In 1984 the MIT started X11.
In 1991, XFree86 started out of the X386 server based on the X11 platform.
In 2003, Xorg took over from XFree86 after a license dispute.
In 2008, Wayland was started to overhaul the entire system and keep only what's necessary for the desktop today, using only today's modern infrastructure in a leightweight architecture.
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Please don't start a flamewar of any kind here. But you are welcome to post any other comments.
That's exactly how closed source software works. And that's exactly why you should prefer open source software. The more important the software, the more important that it's open source.
After reading a lot in the media about the so called cyber war, I wonder: How well prepared are the nations? In the media it seems as if Russia and China had active cyber warriors sitting and waiting to get into action or if not already attacking. But I can hardly imagine that any technologically advanced nation would not have highly professional IT security experts available...
What do you think? Or are the US cyber warriors just more sneaky? Would the US invent the internet for military reasons and then just sit there while everybody else seems to be putting up their armies? Could a cyber war lead to a real war? Are plain computers the 21st century's war machines?
I have had similar thoughts. What people may forget is the problems you may get into with machines and that they do make mistakes. But let me tell you what happened to me.
I went to buy train tickets. They were non-refundable day tickets valid for one day only (not 24 hours).
I went to the machine. I chose the type of ticket. Then I chose a date. Then I chose to take two of them. Then I paid and left. A few hours later I looked closely at my tickets and found out that it did not apply the choice of date to both tickets. One of them was valid only for yesterday. I had bought them at about 11.45 pm. And yesterday was now already past.
Okay, there were several problems: The machine should have warned before selling you a day ticket that would be valid only for 15 minutes. It should actually automatically select the next day then. But the very least it must of course apply your choice of day to the tickets when in the last step it asks you for the number of tickets.
Okay, I thought, no problem. Luckily there are still humans. I went to a service person. The date and time of purchase were printed on the ticket, so it was an obvious situation. I told them about it and was quite surprised about their reaction.
The tickets are non-refundable they told me. That I aleady knew. I said again that I told two tickets and that the date was not applied. They told me I must have made a mistake when ordering them, so it was my fault. That kind of remark is hard to deal with, especially if you're earning money with IT services. I tried to explain this to them and they informed me that machines don't make mistakes.
Ah. That was new to me. I gave up with her and went to another service person somewhere else:
I: Hi, I've gotten the wrong ticket from the ticket machine.
S: Well, the tickets are non-refundable.
I: Oh yes, I know. But I didn't choose that ticket.
S: Then it wouldn't have printed it - you must have made the wrong choices.
I: Aha. (explaining the choices). Could the problem be with the machine?
S: No, there is no problem with the machines. You should simply buy the tickets one by one.
I: And now?
S: You're too late to exchange it now. Try writing a letter to the central custumer service department.
By now I had no time to buy new tickets and had to run to catch my train. It turned out that the train personell didn't even notice the difference in dates when checking my tickets. So luckily in the end a human error helped me avoid problems after the machine's error.
In the end I quite agree with his critic view on technology: One should always keep in mind that machines do make mistakes. And when they do, it can be extremely hard to impossible to convince people of it.
Who is the worse open source citizen, Google, Apple or nobody? And I posted a little comment as well:
Google is to blame for doing open source(Linux), but the wrong way(hotfix instead of a good solution).
Apple is to blame for doing open source(BSD), but the wrong way(bad or no community "backfeed").
What's worse is a matter of taste. I also think Apple is the worse open source participant. They give back so little to the community it makes me sad. (Then they restrict the app store in ways that prevents competition, etc.)
Google does not do much for the community, though it says it tries. But honestly, if you would put their effort into relation with what money they make through open source software, it's really very sad, too. And the companies PR departments would be silly if they wouldn't make sure it looks like a serious effort.
But they both gain a lot and give a little. Google may state what they wish - considering their resources they give little. They could employ at least a few expert kernel hackers pro bono. Otherwise they will get an identity crisis a little like Ubuntu currently: People want to know they are part of bringing things forward.
