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Linux Business

Eazel Shutting Down, Nautilus Will Continue 240

We've run several stories about Eazel, and recently posted word on its recent financial troubles and likely shutdown. Gramps writes "Eazel is indeed shutting down but the good news is that Nautilus development will continue. It's all in Bart Decrem's email to the gnome-hackers mailing list. It's been a great ride. Thanks, folks." (Read more.)

1010011010 pointed out this follow-up email from Darin Adler about the future of various projects maintained by former Eazel employees, including Nautilus, gnome-vfs, and various libraries, as well as bugtracking and other necessities.

Shutting down is never a happy event, but it's gratifying to see email from Andy Hertzfeld (also on the gnome-hackers list) in which he says: "I just want to reaffirm my personal commitment to the continuing development of Nautilus, the GNOME platform and free software in general. I plan to keep working hard to make free software easier to use and I'm still optimistic that our work can make a big difference to millions of users."

rexlam indicates this story from cnet on the shutdown as well. Best of luck to everyone at Eazel.

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Eazel Shutting Down, Nautilus Will Continue

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Of *course* it's not the economy. Do you think the executives who write these statements actually believe them?! ;-]

    Do you actually expect a company to post, "Because we grossly overspent, ran our business like a Free Software non-proit, had an inflexible business plan that failed to adapt for a changing venture climate, and retained incompetent staff in several key positions, we burned through $15 million in venture capital and couldn't get anymore." ?

    Such executives would not be likely to receive venture funding for their future ventures. ;-]
  • ...before idiot VC's or clueless lawyers decide that the Eazel COPYRIGHT on your code, which dictates the LICENSE that Nautilus is released under, must change. This is a legal procedure that RMS can help you with, and after it Eazel, and its' creditors, cannot control the release of your intellectual property.

    Something to think about, and thanks for the great work.

    I would hate to see the efforts on GNOME get trapped in litigation or legal slowdowns.


  • by Anonymous Coward
    First off, thank you Eazel for giving us possibly the best file manager you find for *NIX systems. I greatly appreciate it.

    Second, you're a great bunch of guys (I followed the mailing lists vigorously) and I sincerely wish you all the best luck in your career.

    Third, I'm extremely happy that work is being continued by a lot of people at Eazel *in their free time*. Thank you.

    But since that's all been said before I'd like to point out that this is a tragic but positive movo for Linux desktop development.

    1) Rid the FM of Eazel's dodgy services. I say dodgy because let's face it, no one is going to upload their stuff to a central server. If I needed access, I'd set up a server at home and leave it connected to the net. Get rid of the company logo up the top!!!

    2) down the bottom there's a follow-up by none other than Miguel. I bet Ximian is going to use Eazel's code in their distribution. Ximian wins, we all win. This is finally the merger we've been working for

    In retrospect, this was a daring company that took a risk. Everyone know they wouldn't succeed, but they left us with a great product and made Linux/Free *NIX scene so much more intresting.

    again, thanks
  • by Anonymous Coward
    As someone who's gotten VC funding (two rounds worth) I can tell you that this actually IS the perspective from many people in the VC community. There's now an assumption that this is exactly what will happen if you come and pitch an open-source company, and they've wised up REALLY quickly. While I think you were intending to be funny, this is precisely what the VCs think will happen, and believe it or not, they're not quite as dumb as everyone here thinks. If you were to show up at any top-tier VC firm and mention the words "open source" right now they'd politely show you the door within 5 minutes.

    VCs don't like to get burned. They firmly believe in the principle "fool me once, shame on you....fool me twice, shame on me."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 15, 2001 @07:46PM (#220372)
    Look at what Eazel has done, then look at all the hype that surrounded them. These were the folks who were going to prove once and for all how making money with a 100% GPL story is possible. The press loved them; GNOME uses swooned at their feet; companies invested in them...

