Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Ximian Operating Systems Software Windows

de Icaza: Rest of World Will Force US Into Linux 886

Posted by Hemos
from the hopefully-but-we'll-see dept.
Eugenia writes "OSNews had an interesting discussion with Miguel de Icaza about all things Linux and Novell. Miguel talked about the general patent problem and how this will become the one single stumbling block of widespread adoption of Linux in USA, while he asserts that Longhorn uses some 'new' technologies already found on Gnome and elsewhere. Miguel believes that poor countries will be the first that will adopt widely Linux, and as long the EU won't adopt a similar system to US for patents, Europe will follow soon after, leaving no option to USA but to eventually adopt Linux as well in the long run (despite potential patent problems). Another strategy Miguel discussed was about moving as many F/OSS applications as possible to Windows in order to familiarize the casual users with open source. Among many other interesting tidbits he also mentions that Quark is now using Mono on Mac OS X." Of course, the EU not adopting software patents seems to be less and less likely.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

de Icaza: Rest of World Will Force US Into Linux

Comments Filter:
  • Maybe Not... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dre80 (613210) * on Monday May 10, 2004 @09:02AM (#9105734)
    Well, that's a nice idea and all, and the initial logic seems to follow, but... will the US actually follow suit? The US isn't exactly known for following the rest of the world. Think of the metric system, for one...
    • Not to mention (Score:4, Insightful)

      by 2names (531755) on Monday May 10, 2004 @09:13AM (#9105837)
      that it is an extremely rare occurrance for the entity that _has_ the money to listen to the entities that don't.

      I mean, when is the last time you heard of a successful business person taking advice from a skid row bum?

      And, yes, I know it sounds harsh, elitist, and rude, but it is the truth and we all know it.

      • by brunes69 (86786) <slashdot&keirstead,org> on Monday May 10, 2004 @09:27AM (#9105941) Homepage

        The EU is becoming more and more unified every year, and the economy of Europe is quickly becoming simmilar to the economy of the US, where you can compare a European country to a US state.

        United States:

        Total GDP (2002) - 10.4 Trillion $

        GDP/head - $37,600

        Ranked 1st (countries)

        European Union:

        Total GDP (2002) - 9.61 Trillion

        GDP/head - 21,125

        Ranked 1st if counted as a single country

        Europe is coming up fast... not to mention China and India. The days of the US as the economic superpoer of the wolrd are numbered by just abount any metric you use.

        • "The EU is becoming more and more unified every year, and the economy of Europe is quickly becoming simmilar to the economy of the US, where you can compare a European country to a US state."

          The "European Union" is not yet "Europe": about half of the European countries, and more than half of European territory are not even part of the EU.

          • by Moderation abuser (184013) on Monday May 10, 2004 @09:58AM (#9106243)
            Quite true and rather a confusing situation for everyone for a while. Interesting you talk about territory when the EU is a political entity. It's the people which matter. About 2/3 of the countries have joined.

            The EU is now 450 million people, just two weeks ago it was 380 million. In 3 years it will be 480 million when Romania and Bulgaria join. Then it will be just Switzerland, Norway, the Balkans. I suspect Russia will never join and it be a good few years before Belarus and Ukraine join.

            In 50 years the EU is going to be a unified superpower and the EU and Europe will be synonymous. Hopefully they won't forget the reason for it existing in the first place.
            • by ErroneousBee (611028) <neil:neilhancock,co,uk> on Monday May 10, 2004 @10:43AM (#9106687) Homepage
              There is a very good chance the UK will withdraw from the EU after the referendum. There is an unholy alliance of little englanders, anti-immigration parties, free-marketeers, beaurocracy haters, democracy lovers, and now software developers. Straw polls indicate 60% of the population will reject the new constitution.

              I wouldnt be suprised if Denmark breaks away too, possibly taking the rest if Scandinavia with it.

              Germanic cultures will then find itself isolated with Latin countries to the West, poor ex-communist states to the west, and independant states to the north and south. Cant imagine Germany will hang around when its having to bankroll everyone elses peasant economy.

              After that, I think its Britain's turn to invade France. Or maybe Germany's, its hard to keep track these days.
              • LOL.

                It's all going very quickly at the moment. Too quickly, it feels like a railroad and people don't like being railroaded. The UK won't withdraw, but the constitution will be rejected if we get a vote. The Eurocrats will have to wait.

                Give it 10 years, the ink hasn't even dried on the Euro notes yet.

                Oh, and it'd be the bloody Balkans again.

            • by JelloGnome (748938) on Monday May 10, 2004 @12:45PM (#9107903)
              My roommate is from Germany and he says that an Austrian man living in his home town for 40 years is still considered an Austrian by everyone in the area. I don't want to apply a stereotype on all of Europe, but I don't think tolerance will come so quickly (and it may never come). The EU may be united in currency, but there is a lot of cultural conflict in the entire area. There is even internal conflict in countries like Germany where the east and west have completely different views.

              Don't forget, even the United States has trouble getting along with itself. Not just the political parties, but the North and the South still see each other as "separate but equal". Just because you belong to the same state/country/alliance doesn't mean you'll get along.

        • The EU is becoming more and more unified every year, and the economy of Europe is quickly becoming simmilar to the economy of the US, where you can compare a European country to a US state.

