[clug] Software Freedom Day was Re: Declining attendance?

Scott Ferguson scott.ferguson.clug at gmail.com
Sun Oct 14 20:12:49 MDT 2012

On 15/10/12 12:32, steve jenkin wrote:
> The Desktop O/S Wars are over, but for some the Battle still rages.

The War/Battle was only ever about marketing and the only "casualties"
were sales (and truth).

> Just as the Mainframe Wars raged for decades and now there's just two
> left (IBM, Unisys). But Mainframes aren't dead, IBM increases system
> sales every year, still . [measured in 'running images'].
> Anyone who tells you Mainframes are relevant or 'interesting' are
> kidding themselves. There are US Unis that still teach MVS/COBOL to
> serve this market.

You contradict yourself - not relevant *and* extremely profitable? :-)


> The important thing there is the 2 main players (Android, iOS) are POSIX
> with public & free-to-use programming interfaces.

How many people know about POSIX?
Is iOS POSIX compliant?
I know it's "derived" from OSX (NeXT/BSD) which is POSIX compliant. Most
GNU/Linux is only partialy POSIX compliant.

Market share != influence.
Don't underestimate the influence of Blackberry, or overlook the future
of Firefox (the low end of the market is the big end of the market i.e.
India, Africa, Indonesia, China).

> I got a wake up call on this over the weekend talking to a security
> expert about my Desktop question:
>   Why bother? Get a tablet dedicated to the App.

Some small points:-
* Assuming that tablet is secure... One of the risks with a tablet is
that it's portable. One of the elements of security is that you can rely
on it - hard to rely on something you don't possess. That's without
considering whether the loss of the device means some else has access to
critical information.

* At present there are no commercial, popular, portable devices that are
completely secure to use on the tubes. Largely due to browser and site
design problems.

* Few businesses will use a dedicated, isolated, device for banking as
they usually want to do more than look at balances and manually make
payments. Email, printing, networking etc all are weaknesses. Add to
that human weakness that means they like to do things they shouldn't.
Convenience is often the enemy of security.

* Some banks impose Internet Explorer as a requirement.

> So, I'm not surprised Software Freedom Day went by without notice here
> in Canberra.
> The Desktop O/S War is over, we won :-)

Software Freedom != Desktop OS choice.
Most of the OS that you point at are *not* Free software (in the Libre
sense*1). IMHO that's a good argument *for* the continued relevance of
SFD. (says he who did nothing)

*1 An unfortunate choice of terminology way back when has led to much
confusion. If no cost == free software then add Microsoft to the list of
Free Software. They'll happily give you vm machines of Windows x for free...

> cheers
> steve
> AIA for top-posting.
> ========================================================
> Mike Carden wrote on 15/10/12 10:53 AM:
>> On Mon, Oct 15, 2012 at 10:43 AM, Robert Edwards <bob at cs.anu.edu.au> wrote:
>>> (seems that nobody in Canberra
>>> could be bothered with SFD this year - myself included).

Kind regards

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