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The Sad State Of FSF's High Priority Projects

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  • The Sad State Of FSF's High Priority Projects

    Phoronix: The Sad State Of FSF's High Priority Projects

    With the Free Software Foundation having removed GNU PDF from their list of high priority projects after declaring the open-source work to implement proper Adobe PDF support a success, what's left to the FSF high priority project list and how are those remaining projects coming along?..

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=MTAwMTY

  • #2
    I don't even really agree with the Free Software Foundation's listing of this as a high priority project for the success of free software; a free software version of Google Earth isn't going to make or break it for free software and the Linux desktop. I (and likely many more users) would much rather see language learning software (i.e. Rosetta Stone replacement) or proper tax/accounting programs (i.e. TurboTax replacement) on this list instead, which would affect a lot more people.
    I completely agree. There are many areas that need a much higher priority like the ones you mention and many more. A replacement for Google Earth seems out of place for even being on the list.

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    • #3
      The best language learning software is already Free Software, stuff like Anki and Mnemosyne. Rosetta Stone is a pile of crap.

      Tax software would be good. A German tax program takes up a full CD. It's not about the software itself, it's the mountains of supporting (legal) information that is tricky. People tend to not experiment with their taxes. It would be better to lobby governments to encourage online tax reporting and/or to open-source their official software.

      I do agree, though, that Google Earth is not terribly important, and Marble is a decent substitute that could use some manpower. Works well with Open Street Map too.

      GNU Octave is already awesome. What is missing is not core functionality, but the millions of closed expansions available for Matlab. GNU Octave is very widely used in academia.

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      • #4
        Thanks, nice sumary of the situation.

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        • #5
          I think the Free Software Foundation have all their rights to say what they believe is a high priority or not according to their philosophy.

          Respect to the FSF for all their work, Michael, you shouldn't wonder how FSF manages the donations they receieve because they are the first ones to protect a GPL software in case of someone violating it.

          This article is mad and so "commercial".


          -1 to Phoronix.

          Comment


          • #6
            I think they should SCRAP all their plans and software; and instead focus on creating a platform, which connects desires with those able to implement them. For reason of creating free open software which should be made advantageous for BOTH sides. With fuel being money, personal/group interest or fun.

            Something much less abstract (but project-oriented, like ubuntu brainstorm) than current state of freedesktop.org ,something reaching beyond to what freedesktop tries.

            Something that does not command or tries to implement by itself and on its own: essentially behaving like microsoft of foss software, but instead gives a tasty form to desires/possibilities from outside of the box and results in free open code, behaving both like bargain platform and supervisor instead.

            Current state of free software reflects the current management strategy. There are a lot of people paying for proprietary (INSTEAD), which could theoretically pay money for free software instead. I think this is the ONLY reason for free software nonpopularity.

            Because of such difference in amount of monetary investment, proprietary software is generated faster, better and is more attractive. Because professionals work for money and are only interested in money, not license; and some people in shops do not hestate to pay these money for quality and will appreciate free open code which should be put in their own interest.

            Even if there are existent piles of money / force, that try to push their own way by using locks, agreements, pushed law, pushed locked standards, monopoly position etc, they will not be able to resist if situation becomes hopeless for them; they will adapt as well and once again start doing profit, but not by harming the software stack.

            Currently, free software is trying to play mouse-cat game, trying to catch the mouse(as in speed); instead of becoming mouse itself (and surpassing it, because of advantages of foss).

            It tries to go where the ball was(by trying to create "alternatives" to established proprietary software), instead of heading to where the ball will be for reason of overtaking it. And the only possibility to gain the required running speed to overtake the ball (when heading correctly), is to use correct support (instead of locking itself into minority case of being unserious hobby). Magic will not happen, be realistic.