          But just try ordering component parts (English keyboard - $25) for computers from one country (England) to have them delivered to another country (Brittany, North West of France), and see what reply you get. Even though the distance is less than 200 miles, and the transaction could be done just as quickly, by driving
          • by BenBenBen (249969) on Monday May 10, 2004 @10:07AM (#9106320)
            I work at a mail order place.

            Don't blame the store - blame all those lads trying to get stuff shipped to Nigeria, or the UAE, or any one of a dozen other third-world crime holes.

            It's about 10 gajillion times easier to just flat out say "No foreign cards or deliveries" than it is trying to train up a gormless local to spot fraud. Costs a hella lot less, too.

            And don't forget that most UK businesses will have no way of verifying your name and address as they relate to the card's genuine holder.

            All in all, I'm glad that you can't just use any card from any country. It's a pain if you're living in Brittany, but I'm sure you've found numerous things that make up for it. I'll trade the ability to painlessly buy a keyboard for your rail system, for one.
        • Ranked 1st if counted as a single country? Um, it is 2nd in both figures you give. (Well, 2nd of 2). What does this Ranked 1st mean? First in what? You already said GDP is lower, GDP per capita is lower. I don't follow.
          • In PPP figures [wikipedia.org] the EU would be larger economically. It's just that the poster used the wrong figures (plain GDP).

            European Union GDP $: 11.50 trillion Per Capita $: 25,300 Pop: 454,900,000
            United States GDP $: 10.40 trillion Per Capita $: 37,600 Pop: 290,343,000
        • The days of the US as the economic superpoer of the wolrd are numbered by just abount any metric you use.

          Ah, but the US - she does not use the metric system.

        • by Shivetya (243324) on Monday May 10, 2004 @11:19AM (#9107066) Homepage Journal
          The EU isn't the happy go lucky group it once was. France and Germany are abusing it on a regular basis, especially when it comes to fiscal responsibility.

          They recently enlarged their government so much that their effectiveness has been reduced many times. What used to be a small organization that could react fairly well is now a cumbersome organization that spends hours giving each minister his time.

          Plus at this time a lot of the newer countries are poor. This puts a lot of load on the EU and will seriously test it.

          Unfortunately I think the EU is soon to be bogged down in its own government just like the US is. The issue is worse as they can't even settle on a Constitution that is viable.

          As for the article, Linux isn't going to happen until the business community is convinced that the apps are here and will be supported.
      • The money's moving (Score:5, Insightful)

        by truthsearch (249536) on Monday May 10, 2004 @09:37AM (#9106024) Homepage Journal
        The US economy is very dependant on foreign trade. Over time many other countries are becoming richer and influential. For example, today China's choice to use Linux doesn't matter much to the US. But if it's the next big market as many people believe then what standards they use will most certainly matter to the US. As trade with China grows and companies become more entagled overseas their choices will influence US companies.
        • by PsiPsiStar (95676) on Monday May 10, 2004 @10:56AM (#9106823)
          I got back from China a few months ago (I taught English for 5 months). Those Chinese who were forced to use Linux hated the imposition. Most people just use pirated versions of Windows when they can. Pirated software (not to mention movies) are everywhere in China.

          Every netbar I went to (and they're a lot more popular in China than the states) was running Windows. I didn't even see "Red Star Linux" while I was there. Maybe it's more of a government thing or somthing. Makes sense, security wise.

          Don't let those articles from a while back about China "adopting Linux" fool you too much regarding the situation on the ground.
        • by michael_cain (66650) on Monday May 10, 2004 @11:42AM (#9107322) Journal
          The US economy is very dependant on foreign trade... But if it's [China's] the next big market as many people believe then what standards they use will most certainly matter to the US.

          I think you have the direction of dependency reversed. The Economist, among other sources, regularly bemoans the fact that the world is far too dependent on being able to export to the US, the "consumer of last resort". If the US were to abruptly cut its imports by enough to eliminate its trade deficit, there would be some pain; but the economies of countries like China and Korea would suffer far more.

          At the present time, the US economy is just about ten times the size of the Chinese economy. Assuming that China can outgrow the US by five percentage points per year (say 8% growth to 3%), it will take 48 years for China to "catch up". And the Chinese government is already trying to scale back their current growth rate, realizing that it is not sustainable. China may be the next big market, but it will be a long time before that market is comparable in size to the US.

          Unfortunately, we may all get a chance in a few years to see what happens when the US has to make big cuts in its spending habits. The US consumer "engine" appears to be driven by debt, both public and private, and the situation will have to change.

      • Re:Not to mention (Score:5, Insightful)

        by (trb001) (224998) on Monday May 10, 2004 @10:03AM (#9106275) Homepage
        I don't think your analogy holds up. If the bum was suggesting that trickle down economics doesn't really work, then I would think the businessman would agree with him; not because the bum said it, but because it has been shown in practice.

        Linux will only become pervasive in the US after companies have seen other companies make it work (and make it work better than Windows) and be profitable. Once it's proven itself, adoption by US companies should be easier...at least to newly formed companies. Some existing companies are still using mainframes, so I doubt they're going to be switching over to "The Next Big Thing".

        --trb
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 10, 2004 @09:13AM (#9105843)
      Is for the big important games to start coming out for Linux instead of Windows.

      Of course, while the U.S. sucks for console games, it rules the PC game market. So I don't know how likely it is for games to be a way for the world to force the U.S. into OS compliance...

