Wednesday, January 28, 2009

You Get What You Pay For

The following paragraphs are from a rant an anonymous contributor sent to me. To comply with his request, I have edited it where I deemed appropriate.

There are two major problems that Linux faces concerning its spread on the desktop:

1.) Applications

2.) Drivers

Both problems will not change in the near future, so 2009 will not be the year of Linux on the desktop. Neither will 2010. But what is the real problem? The real problem is ignored by those who are "in charge". What do I mean with that?

1.) Applications

Desktop-Users need commercial applications. That's just the way it is. The extra ten percent of features that makes an app usable for your average Desktop-User are the 10% that every developer hates; those features are hard and boring to develop, and implementing them is just no fun. You need to pay developers to implement them.

Do you really think that something like Photoshop Elements is going to be created by the community? My father, whose hobby is photography, shelled out 70€ for PE. He does not regret it, even though the activation is a PITA. Why? It just works: it works with his camera; he gets results fast; there are a bunch of tutorials and books available, etc.

In Linux we are stuck with Gimp. Sorry, but no cigar! PE calibre software will NOT be created by the community. It just takes TOO much manpower, TOO much work. No one is coding that in his spare-time.

This kind of software will also not be created by an open-source company. There is no business-model that would supports the effort. Just imagine if Adobe released PE as open-source - you think that people would still shell out 70€ for a boxed-version? Nope, people would just copy it. There are some exceptions. For example, Mozilla receives their money from Google not from their users. 

Sun supports OpenOffice, but it still has issues. The spell-checker sucks even in the 3.0 version (at least for German). BTW, you can buy an add-on for OpenOffice: the Duden-Spellchecker. It is closed source and costs approximately 25€. Apparently, Sun bundles it with StarOffice, so if you buy a boxed version of StarOffice, you will have a proper spell-checker.

See? That is another typical example of the difference between open and closed source software. Will a great spell-checker be created by hobbyists in their spare time? No! It is a repetitive, boring task, and coding skill alone does not suffice. You also need language experts. Will they work for free? No! Then who will pay them?

Other examples are nice fonts, Video-Editing Software, Audio-Production Software (Cubase or Logic created as open-source from the community? Come on!), Handwriting Recognition, OCR, Home-banking Software and so on. For each of the software programs mentioned, there is a half-assed open source clone. All of them each are not taken seriously by those who really work in the respective field. Can Gimp replace Photshope/PE? What about Ardour for Logic/Cubase replacement? Is there an alternative for Adobe Acrobat? I don't think so. 

Anyway there are two conclusions you can draw:

1.) It is simply not true. Gimp rocks, and I have to relearn everything I know, and I am not willing to change, and it is all my fault that I have problems, and FLOSS basically rocks. Anyway, the makers of the Distribution have provided, from their repositories, me with every software program I will ever need. 

2.) You should try to make it _easy_ for ISV's to target Linux as a platform.

Apparently lots of Linux users choose #1 and write long, screeching blog posts about the benefits of apt-get. Unfortunately, the major players are not listening. If you are an ISV, shipping software for Linux is not worth your time and resources. Either you should, like Opera, test your binary against zillions of distributions, or you should not ship a Linux-version at all.

Even for open-source developers, this state of affairs sucks. Take for example Anki, which is one of my favorite tools for learning a foreign language (I never said that open-source apps will never work). Anki is basically the effort of one developer. It is a nice application, but it is also not as "big" as a full-blown commercial application (i.e. those that you must shell out 70€ for). Basically, Anki is donationware. Apps like Anki, which were shareware ten years ago, are now usually developed as open-source+donations, and it halfway works. However, these applications are usually neat yet small tools: 7zip, Anki, Miranda, etc.

The developer of Anki does not have the time to test his cross-platform application against zillions of distributions. For Linux, there is only an Ubuntu package. However, this guy develops fast, and there is usually a new version every month (or sometimes every couple of weeks). The _one_ Windows binary works on all versions of Windows. The _one_ MacOS binary mostly works on all major versions of MacOS.