    Now, put on those 20/20 hindsight goggles and take another look. What the hell did they deliver? After all this time, they have a 3/4 baked file manager that has some funky preview features and that crashes every third or fourth time it's run. In spite of the hype and the ridiculous funding they got, a single file manager seemed to be outside of the realm of possibility. I'm sure they'd have eventually delivered a great product, but just as with VA, when you shoot up high quickly you just hit the ground harder when the parachute blows a hole.

    I have sympathy for the talented engineers that were employed by Eazel. Great cause; seriously flawed business model. I saw it right up front. I never did buy into the hype, nor did I think that their business model had anything revolutionary going for it. I'm not at all surprised to see them crash. It's sad. They should have remained a group of interested hackers instead of allowing themselves to be hyped like they were. 100% give-everything-away stories don't work, folks. The bubble has burst. Free software mustmustMUST be combined with pay services and proprietary software for a business to survive.

    Now I have evidence to back up the things I've been saying for years. I'm a free software and open source fanatic, but at least I'm a REALISTIC free software and open source fanatic. Business need to make money. Eazel must have figured that so many people would want to get automated updates of Nautilus that they'd have a sustainable growth. Yeah, right. The customers who would use Nautilus are technical enough to use Ximian's update tools, Red Hat's update tools, or simple FTP downloads and RPM/APT/whatever. This is what happens when starry eyed programmers jump into a new market without looking first.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 15, 2001 @07:19PM (#220373)
    "...Over the past six months, our board members and executives worked tirelessly to secure financing for the company. Unfortunately, the high tech capital markets have all but dried up and we have been unable to secure funding..."

    Once again we see another troubled dot-com blaming its problems on the economy and lack of investment, rather than the obvious: they're not making money and they have never had any realistic (or even coherent) ideas on how to start making money. That investors are no longer willing to throw dollars at you merely because you're in the software business is sign that rational thought has returned to the capital markets, not that those markets have dried up.

  • Well, at least according to their media kit that they sent me - they planned to make money with the second generation of Nautilus with AD's (yeah, right - guess how much time it will take to remove it from nautilus sources?), and only the 3rd generation of Nautilus will have infrastructure to support some buying 3rd party applications and and services...

    I call this a very weak business plan - and I'm being poilte here...
  • Well, if you want to make money on the services, then if I were eazel - I wouldn't release a 1.0 version without all the services infrastrcture embedded into it - including the ability to pay for services - and offer some services...

    Unfortunately - seems that Eazel forgot that idea...

    Oh well, maybe next company will learn from those mistakes
  • Gee, then I wonder why it works perfectly under Konqueror 2.2 beta 1..

    On mozilla 0.9 it doesn't, however. just crashes..

  • Oh yeah, commited...

    So, in case some developers just accidently got hired by another company, or they are getting tired from the zillion bug reports - and you can trust that to bring Nautilus to Gnome 2.0??

    Well, I wish them the best, although I wouldn't count on that...
  • Show of hands... how many would have paid money for any of their services?

    (I posted this last time, but way too late in the thread for anyone to see it. I am actually curious.)
  • by Micah ( 278 )
    That was a safe bet. VA Linux has a revenue stream and some good products. If they can survive this recession (and I think they can), their stock should get back to $20-$30 within the next couple years.
  • There is one huge problem with all this -- it's extremely hard to write any decent software for Windows platform, free or not. And it's even harder to keep it portable, especially if one hopes to use Wine/winelib or other such thing instead of full-blown native port (ex: WP 2000 vs. Opera 5.0 on Linux). One of problem with Mozilla is that too much of Windows-derived ideas were placed into it, causing unnecessary bloat. So there are reasons why there isn't much free software for Windows, and among those reasons idiosyncrasy or bigotry aren't even on the top of the list.
  • It's easy to write trivial and shitty software for Windows -- complex GUI that leads to trivial operations, incremental enhancements for office applications' functionality that isn't of much use in the first place, unreliable programs that no one knows why they work or crash because a lot of API is undocumented and all convoluted, etc. Writing software with any noticeably useful functionality in Windows is extremely hard -- networking is not designed for anything that requires performance, nonblocking processing model can't be implemented efficiently, IPC is rudimentary, so everything has to use threads and complex data model that is required for multithreaded program even if it isn't needed on any other system.