      Also if De Icaza gets his way this won't happen.. since Icaza's glorified-Wine mono project is more likely to lead to crossplatform games than linux-only ones...

      -- Super Ugly Ultraman
      • by croddy (659025) on Monday May 10, 2004 @09:36AM (#9106017)
        Mono/.NET isn't really a game development platform. the more likely scenario for cross-platform games is that 3D games would be written for OpenGL rather than DirectX.

        I was discussing this with a friend over dinner the other night. once games are released for Linux as well as Windows (UT2004, for example, and the forthcoming Doom 3), gamers need only be shown Linux GL benchmarks before they'll happily switch to a Linux 2.6.x system for 5-10FPS gains over Windows.

    • Re:Maybe Not... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by corngrower (738661)
      The US certainly does not look to be a leader in the wide adoption of desktop linux. He's right in saying the us will be a follower. The US government's anal policy towards intellectual property will a detriment to the advancement of science and technology in the US. The US. was built on the idea of free flow of information and ideas. Now that it's getting to be hard to make a buck in manufacturing, executives see more value in their 'intellectual property'.
    • Metric System (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Venner (59051) on Monday May 10, 2004 @09:24AM (#9105919)
      What are you talking about? The United States Congress officially adopted the metric system in 1866. :-)
      They just didn't force people to stop using the units and measures with which they were familiar.

      Coming from a science/engineering background, I *hate* working in traditional/avoirdupois/empire units.

      On the other hand, it feels unnatural to talk about the weather in anything but degrees Fahrenheit. I've tried. I have plenty of European relatives. But centigrade's units feel too "big" and awkward.
      • Re:Metric System (Score:5, Interesting)

        by OS24Ever (245667) * <trekkie@nomorestars.com> on Monday May 10, 2004 @09:54AM (#9106203) Homepage Journal
        What gets me about not using the centigrade measurement system is that it makes so much more sense. Where 0 = where water freezes. Vs. Degrees F = where a half mixture of salt and water freezes.

        Is it the American thing where 'bigger is better' or what? That's what always confused me on why we don't adopt the metric system. Base 10 is so natural to use, not this base 12, no, base 3, no, base 5280, no, fractions baby! Is it a math teacher conspiracy or what?

        I dropped out of college to stop my brain from exploding when I went from a physics class that was full metric to an aerospace engineering course that was all 'english' measurement. When a prof or whatever popped up and said something about a 'slug' being an measurement of atmospheric pressure I thought I was going to die.
        • Americans don't like to be told what to do. Telling an American that "you must do X" is a sure way to invite an argument -- simply for argument's sake I think.

          Pay taxes on stamps, tea, and sugar? Out went the British. Regulate alcohol? Whiskey rebellion [wikipedia.org] and the first problem for the new government. Constitutionally prohibit alcohol (Prohibition)? Americans responded with Joe Kennedy and Al Capone. Sign says 55MPH? We'll drive 65MPH. Don't mandate what we can and cannot do.

          When a vehicle, applianc
      • Re:Metric System (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Monday May 10, 2004 @10:09AM (#9106340) Homepage Journal
        I *hate* working in traditional/avoirdupois/empire units.

        My dad thought metric was horrible until I gave him a 5-minute explanation and then asked him how many grams of water are in a cubic meter, and he was able to answer. Then I asked him how many tablespoons are in a ton of water, and he decided that metric had something going for it after all.

        My father-in-law thinks it's funny that I never remember how many cups are in a pint, or some other weird conversion. To him, it proves that people don't learn as much in college as they think they do.

    • Re:Maybe Not... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by OECD (639690) on Monday May 10, 2004 @09:28AM (#9105952) Journal

      The US isn't exactly known for following the rest of the world. Think of the metric system, for one...

      Well, the metric system has made inroads here. It's patchy--you buy liters of Pepsi, but gallons of milk. In certain occupations, though, it's the lingua franca.

      Linux adoption will probably be equivalent. It'll be here-and-there, except in areas where it's omnipresent. And that's a good thing, as it avoids a software monoculture.

  • Uh huh... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Boing (111813) on Monday May 10, 2004 @09:03AM (#9105743)
    Rest of World Will Force US Into Linux

    Umm, yeah... because that worked so well with the metric system.

    • by ballpoint (192660) on Monday May 10, 2004 @09:15AM (#9105857)
      Is this really an "US and them" issue ?

      After all, we're only ordinary men.
    • Canada's worse (Score:5, Interesting)

      by JediTrainer (314273) on Monday May 10, 2004 @10:28AM (#9106534)
      We're a bit worse off in the Great White North, because of exactly this. While we're technically supposed to be metric, because of heavy trade with the US we have to do both. FYI I live near Toronto.

      When you're buying a house, the property size is measured in metres. However, the interior measurements are all given in square feet.

      I know my height in feet and inches, but my driver's license lists it in centimetres. Funny, because I measure my skis in centimetres.

      I buy meat in the store by the gram or kilogram, but my microwave asks me how many pounds is it when I want to defrost it. Of course I know my weight in pounds.

      Construction materials are measured in feet, while I drive in km/h. I pump litres of gas into my tank, while I purchase hard booze in ounces. But beer, water and soft drinks are sold in millilitres.