            Remember Steve Ballmers "Developers" "dance"? He was not shouting "Microsoft, Microsoft" or "Profit, Profit". He was attracting ONE of TWO sides which would generate the correct formula. We have enough corporations, we have enough programmers, we have enough users, we have enough hackers, we have non-working kitchen. I think we cook wrong cake with incomplete ingredients, yet correct intentions.

            I would really appreciate if Richard Stallman had had taken his position and we would have had libre open software generated, instead of AMD et al working on windows once again.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by bulletxt View Post
              I think the Free Software Foundation have all their rights to say what they believe is a high priority or not according to their philosophy.

              Respect to the FSF for all their work, Michael, you shouldn't wonder how FSF manages the donations they receieve because they are the first ones to protect a GPL software in case of someone violating it.

              This article is mad and so "commercial".


              -1 to Phoronix.
              Is it worth to spend money to protect GPL software instead of supporting new software developpement ?

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by crazycheese View Post
                There are a lot of people paying for proprietary (INSTEAD), which could theoretically pay money for free software instead. I think this is the ONLY reason for free software nonpopularity.
                Yes THAT is why. It certainly has nothing to do with the piss poor quality of the projects on the list.

                If you examine the first item on the list, Gnash, you'll find a product that doesn't support the latest version of what it attempts to clone. This leaves people installing it, trying to watch a video, realizing that the video will not play, installing Adobe's flash player, watching the video with out problems, then going on with life.

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                • #9
                  As they state, the list is a '_guide_ for volunteers and supporters to projects where their skills can be utilized' which is simply a wish-list pointing out categories in which open source alternatives are poor or non-existant. From the tone of Michael's article it's like he is trying hard to portray the lack of activity in many of the suggested projects as a failure of FSF (wish-lists are supposed to be OPTIMISTIC). As for the projects FSF actually sponsors on this list (afaik it's Gnash and Coreboot), I've only used Gnash and while it worked perfectly well on Youtube it failed to work on alot of other sites I visited. I haven't used Lightspark so I can't really say anything on that apart that from what I've heard Gnash and Lightspark currently complements eachothers weaknesses to some extent but they are still no replacement for Flash unless your needs are very limited. Personally I don't see chasing after Flash as a viable goal (and given the low developer interest both in Gnash and Lightspark I'm not alone), better to embrace html5 and free open source codecs like vp8 while using the (admittedly poor) offical Flash support if you need it.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by crazycheese View Post
                    I think they should SCRAP all their plans and software
                    This whole post is clinically insane. Management strategy? WTF? Scrap GCC and the GNU toolchain?

                    The FSF is a non-profit org preaching the importance of Free Software and whose primary purpose is to take care of a couple of important licenses and to provide moral support.

                    It's not a multi-billion dollar multinational which creates products.

                    The Free Software ecosystem was never about a powerful leader organising a strategy against Microsoft, to win a "desktop war". It has always been about a community who believes in software freedom. If we don't have a community who values Free Software, we will perish. It's as simple as that. It's not a management battle between RMS and Gates.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by crazycheese View Post
                      I think they should SCRAP all their plans and software; and instead focus on creating a platform, which connects desires with those able to implement them.
                      Ah yes, you've read the Google rant

                      But seriously... That's actually kind of true.

                      I want more focus on GNU/Hurd (and I'm serious), because that's a very solid OS to stand on for an unlimited amount of years. It's the best, yet unfinnished, *NIX out there.

                      And then they should realize a couple of things, for example:
                      -Standard code libraries, filled with awesomeness, with a Java wrapper on top (so that software will run for eternity);
                      -Versioning, and only major version jumps remain supported;
                      -Digital office, done serious;
                      -OpenGL replacement graphics lib (with the lowest level access support, while still abstracting hardware) for games;
                      -Standard API's for each new sort of input device (camera, controller (hide HID and DirectInput), accelerometer, etc.);
                      -Some badass internet protocols;
                      -Big ass developper manual;
                      -Downloadable PDF user manual.

                      Then they should keep the religious stuff behind the curtains. Done.