    Even for things that Windows does more or less ok, programmer has to follow the design that doesn't make much sense, and often things can't be done unless programmer lets Windows lead his way of thinking, often in a very inefficient and convoluted manner, like in the case of anything that uses COM and its relatives. This also creates another problem -- programmer that worked on Windows for a long period of time has to accept pieces of Windows design, and continues writing "Windows programs" on all other systems, and then gets surprised that the design decisions that worked well on Windows are harder to implement on everything else, or result has an abysmal performance. When pointed out that anything Unixlike is based on completely different ideas, and there are efficient VM and scheduler, pipes and various kinds of sockets, unified file descriptors and other useful features at his disposal, he can't wrap his mind around this even if solution is simple, and will cry a river about the lack of COM, registry and other bullshit.

  • I'm sorry thar they couldn't make a go of it, but I'm glad the project will live on. I know this thread will get the usual "You can't make money off Free Software" rants, but honestly, I think Eazel produced in it's short lifespan something that will live on, and I thank them for taking the time to do so.

    Good luck, Team Eazel, wherever you may end up in the real world.

  • IBM is not really interested in Linux as a desktop (yet). They are willing to help Apache, and they are very willing to make sure that Linux on their big iron has all of the enterprise features that it needs (journaling filesystem, etc.), but so far they have only improved Linux in areas where it already was being used.

    In short, IBM is using Linux mostly as a weapon against Sun, and not Microsoft. They have got much better uses for their $1 Billion than trying to save a file manager (that will probably do just fine without the help).

  • While Microsoft got pulled into the whirlwind of bizarre valuations of a little over a year ago, their stock has gone through remarkably well. In fact given that this is a company that has a massive federal judgement against them and countless other legal issues on the docket, I'd say their $68+ stock price is remarkably good.

    Uh... That's almost precisely what I meant. So far Microsoft has mostly been immune to the current stock market tech devaluations. They still have a very high Price/Earnings ratio, and they are still using stock options as a primary employee incentive. Maintaining their stock price in an era where PC sales are down (and where their premier OS has had lackluster sales) is quite a feat. My hat is off to them.

  • Eazel burned through millions of dollars, in about a year, creating a file manager. This is not generally the sort of thing that the government or a charitable organization tend to sponsor.

    This doesn't mean that it isn't a good idea for charitable organizations or the government to sponsor Free Software. After all, both of these groups need inexpensive software too. The difference is that the developers working on a project for either the government or a charitable foundation don't normally drive fancy sports cars, or have offices in Silicon valley. Eazel raised a fair amount of cash for their idea, and then they proceeded to spend the money on marketing, office space, etc. before they had a saleable product.

    At the time they probably figured that they would be able to attract more venture capital. They were wrong, and now Eazel is no more (but Nautilus will live on).

    The individual hackers will be fine, the folks that invested in Eazel, however, are not likely to ever invest in a Free Software venture again. Not that it matters. I personally am not convinced that it takes that type of money to develop a quality product. KDE seems to be progressing quite well without that sort of capital, and most of the software I use everyday operates with a much lower budget than the folks at Eazel.

  • by Jason Earl ( 1894 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2001 @07:39PM (#220391) Homepage Journal

    Microsoft is too busy trying to keep their stock from collapsing to care much about one single company that employed a handful of hackers. Especially since these hackers have already managed to release their source code under the GPL. Ninety percent of all new businesses fail. That's why it's called "venture" capital.

    Free software was alive and well long before the corporations had any interest, and it takes a lot less money to sustain a Free Software project than it does to build a proprietary one. Especially when your customers are feeling the pinch of a recession and are deciding that perhaps now is not the time to upgrade.