      I read the outside temperature in celsius, and I set my thermostat in C, yet my oven is set in farenheit. At least, all the recipes I have do (some ovens have both C and F listed).

      We're pretty damned confused up here.
  • A great idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Orion Blastar (457579) <orionblastar@noSPAm.gmail.com> on Monday May 10, 2004 @09:04AM (#9105747) Homepage Journal
    to move F/OSS to Windows. It helps the migration to Linux a lot better.

    Linux needs to improve to become a better desktop OS.

    Many organizations do not use Linux and F/OSS becuase they have not been certified for use with their profession, like accounting etc. So there needs to be certification of Linux and F/OSS products. If the organization doing the certification is in the pocket of MS, fat chance of that happening.
    • Re:A great idea (Score:5, Insightful)

      by pubjames (468013) on Monday May 10, 2004 @09:11AM (#9105825)
      Absolutely.

      In the good fight with Microsoft, we must use every advantage we have. Coverting OSS packages to work on windows is a killer because Microsoft can't do it without aiding us! If we have applications that work across a variety of platforms, then we have a selling point that Microsoft doesn't. However, if they tried to do the same thing - for instance, porting Office to Linx - that would only benefit us anyway. So it's win/win for us and lose/lose for MS.
      • Win win for MS (Score:3, Interesting)

        by TheLink (130905)
        More Linux developers writing software for Mono = more developers writing software for Windows.

        More Linux developers porting software to Windows = more software for Windows.

        At the same time I'm sure MS is not going to arrange things so that more Windows developers writing software = more developers writing software for Linux. Remember Java and MS JVM? This time .Net is theirs and they have no "contract with Sun".

        And don't forget, Windows comes preinstalled on many x86 hardware. There is no need to instal
  • EU software patents. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Moderation abuser (184013) on Monday May 10, 2004 @09:05AM (#9105757)
    Note: The European elections are due in a month or so, so contact your MEPs to ask why they exist if the parliament can be bypassed like this.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 10, 2004 @09:16AM (#9105863)
      The European wasn't bypassed. It's part of the law making process. The proposal bounces between comission an parliament several times until one side accepts the proposal of the other. The comisions proposal will hit the parliament after the election, so elect wisely.....
      • by Halo1 (136547) <jonas.maebeNO@SPAMelis.ugent.be> on Monday May 10, 2004 @09:44AM (#9106099) Homepage
        The European wasn't bypassed.
        Indeed, they're simply ignored. In practice, it amounts to more or less the same thing.
        It's part of the law making process.
        Unfortunately, it's true that legally, the Council is not bound at all by what the Parliament fought and voted for. It's merely "advice" which they "have to take into account". That doesn't mean that the fact that they take full advantage of this hole in European law and that tabling a counter proposal written by, of all people, patent office administrators is not a subversion of the democratic process.
        The proposal bounces between comission an parliament several times until one side accepts the proposal of the other. The comisions proposal will hit the parliament after the election, so elect wisely.....
        It bounces between Council and Parliament actually. The problem is that in the second reading in Parliament, the Parliament can only reinstate what it voted in first reading with an absolute majority (nr_of_MEPS / 2). So it becomes much harder. If it still doesn't pan out, there's a reconciliation committee of MEPs, people from the Commission and people of the Council.

        Of course, most of the people in the Parliament directly responsible for this directive were pro-software patents (as the whole purpose was to legalise software patents, and not "clarification" and "harmonisation" like the Commission claims). Let's hope indeed the next Parliament will be ready to show its teeth if we can't get the Council to reconsider.

        PS: Here's the whole codecision procedure [caliu.info] in pseudo-java. I wonder whether this means that the "underlying principles and processes" of it should be patentable as well...

  • by spidergoat2 (715962) on Monday May 10, 2004 @09:06AM (#9105773) Journal
    Is the 3rd world. While these countries are poor now, their economies will be openning up. If they have adopted a standard of open source, they will have no reason to change. Certainly not at Microsoft's prices. The point will come where, if the US wants to do business, we will be forced to adopt their standards. Good thing we already have Linux here.
  • by JessLeah (625838) * on Monday May 10, 2004 @09:07AM (#9105785)
    ...largely uses either legitimate copies of Windows (most of Western Europe and Japan) or pirated copies of Windows (poorer regions like most of Africa, South America, Asia).

    I really don't see this changing.
    • by cowscows (103644) on Monday May 10, 2004 @09:29AM (#9105964) Journal
      However slowly, a lot of the third world countries are industrialising/modernising. And if you're actually trying to run a legitimate business, it's often preferrable to have a legal infrastructure to your operations. If you start making enough money using things that you don't legally own, you're going to eventually get busted, whether you're stealing electricity, or stealing software.

      The advantages of linux and the like extend beyond price alone. Linux did not exist in a viable form when the windows empire took hold of the states, but it has a fighting chance in some of these new markets. While I doubt that linux will ever reach a point of domination similar to what windows has gotten, (honestly, would any reasonable person want it to?), it will force a lot of interoperability efforts on behalf of MS.

  • by CdBee (742846) on Monday May 10, 2004 @09:07AM (#9105787)
    I'm genuinely looking forward to the release of the Ximian Evolution Windows port as it'll finally give a decent free mail client, which I can distribute to the several dozen friends' PCs I unofficially support.

