the specs and taking a MIPS/DLX centric cpu organization class they are both RISC after all.

Reply Score: 4

Be careful what you wish for
by Yamin on Wed 30th Dec 2009 23:51 UTC
Yamin
Member since:
2006-01-10

I just had a big discussion on this. Note, from a Chinese perspective, I fully approve. Having worked for many major high-tech projects, technology restrictions are certainly interesting. For example, I worked on highspeed routing and the work had to be done in North America due to technology export restrictions. I'm sure such restrictions also exist on CPUs... so of course the Chinese want to develop their own industry. Not to mention the average Chinese person is much poorer and thus could use a cheaper CPU.

That said, what bothers me is the constant emphasis on 'consumers' and 'competition'. In a fantasy libertarian world, that would be fine. But we don't live in the world. If it ever does happen, sign me up. But for now... think of the consequences. Does nobody care about the workers... the people actually building these products? What's amazing is half the time the people ranting about consumers aren't particularly right wing. Many are socialists... yet they don't care about workers.

The constant drive to lower cost. The knowledge investment that consumers just want cheapened. The consolidation of knowledge centers. I mean, I'm a Canadian and we used to have a pretty thriving tech sector. If you wanted to work on routers and telecom, you could work for Nortel. Today... there is nothing but branch plants and small caps... and RIM. To work, you basically have to move to the US. The few protections we do have (patents, vendor lock-in) are under constant attack by these same consumer driver people.

There is no question in my mind, the Chinese will catch up technologically. Hey, most of grad students and engineers seem be from an Asian background anyways... They clearly have the potential. Then what happens? If I want to work on CPUs, I have to go to Shanghai?

I'm not proposing any solutions. As I said, if we lived in a freemarket libertarian society... fine. But we don't. We have taxes up the wazoo. Other professions are protected (doctors, nurses, teachers, public servants...) Yet, we do nothing to protect our own industries. These are not industries you can plop in and out of. These industries require investments over the long term. It's the reason you can't just create tax incentives and suddenly you have a silicon valley. It's the people that make it. If you don't have a critical mass of trained professionals and engineers, it's not going to happen.

Reply Score: 9

RE: Be careful what you wish for
by alcibiades on Thu 31st Dec 2009 10:12 UTC in reply to "Be careful what you wish for"
alcibiades Member since:
2005-10-12

You're talking about a puzzle that affects all advocates for special interest groups. Everyone would like the ravages of competition not to apply to them, but to apply to everyone else. So the router guys want there to be less price and efficiency competition in routers, but of course, they want cheap, sturdy shoes, and clothes for their children, and white goods as good and cheap as they can be had. And garbage removal.

Whereas the garbage people want "living wages" and "good working conditions", not to mention excellent pensions, which equals high costs and taxes on the router people, but they also want real cheap broadband...

In 1950 it was possible to have a social policy of tax the rich and provide state services with the resulting revenues. This was because the services were being provided to those who were not much taxed, so it was sold as a progressive and redistributional measure, and it was. It has continued to be sold as that. Or rather, mis-sold. Unfortunately, now, the provision of state services is a matter of compulsory subscription. Because everyone is taxed, and everyone uses the services, tax and spend on services is no longer progressive or redistributional in its effects. Well, it does redistribute, from the private sector to the unionized public sector. This was not what we had in mind when we started out. We seem to have just created another special interest group.

Yes, its complicated. The solution however is not to try to protect some groups or some industries from competition. Nor is it to make state run services compulsory subscription monopolies. That, at present, is the problem.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Be careful what you wish for
by Yamin on Thu 31st Dec 2009 18:38 UTC in reply to "RE: Be careful what you wish for"
Yamin Member since:
2006-01-10

Do you see regulated professions (doctors, lawyers, teachers, nurses...) removing their protections anytime soon?

Do you see public sector workers removing their monopoly powers anytime soon?

Did America not just elect Obama? Universal healthcare, central planning...

I'll gladly take the libertarian solution with a smile of my face. But I don't see it happening. During this time of just 'waiting' for the free state, all that knowledge capital and industry is being destroyed.

I'm not suicidal however.

Consider it like this: We're stuck on an island and we need to build a shelter. No one can build a shelter on their own. I think a brick house is the best kind of house. But I am out voted. People vote to build a straw house. I can sit and rant about how a brick house is better... but at the end of the day, i have to live somewhere. I'm going to try and build the best straw house I can... because well... I have to live here.

If people want a centrally planned society... well... this is what we get... and I'm just going to have to contribute my 2 cents to at least make sure they build it right (which means taking into account industry).

Maybe that seems like I'm giving up my ideals. Maybe it is ;) But unless you're willing to lock and load and have a revolution... and I'm just too Canadianized for that ;)

Edited 2009-12-31 18:41 UTC

Reply Score: 2

h3rman Member since:
2006-08-09


If people want a centrally planned society... well... this is what we get... and I'm just going to have to contribute my 2 cents to at least make sure they build it right (which means taking into account industry).


