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SuSE Businesses GNU is Not Unix

YaST to Become Open Source 478

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the changes-of-heart dept.
Space_Soldier writes "According to News.com, YaST is going open source: 'For years, SUSE has considered its YaST (Yet Another Setup Tool) software for installing, configuring and managing Linux an advantage over its competitors and forbade them from incorporating it into the products they sold. But with the new plan, to be announced Monday at Novell's Brainshare conference, the company will release YAST under the GPL, sources familiar with the plan said.'" Several years ago, when I first used YaST, I found it to be superior to the rest of the all-in-one administation tools around at the time. It was generally regarded as a great program, save for the licensing. Today, that's no longer a concern.
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YaST to Become Open Source

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  • Good work Novell (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Teh_monkeyCode (752769) on Friday March 19, 2004 @12:22AM (#8607024) Homepage
    Hopefully we can get other large companies putting as much support into open source as Novell is.
  • by hawkeyeMI (412577) <brock@brock[ ]e.com ['tic' in gap]> on Friday March 19, 2004 @12:27AM (#8607059) Homepage
    I would say Novell's very livelihood depends on their switch to Linux. AFAIK they were no longer going anyhere, though they were once the leaders.

    Let's hope they can bring the famed Novell ease-of-use to Linux.

  • by Truval (763526) on Friday March 19, 2004 @12:28AM (#8607060)
    The problem is that YAST has been going downhill ever since Rolf Schilling left the project. Now they have to GPL it to get development going again. It was a great AI1 tool once but it has languished for at least a couple years now.
  • by tokennrg (690176) on Friday March 19, 2004 @12:29AM (#8607068)
    I've been using Yast for the last few months. I've been really happy with it. Updates are a breeze. Installing new software couldn't be easier. It hasn't missed a dependency yet. Usability is pretty good and fairly intuitive.
  • Ability to Adapt (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thedillybar (677116) on Friday March 19, 2004 @12:32AM (#8607089)
    You need to be able to adapt if you want to stay alive in this world. The United States has been along for so many years because of the "necessary and proper" clause which allows the government to adapt to a changing world.

    Clearly Novell is taking the hint. They're aware of the fact that the world is going Open Source, and they're willing to deal with it. If they ensure a good relationship with the open source community now, they'll be rewarded with success for years to come. If they distance themselves from the open source community, like SCO, then they will make more money in the short term but be ousted in the long term.

    Novell is a good organization that has been around since the beginning (or, at least, for a long time). I, for one, hope they continue to be around and keep up the good work.

  • by bangular (736791) on Friday March 19, 2004 @12:33AM (#8607093)
    Many distributions have open sourced their installers and administration tools, but for the most part, many have been useless for other distros. Many expect the EXACT filesystem hierchy of the original distro, exact package tools, etc. etc. So if I want to make a distribution and base it on someone else's installer or admin tools, I either have to dig into their source and do it myself, or make another distribution. There are some notable exceptions (webmin being one of them). While this is mostly good news, what I question is, will I be able to use it on linux from scratch without heavy porting? If not, it's not much use to many people.
  • by ciroknight (601098) on Friday March 19, 2004 @12:44AM (#8607133)
    Thing is, I think Novell's got the idea. Once we can develop good, solid, working ways to install the operating system, supporting it should be a lot easier. And Novell knows that there's no reason to NOT tap the millions of people online willing to help code this platform. I personally believe Novell's trying to secure itself as the second large Linux supporting company. By buying Ximian, they gave themselves a very viable desktop, by buying SuSE, they gave themselves a stable platform. Now they just need to do the middle work such as getting it to work on all hardware, and making it easy to support. And IMO, open source is a hell of a lot easier to support, especially since the people with the problems, usually know how to go about fixing them, and will send patches.