    I've been trying to get them off Outlook/OExpress for ages (for safety purposes) but most refused to go to Thunderbird as it was "too different"

    They can hardly say that about Evolution.
    • Miguel believes porting apps like Evolution to Windows will help make people more comfortable with F/OSS and may therefore switch to Linux later. Since you have a great example here, do you agree? If your friends were off Outlook and all other closed source programs (i.e. they switch to Firefox, OpenOffice, etc.) would they be comfortable then switching to Linux?
      • If your friends were off Outlook and all other closed source programs (i.e. they switch to Firefox, OpenOffice, etc.) would they be comfortable then switching to Linux?

        Not sure. Most are already using Mozilla FireFox because it's simply better than IE 6, but we don't use OpenOffice as we all have copies of MS Office. Personally I dabble in linux a few times a year but never found a compelling reason not to go back to Windows.
        The problem Linux faces in our situation is that Windows 2000 *just works*.
    • by MooCows (718367) on Monday May 10, 2004 @09:49AM (#9106153)
      I've been trying to get them off Outlook/OExpress for ages (for safety purposes) but most refused to go to Thunderbird as it was "too different"

      Exactly the same problem here.

      I've tried to get our administrative staff to switch to Thunderbird.
      Really just for safety reasons. (because our email addresses are in many attachment-clicking-OE-users' addressbooks, and it takes only one non-attachment OE-exploit to infect our staff's computers)

      However after a week they told me in unanimity they wanted to switch back to OE.
      Naturally, I asked: Why? Doesn't Thunderbird do everything OE does too? (and better, like filtering and searching)
      They answered: Well, yes that's true, but it's still different!

      So grudingly I had to switch them back.

      Moral of the story: We need a better Outlook skin for Thunderbird. :P
  • Miguel realizes that while, for example, OOo doesn't have all the MS Office features, "it's good enough" and that's a great start for the majority of users.

    But the problem is that it is NOT "good enough". Just because OSS zealots think it is does not mean that it is.

    When I can open every single one of my Word and Excel files without a single error then it will be "good enough". The missing features, etc, are one thing but not having the exact replica of what I saved in Office is a hassle.

    I agree with
    • by bigchris (54369) on Monday May 10, 2004 @09:11AM (#9105823)
      Wrong. As has been pointed out oh-so-many times, not even Microsoft can open their own documents in different versions of Word in the same way. So close enough is good enough for most users.
      • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Monday May 10, 2004 @09:50AM (#9106170) Homepage Journal
        The problem is that F/OSS has to be better that Microsoft when it comes to things like file format conversion, not just as good. Like it or not, people have a double standard: if they try to open a Word document in Open Office and it doesn't work, they'll say that OO (and by extension, F/OSS in general) is no good; but if one version of Word refuses to open correctly a document created in another version, they'll shrug and say, "That's the way it is with computers, what can you do?" Microsoft is like the weather to a lot of people -- they bitch about it, but they don't seriously think they can do anything about it, and they think of it as an unavoidable part of their environment.
    • Not even close to "good enough" for my business. Until I have fully functioning apps that I can run my business with, OSS is useless to me. At the current rate, my company will probably be with MS, Intuit, and several other closed source vendors for quite a while.
  • by mhesseltine (541806) on Monday May 10, 2004 @09:08AM (#9105798) Homepage Journal

    Of course someone deeply involved in the Open Source software movement is going to say that Linux will become the dominant system. It's in his best interest to say that.

    Bill Gates, Steve Balmer, Craig Mundie, etc. all feel that Windows and Microsoft software will be the dominant platform. Steve Jobs thinks that Apple and OS X will be the dominant platform. Is this really news?

    The more interesting question is if de Icaza *really* believes that Gnome and Mono are going to be the dominant desktop. I know as the founder of the project, again it is in his interest to say yes. I just wonder if he's tried to use a KDE 3.2.x system and what his impressions are of it?

    • I get the impression de Icaza really does believe Gnome and Mono can become dominant on the desktop. He seems to have a decent grasp of the political and economic situation surrounding the debate. Plus he gives credit to Microsoft when appropriate (and sometimes when inappropriate in my opinion), so he's not overly zealous. You're correct in that he does have a vested interest. But I think he's a true believer.
  • by moehoward (668736) on Monday May 10, 2004 @09:09AM (#9105804)

    It always bugged me that Evolution was not available for Windows. I'd be more than happy to ditch Outlook, but a good alternative does not exist. The Mozilla family is not a good alternative.

    I hope that this means we'll see Evolution and others ported to Windows in the near future.
  • by Junks Jerzey (54586) on Monday May 10, 2004 @09:13AM (#9105836)
    What does "US" mean in this case? It's not like there aren't already American people and companies using Linux. Does he mean the US government?
  • Russia and China (Score:5, Interesting)

    by thodu (530182) on Monday May 10, 2004 @09:13AM (#9105840)
    Two countries that simply refuse to be bullied by anybody. Watch out for Linux development heading eastwards - patents or no patents. China, as we have seen went out of their way to develop an alternative DVD standard just to get around patent crap. And they almost went their own way on WiFi too. I wonder what the terms of settlement between Intel and China amounts too. Japan too, for their consumer electronics industry adopting Linux in a big way. NTT DoCoMo's reference platform for the next generation phones is based on Linux.
    • by GoofyBoy (44399)
      >Two countries that simply refuse to be bullied by anybody.