There is no package for the distribution I am currently running, OpenSuse. It is not in the repository, and if a software package is not in the repository, the user is _lost_. What are his options? Should he recompile every time a new version is released (sometimes every two weeks), because make uninstall is known to just work? I tried to alien the ubuntu package, but it does not work. I also tried to manually compile the program, but the compilation failed because of some weird dependency problems with QT which I could not understand. In fact, it is easier to ship a piece of software for a Hackintosh than it is to ship it for Linux. Think about that.

This problem will not change. Lusers do not like to shell out money for applications, and they do not like commercial applications in general. Software makers do not ship anything for Linux because they have no clue what they need to ship. Common users do not use Linux because the commercial applications are not present. Therefore, the situation will not change. Regarding LSB, I think we have covered that already.

2.) Drivers

If you are some independent maker of hardware and want your device to run under Linux, you are basically required to open source your drivers. Any other option will not work for your users. There is no way you could do something (yeah, I know it sounds like a completely weird idea) like shipping a driver-cd with your product. You could also go the NVidia route. That might work if someone really wants your hardware to work under Linux, and you are well compensated for your efforts. NVidia is an exception.

Pushing people in this manner to open-source their drivers actually works in the server world. If some Fortune 500 is using Linux on their servers, and they buy 1000 servers with Intel mobos, those boards are required to work. The company shells out a lot of money, so there is a real financial incentive for Intel to open-source their drivers if they want to sell their hardware. This works because Linux has a significant market-share in the server-world.

On the desktop, Linux is not even remotely in the position to make these demands. All the freetards, however, act like the unknown maker of your webcam absolutely _needs_ Linux-compatibility for their device to be sold. Do you really think they will open-source their drivers _ever_? The freetards are saying, "I am insignificant, yet the world should adapt to me. I will never adapt to the realities of the world!" That attitude just does not work.

There is still no stable driver-ABI, so the driver situation on the desktop won't change. Linux on the desktop? A joke.

Unfortunately, both of these problems are not technical issues. They are instead dogmatic issues. This is why Linux will not take off on the desktop. These two problem have existed for 15 years, and if you install Linux on your desktop today, you still face the same problems.

Fifteen years ago winmodems were the problem. Today it is wireless lans. Fifteen years ago your GDI-printer did not work. Today your printer/fax-combo does not work. Fifteen years ago you wanted to install the new Netscape 4.x. Nowadays you want to install Firefox 3, but your distro is not shipping new packages for the next six months.

Linux on the desktop is a joke. Nothing more.


Anonymous said...

Yes! The hate is back! Woohoo!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

So fucking true. Unfortunately, it's futile to argue with freetards. No matter how reasoned your argument is, denial and delusion prevail.

Anonymous said...

Linux Hater's Blog has returned.
Linux Hater's Redux has returned.
Let's hate a little more.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Any open source haters from the Brussels area want to troll the upcoming FOSDEM conference let me know! We are going to go hunting for FREETARDS. We have a group of Linsux haters already. Also we will be giving away some Microsoft swag to all participants. Together we can make the life of FOSS developers miserable. Long live Windows!

Anonymous said...

Haters Haters keep them hating!

It was dead funny to read the KDE 4.2 release announcement. The Answer!!! WTF! The answer to 4.0? Get real guys.

Unknown said...

You don't even have to go that far to prove that Linux is a joke.
Take a popular application that definitively runs on Windows , Mac and Linux.
Lets take Firefox for example - it runs slowest on Linux, Javascript has worst performance on Linux, it is crashing more often on Linux, it is supporting least media on Linux, it has least number of addons for Linux.

Anonymous said...

Regarding "Anki":

If you mean the one from then there is no reason to compile anything since it's just a small python program.

Simply download & start it. If you get any xyz module can't be found errors you simply search for the module name in your repositories - e.g. all I needed on a fresh 11.1 install that was updated to KDE 4.2 was python-sqlalchemy & python-simplejson.

Not that hard, isn't it (at least if you could be arsed to get the slightest clue of what you are trying to do or would simply ask somewhere - but hey, ranting on an anonymous blog is much easier ...)?

Regarding the rest:

The point you apparently misunderstood is that nobody gives a fuck if you use Linux or not. You don't like it and prefer Windows? Then, by all means, use Windows if that makes you happy!