                      PS: And the UI needs to be revolutionary; touch&mouse-based graphical commandline. No typing. Having a structured canvas for your tasks, done like Microsoft Project diagrams.

                      [file]->[mail]->[person]
                      Last edited by V!NCENT; 10-15-2011, 01:10 PM.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by V!NCENT View Post
                        I want more focus on GNU/Hurd (and I'm serious), because that's a very solid OS to stand on for an unlimited amount of years. It's the best, yet unfinnished, *NIX out there.
                        How can you say that ?

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by babali View Post
                          How can you say that ?
                          Because GNU/HURD is not about a microkernel, but about the servers that run on top of it. That means that it is portable and by design it's extremely modular and flexible.

                          It means that once completed, it will forever be able to stand the test of time.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by pingufunkybeat View Post
                            GNU Octave is already awesome. What is missing is not core functionality, but the millions of closed expansions available for Matlab. GNU Octave is very widely used in academia.
                            It is awesome, although I'm not sure it is so widely used. Which is ridiculous. Here you have a perfectly capable piece of software that can be used all the way from undergraduate courses to research level, which could save thousands of euros to many University departments, and yet most of what I saw is people using/demanding MATLAB. And I say "demanding" because more than once somebody came up asking for MATLAB and wouldn't accept anything else, even though there were absolutely no real reason for it.

                            Which isn't to say that there aren't cases where Octave doesn't cut it. It's not the tool boxes and fanfare, but the lack of a JIT compiler what sometimes gets in the way. These friend of mine works in a department where the PA has grown tired of paying MATLAB licenses, but can't switch to Octave wholesale because of execution speed. Actually, apparently my friend found ODE/PDE solving algorithms in Octave which are more sofisticated and faster on paper than those available in MATLAB, but they would run much slower in practice.

                            Having said this, it's been a good while I myself don't do anything in Octave, for Numpy/Scipy do everything I want plus everything I could ever imagine in terms of non-strictly scientific stuff thanks to Python (say wrapping some data analysis stuff on a real little program that talks to other machines, grabs some files here and there or maybe display a little GUI to make it usable by others).

                            Originally posted by crazycheese
                            There are a lot of people paying for proprietary (INSTEAD), which could theoretically pay money for free software instead. I think this is the ONLY reason for free software nonpopularity.
                            I don't know, but I'm pretty sure that if anti-piracy measures actually worked, free software would see a huge increase in use. There's no way, like, absolutely no way, your average moron would pay the full cost of a Photoshop license to do some red-eye removal or crop the picture of a cat. The moment people realised they had to scratch their pockets real hard free alternatives would spread like fire.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by V!NCENT View Post
                              I want more focus on GNU/Hurd (and I'm serious), because that's a very solid OS to stand on for an unlimited amount of years. It's the best, yet unfinnished, *NIX out there.
                              Extremely unlikely, as I recall Stallman himself said he made a huge mistake in going with mach (he hoped it would save development time, lol). It seems very few developers are interested in the hurd, and like with so many other interesting alternatives out there such as Haiku, Reactos, Aros etc there's zero commercial sponsoring interest. Sadly.

                              Originally posted by V!NCENT View Post
                              -OpenGL replacement graphics lib (with the lowest level access support, while still abstracting hardware) for games;
                              Lowest level access support while abstracting hardware? Hard to reconcile those terms is it not? Anyway, not really my area but doesn't OpenCL offer something like this?

                              Originally posted by V!NCENT View Post
                              Then they should keep the religious stuff behind the curtains. Done.
                              Unlike FSF/Stallman I see nothing inherently bad with proprietary code, but even so it's pathetic to equate such ideas with 'religion'. Hell, if you REALLY want to bring in religion then we might aswell start with the obscene GREED resulting in a total lack of business morals we are seeing in companies and their leaders today which in my opinion is a much better candidate: the worship of money no matter what.

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