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Proprietary Text Editor: some free software humour

category: general [glöplog]
Marq: I am one of those considerably-younger-compared-to-your-average-scener guys being 18 years old. I am never afraid to learn and I have always wanted to experiment with the alternatives in whatever I do. Unfortunately an alternative that is 20 years old, doesn't cut it anymore. I never demand professional tools but out-of-the-box functionality is something that should exist if the tool in question claims to do something. Otherwise I am all good with open source software and even I am thinking of having a Linux machine as an alternative.

Also don't forget that the complexity of the computers augment as the time passes. In the 90s computers weren't as complex as they are now and maybe dealing with obscure tools that didn't do what they were supposed to do was a niche joy for many.
added on the 2009-04-04 22:34:59 by decipher decipher
Don't get me wrong, I think that open source software and the "release early, release often" pragmatism is the right way to develop software, and that for almost all tasks, Free Software is the best way of running a server (esp. Debian-based server distros) but there is one big thing I believe is actually better non-open-source (not necessarily proprietary, but not releasing the source publicly)

That thing is the demoscene. In the demoscene, open source lends itself to copying - and the demoscene remains interesting to me because it's so inventive. You see an effect, think "hey, that's quite nice, I bet I can do that better, probably with more ribbons" and you tinker with ways to do it, then end up largely different from how to original coder implemented it. It could well be coded better, coded for the more specific situation, and improve the skill of that coder.

With an open-source demo, you're too likely to peer into the code of someone else, rip out a "neat" function and use it verbatim without ever truly understanding it, or trying to optimise it to your parameters.

That's not to say all code should be private in the demoscene - if it weren't for things like certain diskmags or NeHe, there would be a lot less coders in the scene, because people would have dismissed it as too difficult for too little reward.

Having said that, I've been in the scene for 15 years or more, been going to demoparties for 8 years and still only released two demos, one of which was a video - yes, I suck.

Ah well - hopefully people agree with part of that.
added on the 2009-04-05 00:08:21 by dotwaffle dotwaffle
Quote:
would you be kind enough to name one relevant/everyday use case where something I might want to do is prohibited? DRM'd media doesn't count, since that's easy to avoid.


Yeah, sure - each time a friend asks me to give him a copy of a great program he saw on my laptop, the law tells me to refuse him. This is the problem. And if I do give him the program, than I broke the law.

Quote:
But if I happen to think that proprietary software has its uses and a lot of it is functionally superior to free software and ask the free software people to compete on merits and not ideology, I don't think helping each other is a valuable thing?


No, I do not think so. I think that most people actually live a pretty ethical life. Let's say that free software is important in the long run. As large companies enforce their end users agreements more and more (like in USA), this slowly it taps into your mind. One day this may become a major problem in the community. I am sorry if this sounds vague, but I've seen it happen in smaller communities. Also, if money were put into free software, it would've been much better.

I do totally agree with you that lots of free software is so non-user friendly that most people turn away from it. It is the largest problem. And we in fact have organized Multimedia Libre group which aims to focus programmers in usability, interface and out of the box features.

And sorry for not answering your questions, to be honest, I thought they were rhetorical. Now its late, I will answer your other questions tomorrow, they are good questions.
Quote:
Yeah, sure - each time a friend asks me to give him a copy of a great program he saw on my laptop, the law tells me to refuse him. This is the problem. And if I do give him the program, than I broke the law.

I thought this was about free as in speech, not free as in beer? Your friend can buy a license and then there's no problem at all.
added on the 2009-04-05 00:19:56 by stijn stijn
Can you guys stop wasting time arguing and get one one of
a: fixing the usb audio input device drivers on ubuntu or
b: taking food away from the children of people who have the ability to
?
added on the 2009-04-05 05:08:15 by GbND GbND
[quote]I thought this was about free as in speech, not free as in beer? Your friend can buy a license and then there's no problem at all.[/quota]

If he has the money, that is -- high-end software still tends to cost pretty much. On the other hand: whatta hell, what has the scene come to ?) I don't really remember anybody using legal software in the scene circles. How many people ever bought Watcom, 3D Studio or Lightwave for their productions?
added on the 2009-04-05 07:12:57 by Marq Marq
Fsck. Unix mental slip!
added on the 2009-04-05 07:13:39 by Marq Marq
dotwaffle: Or maybe if making the same stuff as others before was totally trivial there would be less of just copying the same effects and at least something added even when things are copied. I don't believe in this "art in a vacuum" stuff anyway and the problem you describe has been present in demos to varying degrees for a long time, probably caused by too much of a focus on tech.

