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Guardian: open source is a throwback says Jack Schofield

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Why you can't get something for nothing
Jack Schofield Jan 22 2004

[..]

"There are also undoubted benefits from running open source software,
though the financial ones can be small or even negative. Companies are
bound to be tempted by the idea of getting something for nothing .."

"The facility to fix bugs yourself and to modify programs also sounds
attractive. However, fixing bugs is not practical for most companies,
and modifications can be positively dangerous.

If you are really going to do these things, you need to hire several
reliable programmers with kernel-level skills"

"Indeed, the whole progress of commercial computing has been from
expensive hand-written, bug-ridden, company-specific programs to
cheaper but more powerful off-the-shelf packages. From that point of
view, open source is a throwback."

- http://www.guardian.co.uk/online/sto...127802,00.html
Jul 18 '05 #1
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19 Replies


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Jack Schofield is an opinionated jackass who spreads Holloween FUD.
Guardian's journalists are usually better than that.

Best,
Miklós
"malcolm" <ma*********@lycos.com> wrote in message
news:64**************************@posting.google.c om...
Why you can't get something for nothing
Jack Schofield Jan 22 2004
cheaper but more powerful off-the-shelf packages. From that point of view, open source is a throwback."

- http://www.guardian.co.uk/online/sto...127802,00.html

Jul 18 '05 #2

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malcolmny> Why you can't get something for nothing
malcolmny> Jack Schofield Jan 22 2004
...
malcolmny> If you are really going to do these things, you need to hire
malcolmny> several reliable programmers with kernel-level skills"

Of course, this is only necessary if your company wants to go it completely
alone. The fact that Linux is Open Source doesn't mean you can't delegate
the function of finding "several reliable programmers with kernel-level
skills" to Linux vendors like Red Hat.

malcolmny> "Indeed, the whole progress of commercial computing has been
malcolmny> from expensive hand-written, bug-ridden, company-specific
malcolmny> programs to cheaper but more powerful off-the-shelf
malcolmny> packages. From that point of view, open source is a
malcolmny> throwback."

I fail to see the author's logic here. In what way does he think that Open
Source software can't be treated as "cheaper but more powerful off-the-shelf
software"? It's just not off a vendor's proprietary shelf.

Does Jack Schofield perhaps work for SCO? <wink>

Skip

Jul 18 '05 #3

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"Skip Montanaro" <sk**@pobox.com> wrote in message
news:ma**************************************@pyth on.org...

Does Jack Schofield perhaps work for SCO? <wink>

Skip


Either that or Microsoft. ;-) Or he's plain stupid.

Miklós

Jul 18 '05 #4

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Either that or Microsoft. ;-) Or he's plain stupid.

Miklós


Never underestimate the power of stupidity (or ignorance, or denial, or...).

Speaking of which...
http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/relea...0040122-5.html

- Josiah
Jul 18 '05 #5

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"Josiah Carlson" <jc******@nospam.uci.edu> wrote in message
news:bv**********@news.service.uci.edu...
Either that or Microsoft. ;-) Or he's plain stupid.

Miklós
Never underestimate the power of stupidity (or ignorance, or denial,

or...).
Speaking of which...
http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/relea...0040122-5.html

- Josiah

Amazing! I didn't know he could completely miss the point so much.
Jul 18 '05 #6

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>>Never underestimate the power of stupidity (or ignorance, or denial,

or...).
Speaking of which...
http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/relea...0040122-5.html

- Josiah


Amazing! I didn't know he could completely miss the point so much.


Spend some time reading this guy's blog:
http://livejournal.com/users/malcubed

He links examples of the current administration's utter stupidity a
couple times each day. We don't get along that well (for various
reasons), but he's on top of the political scene.

