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Weblog:   Open Source vs. Mac vs. Windows
Subject:   Thanks ! :-)
Date:   2004-02-21 09:06:02
From:   F.J.
Response to: Another pro-Mac article without any substance

Hi !


First of all, thanks for taking the time to send me your feedback, I really do appreciate it !


The goal of this blog is not to ask wether it is "morally ok" to use Apple software. As I wrote above, what I am trying to explain is that, most of the time, Open Source truly shines when it can be elegantly combined with some proprietary solutions.


I am afraid that our points of view differ on what makes Open Source software better or not. If I understand your message well you think Open Source is better because it is open. What I am trying to explain is that Open Source is not better because it is open but that there are lots of great Open Source applications that are inherently better than their commercial counterparts -- and that would remain true even if the commercial software were open sourced.


I myself support the Open Source movement and, as I write, use many Open Source applications on a daily basis. I appreciate the openness of Mac OS X and of its underlying foundation, Darwin. Apple works very closely with the Open Source world and both sides benefit greatly of this ongoing cooperation.


Since I cannot go into detail here, may I suggest that you have a look at the ADC pages for yourself ? You should find answers to the questions you raise.


I am sorry you feel that the beginning of this blog is a "lie". Migration of Windows users to various other platforms is now widely acknowledged as a fact.


Again thank you very much for submitting your feedback. I am always glad to discuss the current issues that affect our computing world :-)


F.J.

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Showing messages 1 through 3 of 3.

  • Thanks ! :-)
    2004-02-22 05:51:44  musnat [View]

    Thanks for your kind reply. Since you seem to be a sensible person to discuss with here are my points.

    First of all, I asked for a proof that people are migrating from Windows to other platforms. You either didn't or couldn't give any. Stating that it is well acknowledged doesn't say anything. It just means that either knowingly or without knowing you repeat the same lie or an assumption that is not true. That's usually the motivation behind so many number of anti-Microsoft bashing. I like open source and support it, but I find it outrageous to make up lies and accusations against Microsoft, and over the long run it is going to hurt open source very badly.

    Related with the above issue, my point is that, your own argument for some reason apply only to Apple. If one should make a point that open source is good with commercial applications, then his/her argument should apply equally to windows and Microsoft. You simply omit windows here, and focus on Apple, which hurts your own arguments, because that is simply not honest. If you were honest, you would make one single argument and apply it to all commercial applications out there, not just Apple itself.

    For example:
    "solutions that are at the same time polished and free -- as in "not proprietary"."
    How come Aqua on Darwin along with iTunes, iDVD, and so on are not proprietary? If you have proprietary program in your solution, your solution can not be free. You can't have both at the same time. You can argue it is the best if you mix them, but please don't say that by mixing them you still have free solutions.


    I don't believe that Apple is helping open source community and sees a trend here. Apple is helping open source, because 1) the licensing requires them to 2) they want the help of developers to fix bugs etc.. in their core os code or server programs. This doesn't look like a general trend, this looks more like a company takind advantage of certain things going around them, which is clever and right thing to do so for the company itself. By the nature of the things it is also good for the open source. But open source doesn't need more improvements to the kernel, servers, etc... we need more improvements at the user level apps, like KDE, Gnome, Office, iTunes, iVideo, iChat, etc.. and the only thing that Apple is doing at that space for open source community is KHTML and that's because of the license. You can't expect Adobe to open source its photoshop, or contribute to gimp, can you?

    Another issue is that, if you tell people it is best to use open source with Apple's products, then you automatically limit the improvements in the open source user space applications. That means an end to the dream of a usable open source desktop. I don't care whether you support open source or not, but that argument is not good for open source. My initial point was that, you don't apply your argument to every os vendor out there, second as a supporter for the open source, I believe that open source shouldn't give up the hope of building a true open source desktop. I see that this will hurt Apple, and that's why you may be trying to convince us that server and os stuff for open source is enough.
    • FJ de Kermadec photo Thanks ! :-)
      2004-02-22 14:13:23  FJ de Kermadec | O'Reilly Blogger [View]

      Hi again !

      While it is difficult for me to provide you with pages of statistics on the TalkBacks, may I suggest that you have a look at some excellent MacDevCenter and O'Reilly Network articles about switching ? Many authors have expressed their point of view on the question -- on both sides -- and their articles are a good source for links and information on the question. This is of course not the only source of information and you could look at the recent surveys conducted about the OS landscape -- in terms of users, market share, mind share, etc...

      I focused on the Mac world for two main reasons. First of all, I am a Mac user and know the Mac world in more detail than the Windows world. Then, Apple has recently worked very closely with the Open Source community when developing Mac OS X, probably more than Microsoft when developing Windows. I am sure there are many interesting articles to write on the relationship between operating systems in general and the Open Source world and I always read such pieces with the greatest interest. This was not my point here, though.

