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[Python] Guardian: open source is a throwback says Jack Schofield

Malcolm
Jan 25, 2004 at 7:43 pm
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/story/0,3605,1127802,00.html
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20 responses

  • Miklós at Jan 25, 2004 at 8:22 pm
    Jack Schofield is an opinionated jackass who spreads Holloween FUD.
    Guardian's journalists are usually better than that.

    Best,
    Mikl?s


    "malcolm" <malcolmny_1 at lycos.com> wrote in message
    news:64cff82f.0401251143.328388bd at posting.google.com...
    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/story/0,3605,1127802,00.html
  • Skip Montanaro at Jan 25, 2004 at 9:34 pm
    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
  • Miklós at Jan 25, 2004 at 11:33 pm
    "Skip Montanaro" <skip at pobox.com> wrote in message
    news:mailman.772.1075066543.12720.python-list at python.org...
    Does Jack Schofield perhaps work for SCO? <wink>

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

    Mikl?s
  • Josiah Carlson at Jan 26, 2004 at 1:09 am

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

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

    Speaking of which...
    http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/01/20040122-5.html

    - Josiah
  • Zachary at Jan 26, 2004 at 2:18 am
    "Josiah Carlson" <jcarlson at nospam.uci.edu> wrote in message
    news:bv1pgj$ctl$3 at news.service.uci.edu...
    Either that or Microsoft. ;-) Or he's plain stupid.

    Mikl?s
    Never underestimate the power of stupidity (or ignorance, or denial, or...).
    Speaking of which...
    http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/01/20040122-5.html

    - Josiah
    Amazing! I didn't know he could completely miss the point so much.
  • Josiah Carlson at Jan 26, 2004 at 6:56 am

    Never underestimate the power of stupidity (or ignorance, or denial, or...).
    Speaking of which...
    http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/01/20040122-5.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
  • David M. Cook at Jan 26, 2004 at 3:04 pm

    In article <bv1pgj$ctl$3 at news.service.uci.edu>, Josiah Carlson wrote:

    Speaking of which...
    http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/01/20040122-5.html
    I'm still flabbergasted that this is on whitehouse.gov and not on
    whitehouse.org.

    Dave Cook
  • Josiah Carlson at Jan 26, 2004 at 3:18 pm

    David M. Cook wrote:

    In article <bv1pgj$ctl$3 at news.service.uci.edu>, Josiah Carlson wrote:


    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
  • Peter Hansen at Jan 26, 2004 at 7:51 pm

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

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

    Speaking of which...
    http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/01/20040122-5.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
  • Skip Montanaro at Jan 26, 2004 at 8:15 pm
    Josiah> http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/01/20040122-5.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
  • Dave Brueck at Jan 26, 2004 at 8:29 pm

    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
  • Skip Montanaro at Jan 26, 2004 at 8:46 pm

    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
  • Chris at Jan 26, 2004 at 8:29 pm
  • Josiah Carlson at Jan 26, 2004 at 8:54 pm

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

    Speaking of which...
    http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/01/20040122-5.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
  • John J. Lee at Jan 27, 2004 at 12:13 pm
    Josiah Carlson wrote:
    [...]
    [...]
    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
  • Paul Boddie at Jan 26, 2004 at 11:01 am
    malcolmny_1 at lycos.com (malcolm) wrote in message news:<64cff82f.0401251143.328388bd at 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.
    Some other interesting links:

    http://www.sheffieldhallam.org.uk/blog/2004/01/12/19.40.04/
    (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?pw&c=1
    (A more "robust" critique of Mr Schofield's journalism.)

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

    Paul
  • John J. Lee at Jan 26, 2004 at 7:48 pm

    malcolmny_1 at 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!


    John
  • Steve Horsley at Jan 26, 2004 at 7:54 pm

    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
  • Delaney, Timothy C (Timothy) at Jan 26, 2004 at 11:26 pm

    From: Skip Montanaro

    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!
    Don't need to - if we got to vote in that, we'd insist that a more rational voting system be used ;)

    Tim Delaney
  • Harald Massa at Jan 26, 2004 at 11:40 pm
    malcolmny_1 at lycos.com (malcolm) wrote in
    news:64cff82f.0401251143.328388bd at posting.google.com:
    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?

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