As a capitalist system, the United States is a "centrally planned" society too. Wall Street, the Fed, CFR, WTO, centrally plan America's economy and to a large extent the world's economy, and have vast influence over unemployment, interest rates, real estate prices, wars, oil prices, etc. etc. They control the White House and Congress, making sure no challenges of this central power system may succeed.

Reply Score: 3

Yamin Member since:
2006-01-10

yep... that's kind of the point... we don't have a free market or freedom... so why do us in industry sit around acting like we do. We compete on prices and rant about competition and impose a meritocracy on our selves.... well screw it.

My mention of Obama was not that he was the beginning of central planning... but that he is continuing and expanding it (in new and dangerous directions)... instead of going in the opposite direction.

If what we have is a centrally planned society (Fed, big banks, big government, big unions, big public sector...)... well then I want engineers, industry, retail, service sector., farmers.. to also have a seat in this centrally planned society.



Anything less is just indentured servitude.

Edited 2009-12-31 22:32 UTC

Reply Score: 3

cerbie Member since:
2006-01-02

More like slavery. The threat of master killing you and your family is replaced with you not being able to get anything due to having no money. With indentured servitude, the servants are meant to eventually get something worthwhile out of the deal.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Be careful what you wish for
by mabhatter on Sat 2nd Jan 2010 06:31 UTC in reply to "Be careful what you wish for"
mabhatter Member since:
2005-07-17

lower cost is relative. The USA in the 1970's was the perfect storm of massive prosperity and pent up savings that won't probably happen here again. $2500 computer was considered "affordable", new cars were still selling for cheaper, that would be $5000+ in today's money!!! Our modern $1000 computers are just as out of reach for Chinese people and businesses as a $5000 Mac Pro would be if it was the only thing we were allowed to buy.

The majority of PC advancement was made in the pre-GHz days. MP3, DVD, 3D, were all easily possible, that's why netbooks are all the rage now. Software like Linux has advanced to use multiple cores much more efficiently than 10 years ago. That makes an older technology sub-GHz chip with more cores practical. The chips are also compatible with integrated video that's fairly common and cheap only intel is enjoying 100%+ markups unlike Nvidia or VIA which settle for much less.

The place I worked 5 years ago used 400MHz machines just fine, work hasn't really changed much, the software is just crappier and more bloated with features we don't NEED to do basic internet and WORK. China NEEDS to start moving away from manual labor, and the days of hiring 10 workers to do what 1 worker in the US does are nearing an end. They need equipment for tens of millions of workers to do the basic kind of work we took for granted 10 years ago, they don't NEED to play Wow or download 1080p movies from P2P. If you take away the "wasteful" consumer-ish things we pay premium for computing hardware has not become more USEFUL (in terms of making economic growth) since 10 years ago. What China NEEDS are tens of millions of computers from 2001 (when XP was also invented,which is the most widely used OS in the West) at the cheapest possible cost to start building a knowledge workforce.

Reply Score: 2

cerbie Member since:
2006-01-02

Even with performance of years past, it's all memory. That's cheap now. I can't count how many old PCs I've thrown another 512MB or 1GB into, and all new software but Flash runs more than fast enough.

While more performance is always good, chips like the Atom come with chains (I want a 15" Atom+ION with a large keyboard, waaahhh! ;) ), and then massively integrated chips like OMAPs and Snapdragons are cesspools of IP.

If you could make a machine with, say, PIII 500 performance per core or better, give it more than one, let it use modern RAM interfaces, and give Adobe the finger, you'd have a sweet start.

Reply Score: 2

Really?
by Jaunty Joey on Thu 31st Dec 2009 00:27 UTC
Jaunty Joey
Member since:
2009-08-05

RMS uses these? I always see him sporting a Thinkpad. Regardless, I'd like to check out one of these things the next time I go to China (and considering how the products seem underpriced for foreigners, will probably get one too)!

Reply Score: 1

ahh
by xaeropower on Thu 31st Dec 2009 00:36 UTC
xaeropower
Member since:
2005-12-16

"Loongson-based devices will be much cheaper for Chinese buyers than Western x86 machines"

This must be really frustrating for them that their country produces like what 70% of the computer parts and their own people don't have money to buy them. We in Europe just throwing the old 1 processor laptops into the trashcan when they don't have money for computers ;)

I thrown out all my old x86 hardware in this year, the only box I kept is an old RISC cause it's cool to have a box with different processor. Not like anyone would care about anymore the underlying architecture when you code in java or php and make a good living with it.

Reply Score: 3

Comment by kaiwai
by kaiwai on Thu 31st Dec 2009 00:52 UTC
kaiwai
Member since:
2005-07-06

One thing I'd love to know is why can't I purchase one? I want to buy one, I've searched via Google and yet I don't find a single reseller who is firstly selling it and secondly who can ship to New Zealand. I really praise the idea that we're going to see some great original products coming out of China but it is pretty disappointing that one can't even purchase the damn thing outside of China.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Comment by kaiwai
by jokhva on Thu 31st Dec 2009 01:12 UTC in reply to "Comment by kaiwai"
jokhva Member since:
2007-09-14

Even in China I have few clues where to buy one, I must say...

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by kaiwai
by kaiwai on Thu 31st Dec 2009 01:35 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by kaiwai"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

Even in China I have few clues where to buy one, I must say...