Perhaps you & those bright commenters here should simply read since it probably would clarify some of your more obvious misunderstandings ;P

Anonymous said...

Dear Chris,

i am the one who wrote that article and sent it LHR.

1.) At the time of writing there was not proper sqlalchemy package in the repository.
There were several version in the opensuse build-service, they didn't worked because the version anki needs is quite recent.
I then found a version that worked, however there was an unresolved dependency - I don't remember which package was needed additionally, but I remember that I had to compile from source.

However I didn't bother. I was just fed up because I had already search too much time for just installing a piece of software.

Oh and btw I just installed via wine, which was done in less then a minute. In fact, wine has probably done more for ISV's who want to ship on linux than LSB will ever do.

Then again, your criticism boils down to the fact, that I was just too stupid, I should have just done this and that and install here something and there something and fiddle around with it and theoretically it should work (btw have _you_ _actually_ _tried_? OpenSuse 11.0)
and of course we can expect everyone to do that to install some piece of Software, right?

Oh and that great link you gave me, thank your very much. I recognize now; the problem is just on my side, of course.

Anonymous said...

"Oh and that great link you gave me, thank your very much. I recognize now; the problem is just on my side, of course."

Yup you didn't pay anything so you must do as much work as the coder did. Now we all get it.

Anonymous said...

Dear Author,

the python-sqlalchemy package e.g. is available from the devel:languages repo on OBS or from Packman and there the changelog dates back till Dec 29 2006 so you where probably just missing the correct repository.

I also understand that you had a pretty frustrating and surely less than enjoyable experience in this situation (although the suggestion that ISVs should use Wine is just laughable).

Further I'm in no way suggesting that you are too stupid but my issue with you is that you apparently couldn't be bothered to ask for help via mailing lists, forums, IRC, ... since you weren't able to solve it on your own and now simply use it as reasoning for your "OMGZ linux is teh suckz!!!11" rant.

And yes, I had 11.0 (now 11.1) on a Laptop and have 10.3 on the main workstation so I "tried" it ;)

The simple point is that if something isn't available via the standard way of installation you should be willing to learn what alternative ways to install it exist and how to correctly use them.

Or more generally: just because something doesn't work like it does with Windows it doesn't mean it is broken and there probably is a reason for it. Therefore you are expected to learn instead of to bitch. And this surely also applies for a free operating system you freely decided to use.

If you don't like it and want some support you can go to if "it doesn't work" then stick with commercial software. If that is what makes you happy then please do it. And that's exactly also the point of the article I pointed you to.

So yes, as much as you wont like it to hear, the problem was on your side since you tried to install something that wasn't available via a package without knowing what you are doing. And then I really prefer you running into troubles and going on an "OMG itz teh suckz!" rant instead of everything getting compiled statically into everything else instead of using dynamic libraries (which is the exact reason for packages & their dependencies - why it is that way and that is much better a quick google query should show you).

So, if you ever run into such problems again, do yourself a favor and just ask for help e.g. on IRC (quickest way) or forums, mailing lists, friends, ....

Donald J Organ IV said...

Why not have commercial linux software I know I would be willing to buy games made for linux...especially games such as StarCraft2 Diablo 3, World of Warcraft....

Unknown said...

This blog is a kind of boring. The critic fires complete in the wrong direction and seems just to be like the dissatisfaction of my daughter, if she doesn't understand how her new toy works.
Of course are there many failures in OpenSource Software, but the advantages of this model can't be denied. Concerns, which competing on the same business, pay for the development of the same OS-technology (have a look at Xen). Future is about services, not about a source-code (have a look at China).
You need to change the angle of view, then maybe your critics get constructive. By the moment it's just useless conservativ crying with absolutely no effect on the OS-Community. A totally waste of your time.

Anonymous said...

you do realize blogger is free for use, built by a company that embraces many open source ideas and contributes to the open source community, and runs its own modified linux distribution (so it suits there needs)

Anonymous said...