    Don't discredit the selling power either. This probably won't hurt the sells of SuSE at all, in fact, it very well might augment sales, due to the people without fast internet connections wanting to get a taste of the YaST code. Don't count on it, but the potential's definitely there. Novell's making a good move here, I commend them.
  • by debest (471937) on Friday March 19, 2004 @12:45AM (#8607138)
    Is this really such a good thing, in the long run?

    It is if it increases SuSE's penetration as a distro. Before Novell (reasonably deep pockets) bought SuSE (pretty small pockets), the distro had to be a profit centre. Now Novell can afford to allow the entire distro to be free (a la Red Hat), so that more people use it and use Novell/SuSE's server and service offerings as a result.

    Novell/SuSE will want as many people to try their software as possible: making their entire distro GPL-friendly will accomplish this, along with Red Hat's official abandonment of desktop Linux. Sure, short-term this may hurt them (I was planning on purchasing 9.1 soon, I may not now). It is *because* of the long-term benefits that this makes sense.
  • Misleading Names (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 19, 2004 @12:46AM (#8607140)
    For years, SUSE has considered its YaST (Yet Another Setup Tool) software for installing, configuring and managing Linux an advantage over its competitors

    Then they probably should not have named it with the "Yet Another" schema. It does not really give the idea to the user that the setup tool is an advantage or in any way innovative. Serious lack of confidence there.
  • by pavon (30274) on Friday March 19, 2004 @12:52AM (#8607174)
    To add to the previous three posters who all made excelent points - RedHat GPL'd most everything and provided ISO's for download, and still managed to make money off of Red Hat Linux. This will just increase install base, not decrease sales.
  • by Myuu (529245) <myuu@pojo.com> on Friday March 19, 2004 @12:58AM (#8607197) Homepage
    forgot Apple!
  • by Zeddicus_Z (214454) on Friday March 19, 2004 @01:02AM (#8607212) Homepage
    No, not at all.

    You need to realise that Novell's product is not a Linux distro - that was never their reasoning behind the purchase of SuSE. Rather Novell purchased SuSE to give them a strong, established Linux distro on which to base their directory service offering.

    Prior to purchasing SuSE, Novell evaulated its position in the market. What they found was that while they had a kick-ass directory service product, they were being kicked in the pants when it came to new deployments - primarily by MS Windows and Active Directory.

    Rather then attempt to re-build and re-position the NetWare brand among IT decision makers, Novell realised they could do much better by taking an existing base Operating System with widespread appeal, and integrating NDS with that.

    Essentially Novell's cut NetWare* and tied its future to NDS on Linux.

    Enter Linux. It had everything Novell needed: stability; maturity; widespread developer support; GPL (why write a new base when you can modify an existing one?); a wicked reputation among IT techs and, best of all, an increasingly bright future with the potential to topple all challengers.

    Announcing NDS on Linux and then subsequently purchasing a well established Linux distro was, not to put to fine a point on it, absolute genious. NDS gets the best possible base, loss of market share to Active Directory is significantly slowed or halted (and eventually reversed if all goes to plan) and Novell regains the reputation it had among techs back in the days when MS' best offering was WfW.

    GPLing YaST isn't a loss for Novell, it's a gain for Linux. Which makes it a gain for the base OS Novell will see increasing use of NDS on. Which makes it a win for Novell.

    *Yes, Novell will continue to support and even offer NetWare-based NDS installations. But the fact remains that if all goes to plan, Novell will see its new business increasingly tied to NDS+Linux rather than the old bundle of NDS+NetWare
  • by Nailer (69468) on Friday March 19, 2004 @01:17AM (#8607279)
    I think that the general rule for gui config tools is to either use the tool or config things manually, but don't do both.

    I think a better rule would be not to make excuses for badly written tools.

    GUI config tools should follow three simple rules:
    • Use the same config as the app does
    • never modify configuration without asking
    • display, preserve, and make editable comments about a configuration item that are placed above that item (with blank lines as delimiters).