Apparently one can place an order through Alibaba:

http://www.alibaba.com/product-gs/225118954/Yeeloong_8089_B_Laptop_...

I assume one would have to order a regular amount to make it worth their while selling it.

Oh, and according the details on wikipedia, the CPU is as follows:

Loongson 2F
4-way superscalar, out-of-order execution, 64-bit MIPS architecture processor core
Little-endian MIPS III-compatible ISA
5 execution units: 2 ALUs, 2 FPUs, and 1 address generation unit (AGU)
SIMD unit is integrated with one of the 2 FPUs
Separate 64/64 KB instruction and data L1 caches
On-chip 512 KB 4-way set-associative L2 cache
Integrated DDR2 memory controller
Integrated very simple video accelerator
Software-controlled dynamic power management
Max 4 W at 1 GHz

Reply Score: 3

Buying one?
by zizban on Thu 31st Dec 2009 00:56 UTC
zizban
Member since:
2005-07-06

Can one of these be purchased in the US?

Reply Score: 3

Walking the Walk
by fluxy on Thu 31st Dec 2009 01:16 UTC
fluxy
Member since:
2008-01-30

While many people may not share his ideologies, or may not accept his approach, one can but laud his integrity as far as his principles are concerned; not only does he talk the talk, and by God, he sure is loud, he actually walks the walk.

To a man who lives up to his convictions, Mr. Richard Matthew Stallman, for having been a stalwart of openness and a model for many of my generation, in an age where few have risen so high in esteem and character, may I express my profound admiration, and my heartfelt gratitude. Hats Off Sir!

Reply Score: 7

David Koresh also lived up to his convictions
by nt_jerkface on Thu 31st Dec 2009 04:13 UTC in reply to "Walking the Walk"
nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26

The modern world would crumble if you eliminated all proprietary software and yet Stallman calls it evil.

To me it is along the lines of saying that all modern forms of electrical generation are evil.

If Stallman really wants to avoid proprietary software then he should go live in the woods and play with an abacus.

Reply Score: 4

cerbie Member since:
2006-01-02

How would the world crumble? Enough of the world already runs on FOSS that I have a hard time believing that. If every piece of proprietary software disappeared tomorrow, in a freetard rapture, maybe. But if every future piece of software were made as FOSS, the world would manage just fine.

Reply Score: 2

silix Member since:
2006-03-01

How would the world crumble? Enough of the world already runs on FOSS that I have a hard time believing that.


the world runs on software, to be found on
- medical systems (CT / MRI scanners, health monitors, surgical machines etc)
- industrial process control systems
- automotive / avionic ECU's , and train control systems
- houselhold appliances
and so on, in addition to all those
- industrial grade design, simulation, and content creation tools
- industrial process control systems
- ERP's, CRM's and all forms of management applications
- enterprise databases (the 60% or so using oracle instead of mysql)
- applications running on top of open platforms but themselves custom made and proprietary
- games
just to name some

what does FOSS account for, besides a certain percentage of servers, a tiny percentage of desktops (as far as the operating system only is concerned), some horizontal applications (web browsers, mail clients, media players, and so on) one(1) productivity suite (plus variants) some frameworks (libraries, compiler, runtime, desktop- as well as web application oriented) and IDE's ?
FOSS doesn't cover any of the aforementioned categories yet, and probably never will - for a simple reason
developing a reliable SIL4 certified control system or a complex, full featured industry standard tool is a complex task requiring non trivial expertise, skilled sw engineers aren't common and those who have the requisistes will rightfully want to get compensation for their effort

But if every future piece of software were made as FOSS, the world would manage just fine.

functionally - wise, current GIMP roughly is now, where photoshop was at version 4 (mid - 90's) ... if you think of it this way, you realize that, if every piece of SW was mandated to be developed as FOSS from one moment to the next, we'd see a HUGE stagnation
unless all those aforementioned (closed source- based) industry fields decide to suddenly open their soft(firm)ware's (very unlikely) the world shall rely on the last available software version as long as FOSS equivalents are developed first and then reach feature parity (which may take forever), before restarting with progress again
and, what about all those who currently work as proprietary developers earning honest money, but woouldn't have a way to live (nor feed their families) any more?
morover, if sw development was to become a non-retributed job without professional opportunity and appeal, noone would want to do it any more - why spend ten's of thousands dollars (or in italy, euros) for a university course in CS rather than, say, medicine or law? you see for yourself that mostly hobbyst hackers self - taught about programming (but lacking IT specific professionalism) would remain
do you really want your car's ECU firmware or architecture CAD designed and validated by some random guy working for noone other than himself?

Edited 2009-12-31 16:16 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

How would the world crumble? Enough of the world already runs on FOSS that I have a hard time believing that.

the world runs on software, to be found on
- medical systems (CT / MRI scanners, health monitors, surgical machines etc)
- industrial process control systems
- automotive / avionic ECU's , and train control systems
- houselhold appliances
and so on, in addition to all those
- industrial grade design, simulation, and content creation tools
- industrial process control systems
- ERP's, CRM's and all forms of management applications
- enterprise databases (the 60% or so using oracle instead of mysql)
- applications running on top of open platforms but themselves custom made and proprietary

...
- games


OH Dear GOD. How on earth can we FUNCTION with out video GAMES!!!

