Open Source

The Open Source Foundation has put online several documents leaked from Microsoft evaluating Linux and other open source software as competitors. However “Eric S. Raymond” put his comments all over it, I started reading the document (and in particular the comments by mr Raymond, written in green) but stopped halfway. It’s disgusting, this guy really looks at Microsoft as if it’s evil in it’s purest form. Why is this an impression I get a lot in the “open source community”? I hate it, personally I have nothing against Microsoft, well nothing, far less than many other people ;)

Last year there was a guy from Microsoft giving a lecture at our CS department, for which you need guts as the whole department runs on Linux and there are many Linux advocates there. Anyway, as he did his talk, which was pretty good (it was about user experience), there was this guy looking him all the time with these eyes full of hate. He made a couple of anti-Microsoft remarks too, which I found pretty sad.

I truely, deeply hate this kind of behaviour and thinking and it makes me choose Microsoft’s side. I’m not a big fan of Microsoft’s pushing-everybody-else-out-of-the-business strategy but technology wise it’s a great company. “Microsoft wants to integerate everything into the OS”, sure they do, don’t you want it to have it that way? I do, when I look at Linux and the mess it is. Nothing integrates, it’s all pieces which you should try to get to work together. There is no uniformity, every configuration file has a different syntax. When you need to install a new kernel (because of a security issue for example) you have to compile it yourself, find out which modules to enable etc. This is a very error prone process, I weren’t able to boot up my laptop because I messed up the kernel and it just wouldn’t boot. Windows just automatically can download the patches for you, install them, reboot and you’re set, never went wrong for me, no configuration, just easy. “Yes it’s very newbie proof”, yes so? Just because you’re an expert doesn’t mean they have to make it harder for you. People usually look at Linux as a new refreshing OS, beside the fact that it attempts to clone an over 40(?) years old OS, is it that renewing? Is editting inconsistent configuration files the future or is that a stage we passed many years ago already? It sure is cheap though, and it’s not Microsoft, that’s enough for many people.

And then there’s open source in general. I think it was Steve Balmer who once compared the GPL (the heart of open source software) to cancer and I must say it’s not such a weird thing to say. The GPL is like a virus, everything that touches it gets infected. All software that uses pieces of GPL’ed code have to become GPL’ed themselves too. BSD indeed is less worse of all.
(Edit: Yes it said that BSD was worse of all, I meant less worse of all)

Anyway, this was reason for me to abort the SuSE installation I was doing.