- Josiah
Jul 18 '05 #7

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ma*********@lycos.com (malcolm) wrote in message news:<64**************************@posting.google. com>...
Why you can't get something for nothing
Jack Schofield Jan 22 2004
I'd forgotten about Schofield - regarded in various circles as having
been clueless for at least the past decade, and obviously still an
apologist for the 1980s-style proprietary software industry.
"There are also undoubted benefits from running open source software,
though the financial ones can be small or even negative. Companies are
bound to be tempted by the idea of getting something for nothing .."
Interestingly, Schofield then links to a Stallman essay describing the
"free as in freedom" motivations of the FSF. Anyway, when intelligent
companies adopt open source software they work with the community;
when clueless companies download "this free stuff" they work against
the community and ultimately cause more problems for themselves later
on.
"The facility to fix bugs yourself and to modify programs also sounds
attractive. However, fixing bugs is not practical for most companies,
and modifications can be positively dangerous.
Obviously, employees at The Office aren't likely to be rebuilding
their word processor from source, but Schofield seems to think that
there's an army of penguins forcing people at gunpoint to do just
that. Given the reference to Stallman, one would have thought that the
"free as in freedom" slogan would have sunk in and he would have
realised that "freedom" and "compulsion" are quite separate concepts.
If you are really going to do these things, you need to hire several
reliable programmers with kernel-level skills"
Or you're a company working in software development who hopefully have
skilled developers working for you anyway.
"Indeed, the whole progress of commercial computing has been from
expensive hand-written, bug-ridden, company-specific programs to
cheaper but more powerful off-the-shelf packages. From that point of
view, open source is a throwback."
Yes, a history of computing as you'll read in any low-end "computer
studies for business" textbook from circa 1983. But I suppose that
after so long in technology journalism you don't have to learn
anything new or adapt to the reality of the day but instead just stand
on the sidelines cheering for your favourite brand.
- http://www.guardian.co.uk/online/sto...127802,00.html


Some other interesting links:

http://www.sheffieldhallam.org.uk/bl...1/12/19.40.04/
(Responses to Mr Schofield's latest piece which could have been titled
"Free Software - something I don't understand and so it must be bad".)

http://handelaar.org/index.php?p=77&c=1
(A more "robust" critique of Mr Schofield's journalism.)

http://www.computerweekly.com/Article20541.htm
(Pragmatism or just apologist rhetoric?)

Paul
Jul 18 '05 #8

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In article <bv**********@news.service.uci.edu>, Josiah Carlson wrote:
Speaking of which...
http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/relea...0040122-5.html


I'm still flabbergasted that this is on whitehouse.gov and not on
whitehouse.org.

Dave Cook

Jul 18 '05 #9

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David M. Cook wrote:
In article <bv**********@news.service.uci.edu>, Josiah Carlson wrote:

Speaking of which...
http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/relea...0040122-5.html

I'm still flabbergasted that this is on whitehouse.gov and not on
whitehouse.org.

Dave Cook


I think even the White House staff is coming to realize they are working
for a schmuck.

- Josiah
Jul 18 '05 #10

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malcolm wrote:
Why you can't get something for nothing
Jack Schofield Jan 22 2004
"Indeed, the whole progress of commercial computing has been from
expensive hand-written, bug-ridden, company-specific programs to
cheaper but more powerful off-the-shelf packages. From that point of
view, open source is a throwback."


That doesn't ring true to me. This sounds more realistic...
"Indeed, the whole progress of commercial computing has been from
expensive hand-written, bug-ridden, company-specific programs to
cheaper but more powerful off-the-shelf packages. From that point of
view, open source is the next logical advancement.

Steve
Jul 18 '05 #11

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ma*********@lycos.com (malcolm) writes:
Why you can't get something for nothing
Jack Schofield Jan 22 2004
Having bought the Guardian's Thursday edition (with the "online"
section) a few times, I know they get frequent letters complaining
about Schofield's anti-open source "bias" (which doesn't alter the
correctness of otherwise of what he says, of course).

Another quote from the article:
Finally, a couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that the movement did not
have any way of creating software architectures. A reader disputed
this in Feedback, citing three programs: Perl, Python and
Apache. These are excellent programs, but not what I'd call a software
architecture.
I guess we have to wait, with bated breath, for Jack to define
"software architecture", then <wink>. STOP PRESS, software industry
revolutionized by IT journalist's definition of software architecture!

Why is there so much empty name-calling in the software industry?
Curiously, also, none of them was developed by the open source
movement, though they have of course been adopted and improved by
it. Larry Wall developed Perl while working at Unisys; both Python and
Apache came out of academia.
More empty name-calling. Academics are barred from being part of the
open source movement, apparently.

[..]

"There are also undoubted benefits from running open source software,
though the financial ones can be small or even negative. Companies are
bound to be tempted by the idea of getting something for nothing .."

"The facility to fix bugs yourself and to modify programs also sounds
attractive. However, fixing bugs is not practical for most companies,
and modifications can be positively dangerous.
Perfectly sensible points (as is the point about "TCO", which is of
course crucially important), though he conspicuously fails to draw any
sensible conclusions from them.

If you are really going to do these things, you need to hire several
reliable programmers with kernel-level skills"
Hard to come up with an interpretation of that that makes sense...

"Indeed, the whole progress of commercial computing has been from
expensive hand-written, bug-ridden, company-specific programs to
cheaper but more powerful off-the-shelf packages. From that point of
view, open source is a throwback."
Eh?