      I am afraid that your reaction is mainly based on an unfortunate misapprehension of the goal of this page. As I stated in one of my previous blogs ( The power of the Mac community ), we Mac users are always glad to discuss computing issues with other OS users. I am in now way trying to start an "operating system war" that wouldn't lead to any positive results.

      What I am trying to say about mixing proprietary and commercial solutions is pretty simple. Would you work with the proprietary format X, that is only read by application X, you are locked into a solution. When I use Keynote, the resulting file can be read by other applications. When I use iTunes to create an AAC file, I am not dependent from the application I use and remain free to switch if I wanted to since many applications can read the standard AAC format -- even when the applications in themselves are not open source.

      I do not think that Apple is helping the Open Source community "because the license requires them to". Indeed, although some licenses may require commercial users to give back the code they may have written, this not always the case -- far from it. Furthermore, in most cases, Apple works closely with the development teams and this serves as the basis for a true cooperation -- much more than a law-induced exchange of code.

      I cannot comment on Adobe's policy and will let them reply. About Apple, I can only invite you to have a closer look at the Apple Developer Connection site where you will find more links to answer your questions. Would you not trust the ADC -- for any reason --, you can always browse the Open Source sites by yourself -- FreeBSD, KDE, Apache...

      I think that the Open Source community can benefit from any help -- as we all can. Kernel and servers are not to be neglected, even if there is a new focus on desktop applications.

      I do not believe either that the Open Source community should stop developing an Open Source desktop -- as I already state in my blog : the creation of new projects always benefits everyone. I am simply saying that, nowadays, Mac OS X is my platform of choice as well as the platform of choice of many -- former or not -- UNIX, Windows and Linux users. Again, I do not think that this will "hurt Apple" either : every solution has its strengths and its place in the computing world.

      F.J.
      • Thanks ! :-)
        2004-02-23 01:39:57  musnat [View]

        The latest surveys I have seen show that Apple's market share is shrinking. (OsNews). Articles are full of ranting, you can't base your arguments on articles. Everybody is making something up, in fact just press someone to back up his/her claims, you will quickly see that he/she has to cut it out somewhere, because the person has no idea exactly where a "fact" as she/he strongly believes in come from, as I did in this case.

        If you don't know anything about windows, then why do you comment about the windows world. You say you only know macs, but you are claiming that users are trying to escape from Microsoft. It is not me that claims that you can't comment on windows, it is your own comments that say this. You suggest that you can't comment on windows, but you do comment on windows, you just don't comment fairly and honestly about it.

        " The power of the Mac community ), we Mac users are always glad to discuss computing issues with other OS users"
        What is this, a new race? A superior one? You buy a mac and you suddenly switch to this superior race? I found that quite embarassing and disgusting quite frankly. If you employ a person, you look if the person is also a mac user? If not, you don't like him? If you position yourself as part of a cult or a race and see other people as inferior, then I don't know what to say about it other than the fact that it is totally wrong to do so, especially morally.

        "Would you work with the proprietary format X, that is only read by application X,"
        What is the point of saying that to me? Did I say something against that? Of course you are locked in if you buy proprietary format X. You are also locked in when you buy hardware which is only supported by Apple. This is something I totally agree, open format is always good.

        "Apple works closely with the development teams and this serves as the basis for a true cooperation -- much more than a law-induced exchange of code"
        If you didn't notice this, I didn't dispute the cooperation. If Apple is willing to employ full time developers, then why shouldn't KDE team cooperate with them to incorporate the improvements. But that doesn't change the fact that Apple is not helping open source community, they are fullfilling their obligations. Being cooperative is only to be expected, ohterwise you would discourage open source developers from working on the project you just decided to use in your commercial products. That's a no brainer move. But again, Apple didn't contribute anything to video editing, sound editing, photo editing open source projects.

        "Would you not trust the ADC -- for any reason --, you can always browse the Open Source sites by yourself -- FreeBSD, KDE, Apache..."
        I don't know the point you are trying to make here. I have seen all the sites, even downloaded darwin streaming server from ADC for a test. What are you trying to say, I have no clue. Apple is open sourcing some underlying os components, one server software everybody knows that. There is not much interesting things there. Most of them are boring for open source projects, everybody knows how to build servers, operating systems now. We have code for that, what we don't have is user space programs.

        Certainly, many people go with diffent platforms. For example most of the people prefer Windows XP, like me. But being honest in your arguments has nothing to do with the platform choice. If you say only Apple has the right to stay proprietary, then I would dispute it as I did. Anyway, my last comment, thanks for the discussion.

Showing messages 1 through 3 of 3.