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Google Eliminates Gizmo5 Client For Linux 176

Posted by kdawson
from the poor-relation dept.
cuttheredwire writes "Evidence on the Gizmo5 forum (login required) confirms that since Google's takeover of Gizmo5, only the Windows, Mac, and iPhone clients are available for download from the official Web page. The Linux download link no longer works. This is a potential problem for happy Linux users with paid-up credit in their Gizmo5 accounts if they need to reinstall the software. A back-door download is still available, although it is speculated on the forums that it will go away soon. Does this mean that (as with other Google projects such as Google Talk) Linux will be the poor relation for Google Voice also?"
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Google Eliminates Gizmo5 Client For Linux

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  • Protest this. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Zombie Ryushu (803103) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @09:13AM (#30260804)

    Do not allow Linux users to be silenced

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 29, 2009 @09:36AM (#30260922)

    There are people who believe in open systems because they believe that gives them the greatest choice in the market place. Those people promote Linux and other open applications for that reason.

    Then there are those who see a business opportunity in the 'free' software which they can use in their systems, package and sell - without having to pay a penny for the privilege. Those people don't care about open systems except to take advantage of them for their own profit. They look and sound pretty much like the former group, but don't be fooled.

    Politically savvy Ubuntu users are now beginning to see what that means for their adopted OS. Google supporters might be in for a shock or two too.

    Many others will be oblivious to the shenanigans going on behind the scenes and get taken for mugs.

    You can only count on big business supporting Linux and open systems while they believe that is where most profits will be found. The moment they see profit in shifting support to closed systems then that is what they will do.

    You have to fight for what you want.

  • by clang_jangle (975789) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @09:49AM (#30260988) Journal
    Or you know, maybe Google just feels that there is no pressing need for them to provide their own client merely to use a service which employs an open protocol to which any *nix user already has easy access [blogspot.com].
  • Re:Chrome OS? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by johnsie (1158363) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @09:57AM (#30261026)
    ChromeOS is the ultimate spyware
  • Re:Chrome OS? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 29, 2009 @10:00AM (#30261046)

    Exactly. As paradoxical as this may sound, Google will in the long run try to kill other Linux/GNU OSes for mobile applications in favor of pushing Chrome OS onto the market. They don't want Chrome OS to be recognized as just another Linux/GNU OS.

  • Re:Chrome OS? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 29, 2009 @10:22AM (#30261168)

    Like the kickass version of Chrome for Linux? Oh, right, there isn't one...

  • Re:Chrome OS? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Nerdfest (867930) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @10:32AM (#30261224)
    Perhaps, but they recently dropped support for the Linux version of Picasa as well. The Linux version was actually just a Wine install anyway, but the nicely wrapped installer was convenient. I'm disappointed that tay have so much infrastructure running on it and have been letting the (desktop, admittedly) community down a bit lately. I hope Chrome changes this, but it really sounds like it's not going to.
  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @10:35AM (#30261238) Homepage Journal

    Google gets lots of free value from the Linux community. Its whole $BILLION server system runs on a version of Linux that it doesn't have to pay for (except its own in-house improvements), nor depend on a vendor that might compete with it. It's moving heavily into the telephone biz with a mobile Linux that's competing with the iPhone by capturing lots of Linux developers already cultivated into productive position by the community.

    Google has released some SW into the community, but it's getting notorious for bundling proprietary apps with its distros (like the apps in Android). And while producing new distros and variants like Android is giving back to the community, Google benefits more than the community does, $BILLIONS more.

    Google's got the resources, both financial and personnel, to maintain Linux versions of SW Google produces (or acquires and continues to produce). But Gizmo5 isn't the only extinct Linux species Google could instead be injecting new life into. Google's main content production suite is SketchUp, the 3D modeling app and related integrated tools. But no Linux version, though the app is well into version 7. It runs unevenly at best under Wine, and cannot integrate with Google Earth in that mode.

    It's evil to build your huge business on a technology made from community contributions, then take more than you give back while shutting down some community projects. It looks like the "Don't Be Evil" days are long gone at Google. Pretty scary considering the power it has, with its money, info and essential role every microsecond.

