Home > Open Source > Free 96-page report details benefits of Open Source softwareFree 96-page report details benefits of Open Source software Submitted by do-18 2004-09-22 Open Source 32 CommentsComputer Sciences Corp. (CSC) has published a 96-page report on Open Source software and its potential benefits to business and government. This whitepaper provides an introduction to the report and its findings. About The Author Eugenia LoliEx-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker.Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 32 Comments 2004-09-22 8:49 am could get it to load. I am at work at the minute and have to use win2k. it is a pdf, so there should have been no problem loading.did someone else get the link to work ?if you did, gimme a shout. I wanna read the link 2004-09-22 9:10 am oh yes, i can read this linksimply downloading this document on hard driveits about 8mb 2004-09-22 2:00 pm Just skimmed it, so I don’t know how the actual content is, but it looks very well done. Nice to see some professional marketing targeted twards the bigwigs for OSS. Good job CSC! 2004-09-22 2:06 pm It’s pretty good, I read about a fourth of it and skimmed the rest. It’s a good wake up call to those who still think OSS is a niche that businesses hate, or that most people never see OSS. 2004-09-22 2:32 pm and now my brain is sore nah honestly, there was some insightful information in there. the underlying theme of the whole thing was this… proprietary software sellers have no chance at all to beat open source software. even if they can force a competitor out of the market, the software will still be there, and so will the ability for another company/single person to take up development again and release a newer version.microsoft take note…. develop windows or face being left behind in the history books 2004-09-22 2:44 pm //microsoft take note…. develop windows or face being left behind in the history books//Ummm … ever hear of Longhorn? Sure, it may be awhile, but it’s DEFINITELY in development. 2004-09-22 2:46 pm The first part talks about culture and community being the best part of open source. I had to stifle a gag when i read that. I get tired of hearing all this touchy-feely mentality applied to software, this collectivist warm fuzzy applied to OSS. Companies do not invest in software becasue they expect to get a great big hug from the developers that created it. I say pass over this document as what it is more partisan propaganda. Let open source win the market by being technically superior to its competitors. 2004-09-22 2:49 pm yes indeed I have heard of longhornin fact, I heard of the ORIGINAL specs of longhornthings like 3d guiwinfsthings that have been in linux for agesif linux has these capabilities now, imagine what it will be like by the time longhorn hits the shelves. 2004-09-22 3:35 pm in fact, I heard of the ORIGINAL specs of longhornthings like 3d guiwinfsthings that have been in linux for ages Hmmm…I must’ve missed the big 3d Gnome or KDE release.Oh, and so Winfs has been implemented in Linux before Windows. I missed that one too.You lose again fanboy. 2004-09-22 3:46 pm I read the paper. Very nicely done, looks very professional. It was also created using QuarkXPress for the Macintosh. This was a marketing tool. Nothing more, nothing less. Sure it was all touchy feeling about community and a lot of other rhetoric. 2004-09-22 4:07 pm Hmmm…I must’ve missed the big 3d Gnome or KDE release.Then did you here about Sun’s Looking Glass desktop for Linux?Oh, and so Winfs has been implemented in Linux before Windows. I missed that one too. No, but apparently you missed the release of Reiser 4 which supports plugins for sql based filesystems. 2004-09-22 4:54 pm No, but apparently you missed the release of Reiser 4 which supports plugins for sql based filesystems.But doesn’t exist yet. DBFS ain’t part of KDE or GNOME. And all the userspace daemons aren’t part of GNOME / KDE either (yet). FD.o / X.Org ain’t in wide usage yet.So its partly there, partly not, partly not in wide use (yet). 2004-09-22 4:59 pm things like 3d guiwinfsthings that have been in linux for agesHmmm…I must’ve missed the big 3d Gnome or KDE release.Oh, and so Winfs has been implemented in Linux before Windows. I missed that one too.If you read yesterday’s story titled “Microsoft Research: User Interface Prototypes” and look at the moderated down comments you’ll notice raver31 said all that stuff has been in Linux for ages too. Would love to get a copy of this distro he’s using 2004-09-22 5:03 pm Beagle is the linux implementation of WinFS style effectiveness, it’s been around for a while. Reiser4 is a completely different thing, but I guess you could build a WinFS style architecture with it if you wanted. Beagle works though.3D accellerated desktops are now in the stable official X server, and are supported in gnome. Sun’s looking glass is also there if you want to be adventurous.Even if you claim that these ideas arent implemented in the enterprise linux offerings yet, Microsoft has said that WinFS will be cut from Longhorn and Avalon (the 3d desktop) will probably be cut as well. 2004-09-22 5:20 pm I would hope that the report is free if it is talking about Open Source…. 2004-09-22 5:40 pm lumberg calling me a fanboy ? thats rich indeed !!reiserfs4 has been out for ages, it is true that it has been in many official distros yet, but they will come.the devel version is nearly a year and a half old, and it is a simple matter of downloading it, and converting your existing partitions over to it.project looking glass has been in development for almost 3 years and recently, sun released a linux version. sure it is simply eye-candy, but that seems to catch the windows guysYou want a copy of the distro I am using ? No probs, it is a heavily modded version of mandrake 10, btw, have a look at one that is almost year old, do a search for 3ddesktop.rpmI don’t blame you though for not keeping up with developments in the linux world, I mean, why should you ? I dont know what the mac guys are up to, neither do I care.BUT – I do hate to see windows fanboys spouting off about “new” stuff that has been around for ages.Like I said earlier, Linux will simply be amazing by the time longhorn hits the shops 2004-09-22 5:43 pm There will be more than one WinFS type of file system in Linux, but the underlying technology will be Riser. So Riser is the open foundation, the rest are proprietary implementations. This is different from Windows where Microsoft is the dictator of the platform. 