      No, thats the US. China and Russia are strong but nothing compaired to the US.

      >China, as we have seen went out of their way to develop an alternative DVD standard

      So did BestBuy.

      >And they almost went their own way on WiFi too.

      The US has gone their own way with alot of standards. They "did", not "almost".

  • The Third World (Score:5, Insightful)

    by aynrandfan (687181) on Monday May 10, 2004 @09:16AM (#9105866)

    From the article:

    Poor countries don't have the money to buy and maintain Windows; this is where open source software is becoming a real and powerful alternative," he said.

    OK, but if they are too poor to maintain Windows, doesn't that also mean that they are that much more open to pressures and special "deals" (to ensure lock-in) from Microsoft?

  • by dash2 (155223) <davidhughjones@@@gmail...com> on Monday May 10, 2004 @09:16AM (#9105867) Homepage Journal
    This is an (un)official Slashdot repetition marker. Any further posts on the Lame Ass Metric System Analogy (LAMSA) are now Redundant, and their posters may be spanked with a metric ruler.

    Posts utilizing the LAMSA _above_ this marker may also be moderated Redundant, but you may not beat the poster for more than forty five minutes at one sitting. Thank you. Have a nice day.
  • Cross-Platform (Score:5, Insightful)

    by brolewis (712511) on Monday May 10, 2004 @09:19AM (#9105880)
    I think its good to see a leading F/OSS developer saying there needs to be F/OSS software made available on Windows. I am a developer that releases software under the GPL and try to make all of my software cross-platform. I believe that F/OSS developers needs to get out of the Linux bubble and realize that there are other platforms which are hungry for the software. I think that cross-platform is the next logical step for developers. I want to be able to use the same software at work (SolarisOS), home (WindowsXP), and develop environment (Linux).
  • Business.. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by xxx_Birdman_xxx (676056) on Monday May 10, 2004 @09:22AM (#9105898)
    I've been following Linux for several years, but it's only this year I been able to stay exclusively on linux for a week or so while doing uni work. It's like everything has clicked for me, and I'm finding that I'm prefering to work under linux for coding. Maybe it's because i've been fiddling around long enough that I've grown to love the OS and desktop managers like KDE, or maybe it's because projects in the open source community have risen to such high levels of quality.

    Thats not to say though that I haven't had my share of problems- cant get tv out working nicely, or 5.1 sound, or my OpenGL working right...

    But for sitting down and doing research, coding and web activites, I'm finding Linux (i'm using Mandrake 9.2 btw) is more productive for me than Windows.

    And when it comes to business, productivity is a significant drawcard. Due to my new found fondness of linux and OSS this week, im thinking that OSS will win users over due to it's increasing quality moreso than patent issues.
  • Gut reaction (Score:4, Informative)

    by Phreakiture (547094) on Monday May 10, 2004 @09:24AM (#9105913) Homepage

    First, I will admit that I didn't RTFA yet, so let's get that out of the way. Mod me down if you don't like it.

    That said, I would say that the US is unlikely to adapt a standard just because the rest of the world has. Witness:

    • Metric system - we still stand by our archaic and inexcusable system
    • DVB - we developed ATSC instead of adopting DVB for broadcast, requiring folks using DVB satellite or cable systems to ALSO get ATSC receivers for over-the-air
    • GSM - finally gaining a foothold but only after we developed THREE other formats (though I do feel that CDMA is superior).
    • Frequency allocation for mobile phones including GSM - we use 800 and 1900MHz while everyone else is using 900 and 1800MHz (except Canada who joined us on this one)
    • Re:Gut reaction (Score:4, Insightful)

      by cosmo7 (325616) on Monday May 10, 2004 @10:04AM (#9106285) Homepage
      You missed some more obvious ones:
      • Baseball instead of cricket
      • American Football instead of real football
      • 110V instead of 220V
      • Letter instead of A4
      • NTSC instead of PAL
  • by jaylee7877 (665673) on Monday May 10, 2004 @09:26AM (#9105928) Homepage
    One interesting question this raises is which MS would prefer the poor countries to do: Pirate MS Products or use Linux. My guess is MS would prefer them to use pirated Windows than Linux because MS at least then has the vendor lockin. MS change of heart concerning WinXP SP2 installation on pirated machines would certainly argue for this.
  • Yes and No (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rick.C (626083) on Monday May 10, 2004 @09:29AM (#9105960)
    My first reaction to this was, "Look at past 'standards' that have not swayed the entrenched users."

    Metric vs. SAE
    240V 50Hx vs. 120V 60Hz
    Drive on left vs. drive on right side of the road
    EBCDIC vs. ASCII (IBM vs. everyone else)
    ... and a lot of other things

    But then this weekend something happened that changed my mind on the future of Linux. I downloaded Knoppix 3.4 and stuck the CD in a friend's WinXP box with a failing HD. WinXP wouldn't boot. Knoppix "just worked". It auto-configured all the hardware (a Dell 4550 series P4) and allowed me to back up most of this person's data to a CDR.

    This is the kind of thing that will make people take notice of Linux. They want a car that they can turn the key and drive away. People don't want a car that needs to have the engine tuned before they can drive it off the lot. Or one that they actually have to read the owner's manual.