  • Re:Chrome OS? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nurb432 (527695) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @10:38AM (#30261264) Homepage Journal

    And tied to it in some way, so if you run 'generic linux', you have to switch.

  • Re:Chrome OS? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tepples (727027) <tepples&gmail,com> on Sunday November 29, 2009 @10:39AM (#30261268) Homepage Journal

    I'm disappointed that [Google] have so much infrastructure running on [Linux] and have been letting the (desktop, admittedly) community down a bit lately.

    Likewise, I'm disappointed that Nintendo have so much infrastructure, such as devkits, running on PCs and have been letting the (PC gaming, admittedly) community down a bit lately.

    My point is that a lot of companies that use Linux in the server room think Linux is for servers and Windows is for GUI apps.

  • You want ReactOS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tepples (727027) <tepples&gmail,com> on Sunday November 29, 2009 @10:50AM (#30261350) Homepage Journal

    If we could combine the transparency of Linux system and its expert friendliness, with the user friendly GUI characteristics of Windows and Windows backwards driver and app backwards compatability, it would be a winning combination.

    Windows drivers rely on services provided by the NT kernel. So the only way to ensure compatibility with Windows drivers is to reimplement the NT kernel. ReactOS [reactos.org] attempts to clone Windows NT 5.x thoroughly, but it's nowhere near ready for prime time. So let me sum up your rant: "I'm disappointed that development has concentrated on Linux rather than ReactOS."

  • by chabotc (22496) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <ctobahc>> on Sunday November 29, 2009 @11:13AM (#30261488) Homepage

    Color me confused, this is a brand of open source that I haven't heard of before: Are you saying that any company that uses open source software should also support Linux with all their projects?

    Can you please point me to the text in the GPL/APL/BSD licenses that states that?

    Or are you saying that companies *shouldn't* use open source software if they are not willing to see (by most recent estimates) a 1% to 2% Linux desktop market share as a primary platform?

    Personally I would be happy that a large company is contributing new programming languages (Go), support & employ the main guy behind Python, contribute to the kernel, released their webbrowser and mobile phone os as open source, organize and sponsor a 'Summer of Code' projects that contribute to open source, spend heaps of cash sponsoring large open source conferences, and, well released over 100 open source projects?

    In fact Google is one of the larger contributors to the OSS movement that I personally know of

    Citing the "do no evil" does not make you automatically cool, smart or insightful imo, just boring and lame (something about crying wolf comes to mind)

  • by Theovon (109752) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @11:24AM (#30261562)

    I don't care whether your software is open source or not, Linux is a support nightmare. It's the dozens of distributions. What works on Red Hat won't necessarily work on Debian, Ubuntu, Gentoo, Arch, OpenSuSE, Mandriva, etc. In each case, due to minor differences in libraries, where libraries are stored, customizations of KDE and GNOME, other window managers, different xlib versions, and countless other things, apps often have to be PORTED from one Linux distro to another. And you certainly can't make a binary distribution (even if just for convenience), because those are even more brittle.

    Don't let the LSB people fool you. There is no single, common, standard Linux ABI set to target when developing a commercial app. Even if you release it with source, you still have customer support problem to deal with. Right there, your profit is eliminated.

    Google would spend more on support than they would make from subscription fees.

    It would be one thing if they could leave it up to the distros to port, build, and test the software. But they can't. As soon as subscription fees are involved, users expect all kinds of unreasonable levels of support. Google can't JUST support Fedora or Ubuntu. Imagine the uproar over them playing favorites.

    The fact is, they're better off taking some grief over not supporting Linux at all than inadvertently screwing countless of poorly supported Linux customers who will then come back and cause them some serious legal problems. If you can't do it right, you can't do it at all. And there's no way to do it right.

    I'm a chip designer, and so I use Xilinx tools. When I do, I use the Windows versions. Not only are the Linux versions not very good, but you're forced into using specific versions of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. (Or CentOS, I guess.) In this case, the software costs $1500 (unless you have contacts with good reps, which I have), but in that case, if you're going to spend that money, you might as well use the less annoying Windows version.