But more seriously than your post, there are companies which pay employees to develop/ contribute to FOSS. Free software need not and does not imply that software engineers will not be paid.

Edited 2009-12-31 16:13 UTC

Reply Score: 1

silix Member since:
2006-03-01

OH Dear GOD. How on earth can we FUNCTION with out video GAMES!!!

like it or not, gaming (and digital entertainment in general) is a MAJOR industry (it is said to have surpassed or at least equalled that of movies, IIRC)
moreover, with all the money invested and the many professional figures (each paid good money) involved in a current high profile game production, developing as FOSS is simply out of the question
mandating FOSS development, games would mostly not be developed anymore apart from mmorpg's, dull-textured quake derivatives or ripoff's of classic glories
and please, don't tell me i don't actually want nor need good games, that'd be a pretty lame argument

But more seriously than your post

the previous post was dead serious, diminishing it denotes you're just trolling - but i'll reply seriously anyway

there are companies which pay employees to develop/ contribute to FOSS. Free software need not and does not imply that software engineers will not be paid.

same with this patronizing reply according to which i'm disinformed enough as to ignore google and red hat ...
the interesting thing though is that Google gains HUGE revenues from advertising, and Red Hat sells "support" contracts to large enterprise customers
thus, they have a sustainable business model that lets them not rely on per copy license fees (yet Google also sells applications - see SketchUp Pro, which is not FOSS at all ), but these business model holds valid for them only
if a develop, say, a photo retouch application, i cannot rely on selling "support", since people representing my application's target userbase, are interested in the tool, not in any support (if they need to learn photoretouch basics, there are nice tomes from mc graw hill and others)
same if a develop a firmware for an automotive ECU... who on earth would pay for "support" on something which is supposed to "just work" without even making itself noticed?
besides, the more advanced and complex an application is, the more likely it is that i have had to envision some peculiar design feature, or invent an innovative algorithm - and the more innovative the algorith, the more time i have spent on it (and time is money, you know) - publishing the code is out of the question, since even if code is copyrighted, the first one who reads just has to rewrite it in a slightly different manner, to save the effort that my algorithm cost me to come up with it and uncdercut me on the market with my very same solution (maybe better presented)

as you're surely a better sw professional than me, you'll surely be able to tell me how i could be compensated for my work even in those situations where per-copy license fees seem the only obvious solution...

Edited 2009-12-31 17:09 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Ford Prefect Member since:
2006-01-16

You don't get the big picture.

If the concept of proprietary software would fade out beginning tomorrow, there would still be makers of MRI devices and such and they would still need new software to run their devices. So surely they will go and pay developers to produce this software, being it free software or not. They are selling the hardware, after all.

It really isn't that hard to understand, is it? Why do you think GIMP has not the same feature set Photoshop has? Gimp is being developed by approx. four to five people at once. You hear this on every talk the developers give. The end result looks more ashaming to Adobe than to the GIMP project. You really think that if there were no Photoshop, all the designers would go sit in the corner and cry? They would pay lots of developers to work on GIMP.

Reply Score: 3

silix Member since:
2006-03-01

if the concept of proprietary software would fade out beginning tomorrow, there would still be makers of MRI devices and such and they would still need new software to run their devices.

and who would develop these new software?
today's programmers would last for a while, but for one reason or another (think one retires, another is promoted to management, another start his own company to be able to refrain from doing "grunt work")one day they will invariably need to be replaced with fresher sw developers
and who will take their place if software development will have lost its appeal due and CS professionals have come to an end? hobbyst hackers? political science (to name something untied to software) graduates recycled as all round programmers?

So surely they will go and pay developers to produce this software, being it free software or not. They are selling the hardware, after all.

problem is, the hardware is even more patent riddled than the software (after all the patent system was born when software didnt' exist yet, and have successfully been applied to all industy fields, with SW as the only controversial one)
as algorithms are implemented in sw, by opening their sw / firmware, manufacturers open their algorithms too, thus disclosing any proprietary feature that a) could give them a commercial advantage or b) relates to other parties' IP or research which must not be disclosed at any cost

thus, it may ne possible that rather than an MRI with an open source software package, we don't have any MRI machine any more (with the manufacture stopping production and retiring from that market)

It really isn't that hard to understand, is it? Why do you think GIMP has not the same feature set Photoshop has? Gimp is being developed by approx. four to five people at once.

yes, and why are there only four to five developers working on a FOSS project, at a time?
wasn't FOSS supposed to induce all hackers of the world to coalize in a million programmer army capable of accomplishing any goal?
or maybe putting one's brain at work without the prospect of compensation (other than reputation among a niche of peer hackers) isn't so attractive when engineers and designers in other fields earn good money for what they do?