The FOSS bigots exclaim they are for choice. If so, why not allow commercial software to be compiled, sold, and run on top of Linux WITHOUT having to give your source away. That would be real choice. But no, they have their religious belief that software should be free and that they must have access to ALL the source that is so much as is in the same room as their precious FOSS crap.

Julien said...

god im so happy with my mac reading these rants.

Unknown said...

A couple of points:

The proportion of linux users in the tech community is much higher than that of the average user. These people are the early adopters and the ones whose advice and recommendations will be closely followed, so getting their support is beneficial.

There are places where the FOSS model is working extremely well, wireless routers for instance. Vendors can build on the existing linux code base using products with open drivers. This leads to better support for wireless chipsets and filters down to the consumer market. Similar arguments exist for HP and Brother offering linux drivers for their printers. Driver writers already have to target multiple platforms - XP and Vista at a bare minimum. Once you add support for OS-X, most of the code is written as separate portable modules and adding linux support should be fairly simple. Webcam manufacturers have little to gain by having closed source drivers and in most cases, linux drivers will be developed for you for free if you release good hardware specs.

This also brings up the issue of vendor lock in. It's nice to know that if you did choose to change platforms in the future, all of your apps and data could come with you. Supporting linux demonstrates that software vendors realise Microsoft won't always be the dominate market force; and that they don't want to lose a customer if they should choose to switch platforms.

It's true that linux is far from ideal in many areas - with Photoshop for instance. This doesn't mean that it will always be the case. Linux continues to gain market share and support more devices, and it will see more and more support as it grows.

The end goal needn't be eliminating proprietary software, but common applications that have existed in some form for 10 years should be free. Proprietary software often pioneers the way for new developments and may be essential for the survival of software in niche sectors, but do we really still have a need for closed source web browsers?

Lastly (phew) open source software such as Linux benefits even those consumers who don't use it or know what it is. Do you really think Microsoft would be giving away XP for netbooks if there wasn't a free & competitive alternative?

Not a hater :)

Anonymous said...

Guys be cool, no reason to insult.

While I agree with "You get what you pay for", the situation is quite different now.

Four or five years ago, you could speak about Linux to a CEO and he would have a vague idea about it. Right now almost anyone has heard about Linux(technical or non technical people).
More and more people are using Linux and some of them use it at home and can't use it at work. Linux has not failed but it cannot attract the "masses".

Linux lacks drivers and commercial applications which is the result of too many distributions and not enough standardisation. The Linux way of doing things doesn't correspond to the user habits.

While some guys are trying OS X, it takes them a while to completely make the switch and to become independent from Windows.

Linux has evolved a lot for the last 10 years, but it'll never become a main player unless big vendors and corporations support it.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

I'm still unclear on why nvidia is the exception.

Anonymous said...

How did this slip past the RSS feed? Ah well.

Oh and darn you LH - there is seemingly no suggestion (no user comment stories) I can make that you will agree with :)

Anonymous said...

Guess what: I am a Linux user. I don't need Photoshop, I rarely ever use a word process (and when I do OO.o does the job) and all my hardware works just fine.

If you're going to write a rant at least write a good one.

Shantanu Kumar said...

So true!

I have been using Linux (and occasionally FreeBSD) for the past 9 years as a developer, and it works fine for me. But I have realized an ordinary user doesn't give a rat's ass to "Free as in freedom". Maybe she cares quite a bit about "Free as in free beer", but what she values the most is "Value the application brings to her work or her routine".

Here is the attraction quotient for an ordinary user (unlike an open source zealot):

(a) The application is Free as in freedom: 0.5 / 5
(b) The application is Free as in free beer: 3.5 / 5
(c) Has value as in Does some particular job really well: 4.5 / 5

I can't see why normal users (and enterprises) will not choose (c) over others.


Anonymous said...

@Anonymous/February 1, 2009 7:14 PM

"If so, why not allow commercial software to be compiled, sold, and run on top of Linux WITHOUT having to give your source away."

Well, they are all free to do so. But if they do so, they have to build everything upon their own base. That's simply the rules. Just as you are free to deny me to enter your home. Just as non-free software is free to forbid everyone to see their sources.

So, what's your point?

oiaohm said...