    Now, here's what's really going to happen with this, and Google employees may be fully aware of this: The total lack of support for Linux itself will cause an uproar. Meanwhile, only a few existing customers are having any trouble, meaning that no NEW customers are getting screwed. The uproar will turn into pleading from the community, which Google will respond to with a list of support concerns, mostly involving distro support. The community, being blind to these issues, will deny them. Back and forth for a while. Then finally, community members will volunteer to help support Gizmo on various Linux distros. Google will then enlist their help, with the disclaimer that they only support Linux distros that have maintainers for Gizmo, and that certain kinds of support must come through the distro maintainers. At that point, it becomes potentially profitable for Google, because by then it'll be all out in the open that Google made a compromise and that Linux users can't get certain kinds of support directly from Google. With that community concensus in place, maybe everyone will be (mostly) happy.

  • by RAMMS+EIN (578166) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @01:17PM (#30262298) Homepage Journal

    ``It's evil to build your huge business on a technology made from community contributions, then take more than you give back while shutting down some community projects.''

    I don't agree. If the license allows it, it's fair game. If you didn't want that to happen to your software, you shouldn't have released it under a license that allows it.

    If you want licensees to have to make available improvements they make to your code, you may want to take a look at the Affero General Public License. This license requires modifications to be made available not only to receivers of the software, but also to people who use hosted software over a network.

  • by AdmiralXyz (1378985) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @01:41PM (#30262512)
    So, are you saying that because Google builds their business on top of open-source technologies, they have an obligation to release EVERY piece of software they've EVER written EVER back to the open-source community? Including their search algorithm, their AdWords processes, etc?

    I hope you realize that this is the kind of attitude that impedes greater commercial support of open-source technology. If businesses think that using FOSS means having to placate rabid fanboys like you who bitch and moan that their proprietary technologies (that they depend on for revenue) aren't available for public scrutiny, they're going to say, "Fuck that."

    And for the record, the GP is right. Spend five minutes on Google Code and you can see that Google has made and continues to make huge contributions to all kinds of open-source projects. Just because they've decided not to contribute to $MY_PERSONAL_FAVORITE_SOFTWARE, doesn't mean they're evil.
  • by dkegel (904729) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @01:58PM (#30262646) Homepage

    "Don't let the LSB people fool you. There is no single, common, standard Linux ABI set to target when developing a commercial app"

    Not true. If you build your app against X86 LSB 3.2, it'll run on any X86 Linux distro that supports LSB 3.2.
    You have to package it twice, once as rpm and once as deb, to reach everybody, but that's not so hard.
    And if there are libraries missing from the LSB, you have to link them statically, or hope that
    they have the same package name and ABI on all distros.

    That said, commercial ISVs really don't have much incentive to support fringe distros. 99% of the linux desktop market is covered by ubuntu/debian, red hat/fedora, suse/opensuse, and maybe mandriva, so that's what ISVs will test against. If you're running something else, and the ISV's app doesn't work, chances are the ISV won't even get enough problem reports to know that it needs fixing. But since that kind of problem doesn't affect 99% of users, that's not so bad. And there's always the chance that the distro can fix the problem (after all, if it works on the four major distros, it's probably not the app's fault).

  • by Burpmaster (598437) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @03:32PM (#30263228)

    You wrote:

    In Linux though, unless you have a good package system and stick with strickly vanilla packages as offered by the Distro, you are screwed, blued and tattoo'd as soon as you step outside official repositories because of version specific library needs.

    But just before that, you wrote:

    Although Windows had DLL hell that could give people real headaches, it was fairly easy for the coders to simply change the directory where the app located specific DLL version to it's installation folder though few did.

    Why is this solution acceptable for Windows but not Linux? I've seen it done plenty of times on both platforms. Do you just not know what you're talking about? Or are you biased? You are, after all, engaging in apologetics for an admitted fault of Windows when you won't allow the same defense for Linux.

    Actually, I think there's a third, far more likely explanation aside from you being uninformed or biased against Linux. People judge potential tasks on a basis of reward to effort ratio. If it's high, the job is worth doing. If it's low, it's not worth doing. And when it's not worth doing, you only considered putting the blame on the effort side and not the reward side. Let's examine that.