    Otherwise they are useless.
  • by ciroknight (601098) on Friday March 19, 2004 @01:32AM (#8607331)
    eh, I'm not gonna go into the desktop wars, saying why Novell did something one way or another, I'm not on the Board of Directors and I wouldn't know these things. But Ximian is doing a damned good job at making a desktop along with the rest of the GNOME and KDE world. By buying SuSE, they gave themselves a floor, walls, electricity, the basic framework of what they'd need if they want to move all their products to linux. By buying Ximian, they gave something to skin the house, make it look pretty, make people want to buy it. SuSE is a KDE distro, but there's no reason you couldn't install Ximian over it, and that's one reason they may have bought the two companies, to give themselves a more diverse enviroment to attack RedHat at their own game.

    Could be another reason behind opensourcing YaST: give it a GTK2 interface and wala, you've got a complete, working corporate desktop platform, which of course, they can then use to sell their own eDirectory software, and others as well... It's all about building a platform. Microsoft understood this too, how do you think they became so powerful? They built two seperate houses, both very shady but they got the job done. Then they skinned one house when they realized it was about to collaspe. Moved the skin from the first, to the second, and poof, a solid platform. Now they can sell Active Directory, Office, and other software for it, and not look like bumbling rejects.

    It's all about process, format, proceedure.
  • by Visceral Monkey (583103) on Friday March 19, 2004 @01:35AM (#8607347)
    The problem is SuSE and distros like it are NOT suited for you. You sound like someone who wants to do everything themself. Try slack, gentoo or arx, not SuSE. Use the CLI, it sounds like what you want and need. Or, as an alternative, a version of YaST that has various levels of interaction, like simple, moderate or expert.
  • by SphericalCrusher (739397) on Friday March 19, 2004 @01:35AM (#8607350) Homepage Journal
    That'd be real good, but I doubt we'll ever see it. The whole world is about money and ignorance. Showing off their source code to the world is like taking a punch in the face in front of your girlfriend to some.

    I guess a lot of companies just like to sit around and brag about how good their software helps Earth; they don't really want anyone to know how it actually is because someone else's might be better. It's a huge pride issue.

    Arrogancy owns the world.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 19, 2004 @01:45AM (#8607385)
    They are no longer redhat-config-* but system-config-* (as of Fedora).
  • Re:Novell's doing? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by xutopia (469129) on Friday March 19, 2004 @01:50AM (#8607407) Homepage
    Remember the roots of Novell. They are a network administration company and this is what they want to do. By making a decent, freely(or cheaply) available linux distro more popular in the business and home world they are causing a threat to the MS monoculture model and will have an advantage with dealing with all the different types of systems out there. They'll be the ones calling the shots of the network, where all really happens.
  • by Conanymous Award (597667) on Friday March 19, 2004 @01:52AM (#8607417)
    If you ever want Linux to become a real destop choice to Joe User, it must get more 'newbieized'. Or, to be more specific, 'windows-ized' (*shudder*). I'm not trolling, but speaking out of experience. Lots of it. I've tried to switch to Linux from Windows many times, but noticed that all too often, if I want to make the OS work the way I want, I have to dive into the dangerous world of config files. YaST is a step into the right direction, and with Novell's decision to set it free I'm sure it's going to get even better.
  • by StarTux (230379) on Friday March 19, 2004 @02:01AM (#8607450) Journal
    When you get a new system, please learn how to use it. If something annoys you, find a way to switch it off, or change its behavior.

    Actually, if you change a file directly SuSEconfig can tell that has happened and will not touch it in virtually every case that I did that. But, the best approach is to edit /etc/sysconfig files directly, you'll love how it streamlines things. That way you will have more time for other things.