You hear this on every talk the developers give. The end result looks more ashaming to Adobe than to the GIMP project. You really think that if there were no Photoshop, all the designers would go sit in the corner and cry? They would pay lots of developers to work on GIMP.

lots of peer hack.. pardon, developers who would end up conflicting with their respective ego's and ultimately coming up with an equally costly, but less functional sw solution? no thanks
moreover, it's not like the need for some high profile, high quality application in many a fields is not sorely needed on linux - are there any CAD's comparable to autocad for instance? nope

Reply Score: 1

cerbie Member since:
2006-01-02

If we stopped not making FOSS, the entire software development world would not become the Hurd, or the GIMP.

"yes, and why are there only four to five developers working on [The GIMP], at a time?"

Because those with money don't see a need to fund it. Those with time, but not money, don't see it as being all that important. I love FOSS, but I couldn't care less about the GIMP. So, there you go.

Things like the Linux kernel, OTOH, are important to those with time and those with money. There are a hell of a lot more than four or five people working on that FOSS project, and I've pretty sure way more than that working on it as a job.

If there is demand for a working MRI machine and supporting systems, and there is a supply of everything needed to create said system, people will be paid to make them, and keep them working. The same goes for anything else where there is sufficient demand.

People have been hired to do work creating, maintaining, restoring, and rebuilding things for thousands of years. It was working fine ages and ages ago, before copyright, before trade secret laws, and before patents. It would continue to work just fine without them, too. What it would not do, is maintain the status quo we have today.

What you as this disappearing supply is just an artifact of a couple centuries of IP laws. If IP laws the world-over were magically reformed (or largely dissolved), people would still need stuff done, and they would still need to compensate others for their time in doing that stuff.

Edited 2009-12-31 18:25 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Ford Prefect Member since:
2006-01-16

If you can't see the difference between free software and unpaid software, why even bother discussing it?

You obviously have no real clue what free software is, and also not how the free market works.

Edited 2010-01-01 20:08 UTC

Reply Score: 2

silix Member since:
2006-03-01

If you can't see the difference between free software and unpaid software, why even bother discussing it?

maybe because i really wanted to know:
- concrete reasons as to why free sw development should be forced onto the sw industry as a whole (oh, and don't retardedly cite Stallman's four freedoms please - those do not represent my -a professional sw developer- freedom)
- on what basis a sw developers/publisher's freedom to choose whether developing free or closed source, shall be unconditionally negated, to grant some alleged freedomZ to people who miostly don't care about them nor the availability od code;
- and what business model the sw industry as a whole should flock to as a generally viable solution for sw houses and contract developers ( it's not like selling advertising or support are that... moreover, it's not like a self respecting developer who has hardly worked on his studies first, on the development of a product later, and is finally put on a help desk answering support calls, would last for long...)

and i received none?

You obviously have no real clue what free software is,

i beg to differ

FYI, i follow the open source scene since the early 90's, i've worked on some open source projects (mind you, BSD and public domain licensed, since they were either generic tools or about letting groups of novice developers take confidence with specific development methods - eg test driven development)

what i've learned is that FOSS is good in putting people together when there's the need to do so, is pretty useful as a learning tool (as a matter of fact a great deal of foss contributors/ project owners are undergraduate students) and can produce very good results in infrastructure, system or other wise horizontal software, but it's utterly incapable of producing industry grade vertical applications

and also not how the free market works.


i now work on the development and testing of commercial solutions (and no, we cannot charge for updates or continued support - our management tried, customers gave us the proverbial - rightfully so, since once given the solution they've contracted and some one time training to their employees, they need nothing else)
and people i know very closely works on train control systems for high speed lines, and games respectively - hence my previous examples
companies they work for develop and deploy patented algorithms to compete, thus they categorically exclude their firmwares from being open sourced, or trusted onto FOSS developers, EVER

writing code for those fields is not just about meeting some specifications, or following some strict ISO-standardized development conduct criteria (that you SHALL do anyway, since your product may make its way to the latest news for causing casualties, of which you are charged -or anyway fail its intended purpose- otherwise, and you don't certainly want that, as it'd most likely cost you lots of money ), it's about creating some valuable asset for your employer, in the form of intellectual property they can add to their portfolio, productize, choose to not do so (but it's their choice), sell, rent, make agreements on with their competitors, whatever

now please answer this: how on earth is opening the code a convenient deal to them?
more eyes for code auditing? for the aforementioned ip related reason (applying to all fields) the fewer eyes, the better
moreover, in some situations code must work according to specifications even before being deployed and tested, and maybe formal verification and integrity orientend development methods are mandated by conventions and regulations in order to ensure so - and it's not like anybody knows, let alone masters, such methods
contributions to the code? it's not like common people can "improve on the code" (see above), other people don't even have a reason to mess with critical code that cannot (and mustn't) be used outside of the application it is made for (no reason to "redistribute" it either)
letting the customer free from vendor lock in? it's not like the customer (who isn't the general populace, rather, for italy, the semi-private agency in charge of italian railways) can always choose freely in the first place, being tied to heavy train making industries by contract - it's not like they care much about what this one industrial group does (including agreements, joint ventures with other train makers etc) as long as they supply trains...

so, sorry, but you're wrong on this
you, on the other hand, seem to not know how the real software world (that of things that one uses daily, sometimes without even remembering that software is involved) works
and also not how the free market works. [/q]

Edited 2010-01-01 23:26 UTC

Reply Score: 1

cerbie Member since:
2006-01-02

"- games"
Spring (with which comes many games) and Vega Strike off the top of my head. Oh, and of course, nethack ;) .