  • wedit used to be GPL. Then, all of the sudden, the authors just took the source code out of the site, without warning anybody.

    Not a problem. If it was released under the GPL, and you downloaded it in binary form, then simply request the source. They are legally obliged to give it to you. Of course, this only applies to the earlier GPL-licensed versions, and not to the current version.

  • Well, and then representatives of such country come to Eastern Europe and want to teach us democracy talking loudly about freedom, rights, ...
  • by spitzak ( 4019 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @08:22AM (#220394) Homepage
    Instead of the complex graphics, why not work on getting it so any program (using open/close/seek) can read/write any data stream. I would love to be able to "cat http://blah.blah/index.html" without a special version of "cat".

    I can't understand why anybody would consider any technique for naming information sources that does not cause open/close/seek to be able to manipulate those sources. Requiring this "vfs library" goes completely against the Unix design.

    I would much rather see effort going into creating such easy to use programming interfaces, rather than these huge bloated libraries with interfaces that make MicroSoft's stuff look acceptable, and copies of MicroSofts rather lame ideas for GUI. The killer apps are going to come out of some teenager's basement, but only if the power in the system is accessible by mortals, and this is only going to happen if it is simple enough to be understood without years of study.

  • I don't know of any that have been withdrawn, but many are licensed under more restrictive licenses to others (QT being an example) who don't want to participate in the community. Because they own the copyright, they can do this.
  • Nautilus runs better for me than GMC. Did you use the Ximian release or another one? My machine is only a PII-200 w/ 64M.

    Also, Gtk+ isn't dependent on Gnome or KDE, either. I hate Motif with a passion. Mozilla 0.9 with Galeon 0.10.6 is a rockin combination. Try it out! Although, Galeon does require Gnome.
  • They were talking about Exchange _server_. Currently there is no free one, nor can Ximian currently provide a complete solution, since they don't control any of these apps.
  • This is not entirely true. This would only be true if the binary included the GPL license. Otherwise, they can release it under any license they choose, even if they have released the source code under the GPL.
  • by jht ( 5006 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @04:30AM (#220401) Homepage Journal
    There was an opportunity for Eazel, but not as a file manager/GNOME shell with a vague "sell online services" model. The Eazel team, in a more sane VC climate than existed when they were initially funded (in the peak of the Linux craze), could have been a piece of a more diverse, well-funded Linux packaging company (RedHat comes immediately to mind). Or they could have gone the extra step, and built a Eazel-branded distro, using Nautilus as the maintenance toolkit.

    The "average" users out there are still waiting for a easy to install, easy to maintain, and easy to update distro that's stable, doesn't generate odd, spurious errors on occasion, and can be set up as easily as Windows on most hardware (Windows may have it's faults once it's up, but it is easy to install). Eazel could have gone down that path and made Nautilus the cornerstone of a whole new distribution, but they passed up the opportunity - or worse, they didn't even see it as an opportunity.

    There are a lot of ways to make money in the Linux distro biz - it's pretty easy to be big and corporate, like RedHat, Caldera, or SuSE. Those companies are large enough to have diversified revenue streams, multiple products, and a services business that they can draw ongoing revenue from. There's also a nice niche that can be taken up by small, "garage" companies, where a couple of smart people with no VC funding can make a good living selling and/or servicing Linux.

    And if you look at how the big software projects are organized, the only reason a lot of the entities exist is to provide legal shelter to the project tems who hack on it - the KDE Foundation and Debian are great examples of that. Ximian has a goal to make money from GNOME - hopefully they can, but I wouldn't count on it. Their best hope as a company is to get underwritten by the folks who benefit from their code (like RedHat, Sun, etc.) - and make enough to pay their hackers.

    Eazel was aimed smack-dab in the squishy middle, trying to make a garage business out of VC money. In hindsight, it was doomed from the start, even before the market crashed.

    - -Josh Turiel
  • by tig ( 6017 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @04:44AM (#220404) Homepage
    Lets get this clear first, Nautilus is a great and beautiful product. In my book both are important.