In any case, there will likely always be unoriginal demos but I seriously doubt the people who are making interesting things right now would change their ways for the worse if there was lots of source available.
added on the 2009-04-05 10:11:56 by slux slux
I think most of the scene never cared about Linux anyways because all they cared was that their demo is running and a lot of people can watch it.
added on the 2009-04-05 11:38:38 by Optimonk Optimonk
Well hey Marq, that's pretty much what "buying" is about, giving money to others and getting something for it in exchange.
added on the 2009-04-05 13:16:47 by stijn stijn
Quote:
Well hey Marq, that's pretty much what "buying" is about, giving money to others and getting something for it in exchange.


But is it a valid and/or interesting topic in the scene, given its piracy roots and still ongoing piracy tradition? Obviously people haven't been too much into this "buying" that you value so much :) Personally I prefer freeware/oss anyday over warez, but it's not any common an attitude.
added on the 2009-04-05 17:55:33 by Marq Marq
Quote:
I thought this was about free as in speech, not free as in beer? Your friend can buy a license and then there's no problem at all.


It is free as in free speech. But the end user license PROHIBITS you to give a software to your friend. What if your friend cannot buy it? What if he plans to buy it later but needs it now? But according to the end user license you have to say NO. With free software you don't have to give your software to anyone who asks for it, but you are not cut off from the possibility itself.

As for source code availability, it really depends on what software and people we are talking about. In the demoscene perhaps sharing source code is not a good thing - at least immediately. But demoscene does not produce operating system or graphical editors for all to use. And in general, although not all users actually change code themselves, it is very important to be able to ask someone to do the change. For instance, the popular wxDev-C++ RAD tool works that way - people say what feature they need and say that they'll pay for its implementation, say, a 100$. A coder who is interested implements the feature, gets the money, and wxDev-C++ gets the new feature. Of course, the integrity and quality of code are controlled.
Quote:
It is free as in free speech. But the end user license PROHIBITS you to give a software to your friend. What if your friend cannot buy it? What if he plans to buy it later but needs it now? But according to the end user license you have to say NO. With free software you don't have to give your software to anyone who asks for it, but you are not cut off from the possibility itself.

Well hey, no shit sherlock. Say if I have this awesome bag of apples and let my friend taste one. Their taste is magnificent! But my friend has little money :( He will have some more money when he gets his salary at the end of the month though!

So he'll have to wait till he can buy them.

That's how stuff works in the world, in case you hadn't noticed. Sometimes someone (this someone could very well be a software publisher!) decides to sell a product, you know, to make money with it. That means you can't just get it for free.

On the other hand there are other people, who could also be software publishers, that make stuff available for free. Free as in "free beer", or "you can have it without giving me anything".

Apparently you don't really care much about openness of source code and all that jazz, but just want everything for free. Well hey, the world doesn't work that way. Tough luck.
added on the 2009-04-05 21:03:28 by stijn stijn
Preacher, answering your questions.

Quote:
Just out of curiosity, in all your righteousness, how many times have you actually

1) scanned the source code of a free program to look for something (programming ideas, protocols, back doors, whatever)?
2) improved something you weren't happy with and contributed to the original sourcebase?
3) created a totally innovative piece of free software that has revolutionized the world?



1 and 2 - I have changed the free software music player to suit my personal needs. Since I am not a (strong) programmer, I am not really into programming itself, so 3 is not about me.
However, I did ask another programmer to change the software for me and he did so.


Quote:
would you be kind enough to name one relevant/everyday use case where something I might want to do is prohibited? DRM'd media doesn't count, since that's easy to avoid.


Sure. For instance, you are not allowed to distribute the program you like among your friends or install them on multiple machines. You might still do so, but you will be breaking a license agreement and the law. I am not sure if this is your case, but when I meet a fellow musician and he asks what soft I use and asks if I can give it to him, theoretically I must say no, no matter what. I should tell him - go buy it, I will not give it to you, since I bought it for myself. He might not have the money at the moment or have no money for musical software ever - which is too expensive anyway, thanks to the fact that the software publisher has to put so many man hours into putting in useless defence systems and then distributing it to stores around the world.
Same with DRM. It is not a question of avoiding it - getting the soft you need from the torrents is also not a big problem. It is among everything also a matter of whether a user wants to live his life hiding and feeling guilty or lead an upright life.


