Summary: Response to claims that GNU/Linux is “hard”
Difficult it sure can be to become a high-speed racing/Formula 1 driver. Arduous it is to become an advanced computer user. Virtual desktops are hard to grasp conceptually or practically for those who never saw them in a Microsoft-dominant computer lab, so how can one expect to popularise multiple desktop activities the way KDE does?
The concept of extreme abstraction and removal of features has been popularised more recently by the advancement of smartphones and tablets (I write many of my posts while walking in the streets with my tablet). The general philosophy is that users are dumb and they should be treated as such. The problem with this is not that it’s insulting (in disguise) but that it discourages learning and self improvement.
In the past decade, with the hype of ‘i’ things gaining a foothold, the class of ‘simplicity elitists’ got a lot of mindshare. The idea of excessive simplification was famously chastised by Linus Torvalds who used the “Nazi” word to call attention to the reason he was leaving GNOME. Sometimes more is less, but it has become a stubborn cliché which is hard to leave behind.
When I was a teenager and used KDE the environment was still a tad cluttered and many of the presented settings I could not make sense of. KDE had already gained a reputation as desktop made by geeks, for geeks. By the time KDE3 was out and more so in KDE4 (once many bugs were out of the way) most of the daunting settings had already been ‘shelved’ in Advanced menus and the GUI laid out more intuititively. But the stereotype never died. To this date, one of the prominent patterns of Linux FUD is that it’s hard. Well, the kernel sure is hard, but the user barely ever interacts with it. A command-line user interacts a lot with GNU and GUI users often prefer GNOME or KDE.
When people tell you that “Linux is hard” ask them, “which desktop?”
My father had no issues when I switched him from Windows XP to KDE and he is not even so technical; he is a store manager who likes sports. Since the real barrier is that Linux desktops are different we should ask ourselves not how we make GNU/Linux easier but how to make people easier to change. It’s not about coercion but about diplomacy. People need to be patient when they adapt. Is GNU/Linux hard? It’s hard for impatient people to adapt to. █
Summary: Qt suffers a blow after the Elop-led Nokia (with other top executives having been imported from Microsoft) decides to rip things apart, going as far as giving heaps of patents to Linux-hostile patent trolls
Qt is being abandoned by Nokia and Michael Larabel keeps track of things. Qt folks are obviously unhappy. To quote: “Lars Knoll, the current Qt Chief Architect at Nokia and responsible for leading the Qt 5.0 development, has commented on the shutting down of Nokia’s Qt Australia office.
“It is said that the next release of Qt is already harmed and this is going to impede KDE — and by extension GNU/Linux — as well.”“Word leaked two days ago that Nokia would be shutting down their Qt Brisbane office in August, which holds the responsibility of developing and maintaining several Qt components — including Qt Quick and other important pieces to this tool-kit they acquired from Trolltech. The shutting down of this office goes with the very likely plans that they are selling off Qt.
“There’s been a lot of negative words towards Nokia — besides everything else in past months after falling jumping in bed with Microsoft — with this move to effectively abandon Qt and the fate being uncertain. One can only hope many of these important Qt developers will find employment elsewhere and can continue contributing to upstream Qt.”
“Aside from Lars Knoll, the Qt Chief Architect at Nokia, expressing his disappointment over Nokia’s decision to eliminate their Brisbane team, he shared more information in another email today.”
“The problem is that Microsoft gives Nokia’s patents to Linux-hostile patent trolls such as MOSAID.”One blogger thinks that Intelshould buy Nokia, but Intel is not into this type of business. Intel uses criminal activity to preserve x86 monopoly; it sells no packaged products such as phones. The blogger says: “There’s a lot of talk about which company, if any, should buy Nokia: Lenovo was the latest company rumoured to be interested (until a Lenovo executive dismissed the idea as ‘a joke’).
“But, for me, there’s one firm that would be a more natural fit than any of the others being rumoured as potential new owners of Nokia: Intel.”
Nokia under Microsoft’s control has “junk” status; it might still be worth something if broken apart, e.g. into patents and trademarks. The problem is that Microsoft gives Nokia’s patents to Linux-hostile patent trolls such as MOSAID. █
Word has leaked out that Nokia will be shutting down their Brisbane Australia office next month. This is the office that’s responsible for developing and maintaining several Qt components.
Hitting the Qt development list on late Tuesday is word that “the Brisbane Australia office, consisting of the teams working on Qt3D, QtDeclarative, QtMultimedia, QtSensors, and QtSystems modules, as well as the CI/QA team for Qt, will be shut down.”
While word crept out last night that Nokia would be closing down their Brisbane office where several of the Qt components are maintained and developed, it looks like the Qt infliction is going much further. Nokia’s now reportedly trying to offload Qt entirely.
To not much surprise, Nokia doesn’t want to do much these days with the Norwegian tool-kit now that they’re on the Windows Phone bandwagon and letting Microsoft bang their drum. Nokia already parted ways with Maemo and MeeGo (and Symbian) and then last week they put a bullet in Meltemi, their last Linux effort. Now the failing phone company no longer has any use for Qt; Nokia bought out Trolltech in early 2008.