    In March 2001, Eazel laid off 40 employees, paring itself down to 35. Even at its height, there were 13 out of 15 developers on Nautilus paid for by Eazel. So there were 60 other people in this company. Ok so estimate 5 execs, 5 graphic designers, 5 marketing and sales(they werent selling anything yet), 3 sysadmins, 7 customer support, 5 administrative, and we get to 30 more people. Obviously at no time did they seem to need to be more than 45 people (though 3,2,2,2,2,2 =13 more = 28 total which is what they got down to seems more realistic).

    They got 11 million in March 2000, 1 year at 100,000 per employee for 75 employees ate 7.5 million straight, leaving 3.5 million+founders investments. At 30, they would probably still have had another year to try and validate their business model, or be acquired.

    So I get the feeling that their burn rate was too high, too dot-commy, and that lead to their going under. Of course its easier to say this in hindsight, but they probably expected to clinch a second round easy. They should have been warned by last april's crash.
  • Why should people be able to take from the free software community if they are not willing to give back? The GPL stops proprietary software companies taking advantage of the work the free software community have put in.

  • Microsoft is too busy trying to keep their stock from collapsing to care much about one single company that employed a handful of hackers.

    Keep their stock from collapsing? While Microsoft got pulled into the whirlwind of bizarre valuations of a little over a year ago, their stock has gone through remarkably well. In fact given that this is a company that has a massive federal judgement against them and countless other legal issues on the docket, I'd say their $68+ stock price is remarkably good.

  • Uh, no.

    The license itself is copyright the FSF, and the FSF asks that you release the copyright to them (because there as evil as anyone else), but GPLd software isnt necessaraly FSF/GNU copyrighted/

  • The Lotus Notes wire protocol dates back to the mid-80s and has about 10 layers of cruft on top and at least appears to be highly dependant on Notes' document database format. Reverse Engineering it would be unlikely at best -- Probably better to just write a wrapper around the portable Notes C libraries and pay IBM their client seat $ (which if you are using Notes, you probably are doing anyway).

    Reverse engineering Exchange is probably just as icky. The first step would to create a free OSF DCE-compatible (and therefore MS-compatible) RPC library. Some Samba folks might be working on this, but nothing yet. Then you would need to figure out what ungodly pipe-filling garbage Exchange/Outlook uses to talk.

    It's not my time and effort, but I wouldn't bother. It would be much more effective to build an open source replacement for Exchange/Domino, in particular the calendar and the mail routing functionality. Most of the groupware apps could be better done on a web system with mySQL or whatever.
  • by FallLine ( 12211 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @06:44AM (#220420)
    Once again we see another troubled dot-com blaming its problems on the economy and lack of investment, rather than the obvious: they're not making money and they have never had any realistic (or even coherent) ideas on how to start making money. That investors are no longer willing to throw dollars at you merely because you're in the software business is sign that rational thought has returned to the capital markets, not that those markets have dried up.
    Yes, I agree that the vast majority of the financial problems of various tech companies are almost entirely due to internal issues, namely fundamentally flawed products and/or business plans, stupidity, hubris, etc..

    That said, I happen to know a lot of well established entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and investment bankers, and everyone is saying the same thing: the private equity markets are some of the toughest that they've seen in 20 years. Qualitatively, it is a matter of fact that the private equity markets have dropped below levels not seen in many years.

    Combine this with the fact that there are many more companies competing for the same pie, and you will find many good privately held companies that will have a very rough time finding enough cash.Even for good companies, this can make the difference between survival and death, or, even more often, lost opportunities.

    In addition, there is a certain herd mentality seen in the venture capital business where things are viewed from a bi-polar perspective, it's either hot or it's sell, sell, sell. You can be a very good company, with very experienced managment, an excellent product, etc, with one or two setbacks [often nothing to do with the company itself, but with failing competitors in the same industry], and the VCs will not touch you, especially today. [Despite the fact that they're investing in much poorer companies at the same time].