    They want an computer that auto-configures and is intuitively obvious to use. Knoppix 3.4 is a step in that direction.
  • US and EU patents (Score:4, Insightful)

    by panurge (573432) on Monday May 10, 2004 @09:31AM (#9105976)
    Correct me if I am wrong, but I thought the difference between US and EU patents was that US patents are backdated to the claimed date of invention while EU patents are based on date of filing. In the EU it should not be possible to patent any existing technology that is in the public domain - and that means all of OSS, by definition.

    In the US it is all too possible for something to be well established prior art, but an inventor claims to have made the invention prior to the first date of open publication. Having been involved with both US and European patents until about 1995, I considered the US system to be deeply screwed - the opportunity for fraud is immense. (though yes, that didn't stop me from filing US patent applications...)The EU system should not be so bad.

    If this still applies, the important thing is for all ideas and concepts being brought to the OSS table to be published as soon as possible after they arise, thus creating prior art even if it is only in a very buggy bit of code.

    Of course, if the US gets the entire IP world to rely on "date of invention", we're all screwed, and I'm going to buy a farm and retire.

  • Does it matter? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by squiggleslash (241428) on Monday May 10, 2004 @09:32AM (#9105984) Homepage Journal
    If by the time GNU/Linux is adopted throughout the world (assuming that happens), it's just a poor clone of Windows, will it matter if the US adopts it?

    And does anyone actually want a monopoly operating system? I know I don't.

    There are two or three agendas in the FOSS movements which can be summarized thusly:

    • "Why? What are we going to do tomorrow Brain?" "Same thing we do every night Pinky... try to take over the world!" Microsoft, goes the argument, is eeeeeeevil. We must topple it at all costs. While it may or may not be true, there's an element of 1918 here, toppling a cruel and dictatorial czar and not caring what the regime is that replaces it.

      Above all, the regime being proposed is frequently the worst of all worlds. People who hold this view tend to argue that Windows needs to be replaced with a version of GNU/Linux that looks like Windows. But a version of GNU/Linux designed to be as similar to Windows as possible to an end user is going to be dysfunctional by definition. GNU/Linux isn't Windows, it shares few of the same concepts, the solutions Microsoft came up with for interfacing the underlying OS with the user are unlikely to be relevent to GNU/Linux and rarely are in practice. And Windows is simply not a good example of a user friendly operating system, unless you're talking about the original version of Windows 95, which at the time was "pure", it hadn't been hacked to try to push certain competing middleware out of the market. And do you really want to switch to Windows 95 today? GEM and Mac OS System 6 were user friendly too, would you like to clone either?

    • "Freedom!" - Proprietary software is eeeevil, we must topple it at all costs, toppling dictators whereever we might find them even at immense cost to ourselves.

      There's some legitimacy to this view, but again it has a tendency to be undermined by its own supporters who frequently assert that, as a starting point, you need to clone whatever's already there. Again, the Pinky and the Brain scenario springs to mind here, with the more vocal supporters being in favour of a dysfunctional system "because it's what users know." In fairness, most also argue that free software, by its very nature, improves choice because if you don't like the way something works, you can modify it. However, it's not "free software" that's taken hold so much as "open source", where programmers across the world collaborate. This is both a strength and an Achile's Heel, because just as Microsoft and other proprietary vendors cannot keep up with such a freight train, neither can most ordinary users who'd like their software to work with a better paradigm.

    • "Choice" - The problem isn't Microsoft, it's Windows. If Windows was what we wanted, we wouldn't be so hostile to it.

      This is the only one of the three scenarios that has immediate and obvious benefits to end users. A view based on choice works best when people create Free Software, when programmers try to do original things, and when people try new things.

    My problem is I see too many people who see GNU/Linux as a chance to create an alternative Windows. And I don't see how anyone really benefits from that. We replace one monopoly with another, that monopoly might be less "evil", but we don't even know that. What we do know is that an inappropriate clone of someone else's work isn't likely to be as good as the original. And many, many, of us do not like the original.

    Personally, I love free software. Given the choice, however, between One (Supported) Free Operating System (the "Supported" is important), an Operating System whose design choices have made me dislike it intensely, and a miriad of supported proprietary systems, at least one of which works in the way I prefer, I have to go with the Devil and chose the latter. It's not Microsoft I dislike, it's their operating system and the dull grey rock of monoculture. Changing who owns that rock doesn't make things much better.

  • by dpilot (134227) on Monday May 10, 2004 @09:35AM (#9106010) Homepage Journal
    More to the point, IP laws in the US are generally becoming more restrictive, as corporate interests codify their wish-list into our legal system.

    This will backfire, as it forces innovation out of the US.

    Honestly, I expect Europe to follow the US lead. The same corporations that are doing this to the US are also well entrenched in Europe. So in effect, we're pushing innovation to India and China, the new growing world economies.
  • Misconceptions (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mgcsinc (681597) on Monday May 10, 2004 @09:40AM (#9106055)
    Boy is there some confusion here about the adoption of Linux in Europe! If anything, the US is still the above-and-beyond leader in terms of small- and large-scale Linux implementation. A few well-publicized adoptions by town councils overseas changes that in no way. Hey, I live in Europe!
  • Missing Points (Score:4, Insightful)

    by LaBlueCow (768184) <rdragone@adelphia.net> on Monday May 10, 2004 @09:50AM (#9106166)
    I think a lot of people may be missing a few key points. I'm sure these will draw some criticism, but here goes:

    First, F/OSS is only as good as it's user input. If you use such software and gripe about it's this-or-that, but never submit even these quirks to the dev team, DON'T expect the issues to get resolved any time soon. The dev team, unlike major corporations, doesn't have the ability or capital to test and develop on a wide scale.