Anyway, you're talking about the occurrence of what I called a freetard rapture. If a medical imaging system were made to run on FOSS software, FI, it would work exactly as it does now, just with visible source code. You'd still need to pay people to write it. You'd still need to pay people to make sure it does what you want it to, and complies with all the regulations. Someone would still have a demand for that, and so someone would foot the bill for that. It still takes time out of someone's life, and is not something most people want to be doing with their time.

It won't happen any time soon, because there are financial incentives for having code that others can't easily and legally reverse-engineer and re-implement. And/but, those incentives are built on artificial legal creations that are quite modern.

Just as you can say the GIMP is worse than Photoshop, I can defy you to find something out there better than libx264-based FOSS video encoders. Can you say you have a compiler absolutely superior to llvm (a very good example of FOSS working well)? We could do tit for tat all day long on that, I'm sure. Software mostly for non-techies will have better proprietary instances, on average.

"morover, if sw development was to become a non-retributed job without professional opportunity and appeal, noone would want to do it any more"

First, BS. If portraits weren't in demand, people wouldn't paint, right? Not everyone goes into it for the money. Some go into it for the action, the excitement. Go anywhere, travel light, get in, get out, wherever there's trouble, a man alone. (I <3 Robert De Niro--Terry Gilliam, too)

Second, why would be it be non-retributed, just because the source can be looked at and messed with?

Is a programmer with talent, skill, experience, and/or customer rapport not worth anything, just because someone else can look at the code? I don't see mechanics hiding service manuals, or architects hiding blueprints. Hiding source code via compiler obfuscation is a unique anomaly. We have economies built around that little trick, though. They would not fall apart, like some house of cards, if we decided not to let it go on, anymore.

Much as technologies have somewhat 'naturally' obsoleted professions, we would need to begin obsoleting, by rational choice, notions that applied mathematics should be economically protected.

"the world shall rely on the last available software version as long as FOSS equivalents are developed first and then reach feature parity (which may take forever)"

So, you're saying that Autodesk, if they decided AutoCAD n+1 would be open source, would take some great deal longer to make this new software than if they didn't let you have a peek at the source code?

"why spend ten's of thousands dollars (or in italy, euros) for a university course in CS rather than, say, medicine or law?"

That I would rather live under a bridge than practice medicine or law (especially law). Also, that I'd like to go a university to learn stuff, not to to be going to a vocational school.

--

We need businesses that will create and maintain things that are not fun to do. Whether the source code for computer programs that need that sort of work is open or closed is not fundamentally important--we just have economic incentives for it to work more easily that way, at this point in time, through most of the developed world.

Edited 2009-12-31 17:44 UTC

Reply Score: 4

bousozoku Member since:
2006-01-23

How would the world crumble? Enough of the world already runs on FOSS that I have a hard time believing that. If every piece of proprietary software disappeared tomorrow, in a freetard rapture, maybe. But if every future piece of software were made as FOSS, the world would manage just fine.


If the future software were as good as the best proprietary software, things would be fine, but what's prevalent in the real world is the unending beta test of much of the FOSS world.

Companies won't bet their future on software lacking (complete) features and functionality, nor will they places hopes that problems may or may not be fixed.

FOSS is taking hold, but for it to be everywhere, money will have to go away.

Reply Score: 2

Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26


If the future software were as good as the best proprietary software, things would be fine, but what's prevalent in the real world is the unending beta test of much of the FOSS world.

Companies won't bet their future on software lacking (complete) features and functionality, nor will they places hopes that problems may or may not be fixed.


Except that a lot of companies /DO/ run FOSS on their critical systems.

In fact, many of the companies I've worked for have run propitiatory software that's either been poorly written or professional software that's been so poorly configured that their IT systems have been buggy as hell.
Case in point: the IT infrastructure at many local governments in the UK is painfully slow and crash-happy that, despite it being XP on all desktops (with Windows Server 2003 on the servers), it's felt worse than many of the hobbiest OS's I've tried - let alone beta versions of Linux apps.



And finally, when people moan about how FOSS is perpetually in development, I have to question when the last time they actually used /ANY/ sizeable software what was 100% bug free and with no further developments planned.
The simple answer is: no such software exists.

Take Photoshop for example: As great as it is, it's not bug free and Adobe are certainly not sitting idle when it comes to building new releases.


So next time you criticize FOSS for it's perpetual development cycle, think back to when the last time you used an application that didn't have bugs, patches, service packs, addons, upgades nor new releases. ;)

Reply Score: 2

AaronD Member since:
2009-08-19

If Stallman really wants to avoid proprietary software then he should go live in the woods and play with an abacus.

He kind of already does.

Reply Score: 5

kristoph Member since:
2006-01-01

... or, you know, he could begin a long and unrewarding process of replacing the huge stock of Unix proprietary software with open source alternatives so as to 'bootstrap' the whole open source movement, as it were.

oh wait ...