    In short, it's not so black and white. Yes, lots of good bad companies are finally getting their just reward (failure). But some good companies are suffering, and will suffer, as a result of recent events.
  • Ads? I find that very strange. Perhaps they meant they were going to place ads on their service's pages, do you know?

    Nope, not strange at all. There are at least a couple windoze programs that have banner ads embedded into them...

    C-X C-S
  • by Skeezix ( 14602 ) <jamin@pubcrawler.org> on Tuesday May 15, 2001 @10:40PM (#220427) Homepage
    To those who claim that Eazel was naive and foolish and had no hope of ever being profitable, I have this to say. They may have been naive, only in the sense that they didn't think it would as hard as it was to find investers with some foresight. One of the big problems was the fallout of the dot coms--whether you believe it or not. Most of these dot coms never had a prayer and most didn't really have anything to offer that would turn a profit. I can see how one could look at Eazel and say that all they delivered was a file manager and some services that no one would really pay for. However, the real shot at profitability is far more long term than that. What Eazel was betting on was changing the face of desktop computing--betting that they and the other gnome developers could produce a desktop, development environment and platform that users would really embrace en masse. That is a long term goal. At that point, they, along with others (Ximian, Red Hat, etc.) would be in position to leverage their expertise in a profitable manner. If, hypothetically, Gnome ran on 75% of desktops right now, do you think Eazel, with it's talented resources, knowledge, innovation, vision, would be closing it's doors? To me that's a no-brainer. It's a long-term investment, full of risks, but it's that level of commitment to free software that Andy Hertzfeld and the others at Eazel have had from the beginning. And while they couldn't find resources with the funding/vision to partner with them for the long haul, they are as commited now as ever. Hats off to all of them. I'm not saying they didn't make any mistakes as a company or couldn't have had a better plan on how to get to their long-term goal--that's going to be the ongoing challenge for the next few years for companies banking on free software--but damnit, their model/vision was not fundamentally flawed. We are present in the beginning, really, of a change in paradigms for software/service delivery.
  • by Raven667 ( 14867 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2001 @07:43PM (#220428) Homepage
    With Eazel out of the picture and Ximian not too far behind, it's not too difficult to envision GNOME falling so far behind that it will soon lose its position on most desktops, except for those of the most fanatical GNUfies.

    Oh, hogwash. GNOME existed before Ximian and will exist after Ximian, probably run by the same coders. Also with several UNIX(tm) vendors planning to replace CDE with GNOME there is a finantial incentive to keep GNOME development going strong.

  • Offtopic, but binary RPM's and TGZ's are not source.


    You're right of course... For some reason I looked at the page and parsed the tgz as source.

    However... if you REALLY want this source, during the time it was opensource, it was supposedly hosted at Sourceforge (project id: wedit), which may have backups. Given the nature of what happened, someone who really wants to reopen that project might be able to talk to the people at Sourceforge to restore from backup.

    And yes, this is somewhat offtopic, *but* - it's a good example that GPL code does *not* always survive.

    http://compilers.iecc.com/comparch/article/00-10-0 42
    http://www.google.com/search?q=cache:131d2854eb800 ff0:sourceforge.net/softwaremap/trove_list.php%3Ff orm_cat%3D15%26discrim%3D45,196+wedit+sourceforge& hl=en


  • wedit used to be GPL. Then, all of the sudden, the authors just took the source code out of the site, without warning anybody. [...] nobody bothered to mirror it.

    The fourth link on google when searching for "wedit source" gives you a link which leads here [q-software-solutions.com].

    That's http://www.q-software-solutions.com/weditlinux/dow nload.php3 for the paranoid (just look in your statusbar!). It's also mirrored at a few other places.

    More on topic, GhostScript is (or at least was) released commercially, and the version n months old is released to GPL.