Embedded world has closed source drivers for Linux that work independent from from kernel. User space drivers. Total cost for a network driver done in userspace is 1 percent.

That NVidia and others have not developed closed source drivers that work with the open source stack is a joke if they were to work on what they need they could have buy now had a stack allowing them to keep secrets.

VIA(S3) AMD(ATI) and Intel have completely got around the problem with video card driver. AMD has done it the best. Atom bios that sets up the basicis like how to control memory on the gpu of video card and basic 2d rendering. Advanced 2d and 3d instructions are encoded in userspace and sent to kernel to send to video card. Funny enough turns out safer and less over all load than encoding in kernel space since most video cards have compressed instructions to save on bus width. Compressing on userspace saves memory and does not risk kernel space memory issues. Ie kernel space memory issues are fatal. User space memory issues computer keeps on going.

So its complete bull that there are not solutions. No device maker is truly forced to release the complete specs to Linux. They do have to release enough that secuirty can be maintained and the features they want hidden be encoded in userspace. For video cards and some other devices its mostly memory management that has to be released nothing more.

Network cards Covered. Printer covered scanners covered. Video devices ok not fully covered but can be made userspace interfacing.

So its bull you cannot develop closed source drivers for Linux. You can they are user-space. Its not like windows does not have userspace drivers. To be correct Microsoft wants more userspace drivers to reduce secuirty risks. Kernel mode is old school for driver development for lots of tasks.

Applications Linux will do what MS did against OS/2. Run the other ones applications. There are many closed source programs for Linux that go past Photoshop Elements besides Windows Photoshop Elements runs in wine. There is also a reason why gimpshop and gimphoto exist. They take the gimp and give it a photoshop like interface. So no you don't have to relearn everything to use gimp. Just use one with a Photoshop theming.

Adobe Acrobat there is many replacements that work on the Open Source world.

Basically its not about Linux having the applications native at all for it to win. Can Linux run the applications well then it will win. Native is a Zero issue.

Would you mind looking at 0install package management. There is no need to test against many distributions to release an application. 0install application from a single package works on all Distributions at once.

When you finally learn to speak truth do another post. Other wise leave you are purely incompetent about what Linux can and cannot do.

Anonymous said...

ok, just for the case in point I gave it another try. Since Chris makes it sound so easy.:

Downloading anki, starting. Ah right, getting sqlalchemy from Suse Buildservice.

ImportError: No module named PyQt4.QtCore

Ah ok, pyQt4 is missing, installing

ImportError: cannot import name QtWebKit

right, QtWebkit is in fact available


ImportError: cannot import name QtWebKit

argh, maybe we need the developer packages?

installing a bunch of packages, like 20 or so...

still won't work, some googling:

now, where is pyqt installed? ...
right... still ain't working.

Some more googling revealed:

And that, case in point, proves Chris that you are talking sh***.

There's obviously a bug and you didn't tried yourself.

now its already 30 minutes or so, and this is my personal frustration "deadline". If it takes more than 30 minutes than I don't bother.

In fact this is what I hate most. Freetards are like Eunuchs: They know it _in theory_. If you ask any looser/freetard board, you will end up getting answers or such helpful suggestions as Chris'. In fact it doesn't work so easily. Here doesn't work. At least not without manually compiling

you still don't get my point. You can think of me as a novice user, fine. As you like.

Thing is, the first time I used Linux was maybe in the Suse 6.something days. And I don't see the situation improving. If a simple thing like installing a piece of software is such a challenge, even for a non-novice-user (think of it as you like), then how is a normal user supposed to figure that out?

Btw my main system is in fact OpenSuse 11.0, I don't use Windows. Which doesn't mean that I don't hate Linux.

And I would like to happily shell out some money to be not involved in such problems. I think that's the whole point of commercial software. Pay someone, so you don't have to fiddle around things, if you don't want to. Under Linux I don't have this option.

And oiaohm you suck. Get an editor or something or let your mom come down to your basement to help you write properly.

cptsalek said...

