On 19/07/12 02:28 AM, Ralf Mardorf wrote:
On Thu, 2012-07-19 at 09:08 +0300, Andrei POPESCU wrote:
Also, I don't have a problem with paying for specialized software
[snip] as long as they run natively on my platform of choice.
+1 and plus, nobody should have compunction when illegal using some
software. I've got the privilege not to need to use software illegally,
but I don't point my fingers on somebody using software illegally. In
the 80s I bought! software, fixed issues and made it illegally available
for everybody. No Internet at that time, the crime happened at the
schoolyard, by sharing 5 1/4 floppy discs.
Police, please sue me for using illegally software, if I should ever do
it again, but than I'll sue the software companies for selling borked
Do two wrongs make a right?
As the discussion around this topic started with graphics cards, let's
look back at them. If a company open-sources its drivers, the community
can improve on them either in a performance or a compatibility sense.
The drivers can be kept current with the latest versions of X or any
other graphic infrastructure.
With closed source, we're left waiting for the manufacturer to do the
job - so long as they are in business and have the inclination. I have a
friend who had a computer with onboard graphics that only worked with
Windows ME. The board vendor never updated the driver to work with XP
and the Windows XP drivers didn't work.
The Linux drivers worked perfectly. I had the machine running Debian
faster than it ever ran Windows.
I tried using the proprietary drivers a few years back and was rewarded
with some minor eye-candy when they worked. I stopped using them
because, running Debian/Testing, they just wouldn't stay current with
the latest X version. I never knew when I loose my desktop. The open
source drivers kept me productive.
I used to run a free fax network using proprietary software. At one
point the vendor switched from using the open-spec dBASE .dbf files to a
proprietary database. The end result was when it screwed up, I couldn't
fix it. Nor could I extract the data properly when I shut down the
service and other groups wanted to continue with issue-specific
services. Nor was the company particularly good at resolving issues that
caused their program to lock up intermittently.
I've got computer files dating back to 1990 on my server. A lot of it is
in proprietary formats that there haven't been programs for in over a
decade. These are my files that I am effectively denied access to thanks
to closed thinking.
Another friend had upgraded his work computer over the years. For a long
time, his copy of AutoCAD continued to work. The last computer he bought
a few years ago came with Windows Vista. When he got tired of the bugs,
he upgraded to Windows 7, only to discover that AutoCAD stopped working.
He had to purchase a new, updated version just to continue working
despite the fact that he didn't need the new "improved" version. The old
version worked just fine for him (I was able to get the old version to
run in vmware - virtualBox didn't have a good enough DirectX
implementation - but that was too kludgy for him).
Nor is there any direct free competition for AutoCAD because it
encumbered its data format. If you want to use it, you have to pay and
you have to maintain the secrecy. It can't be open sourced. So much for
believing in competition.
Open source, free (as in speech) software and open formats aren't just
philosophies. There are strong business reasons why we should be using them.
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