  • by KFury ( 19522 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2001 @08:04PM (#220439) Homepage
    I like this new net order:

    1) Get an idea
    2) Fake a business plan
    3) Get VC funding
    4) Use the money on development, not marketing
    5) Release the code as open source
    6) Go under
    7) Leave the world a better place on the VC dime.

    Kevin Fox
  • by holoway ( 22836 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2001 @11:14PM (#220440) Homepage
    It's easy to try and draw parallels between the business models of Eazel and Ximian at first glance. Both were attempting to build free software projects that they could then bundle pay-to-play services into.

    The difference, though, is the application they are building and the types of services they are going to be selling. Eazel decided to bundle services into the file manager... this means things like package management, and online storage. Anyone who pays attention to most of the massive free storage systems knows that they are not making a ton of cash... most of what they do make is ad revenue. Storage is cheap; online storage is neat, but not *that* neat. Package management? Great for systems that don't have good package management already, but most linux distro's (and even the BSD's) have this pretty well covered as well.

    Ximian, though, took the PIM application. What kind of things do you bundle with a PIM app? Calenders, Shared whiteboards, Task management, Mail. How many large corporate enterprises who don't have these services? If you were shopping around for an Exchange clone (because we all know how great exchange is) and someone pointed you to this great application with a flexible front end, a shared calender and all the other services you would be missing? Goldmine. Let end users pay a small amount to use the services; it proves the scalability. Corporations purchase the whole package, outsourcing the infrastructure to Ximian. Take Microsoft's revenues from Exchange *alone* and you could have a pretty successfull company. :)

    The business model is sound. Eazel's flaw, IMHO, was the application and services they choose to target. Ximian, on the other hand, looks to me like a sound prospect.

    Granted, this is all supposition... I don't work for Eazel or Ximian, nor do I know any of the principals. Sure makes sense to me, though.
  • What part of Public don't you understand?

    The code is still copyrighted and still owned by the copyright owner, who is free to relicense the code however they wish (even to close the source... . but this doesn't retroactively affect code released previously under the GPL, which still stays free). The fact that they put the code under the GPL simply gives you the ability to use it under the GPL's terms, but doesn't give you ownership of the code.

    And it's the GNU General Public License, not the GNU Public License.
  • by ibbey ( 27873 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @12:22AM (#220446) Homepage
    Actually, they had a very sound busines model. MANY companies have been quite successful at generating a substantial amount of revenue using subscription models similar to Eazel. The venture capital market HAS dried up. True, it is still possible to get funding. However, it is MUCH harder today then it was a year ago, and even then it was five years ago.

    And don't blame the entrepreneurs for the failures of the dot coms. True, many of these entrepreneurs had absolutely stupid ideas that no one in their right mind would fund. But of course they did get funding. The collapse of the "New Economy" is solely the fault of the investors.
  • You really can't blame Eazel for what happened. They made a good faith effort to provide an advanced filemanager/brower/whatever for Gnome. Unfortunatly the linux desktop market being 2% or whatever it is now , cannot support such a company in a profitable way. Eazel did not force their filemanager on Gnome, Gnome asked for it willingly. If anyone is to blame its the project leaders at Gnome who full knowing this could happen went ahead and put all their eggs in one basket. The positive aspect to this is its GPL'd and development will continue. I know this is little comfort to many, but this is opensource Darwinism in action, and things like this happen. Maybe the Gnome group will learn from this and become better for it. "You don't make friends with salad" ac no more
  • The only thing that's really naive about writing commericial software (whether it be free-speech, free-beer, or otherwise) for Linux is the idea that Linux users will pay for it. The fact of the matter is that in general, Linux users will not pay for "commodity" software (i.e., not games -- go Loki go). Some have mentioned the "distro" business as a proven money maker, but that's laughable too. Red Hat, to name one company, doesn't make very much money from selling CD-ROMs that people can download for free off the net. They're making money on embedded software tools, consulting contracts and hopefully Red Hat network. (My beef with the price for RHN is a seperate issue. The idea is fundamentally sound.)