2004-09-22 6:07 pm I don’t think anyone is against open source in general and I think everyone finds something good about open source. I think the thing is the license that either makes it attractive or not to people. For businesses that want to use open source and put proprietary code in it, then the GPL would not be good for them. For indivduals who want the best for themselves and for everyone else, the GPL would be fine good. Instead of just stating that open source is good in general, they should be focusing on the open source licenses and its advantages/disadvantages for certain scenarios. 2004-09-22 6:38 pm I totally agree. Personally I have no issues with open source, the part I always hate is how so often in stories and message boards open source always seems to equate to Linux and the GPL. FreeBSD and the BSD License are just as attractive if not more so for a lot of companies. 2004-09-22 6:45 pm I agree with you on that…BSDs are always overlooked when people are talking about open source.As is all the open source software on the Windows platform.However, the reason Linux is always mentioned when people are talking about oss is that Linux has been the greatest success so far.Lately there has been loads of support for Firefox on all platforms, these article writers almost always ignore this, simply because it is a single app.I dunno the way forward…. I love using Linux and its apps, and I will always defend it from Windows fanboys, but, what can an oss fan do against the marketing hype of Microsoft and all them websites and magazines that only ever put out Microsofts side of the story ? 2004-09-22 6:45 pm Clearly a marketing thingie meant for business/management bobo’s. Nothing new in it, but it does give a nice overview of the current open source field from a business perspective. Nice they also mentioned some non-software spinoffs of the open source model, like Wikipedia. There are some errors in the report, though:The absence of any warranties and indemnity for third party claims highlights a significant difference from the more traditional software licensing model.Not true. Software vendors may provide some protection from 3rd party claims to their customers (see Sun, Red Hat for instance), or they may not. This is the same as with most closed-source licensing, just read some common End User License Agreements. Open source just makes this issue more visible. Then, a little bit further, it reads:…an open source license is a contract…A license isn’t a contract, it’s a LICENSE. The difference? When 2 parties sign a contract, they both promise some ‘performance’, as in: you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours. If either party doesn’t ‘perform’, they can be held accountable.A license doesn’t require that. If I get a GPL licensed program, the author hands it to me, but isn’t required to do anything else. I am not required to do anything in return either. The license just says that IF I do something with the software, it should be according to the terms of the license. If I don’t, the license is automatically revoked. The GNU.org site provides more info on this.Why this needs 8 MB. and 96 pages to make its point? Anyway, it did mention where I can go to buy a pack of that Linux washing powder 😉 2004-09-22 7:15 pm Well, Reiser4 is an available-today stab into the future of filesystems.Additionally healthy is the debate you can track over on http://kerneltrap.org on the no’ so obvious issues surrounding the ideas.It’s great to know that a vendor isn’t going to take something blatantly obvious and run it through a patent mill as a means of gaining marketing leverage.Sweetest of all, though, is that there is no IT dictator unilaterally deciding What Is Best for you. Transparency breeds security at a much faster rate than obscurity breeds security. 2004-09-22 7:39 pm Actually, a license is a contract. A contract is just an agreement between two or more parties, it does not have to be signed. For instance when I give 50 cents to the grociery store in exchange for a donut even that is a contract. In the case of the GPL, the contract states that the vendor provides the right to use software in exchange for similar rights to use any derivative software. For more information about what constitutes a contract, see the wikipedia article on it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contract 2004-09-22 8:04 pm And avoids or downplays all the obvious pitfalls, which is typical for a glossy pamphlet promoting something.It’s a hard sell to any businessman, as the lack of a central authority for something mission critical to their business and lack of reliable support leaves a sour taste. While certainly Redhat and a handful of other companies fill this gap, they are not a be-all end-all solution to the overall perception.Worse, I have found it hard to convince old-school businessmen that shared code could be secure. To a non-computer person such a notion is… absurd at best. One better, convincing people who’s livelyhood is making money that supporting something they get for free is a good thing never plays well, even if it will save them money. It’s the principal of it.While certainly Open Source has made heavy in-roads, there is still a lot of fight ahead – A fight that I am not certain can be won without a radical shift in how businessmen think about doing business. Until then, Operating systems like Solaris, SCO and even HP-UX that have large corporations behind them will remain the flavor of choice in businesses where IT answers to corporate, not the other way around. 