Reply Score: 11

dagw Member since:
2005-07-06

Stallman doesn't want to eliminate proprietary software, I wants to replace it with superior Free software. The distinction is subtle but important.

Reply Score: 4

Shannara Member since:
2005-07-06

Except that most free software is NOT superior ... so .. umm, you just lost.

Reply Score: 2

dagw Member since:
2005-07-06

Except that most free software is NOT superior

So? I never claimed that it was.

umm, you just lost.

Lost what? Is there a game going on that I'm not aware of?

Reply Score: 3

fithisux Member since:
2006-01-22

The modern world would crumble if you eliminated all proprietary software and yet Stallman calls it evil.


I do not believe that anything support your claims. Moreover it would accelerate R&D since more crossplatform standards on HW would help open Source OSes and OSS. more people could have work since there would exist startups creating crossplatform drivers based on HW APIs. So world would be a better place to live and more democratic,

Sorry to disappoint you Mr Gates.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Walking the Walk
by Lobotomik on Thu 31st Dec 2009 16:22 UTC in reply to "Walking the Walk"
Lobotomik Member since:
2006-01-03

RMS walks the walk? Oh, please! The things this man says and does appear to me totally ridiculous.

As a demonstration of personal integrity this is surreal: to punish "unethical" closed software BIOS, RMS sides with a chip pushed and financed by a notoriously authoritary and punitive regime, which not only has no qualms about shutting down freedom of expression, but locks its citizens in jail or shoots them dead in large numbers if they dare defy those gags.

Saviour of the world, indeed.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Walking the Walk
by h3rman on Thu 31st Dec 2009 21:01 UTC in reply to "RE: Walking the Walk"
h3rman Member since:
2006-08-09

RMS walks the walk? Oh, please! The things this man says and does appear to me totally ridiculous.

As a demonstration of personal integrity this is surreal: to punish "unethical" closed software BIOS, RMS sides with a chip pushed and financed by a notoriously authoritary and punitive regime, which not only has no qualms about shutting down freedom of expression, but locks its citizens in jail or shoots them dead in large numbers if they dare defy those gags.

Saviour of the world, indeed.


The US massacres people too, although I admit (unlike China) it kills mostly foreigners in its wars of aggression. In that respect, it's better not to use any computers. Unless, say, Luxemburg will be developing its own architecture in this decade.
I agree with you though, China is the wrong place to live if you dislike going along with the crowd all day.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Walking the Walk
by sorpigal on Fri 1st Jan 2010 14:14 UTC in reply to "RE: Walking the Walk"
sorpigal Member since:
2005-11-02

RMS is not a crusader for everything, he's a crusader for Free Software.

Don't confuse causes. RMS is supporting his cause: Free software. There are plenty of champions of freedom of the press. Not every champion of every noble cause needs to also be a champion of every other noble cause.

Reply Score: 2

Ironic
by Dasher42 on Thu 31st Dec 2009 08:20 UTC
Dasher42
Member since:
2007-04-05

That there are different types of freedoms in different nations is on full display here. How ironic that the place that can make a free BIOS, motherboard, and processor to run a free OS gravely violates free speech and civil rights. I'm not trying to pit country against country or say I don't admire other aspects of China, but what I do ask here is that if you care too much about one kind of freedom and ignore another, how is your idealism going to work outside its bubble?

I would like hardware with untainted principles in its spec and manufacture, and this is simply a tradeoff.

Reply Score: 7

RE: Ironic
by Thom_Holwerda on Thu 31st Dec 2009 09:38 UTC in reply to "Ironic"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

The thing is - good luck trying to avoid products made in China.

Also, you have to ask yourself whether you really should avoid products made in China. If we all collectively avoid them, the group we'll hit the most are ordinary Chinese - they'll lose their jobs. The Chinese elite will remain wealthy despite us not buying their stuff.

It's the same thing with child labour. Sure, it's apprehensive and goes against everything I stand for, but we shouldn't let our (perceived) moral high ground cloud the fact that a lot of families in the third world actually rely on their children working. It's harsh, but no less a reality.

It would be much better to promote social security and raise the general welfare level.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Ironic
by Lobotomik on Thu 31st Dec 2009 16:40 UTC in reply to "RE: Ironic"
Lobotomik Member since:
2006-01-03

This applies not only to goods made in China, or sewn by kids in India, but to oil dug from Saudi Arabia, Iran and Nigeria, tantalum from Congo, precious stones dug by slaves in Brazil, wood from former rain forests in Indonesia, Brazil and New Guinea, whales hunted by Japan and Iceland...

Yeah, that's it, let's do nothing! Let's just whish the problem away! We don't really want to fix it: some people might be affected! What will the poor slaves do without the handful of coins that we masters throw at them?

I'm admired. Your attitude sure is brave! People like you will change the world.

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: Ironic
by Vanger on Fri 1st Jan 2010 09:49 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Ironic"
Vanger Member since:
2007-11-28

Emm.

You do realise, that so-called "free world" was built on slave labour and child labour?
And whatcha gonna do about it?