    When targeting a platform, effort refers to how much work it takes to get your application working on that platform, and the reward is how many users you gain, which is dictated by market share. Assuming the rough estimate of a Windows market share of around 90% and a Linux marketshare of 5%, then to say that the problem with the Linux platform is the ease of developing for it is to say that Linux's problem is that it's not 18 times easier to develop for than Windows. Because that's what it'd take to match the reward-effort ratios. This is an unreasonable demand.

    The real problem is the other part of the equation: market share. If Linux had 90% market share instead of Windows, I bet you'd be downplaying the faults of Linux and blaming Windows's faults for lack of developer support. But it really is just a matter of market share, not the intrinsic merits of the competing platforms.

  • Re:Chrome OS? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dhalka226 (559740) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @06:50PM (#30264428)
    What do you call maligning a product that doesn't yet exist over claims about what it is going to do that you don't even try to substantiate, other than trolling? The mods got it right. They will have gotten it right even if it turns out to be exactly the truth.
  • by Eil (82413) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @10:22PM (#30265574) Homepage Journal

    I don't care whether your software is open source or not, Linux is a support nightmare. It's the dozens of distributions.

    This is a very, very old argument, I hope you know. And it's quite wrong.

    For all your ranting, you're really just demanding that the open source software ecosystem behave in the same manner as the proprietary software ecosystem that you're used to. I'm surprised that this still needs repeating (especially here on Slashdot), but here it is anyway: Open source software and proprietary software are not the same thing.

    In the proprietary software world, all players take responsibility only for their own products. (And often, not even then.) When there's a problem that looks like it might be the fault of some other company's product, the user is directed to the other company for support. Sometimes, the situation reaches a stalemate where one company blames the other and you can't get them to budge from that position. Since the code is closed, you don't even have the option of fixing the problem yourself, even if you have the skills to do so or the money to hire someone. If you want anything besides a base OS install (which generally isn't very useful), you have to go out and buy software, and then go through an often non-trivial installation process involving physical media, registration, CD keys, and reboots.

    In the Linux world, the distributions try to take responsibility for the entirety of the end-user's computing experience. On Linux, the onus is on the distribution to provide a stable and usable base system, hardware drivers, desktop environment, and thousands upon thousands of free third-party programs. End-user support is largely community-based, but there are commercial support options as well. To install new software, you just open up your package manager, click a button or two, and your new software (plus any dependencies) is installed automatically. Most hardware devices are completely plug-and-play right out of the box, with no device drivers to manually install or some endless series of reboots.

    "Fragmentation," as many people put it, is part of the Linux ecosystem by design. It gives the distributions the freedom to innovate, try new features, new designs, new subsystems, and so on. It gives the end user choice. If they don't like one Linux distribution for whatever reason, there are several others to download and take for a spin. If all distributions were forced into a single unyielding design or set of libraries all for the sake of a few proprietary apps, then there would no longer be any point to having multiple distributions. All distros would essentially be indistinguishable and we'd be stuck with the same interface, bugs, and security problems for decades on end. (Remind you of anyone [microsoft.com]?)

    It would be one thing if they could leave it up to the distros to port, build, and test the software. But they can't. As soon as subscription fees are involved, users expect all kinds of unreasonable levels of support. Google can't JUST support Fedora or Ubuntu. Imagine the uproar over them playing favorites.

    Google certainly can leave it up the distros to port and build, that's the way the Linux software ecosystem is meant to work. All Google has to do is release the source and the distros will do the rest. Subscription fees don't even enter into it. You can't please everyone and there will always get people who get mad at the world because they don't know how to operate their own computer, but if the software is good enough, there will be few support problems. Even in the worst-case scenario, it would even be within Google's right to say, "here's a port of our software to Linux, you're free to use it, but don't come crying to us for support." This is exactly how Skype has always handled it and they seem to be doing just fine.

    I'm a chip designer, and so I use Xilinx tools. When I do, I use the Windows versions. No

  • by Nazlfrag (1035012) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @10:35PM (#30265692) Journal

    Well there's always the elitist and arrogant attitude of those who haven't used linux since 1998 and don't even realise that most modern distros are far better for common users needs than their current Windows box. These idiots who think granny and most people are going to learn how to edit registry files and remove their own viruses?

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