    Why do people insist things are great for newbs when it makes ones life easier, and makes it quicker to get to the point where you want to be. Why should I spend two hours setting up a TV card manually in /etc/modules.conf for instance, just to watch TV on my Linux box?
  • by harlows_monkeys (106428) on Friday March 19, 2004 @02:03AM (#8607458) Homepage
    I don't think YaST's appeal comes from its installer aspects, but rather from its system management aspects after you get installed and running.
  • by liquidpele (663430) on Friday March 19, 2004 @02:14AM (#8607478) Journal
    You know, I've seen rants on here about how the windows registry sucks, but I never understood why. It seems like a logical idea to me.

    Perhaps a linux config db that uses permissions so one program can't overwrite another's data without proper access would work better than all the damn config files? Can someone tell me why no one has tried to impliment this, or has someone?
  • by Wiz (6870) on Friday March 19, 2004 @02:55AM (#8607605) Homepage
    The registry?

    1. It is way too complex. There is no way you can understand it all or hand edit it if required.

    2. If it is corrupted, your whole OS won't even boot.

    3. Its huge! 45MB of my fairly clean XP box.(although it is in a domain and has policies applied to it, etc, etc, but not much software)

    4. You can't move the registry between machines, let alone between different versions of Windows. I can move my .config file between the 2.4 & 2.6 kernel if necessary, it just ignores what it doesn't know.

    Several smaller independent registiries might work better. e.g. one for linux conf, one for X, one for KDE, etc. So each one has a small well definied file for all configs.
  • by GileadGreene (539584) on Friday March 19, 2004 @03:08AM (#8607643) Homepage
    Why don't you just use the ftp_conn_track module for ip tables? Then you don't need to leave large ranges of ports open, just the standard ftp port. Once a connection is established the connection tracker will manage opening and closing of ephemeral ports.
  • by Doctor Crumb (737936) on Friday March 19, 2004 @04:23AM (#8607891) Homepage
    This is what package managers are for. Any program that overwrites the config file from another program is broken and should be fixed.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 19, 2004 @05:00AM (#8607996)
    Business models based on control will be obsolete in a decade or two.

    Yeah right.

    MS are trying to pretend that freedom is not inevitable

    It isn't. Never has been never will be.

    the others (IBM, SUN, HP, etc. and now Novell) have accepted it

    They haven't accepted anything. They're just milking it for whatever they can, while they can.

    they want to slow it down so because it will take time to port their business models to the new way of doing software.

    Stop this shit. You mean it will take time for them to come up with (some half-assed) business models, not 'port' their existing ones.

    ease-of-use will come in time

    And in the mean time? You're going to be repeating that for a long time to come.

    I'm looking forward to all the distros now sharing installer&config code.

    This makes no sense. Since installer and config code is the only thing that sets distributions apart, looking forward to 'all the distros' sharing such code would suggest that you only want one single distro; a single way of doing things. How very contradictory to the rest of the bile you just spewed forth.
  • by Per Abrahamsen (1397) on Friday March 19, 2004 @05:09AM (#8608018) Homepage
    The whole idea of having the GUI config tools work "on top" of independtly developed applications, written with no thought of GUI, or even non-nerd, configurations, is a loss-loss situation.

    What we need is for a standardized way for the application developers to communicate the possible configuration choices and their legal values to the config tools, and for the tools to communicate these choices to the applications.

    The interface must be extremely simple to use and light weight in order to be acccepted by the application developers. And it must be stand alone, not depend on any particular framwork or other libraries. The primary interface should be to the application developers, because it is their accept we need first. Our ultimate goal, to serve the users, will have to come next. We won't serve users by having a cool interface that no applications support.

    I believe it can be done, though. I got such an interface accepted among Emacs developers, and I suspect similar tools are accepted in the limited domain of KDE and Gnome. That such a tool can exist in the whole domain of free software, is shown by the acceptance of the gettext interface. Those free software projects that do localization, tend to use the gettext interface. Because it is so simple, non-intrusive, and toolkit independent.
  • by Tim C (15259) on Friday March 19, 2004 @05:22AM (#8608057)
    Somehow you're supposed to know that

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE -> SOFTWARE ->Autodesk ->
    AutoCAD -> R14.0 -> ACAD-12:409 ->
    Applications -> AecBase -> LOADCTRLS
    is supposed to be set to 0x0000000d (13)
    (as opposed to say 5)


    I suggest you take that complaint up with Autodesk; MS can hardly be held responsible for how other companies store their apps' configuration settings, and the documentation they may or may not provide.