2004-09-22 9:17 pm Omar wrote: “A contract is just an agreement between two or more parties, it does not have to be signed. For instance when I give 50 cents to the grociery store in exchange for a donut even that is a contract.”I agree with you that a contract may be implied, and may not need to be signed. But the point is: 1) there needs to be an agreement (that’s clear when you hand over your 50 cents), and 2) an exchange of value (50 cents vs. the donut).When you download GPL’ed software, there is no such agreement, and usually no exchange of value either. Often you didn’t read the license before getting the software. In most countries, copyright law says you are not allowed to do certain things, unless you have permission from the copyright holder. A license just gives you that permission. Violating it isn’t contract breach, but copyright violation.http://lwn.net/Articles/61292/http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/License 2004-09-22 10:22 pm Ponds do you think Beagle is finished already? Afaik its still in development. GNOME-Storage development got stalled afaik. ReiserFS4 might have the feature, but as FS it still needs testing before serious deployment.Also, (again afaik) no Linux distribution for desktop or server deployment supports any of these yet. So indeed i’d argue its not there (yet) — but, its comming, and i think its there earlier than MS has it already (perhaps Apple too).Well, Reiser4 is an available-today stab into the future of filesystems.Additionally healthy is the debate you can track over on http://kerneltrap.org.sixxs.org on the no’ so obvious issues surrounding the ideas.You mean http://www.kerneltrap.orgYou like ipv6gate.sixxs.org? I was just testing it, too. 2004-09-22 11:54 pm A license gives you permission to do something that would otherwise be forbidden. A fishing license permits you to go fishing. A marriage license grants legal protections that you wouldn’t have otherwise. The General Public License gives you permission to distribute copywrited material owned by someone else.A contract is a meeting of the minds with an exchange of value. The agreement must be made before the exchange of value.The confusion comes in where you have contracts about licenses. A clothing company may sign a contract with the NFL that results in a license to use trademarks owned by the NFL. A Microsoft EULA is another example of such a contract. Note that EULA stands for End User License Agreement, with the key word being Agreement. Agreement is another way of saying contract, in this case, a contract about a license.Under copyright law, buying a copy of a copyrighted work gives you many rights, but not the right to make and distribute more copies. The GPL grants you a license, under certain terms, to make and distribute copies. You do not need to agree to the GPL to use the software, only to distribute it.A Microsoft EULA is a license to use, not a license to distribute. Microsoft doesn’t sell software, they sell licenses to use software owned by Microsoft. By avoiding selling the software without a contract, they avoid giving you rights that you would otherwise have under copyright law. Unlike buying a book, you didn’t buy a copy of a copywrited work. You bought a license to use a copy owned by Microsoft. You can sell the book when you are done with it, but you can’t sell Windows when you no longer use it. That’s entirely due to the contract that conveyed the license to use.The software industry has done a good job creating confusion over licenses and contracts. Licenses don’t require consent; I can give you permission to distribute my software without even telling you. A license agreement, on the other hand, requires acceptance by both parties, making it a contract. The software industry has been trying to create a chimera with aspects of both licenses and contracts. They would like you to be bound by contract terms without the bother of getting your agreement. So they throw around ‘license’ when they mean ‘license agreement’, and have succeeded in confusing not only the public, but legislatures and courts as well.I’ve used Microsoft as the example here, but nearly all commercial software vendors follow similar practises. I’ve dealt with several who require a signed contract before shipping software, which is the right way to make a contract. Shrinkwrap license agreements strike me as an underhanded attempt to slip a contract past the user without informing him that he is negotiating a contract. If you want to sell software retail, then do it under the Uniform Commercial Code without a contract. Copyright still applies. 2004-09-23 1:50 am I’m sorry, but I did some work for CSC back in the days when they hired Americans. CSC management was completely clueless about software development and open source software. CSC management, like that of most large corps, cannot be trusted. 2004-09-23 7:49 am Also, (again afaik) no Linux distribution for desktop or server deployment supports any of these yet. So indeed i’d argue its not there (yet) — but, its comming, and i think its there earlier than MS has it already (perhaps Apple too). nope mate, have a look here <a href=”http://www.yoper.com“> They are using ReiserFS4 2004-09-23 9:33 pm You might not have noticed this but the ones who buy software and the ones who produce it are people. That warm fuzzy feeling might sound untechnical too you but it is at the core of all value transactions. 2004-09-24 12:33 am Looks very professional from what i read 2004-09-24 12:39 am Excellent pdf, loaded up instantely here on my Gentoo Linux running on an amd64. It’s good to see that the industry isn’t trying to ignore OSS any more and hope it just goes away. Closed software shopes still have the mind-share and money to move projects into the spot lights quickly. On the other hand OSS has the pure people power and ability to distribute releases very quickly. In the end the companies have found that they can’t charge money for products like the phone company any more. The cat is out the bag, software isn’t about making money its about getting work done. Viva Le Distruption!