You see, pretty much every state is built on oppressions, wars and crimes. That's the nature of nation states, you know.
You can call it outrageous (and you have full right to do it, especially when it's you under the press), you can call it acceptable (expecially if it's you getting the profit).

But closing your eyes on your own history and depriving other nation's people of their right to choose, is, well, imcompatible with ironizing about Stallman using Chinese netbook.
If you're not a hypocrite, of course.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Ironic
by Flatland_Spider on Thu 31st Dec 2009 20:48 UTC in reply to "RE: Ironic"
Flatland_Spider Member since:
2006-09-01

Those are true, but at least people would have a clean conscience and character enough to stand by their beliefs.

People need to take a stand somewhere, or the status quo will continue to be the status quo.

Reply Score: 1

patents
by debackerl on Thu 31st Dec 2009 12:53 UTC
debackerl
Member since:
2008-09-10

Come on, RMS is against all licensing of codecs for the Moonlight project and other agreements between Microsoft and Mono, but he happily uses the MIPS architecture including the four patented instructions.

Reply Score: 0

RE: patents
by UltraZelda64 on Thu 31st Dec 2009 20:03 UTC in reply to "patents"
UltraZelda64 Member since:
2006-12-05

It does seem kind of ironic, and I don't see much of a real difference here myself, but the key here is software patents vs. hardware patents. If the thing contained "non-free" firmware, BIOS, or various other proprietary software, it's obvious he wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole. But I don't care really, I think the guy goes too far, but if he wants to live that way let him.

Edited 2009-12-31 20:06 UTC

Reply Score: 2

order possible here
by reflect on Thu 31st Dec 2009 16:32 UTC
reflect
Member since:
2007-07-10

Found this http://hackable-devices.com/products/product/lemote-yeeloong-8089-a...

There's a buy-now button, and the three companies behind that site are based in Europe.. shouldn't be a problem to ship worldwide, but I haven't seen any info regarding that on their site yet.

Reply Score: 2

proprietary vs free
by reflect on Thu 31st Dec 2009 22:13 UTC
reflect
Member since:
2007-07-10

I see a lot of people arguing about this, and in this thread, it seems that some either take the flawed stance that if proprietary software were to end tomorrow, there would be no more software (or something to that effect) and in the other end, there's the ones that argues that specialised software.. they will never get paid, and thus will never get done.

For the special case:
4 companies compete about the same area. They each hire 2 guys, and they each put out their own product. None of them are really good, all of them are adequate or good. If the same companies would have hired a single guy.. and these 4 guys would have worked together, improving upon eachothers code.. then there would have been a better product overall. And they'd still get paid, as everyone who wants their products needs both support and updates.

Sure, there are always certain areas where this fails, but then let the users pay for development. Just like with a proprietary software. The only difference is that the code is open for everyone to improve upon. We, as a society, will be enriched by it. I can't tell you about the number of of "MS Access" applications from 1998 that are now dead and buried, where you can't even retrieve the data anymore that I've seen. And to think that proprietary formats are even allowed for things that requires longevity, like government records, tax stuff.. makes me cringe.

There's a similar thing for regular software. Let the customers pay for support/updates, make it cheaper, and you'll sell to more people while retaining a high grade software. There's a number of people doing this already, and I hope it's just a matter of time before more and more companies switch over to it. The idea of maintaining your software yourself, when you CAN get help from the outside, for free.. and still sell your updates etc.. well.. the math should just work itself out, shouldn't it?

Reply Score: 2

RE: proprietary vs free
by reflect on Thu 31st Dec 2009 22:21 UTC in reply to "proprietary vs free"
reflect Member since:
2007-07-10

Answer these simple questions:

- if you were no longer legally able to charge for software, what would you do? (you can charge for updates and support and patches and whatever)
- if you always had to supply your software under one of the free and open licenses, would we, as a world and society, be diminished or enriched by it?
- do you think that under these "laws" you could make something work?

Edited 2009-12-31 22:24 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: proprietary vs free
by sorpigal on Fri 1st Jan 2010 14:13 UTC in reply to "RE: proprietary vs free"
sorpigal Member since:
2005-11-02

You're confusing a gradual, natural death of an inferior way of running the software industry with a kind of fascist gun-to-the-head takedown. I don't believe I've ever heard RMS support the latter, even if he thinks that one day there should be laws against proprietary software (but please provide a citation for this, if you can, because I don't know that he's said it and tend to doubt it.)

In a future free software industry proprietary won't be so much illegal as unprofitable and obviously stupid. It will, then, be dead and no one will care. At that point you can pass any law you like forbidding it and it won't matter.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: proprietary vs free
by reflect on Fri 1st Jan 2010 18:54 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: proprietary vs free"
reflect Member since:
2007-07-10

Ah, no, I'm not. If I come across that way, it's poor wording on my part. What I meant was just a theoretical "if this was no longer the case, and you had to do this" what would happen - scenario.

If this world never would have come up with the idea of closed source software.. but only support and updates, feature requests etc.. then I think this would would have been so much better off.

Just look at most of science.. it's open, people build upon the knowledge of others. But in software, no.. in some parts of the worlds, it's accepted to patent an idea. This to me, is just ridiculous.

Reply Score: 2