All these "love" and "hate" discussion leads to nowhere. I guess we can savely assume that FOSS has its' pros as well as its' cons.
Concerning giving money to a developer: This is done in FOSS, too, btw.
In a commercial world, it doesn't solve user problems. Simply giving away money doesn't mean that the developer (e.g. company) will implement things you want, that the application works as expected. And it doesn't mean that you get proper support in case something doesn't work. Most hotline nowadays will be happy to tell you that there's something wrong with your system, blaming some other party.

Anonymous said...

ATI ships radeon graphics drivers. Every month or so. How do they deal with the kernel api changing? Or do they not affected by that? I've been reading the to-ing and fro-ing about the unstable api's on this blog and I'm confused.

Anonymous said...

Dear author,

if you could be arsed to read what I wrote and not what you want to read, you had noticed that I said I tried it on 11.1 since I don't have any 11.0 anymore.

And here you see anki running on 11.1 without any compilation but simply by installing the 2 packages I named earlier and then running "./anki" within the extracted source archive:

But since you now know anyways what your problem is ... have fun.

oiaohm said...

ATI drivers are not that effected by kernel mode changes. Since 95 percent of the driver is in userspace. Same applies to Intel and VIA. After 2.6.29 Intels 5 percent will be default in Linux kernel. After 2.6.30 yes two kernel releases away ATI will not be effected by kernel releases at all since there atombios system for there 5 percent in kernel space will be default in Linux kernel from then on. Atombios handles all future card designs of ATI.

VIA 5 percent should also go into 2.6.30. NVidia will be the only one left with kernel problems in Video card drivers.

Compared to Nvidia(the ODD Ball) where 95 percent is in kernel space. So minor kernel changes stuff it up massively. Large block of opengl support is in kernel space. Its not a great driver if anything is majorly defective. When the new design drivers come on Line properly from ATI you will see that Nvidia's really is not working that great. Over half the Nvidia driver loaded in kernel space does not even get used per machine since most of it is support for other video cards. Basically Nvidia linux driver is crap. Just has been well performing crap.

This is why I say Linux Hater's Redux is incompetent closed source drivers have been built way to deal with Linux kernel changing and keeping secrets has been solved. There is really no reason for any driver to demand kernel space OS's like Minix exist where no driver ever runs in Kernel Space.

At least Linux Hater is hitting close correct points. I don't mind researched stuff.

Anonymous said...

>And yes, I had 11.0 (now 11.1) on a
>Laptop and have 10.3 on the main
>workstation so I "tried" it ;) [1]

Nice how you can be unspecific enough. btw I also tried it. [2]

[1] "it" = _merely_ _running_ Opensuse, not installing Anki

[2] "it" = your mom!

Anonymous said...

Dear dumbass,

how retarded can you be?

I originally said:

> e.g. all I needed on a fresh 11.1
> install that was updated to KDE 4.2
> was python-sqlalchemy &
> python-simplejson.

Then you asked:

> btw have _you_ _actually_
> _tried_? OpenSuse 11.0

To which my response was:

> And yes, I had 11.0 (now 11.1) on a
> Laptop and have 10.3 on the main
> workstation so I "tried" it

(it in that case means openSUSE 11.0 and not Anki)

So, I'm really sorry if that is unspecific for you (quite understandable though since you apparently fail at reading). And that you now start with "and I tried you mum" makes it even more laughable ...

How about you just shove your attitude where the sun doesn't shine, stop making such a fool out of yourself, start to go to school to learn how to read and stop talking about someones "mum" until you know who yours is?

Sincerely yours ...

Anonymous said...

The thing that is even more amusing is how some of the comments get edited without any marks (yes, beloved "Author", some of yours (3rd Feb) as well).

So, since a picture tells more than 1000 words and reading isn't your strong side anyways, perhaps have a look at this:

I wasted enough time with this, so write & edit whatever you want and continue to rant about something you got for free and no one forced you to use.

Have fun ...

Anonymous said...

aha you're all sad fucks. (:

josh x

ur mom said...

well ok, linux is bad..... is windows any better? constantly crashing, viruses, much more expensive to fix than linux. sometimes won't boot at all. vista sucks dick...... microsoft doesn't ship xp anymore. MAC IS THE WAY TO GO! WOOHOO