    True, MS are just as bad in this respect, but surely you could have picked a better example? That's like saying that text config fles are bad, because of sendmail's one.
  • by ebuck (585470) on Friday March 19, 2004 @05:42AM (#8608099)
    Sendmail's config file has documentation. It may be long and unfriendly, but it is possible to understand it.

    Most of these "issues" wouldn't even exist if the documentation was clear, concise, and available. Then we would be saying:

    Of course it should be 13, 13 means "load last file upon launching".

    Whether it's Autodesk's fault for not including some sort of documentation, or MS's fault for not requiring descriptive strings for elements in the registry is up for debate. The prevailing opinion that the MS registry sucks (as it exists today) is hardly every questioned.

    For so many companies (including Microsoft) to be using the MS registry so badly, I'd shudder to think that best pratices concerning the registry are being followed (or even published).
  • by Asic Eng (193332) on Friday March 19, 2004 @05:42AM (#8608100)
    now frustrated SuSE fans will be legally able to distribute home-rolled SuSE isos

    But they've been able to do this all along - the restrictions in the Yast license solely applied to commercial distribution. Giving it away for free, modifying the source etc - that's all been allowed already. I can see your point though, that someone selling the SuSE ISOs could reduce their sales.

  • by jcam2 (248062) on Friday March 19, 2004 @06:01AM (#8608160) Homepage
    > GUI config tools should follow three simple rules:

    Interestingly, those are the same rules that I followed when developing Webmin, yet another administration GUI. Other programs that keep their own databases of settings from which the actual config files are built annoy me, as they make it hard to interoperate with other tools. Some of Redhat's control panels and Linuxconf are guilty of this ..
  • by murdocj (543661) on Friday March 19, 2004 @06:42AM (#8608290)
    Meanwhile, all the big players have realised that free software is the future. Business models based on control will be obsolete in a decade or two.

    Also, humans will establish a viable colony on Mars and the war on terrorism will be over.

    Open source is a great idea. It works in some cases. I see zero evidence that it's going to take over the entire universe of software. In a few cases like Linux where you are able to apply the efforts of lots of bright folks to the project, it may well win. In lots of other areas that aren't of general interest, seems pretty unlikely.

  • by Maljin Jolt (746064) on Friday March 19, 2004 @07:10AM (#8608369) Journal
    because mandrake drak* tools are the most buggy thingies from the whole distro, for ages.
  • by shyster (245228) <{brackett} {at} {ufl.edu}> on Friday March 19, 2004 @07:43AM (#8608477) Homepage
    Meanwhile, all the big players have realised that free software is the future.

    Not very many companies are making a killing on OSS right now. Some, like IBM, are subsidizing it from their HW sales. Others, like Novell, Red Hat, and Ximian, are still trying to figure it out. I'd say it's a bit early to call it won.

    Business models based on control will be obsolete in a decade or two.

    Just about every business model, not just software, depends on control. That's why businesses spend so much money getting IP protection laws passed. Every business wants locked-in customers, it's a good revenue stream. When OSS companies start playing with the big boys (public investors), they're going to have to find a way to keep them happy.

    Unfortuneatly, Microsofts business model - since they do little other than software sales - their model is based completely on control.

    Let's see [microsoft.com]. According to the latest FY2004 1st quarter results (ending on Sept 30, 2003), MSFT gets about 15% of their revenue from segments besides OS and Office sales.