So there we have it. Nokia is showing its hostility towards Linux after the Microsoft entryism. Here is an article someone brought up in IRC (where we still argue on the matter, with some stating that Nokia’s move would be good for Qt).
Here is what the report says: “Reports are coming in that Nokia has shut down its Qt offices in Australia and laid off the developers responsible for QML. The staff that was laid off were responsible for developing key aspects of the Qt open-source toolkit including the QML user interface layout. At least one of the laid off developers, Lorn Potter, has told the Qt community that he intends to continue working on the toolkit himself but is seeking new employment.” █
Summary: Another look at the impact of a Microsoft-led Nokia
ONE implication of the uncertainty and imminent death of Nokia (“Nokia shares hit 16-year low as losses continue”) is that Qt is at risk of being orphaned, even if it gets passed to other entities which promise to maintain it. The damage has already been done and KDE issues some damage control, or a face-saving statement. To quote Michael Larabel, “KDE position is that they will still rely upon Qt, cooperate with Qt upstream, protect the freedom of Qt and KDE, and improve/contribute to upstream Qt. Qt will continue to be used by KDE Frameworks 5. “KDE software is built using Qt, and will continue to be so. Qt is the best UI development toolkit available, and its quality and continuous innovation have helped tremendously in making KDE successful.”
“KDE views the free software version of Qt as being fine for the future. “The biggest threat to the future of Qt is fragmentation due to forking. Another risk, a growing difference between the Free Software and commercial versions, has already been anticipated and addressed in existing formal agreements between KDE and Nokia. KDE will work actively to make sure that the Free Software and commercial versions of Qt remain identical and continue innovating, by this reducing the incentive to fork.”"
“KDE will work actively to make sure that the Free Software and commercial versions of Qt remain identical and continue innovating, by this reducing the incentive to fork.” –KDEFab writes that “KDE assures users they can depend on Qt”.
He notes that “[a]fter Nokia struck a deal with Microsoft to distribute the Windows Phone OS on its hardware, the company discontinued its MeeGo-based products in most European and American markets. They also scaled down their Qt development and outsourced its commercial support. With this statement, the KDE community is making clear that it sees a future for Qt even if Nokia discontinues its development.”
This may be true, but nobody can deny that Microsoft harmed KDE and Qt when it infiltrated Nokia.
Someone from Finland had some more information to share with us. “These two links were forwarded to me,” he wrote. “The content is garbage, but what is very, very interesting is that Nokia is not mentioned despite its alleged role in Windows phones”. The links he sent us are from Microsoft-friendly sources and longtime boosters, but it’s worth noting the context and the absence of Nokia. “Apparently,” we are told, “even Microsoft considers Nokia not worth mentioning.”
Nokia is dying in vain and its patents get scattered to patent trolls like MOSAID, with guidance from the mother ship, Microsoft. █
It is rather sad that SUSE was bought by Novell, only to become a Microsoft-taxed distribution even for POS (more coverage here). A new post from Jos Poortvliet (SUSE) comes to KDE.org, further blurring the line between Microsoft and Linux (amid lots of sensationalist coverage about Microsoft pretending to ‘contibute’ to Linux). SUSE influence in KDE is not too healthy because of the strings, but it hopefully won’t do too much damage. █
One reason I had for awhile considered cmake so strongly in GNU Telephony is that I choose to experiment with using Qt to build applications, and at the time I thought it rather difficult to build QT applications under autconf/automake. A week ago I revisited this question on my own, and found I was actually wrong about this.
My interest in using Qt actually was from the period immediately prior to when Elop joined Nokia as CEO and then, much like Belluzo did to SGI, proceeded defraud the shareholders, employees, and customers of Nokia for the exclusive benefit of Microsoft and one presumes for his own personal gain. However, whatever his personal, and what I do happen to believe as being purely sociopathic, motives may be, it is very clear that Qt itself, with the help of the KDE foundation, and even MeeGO which I am less interested in, but even that, with the help of many others, would and do continue to survive and even thrive, and it matters not whether Nokia continues as part of that process or not in the future. This is just one real tangible benefit of freedom, that tools which you learn and use cannot be then taken away by either arbitrary or criminal actions. There are of course many other benefits to true software freedom as well.
There is actually quite a big debate right now about the future of KDE, in part due to Canonical’s decision to no longer pay some KDE developers like those who worked on Kubuntu (disclosure: my main workstations run Kubuntu, secondary run Debian). In Nokia’s case, similar question were raised with regards to Qt, which I worked with as a developer. Through Nokia, Microsoft not only gets a marketing/delivery arm; it also gets a patent troll-feeding operation (see MOSAID) and a vector through which to harm GNU/Linux, especially MeeGo and KDE.