I do agree with you that to a non-programmer the problem of proprietary software is possibly absolutely not clear. This is why I agree with you that the FSF should really concentrate on delivering products with good functionality and interface for everyday use. You are very correct on this.

The problem of proprietary software may not be bold for some people. It is bold enough for me. And it was very bold in Vista, when I felt that my computer is not really mine, as it refused to do many things I wanted it to do. This is a pretty long term problem and it is delicate too. I am into free software because I do not feel like installing programs which tell me that after I bought 'em I do not own them and that I am a criminal if I give it to my friend. I want to be able to get, use and share software without feeling guilty.

Hope that answers your questions. I should not be a reference to what free software is though. These are just my opinions, my understanding.
stijn: now that someone's brought up an analogy let's break it.

Say if I have this awesome bag of apples and want my friend taste one. But the guy who sold me those apples forbid me to share it with my friends. I could buy another bag of apples but I have little money :( I will have some more money when I gets my salary at the end of the month though!
Quote:
Well hey, no shit sherlock. Say if I have this awesome bag of apples and let my friend taste one. Their taste is magnificent! But my friend has little money :( He will have some more money when he gets his salary at the end of the month though!


Hehe. I do not thing you have understood my position, man.
First of all, apples are material objects. When you give them to someone, you have none left for yourself. When you copy, you have it, he has it. This is a TOTALLY different property of things.
Second, I am not only ready to buy software which I love, I am ready to thank its developers financially each time the software really worked for me. It is possible with free software.
Well Anes, that's when it does make a difference that apples are tangible objects whereas software isn't ;) For the analogy as I stated it I don't think it does, contrary to Louigi's claim. (Yes, it is a "totally different property of things". But does that invalidate the analogy?)
added on the 2009-04-05 21:13:43 by stijn stijn
Wait, how big was that .exe again?
added on the 2009-04-06 06:20:40 by numtek numtek
Quote:
Oh also, Eclipse is the only usable development suite on Linux distributions.

?!

http://monodevelop.com/ - Primarily for C#, but getting a great amount of multi-language features already.
http://www.anjuta.org/ - Amazing IDE, this is what I use.
http://www.codeblocks.org/ - This IDE is inspired by MSVC++, I didn't use it enough to judge, but I know people like it
http://www.netbeans.org/ - I've never tried this one, I just recognize it as an option.
http://www.kdevelop.org/ - A KDE IDE.
http://home.planet.nl/~groe2579/vdkbuilder/ - A bit old.. but still modern.
added on the 2009-04-06 06:39:01 by LiraNuna LiraNuna
I for one find it difficult to develop under Windows. Perhaps it's just because I'm more familiar with Linux. For example, what is the equivalent of Valgrind in Windows? Or PAPI(Ex) ? (I'm sure they exist, I just don't know what they are!). In fact, how do people develop at all without Valgrind?! :) Also, I don't really understand Preacher complaining about gdb. I think it's pretty good, also I love Valgrind --db-attach=yes.

I am also surprised that people accept the (to my eyes, mess of) configuration files associated with visual studio, and the constant changing of versions. This could be ignorance through lack of recent
use though.

Over all, I think it's nice that free software exists. It's a bit silly to claim it's "better" than proprietary software, or vice-versa, both have their advantages. I use and like both types of software.
added on the 2009-04-06 09:31:40 by pdx pdx
The claim is not that it's better, the claim is that proprietary software is not ethical. Free software movement is a social political movement, not technological.


abductee: interesting IDE. Did you try using it? They claim to be better than many known IDE's out there.
@Louigi Verona: Oh, right, I didn't realize people seriously claimed proprietary software was unethical. Almost all the software I use is free software. I use it for its technical quality though.
added on the 2009-04-06 09:56:38 by pdx pdx
People do seriously claim it. In fact, without the philosophy of free software, which might seem not so important to some people, free software itself along with GNU/Linux and along with the whole open source movement which emerged from it in 1998, would've been simply impossible. Let me bring this link up again: http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/why-free.html My observations and experience in these matters tell me that thinking over these ideas takes time. Do not reject them or agree with them instantly, take the time to think it over carefully.

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