    However, if you take the time to read thru their segmentations, you'll notice that Server and Tools also includes MSDN training and tools, certifications, MS Press, consulting services, and Premier PSS - all non software revenue. According to their financial highlights, we can calculate that Consulting and PSS revenue was $231 million, and MSDN and MS Press was $190 million. Their Office segment also includes revenu from LiveMeeting and Professional PSS, but they don't give figures to calculate that portion of it.

    Adding those numbers together, we can see that non-software revenue is about 20% of their total revenue. That is also significantly higher than the previous year, while their OS and Office segments have been relatively flat (do you think someone at MSFT might have noticed that?).

    Okay, so we can realistically claim that 80% of Microsoft's revenue is from software sales. But, that 20% of non-software revenue (which, again, is growing) is a pretty impressive $1.7 billion (that's with a B) per quarter - that's about $7 billion a year.

    To put that into perspective, VA Linux's [yahoo.com] revenue is $24 million (that's with a M) a year. Red Hat's [yahoo.com] revenue is $90 million (that's with a M) a year. Novell's [yahoo.com] revenue is $1.1 billion a year. Sun's [yahoo.com] revenue is $11 billion per year (but note that they lost money, even discounting non-recurring expenses).

    IBM's [yahoo.com] revenue is a much higher $80 billion a year...but let's take a look at their cost of revenue and expenses. While MSFT [yahoo.com] earns almost an ungodly 30% profit on its revenue, IBM's [yahoo.com] profit is a paltry 8% (I didn't include non-recurring expenses)! MSFT nets more profits on it's $30 billion of revenue than IBM does on it's $80 billion! The story is much the same with HP [yahoo.com], though their profit is a even smaller 5%.

    I think it's safe to say that MSFT's non-software revenue is quite healthy, and ever growing.

    While I like FOSS, I've yet to see how it can sustain a viable corporate business. And, until that time comes, investor money will continue to flock to MSFT so that they can make even more $$. And, even if FOSS wins the war, expect MSFT to remain around for quite a long time. Despite what Linux zealots may think, MSFT is not stupid, and they know how to make money. In the game of business, that's what it's all about...not the ideals of FOSS.

  • by shyster (245228) <{brackett} {at} {ufl.edu}> on Friday March 19, 2004 @08:12AM (#8608586) Homepage
    1. It is way too complex. There is no way you can understand it all or hand edit it if required.

    That's a programmer problem, not a design problem. Not to mention that many config files are way too complex as well. One thing that's nice about config files, however, is that you can include comments. While you could do this with the registry (with the EXPAND_SZ, expand string, type) it's not optimal as it increases the size. And nobody does it. [aside]If programmer's don't want you to change values or the values are meaningless...why make it changeable? Why not hard code it?

    A redesign of the registry with a seperate table for comments would be interesting, I think. That way, when using editing tools, the comment table could be referenced. But, when loading or executing software, the comments would not hinder performance.

    If it is corrupted, your whole OS won't even boot.

    While I somewhat agree on this point, I have to note that corrupted config files will also prevent Linux from booting. I don't know the format that Windows uses for the registry tables, but it should be recoverable. Also note that I've yet to see any registry corruption on Win2000+, except with HW failures. I think the inclusion of something similar to BartPE [nu2.nu] or ERD Commander [winternals.com] would also be a worthwhile replacement to MSFT's extremely limited Recovery Console. And frequent, automated, timed backups of the registry (at least OS configuration) should be done.

    3. Its huge! 45MB of my fairly clean XP box.(although it is in a domain and has policies applied to it, etc, etc, but not much software)

    My Win2003 server, excluding registry backups and the user.dat portion, is only 23MB. 17MB of that is in HKLM\SOFTWARE (I have a lot of software installed). Perhaps someone handier than me in Linux could tell us what size all of the config files for a normal desktop come to (actual space on disk, ot just data size).

    You can't move the registry between machines, let alone between different versions of Windows. I can move my .config file between the 2.4 & 2.6 kernel if necessary, it just ignores what it doesn't know.