    Second, on a lower level, I doubt Microsoft would be up for offering deals to poorer economies, lock-in or not. If they offer WinXP Pro to Uraguay for $50 a license, the American businesses that got the "Special Business License" for $75 would start whining. That's just something they don't need to deal with. In such case, I think MS will continue to treat the market as a whole in the manner they always have.

    Third, in relation to the productivity of an application or OS, I would haard a guess that one is more productive when one goes into something (e.g. a new OS, a new F/OSS app) expecting to BE more productive. I tried the Firefox browser a few months ago, and hated it. Coincidentally, I expected to hate it because it wasn't IE. A month or two later, I tried it again, with a more open mind, and lo and behold, it's my current favorite browser. Same idea for C++/C# IDEs - from VC++ 6 to some no-name F/OSS IDE with ero problems. It's all relative.

    So as far as a mass migration to Linux, it's anyone's guess - but I think it's a bit too early to be calling it Linux's game. Too many branches, and a whole new system to learn, seem to be a bit daunting for the average user. Wait ten years until Linux certification really gets a firm footing in the industry, and until the weaker Linux flavors drop off or conglomerate, and we may have some good competition.
  • who says? (Score:3, Informative)

    by ericbrow (715710) on Monday May 10, 2004 @10:22AM (#9106462) Journal
    The US is already a major user of Linux. Pick any major distribution, what language is it in? What country does it originate from?

    I think there is just a few faulty assumptions here, as well as some mis-applied logic. For example, "MS is evil" is a subjective opinion, and not really fact. If it wasn't for MS and windows, I don't think computers would be quite as widespread as they are now. "The US will follow the rest of the world", while at times they should be doing what the rest of the world is doing, the US will do what it wants, for better or worse (proof: metric system, Iraq)
  • by leandrod (17766) <{l} {at} {dutras.org}> on Monday May 10, 2004 @10:26AM (#9106512) Homepage Journal
    >
    I think sad that de Icaza is happy about Sun not including Mono or Evolution.

    On one hand competition is good and it may happen that it helps further adoption of free software, improvements in both Evolution and Glow and all that. And we hope both remain standards-based and interoperable.

    But at this point, we aren't strong enough to compete much, we already have too much duplication of efforts like in the whole KDE vs Gnome mess, and the BSDs vs GNU/Linux vs Hurd one.

    Worse yet, he is happy that Sun users get less goodies! This is simply Not Good. Whatever Sun motives may be, this is not a good thing in itself. It would be much better to work with Sun to address its concerns, but then de Icaza already proved he would rather follow his own path, like he already dissociated himself from copyleft and the FSF because he didn't like the focus on ideas over pragmatism.

    And perhaps that's nice about Sun doing their own stuff: it's copylefted and they have copyright assignment. Not only Glow may prove a safer choice (legally speaking) than Evolution both to users and developers (if Sun ever frees Java, or makes it run good on free JVM implementations), but Sun is getting used to free software and copyleft. Free Solaris and Java anyone?

  • by ewe2 (47163) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (ootewe)> on Monday May 10, 2004 @10:59AM (#9106846) Homepage Journal

    Don't ignore the immense coercive power of the US corporate presence around the world. While China is certainly in a position to make up its own mind without major interference, that certainly isn't true of Malaysia, Taiwan or just about any state in Africa or South America. Don't believe for a moment that the US has any intention of letting Third World countries grow their economies to the point where they become serious competition in any way.

    The US entertainment industry in concert with Microsoft are already moving to tidy up the First World (the impending FTA in my own country, Australia is just one sad example), and while they don't seriously think they can enforce their will entirely on piratical Asians, they can certainly change their business environment by owning ours.

    We are certainly at a crossroads: if the US can enforce its will via specific treaty with poorer nations (as it has already done in several arenas), then Hollywood, the RIAA and Microsoft will be eagerly adding new provisions to the demand letter. I have no hope for Africa or most of South America, but I do hope that the joint project of China Korea and Japan bears fruit and gives hope to their necessarily satellite neighbours. That's really the only hope we have of rolling this Darkness back.

  • I disagree (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Fjord (99230) on Monday May 10, 2004 @11:10AM (#9106954) Homepage Journal
    If there is this kind of pressure, Microsoft will move to make their products more interoperatble with linux. They will not sit idly by as business partners outside fo the U.S. put pressure to switch because of interoperability issues. MS will hold on to their marketshare as much as possible.

    I do feel that linux will take over though, but it won't be because of pressure from interoperability. Eventually, Microsoft will buckle like the UNIX companies and begin distributing their own linux distribution with as full Windows compatibility as linux can get (insert macro virus joke here). People will say it sucks but use it anyway because it becomes preloaded on most retail machines and businesses will continue to prefer it. MS will get most of its revenue from infrastructure consulting, hardware and Office sales, and console game licensing, and will be able to move farther into the highend server arena.

The world is moving so fast these days that the man who says it can't be done is generally interrupted by someone doing it. -- E. Hubbard

Working...