Giesecke & Devrient’s nano-SIM design is fueling quite the standards battle over in Europe, with Apple sitting in one corner, and the troika of Motorola, Nokia and RIM looming in the other. That’s according to the Financial Times, which reports today that Cupertino is leading a charge to push its own nano-SIM proposal through Europe’s standards body, ETSI, much to the chagrin of its competitors. According to FT’s sources,
Apple is trying to distinguish itself because having copied ideas from many companies, all it has is an overpriced version of what’s already out there with Android. Apple counts on companies like Oracle making Android expensive, but it has not worked so far. Here is SJVN’s good breakdown of Oracle’s case (or lack thereof):
Instead of extracting billions from Google for violating its Java software patents in Android, Oracle will be lucky to get over a $100-million from its intellectual property (IP) lawsuit. That’s chump change by mega-company standards. Taking into consideration the legal costs, Oracle could have made more money if it had just offered Google an open-ended Java license in the first place. Larry Ellison, Oracle’s God-King and CEO, will have to wait another year before buying the sharks with lasers on their heads to guard his mega-yacht.
Remember that Steve Jobs was Ellison’s best friend. We said this right after the lawsuit was oddly enough announced, shocking a lot of people. Now we know that Jobs wanted a "thermonuclear" war on Android.
In a ruling yesterday, US Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Richard Posner ordered that Apple should not be allowed to see the papers it had requested.
“The motion is vague and overbroad and Motorola’s objections are persuasive,” Bloomberg quoted Posner as stating. The mobile phone maker’s opposition to Apple’s March 16 demand was filed under seal.
As new polls show, half the people prefer an Android tablet, people who “buy everything Apple makes” are in the single-digit (percentage-wise) region, and many people choose to just joke about Apple. My father too is sick of Apple. He calls it a “new religion”.
A former Nokia executive is calling the Finnish cell phone maker’s Windows Phone strategy “a certain road to death,” according to his analysis of 18 months of UK market share data.
Tomi Ahonen, a very prominent voice in the mobile ecosystem, and former Segmentation Manager with Nokia, posted a scathing article decrying the Nokia and Microsoft partnership falling far short of expectations.
Eventually, open, Linux-based platforms are likely to command the lion’s share of this market. █
Summary: Microsoft copies more of KDE4, even several years after KDE 4.0 was released
IN ORDER to push aside discussions about the declining sales of Windows, Microsoft likes to bring up Windows 8, which we sometimes refer to as “Vista 8″ because it’s merely a succession of Vista, just a better-looking version of it. Technically, it is more retarded than predecessors (like a phone). It’s also a catchup job based on this Microsoft booster who admit that Vista 8 “will combine file download dialogue boxes into a single box, you’ll be able to stop and pause downloads, and rather than trying to estimate how long a download has left to run, the new operating system will instead feature a graph that shows the data transfer speed, transfer rate trend, and how much data is left to transfer.”
So basically, Microsoft copies KDE 4 about 4 years late. Back in 2005 or 2004 I found in the KDE sites (maybe KDE-Look) a suggestion for this in the form of a mockup, so the idea goes a long way before KDE4 development, even before KDE 4.0 was out.
Vista 8 will be little different above the surface (still mimicking GNU/Linux) and mostly the same under the hood, i.e. a slow piece of junk, especially for file transfers (I/O in Windows is notoriously poor). Some time in the future there will be a poor man’s (or woman’s) GNU/Linux and it will be called “Windows 8″. Can anybody explain what Windows can do that GNU/Linux cannot? We are talking about operating system features here, not applications. Real innovation happens in GNU/Linux; neither Apple nor Microsoft, which mass-market and take credit for other people’s work. █
The FSFE’s founder, Georg Greve, is one whose business depends on some Nokia-owned work that it offloaded or neglected (for the time being Qt will live). He writes:
Elop to leave Nokia in 2012? That must be some kind of record for most damage done to major business in shortest time. http://is.gd/7yRqjU
This has really hurt KDE/Qt, as we predicted even back when Nokia got Trolltech. This latest corruption by a Microsoft mole is bound to damage the Finnish economy and to anybody who says that Microsoft creates job or adds something to the economy, look no further than Nokia to see the very opposite. Microsoft has put many companies and many people/families out of a job just so that its billionaires can become richer (from the destruction of others). The question is, which will be Microsoft’s next victim? We already saw Yahoo! and Novell (and countless others before that, e.g. Corel) totally exploited and left naked by Microsoft. A few years ago we showed that Microsoft had begun Juniper entryism as well. It put many executives in there, including the CEO’s position. Now, watch this report titled “Microsoft and Juniper warned of dangerous IPv6 hole”. It says:
Security experts are urging Microsoft and Juniper to patch a year old IPv6 vulnerability so dangerous it can freeze any Windows machine on a LAN in a matter of minutes.
Microsoft has downplayed the risk because the hole requires a physical connection to the wired LAN. Juniper says it has delayed a patch because the hole only affects a small number of its products, and it wants the IETF to fix the protocol instead.
This is yet another example of M$ caring about licensing fees and not service. Use GNU/Linux. The problem has already been fixed in Linux.
As companies keep leaving Windows and are also leaving the #1 cash cow of the monopoly (Office), expect Microsoft to cut corners, distort the market (e.g. antitrust complaints by proxy, patent litigation by proxy), attack competitors, change laws by lobbying, and bribe for lucrative contracts (like in the case of OOXML). Office sales declined and so have Windows sales. When will Microsoft repay its debt? Right now it is passing all the costs and the risk to other companies such as Nokia. This has got to stop. █