It appears Schofield got employed as a columnist for "ask Jack", in
which people ask questions about why their Windows machine is broken
(no dig at MS here, if linux had achieved world domination, I imagine
they'd still be asking similar questions about that; things would
still be broken, but broken on a higher level).

No great fascination to be had from observing people's "special"
reasoning when rooting for their home side, I guess <wink>.

It's a shame, when there are perfectly good arguments to be made
against open source, that this kind of third-rate excuse for analysis
gets published. Don't give up the day job, Jack!

- http://www.guardian.co.uk/online/sto...127802,00.html

John
Jul 18 '05 #12

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Josiah Carlson wrote:
Either that or Microsoft. ;-) Or he's plain stupid.

Miklós


Never underestimate the power of stupidity (or ignorance, or denial, or...).

Speaking of which...
http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/relea...0040122-5.html

- Josiah


I'm sorry, really, to bring this up, but as a Canadian I might be a little
thick on this point, so help me out: was that site hacked? Or is this for
real?

-Peter
Jul 18 '05 #13

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>>Never underestimate the power of stupidity (or ignorance, or denial, or...).

Speaking of which...
http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/relea...0040122-5.html

- Josiah

I'm sorry, really, to bring this up, but as a Canadian I might be a little
thick on this point, so help me out: was that site hacked? Or is this for
real?

-Peter


Peter,

I understand your confusion. You are thinking, "Surely the president of
the United States can't be that foolish." That is what the entire world
thought...until they started listening to what he had to say.

The history of the Iraq war, told entirely in lies:
http://www.harpers.org/RevisionThing.html?pg=1

Dishonest Dubya Action Figure (all unaltered quotes from GWB):
(could be short on bandwidth, resulting in a 509 error)
http://www.praesentia.us/archives/dishonestdubya.html
Let us hope the general population votes consistantly for a single,
non-GWB candidate. Dean would be fine, Clark would be better.
- Josiah
Jul 18 '05 #14

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Josiah> http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/relea...0040122-5.html

Peter> I'm sorry, really, to bring this up, but as a Canadian I might be
Peter> a little thick on this point, so help me out: was that site
Peter> hacked? Or is this for real?

I'm a natural-born American and I wondered the same thing.

This is what you get when the electorate chooses the "leader of the free
world" because "he seems like such a nice fellow" or "he's a regular guy"
Pardon me, but I don't want "a regular guy" in this particular position. I
want the god damned smartest, most capable person we can find.

Hmmm... If we're electing the "leader of the free world", maybe the entire
free world ought to be able to vote. Imagine the primary season running up
to that election!

Skip

Jul 18 '05 #15

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Skip wrote:
Pardon me, but I don't want "a regular guy" in this particular position. I
want the god damned smartest, most capable person we can find.


The real problem is that these days there's no way the smartest, most capable
person would ever run for public office.

-Dave
Jul 18 '05 #16

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Peter Hansen wrote:


Josiah Carlson wrote:



Either that or Microsoft. ;-) Or he's plain stupid. Mikl&oacute;s



Never underestimate the power of stupidity (or ignorance, or denial, or...). Speaking of which... http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/relea...0040122-5.html - Josiah



I'm sorry, really, to bring this up, but as a Canadian I might be a little thick on this point, so help me out: was that site hacked? Or is this for real? -Peter

it looks pretty real to me.
and it sure sounds like king George....




-- "When your neighbor loses his job, it's a recession," "When you lose your job, it's a depression. When George Bush loses his job, it's a recovery."

Jul 18 '05 #17

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Dave> Skip wrote:
Pardon me, but I don't want "a regular guy" in this particular position. I
want the god damned smartest, most capable person we can find.


Dave> The real problem is that these days there's no way the smartest,
Dave> most capable person would ever run for public office.

Yeah, I know. I just needed to get that off my chest.

Skip

Jul 18 '05 #18

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ma*********@lycos.com (malcolm) wrote in
news:64**************************@posting.google.c om:
Why you can't get something for nothing
Jack Schofield Jan 22 2004


is that the "Al Jazira runs IIS 5 on Linux" Jack Schofield?
Jul 18 '05 #19

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> Josiah Carlson wrote:
[...]
http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/relea...0040122-5.html
[...] I'm sorry, really, to bring this up, but as a Canadian I might be a little
thick on this point, so help me out: was that site hacked? Or is this for
real?


I half expect him to be unmasked as Jim Carrey, and we're all in some
cheesy Hollywood movie...

Mind you, Peter:

A proof is a proof.
What kind of a proof?
It's a proof.
A proof is a proof.
And when you have a good proof,
it's because it's proven.

-- Jean Chretien

(some wag suggested this should be sung to the tune of "Mr. Ed" :-)
John
Jul 18 '05 #20

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