    While true that you can't move some parts of the registry between machines (parts dealing with hardware and the like), software configuration is easily moved. I don't recommend moving the entire hive, as it would no doubt cause problems, but .REG files can be imported/exported with no problem. And .REG files are pretty portable (and text based), though it does require some editing and checking of data types to move from NT based to 9x based machines. With NT becoming the standard, though, that concern should go away.

    Several smaller independent registiries might work better. e.g. one for linux conf, one for X, one for KDE, etc. So each one has a small well definied file for all configs.

    Perhaps a DBA could chime in with better info, but I think that you would then be duplicating database structure overhead on each of those files. While I see the concern of a single point of failure for all software in the machine, automated backups and sensible defaults should mitigate that somewhat.

    I think the main advantage of the registry is a central location for configurable values. By using a database, you should also have the advantage of database reliability and performance. Of course, the real problem with it would be getting everyone to use it.

  • by J. J. Ramsey (658) on Friday March 19, 2004 @08:43AM (#8608835) Homepage
    If it is corrupted, your whole OS won't even boot.
    While I somewhat agree on this point, I have to note that corrupted config files will also prevent Linux from booting.

    The difference is that the files that will keep Linux from booting if corrupted are mostly static. Rarely, for example, is /etc/inittab edited. So, the likelihood that these files will suddenly be corrupted is fairly low.

    The Registry is anything but static. Apps write to it all the time. That increases the likelihood that one wrong write will mess up the whole thing.

  • by NighthawkFoo (16928) on Friday March 19, 2004 @09:12AM (#8609103)
    IBM owns multiple factories, chip foundries, and other large, expensive properties. It just costs more to produce physical goods than software. The days of getting 30% margin on a mainframe are over.

    How long until MS is forced to reduce their margins to a similar level?
  • YAST (Score:2, Insightful)

    by g0bshiTe (596213) on Friday March 19, 2004 @09:20AM (#8609179)
    As a SuSe home user for 3 years, I say it's about time. This tool has made SuSe the perfect distro for a Linux newb such as myself. Had it not been for the YAST module I believe I would have spent countless hours, trying to figure out configurations.

    Though the documentation was lacking in the SuSe distro, YAST made my transition from a strictly Windows user to a multi OS user. I now use Windows strictly for playing those games that refuse to work proerly under WINE. PSSST MESSAGE TO THE OPEN SOURCE COMMUNITY. How about improving the video acceleration of Linux! We need better games. And yes I did read the GAMES FOR LINUX ARTICLE

    At any rate the article made no mention of YAST2 though. Is this to remain outside the GPL?
  • by Karma Sucks (127136) on Friday March 19, 2004 @09:23AM (#8609199)
    Is that why Suse Personal 9.1 only has KDE on it?
  • by Patoski (121455) on Friday March 19, 2004 @10:22AM (#8609917) Homepage Journal
    Not very many companies are making a killing on OSS right now. Some, like IBM, are subsidizing it from their HW sales. Others, like Novell, Red Hat, and Ximian, are still trying to figure it out. I'd say it's a bit early to call it won.

    Red Hat has been able to rack up profitable quarterly results in a very spending averse environment. I'd say they're a bit past figuring out how to make money. Maybe a year or so ago I would've agreed with you but I can't say the same now. Also, circumstantial evidence points to the fact that SuSe was cash flow positive when they were purchased by Novell which further bolsters the case for making money in open source.

    Just about every business model, not just software, depends on control. That's why businesses spend so much money getting IP protection laws passed.

    Business models aren't (or shouldn't be) based around control they're based around providing value to customers. Sometimes control is a means by which companies use to try to keep other companies from providing value in the same way. But to base your business on control is a great way to the poor house (just look at IBM and the in the 80-90's).

    Every business wants locked-in customers, it's a good revenue stream.