And this shows the problems with current open source licenses in my view: The companies still don't really have to give useful "back-feed" to the open source projects (far from being in relation with what they gain).
What if the EU would decide that every device must come with open source drivers? Or if someone wrote a license that requires at least 1% of the profits from the open source project to flow back into the project? It would of course be very good for the projects. But in a second step I am convinced it would be at least as useful from a macroeconomic point of view:
Less development effort would be duplicated and the code quality would constantly increase.
Of course the big problem with this approach is finding out how much money is made with a project. That would be the job for courts to decide. And currently I can't think of any really good measurement possibilites. But then with 1% of the profits I'm sure it would not hurt a company anyway.
But I have one point to make: Unless you are (or employ) a mighty programmer, you are not as free as you feel after reading the article from your Linux system. ;-)
The point he makes is true and good. But in my view having a freedom is worth no more than you have the actual concrete ability to use it and gain direct benefit from it.
Now I think it should be made easier to actually do it, to benefit from that freedom. But e.g. finding a suitable programmer is often still complicated and not every open source project has a place to e.g. offer bounties. As he sais: it is not always an easy choice, but a worthy choice.
You have the freedom, but you can only really use it when you have someone with programming skills. And he did not mention that. (Of course that's not his point.)
The point I'm trying to make is that an infrastructure that enables the average non-programmer user (e.g. through money) to really take advantage of these freedoms (customize software) without much effort would have a positive effect for the open source community. It would give provide money to the programmers and help users in realizing the open source freedoms.
Now the other cool then is that you might actually get a programmer to write a feature for the same money you would have paid for a closed source software (esp. Microsoft Office vs. OpenOffice). And when you do, everybody can profit from that. If more people would see that and act like it, the whole community would profit.
But they don't broadcast their channels. At first they always claimed it would not be feasible technically, until Zattoo came along and proved what was clear before: Where there is a will, there is a way.
Now the TV stations claim they don't own the rights. Or they go online for some regions like hulu.com. And I still think: Where there's a will, there's a way. How long do we have to wait, until the Internet tears down the borders of TV stations?
How long until it will be possible to legally and comfortably watch your favorite TV series when it first aired.
Adobe Flash has also been ported, but is kept away from the iPhone by Apple.
So if you've wanted to buy an iPhone, reconsider. It's buggy and Apple won't let you install any software that might "duplicate" available functions. They should be honest and say software that competes with theirs.
Source: Heise Article [german original]
When Community does not Help: Ubuntu Maintainers keep their hands still about NetworkManager Memory Leak
There are several people watching the bug and of course thousands affected with NetworkManager being in the standard installation of at least Ubuntu and Kubuntu, but the maintainers keep their hands still. A fix is also out and has been successfully applied and a package was released, too. It just never went into the current distribution.
This shows how the community can care so much about important bugs, if the appropriate people don't respond, many Linux users are just as helpless as when they use Windows. But I really doubt that such a major memory leak would remain unfixed for such a long time even in any current Microsoft product.
If you want the bug fixed for you, you can do so manually, I posted links to the fixed packages a while ago.
It makes for an interesting read and I think his article is much better researched than my own I posted here recently. And showing the dangers of some open source licenses he concludes developers should be careful in their choice of open source licenses.
The GPL, he concludes, not only protects from "strip mining" companies, but also (though IMO less well reasoned) from fragmentation and forking of the code.
It seems Hillesley's article is a response to an article by Fleury.
Imagine there's a simple single place where you can donate to different software projects and for different purposes. They could of course also offer memberships, bounties and support contract models, mascots, licenses etc. And the software projects wouldn't have to deal with the legal and financial issues involved but just get the money.
Especially Xorg needs more support and I guess a couple paid employees wouldn't hurt. Situations like that could be sought out and dealt with by a Linux task force. I guess someone like the Linux Foundation might be a good starting point.