    How about providing a better product than your competitor? This is what capitalism is based on after all. Providing a better product/service than your competition so consumers will give you money. Inevitably companies based on control lose that control and crumble into ash as their product isn't competitive without the old controls. I'm not saying that a collapse of that magnitude is getting ready to happen to MS but they do need to be careful.

    When OSS companies start playing with the big boys (public investors), they're going to have to find a way to keep them happy.

    I don't quite understand what you mean here by "playing with the big boys" since so many Linux companies are publicly traded.

    Let's see. According to the latest FY2004 1st quarter results (ending on Sept 30, 2003), MSFT gets about 15% of their revenue from segments besides OS and Office sales.

    Revenue is largely meaningless (as you point out with respect to Sun). It is better to talk about profit but anyway...

    MSFT nets more profits on it's $30 billion of revenue than IBM does on it's $80 billion! The story is much the same with HP, though their profit is a even smaller 5%.

    This is precisely why MS is ripe for the pickings. With these profit margins MS hasn't exactly made a lot of friends with it's customers. Linux will to a degree commoditize OSes which is really the natural progression in free markets. Product / service offerings become mature, areas of opportunity for differentiation are exhausted by the market and they become increasingly commoditized. This type of environment is antithetical to the insane profit margins that MS is used to. Just look at all the deals and discounts that MS is offering to keep people from switching. That should tell you what's coming down the road. MS wouldn't offer these deep discounts unless they felt they had to because of competition.

    I think it's safe to say that MSFT's non-software revenue is quite healthy, and ever growing.

    Certainly MS' revenue is very large but ever growing? This is certainly not true and easily disproved. If you look at MS's 10-Q for 4Q 04 you'll see that last quarter their software revenues were flat. The only thing that gave them a positive earnings growth this quarter was their investments department. Why do you think MS has started offering a (small) dividend? Their investors demanded it for two reasons: because of the great amount of cash MS has on hand and the realization by investors that MS is no longer the high growth company it once was. How do you maintain high revenue growth rates when your OS and office suite comes shipped with just about every computer sold? The answer is you cannot unless y
  • by Grishnakh (216268) on Friday March 19, 2004 @02:53PM (#8613493)
    And there's little reason FOR it to be OSS/free either.

    This reminds me of an article I read just yesterday about some business guy complaining that OSS hackers weren't working on "uncool" projects like the software you just mentioned. It amounted to him just wanting stuff without having to pay for it.

    OSS isn't a way for people to get any software they want for free, it's a way for a community of people to work together and build software that they ALL need. Everyone needs an Operating System, so it's better if it (or several) are available open-source and Free, so we can all benefit, rather than one or more vendors keeping it locked up, and everyone having to pay them a toll to use it. Lots of people also want to have CD burning programs, media players, drawing programs, and basic office programs (word processor, spreadsheet), so it works well for people to work together on this. Instead of everyone having to continually pay money for every new release of a word processor or CD burning program, a group of people has spent some time writing one for Free, and now everyone can stop reinventing the wheel, and spend their time and money on something new.

    Pension administration systems are not part of this. No home computer user needs or wants such a thing, and no OSS hacker has any reason to waste their time working on one for no pay; if they contribute work to a media player, they benefit by getting to watch movie trailers or something, which they couldn't do before. If they work on a pension system, they get nothing.

    So, for a niche product like this, the business that needs it needs to pony up the money and just buy it. If they're smart, they'll run all their systems on Free software, so instead of having to pay for OS license, CAL licenses, antivirus licenses, AND the license for the pension program, they'll only have to pay a license for the pension program and everything else will be free.

    Of course, there's also the school of thought that purchased software should also be open-source--it should come with the source code in case the vendor goes belly up, so the customers can still use and develop the software on their own if necessary. This is good, but is something the customer needs to work out with the vendor that they're paying for this, and has nothing to do with freely-available OSS/Free software.

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