    I think free-speech source is really cool, but folks have to put their wallets where their hearts are.

    Best wishes to Eazel employees and execs, I'm sad to see you close shop.

  • A Microsoft executive will give a speech saying that when you trust an open source technology, your business will be relying on someone who is about to go under, leaving you with no opportunities for commercial support.

    The sad thing is that the CIO crowd will actually read this and think, maybe just a little, "yeah...".

  • It already is to no small extent, through the use of things like NSF grants for university research projects which result in open source code. Consider:
    • BSD
    • PostGres
    • Mosaic
    • Sendmail
    • The UW-Imap Server (this one I'm not sure about the funding on, just the source)
    • Cyrus tools (again, not sure on the direct funding)
    • WU-FTPD (again, not sure on direct funding)
    • Pine (another one like UW-Imap)
    • the NCSA Web Server (which transmogrified into Apache over time)
    All came from government-sponsored university research projects. Even where the link between a funding grant and a project isn't direct, so much university research is government funded that it's difficult to separate out those projects which are university produced, but not the direct result of a government grant.
  • HP's OpenMail [openmail.com] product had the distinction of being the only mail server software running on *nix (including Linux) with full Exchange Server functionality. It's been End-Of-Lifed, probably because of some Microsoft pressure.
  • If he did that it would DEFINITELY end up as a legal conundrum. A company with shareholders and a board cannot simply have an executive donate ANYTHING of that much value on a whim. The creditors would sue Andy personally before he finished assigning the copyright, and the FSF claiming that he had no right to assign the copyright like that. And they'd probably win. You can't do stuff like that when you're going into liquidation.
  • California an exception notice I said most of the west. Once you leave california (or possibly washington) things get ugly for liberals (and also minorities and gays BTW).

    There are islands of sanity clustered around collage towns (boise versus the rest of idaho for example).

    Most of the west is rural and is populated by people who don't like other people too much. They moved there to get away from other people and would never want to live in a city where they would have to interact frequently with other people. Whereever there are large populations of people living together it's liberal wherever people want to distance themselves from their neighbors it's conservative. That point is so obvious from the election map of counties that voted for Bush and Gore. Even though Gore got the majority of votes the map shows mostly (geographically) Bush. About half the country is liberal and lives in cities the other half is conservative and lives in sparsely populated areas.

    It's easy to express your beliefs in an anonymous setting like slashdot. In fact for me it's the only safe way to do so. If I was to say these things in the real world I live in there would be a cross burning on my lawn in no time.
  • And I would bet my money that St. Louis, Branson, and Kansas city usually vote democratic while the rest of missouri votes republican.

    BTW P.J is an elitist asshole. I once saw him on letterman and most of his jokes were about how poor people are stupid and have no manners. He was making fun of people who go to red lobster and comparing them to people who go to the tavern on the green as if your average poor person could even dream of stepping foot in the tavern on the green.
  • "Now, my best advice I can pass on to you is dont piss people off who have guns. They will shoot at you. Plain and simple."

    Well that's exactly what I said. People will shoot you if you piss them off. Usually if you have bumper sticker that says "save the salmon" it pisses off people in oregon who WILL SHOOT YOU!. The penalty for being a liberal is death without a judge, jury or a trial.

    Yes I've been to Eugene and it's liberal (it's a collage town after all) but I have also been to medford and klamath falls and roseburg too. As I have said before most people who live in cities are liberal people who live out in the boonies are conservative.
  • The middle class is an illusion. There are three classes in the US. The destitute who don't have jobs, the people who have to work, and the people who don't ever have to work if they want to.
    PJ is the top 5% tier which does not have to work. For him it's amusement to make fun of the poor slobs who have to go to work every day and fend for themselves. Kind of like when people go to the dump to shoot rats.
  • "Damn, just reading your slashdot posts I want to load my rifle up and give a good "Yeehaw" -- not because your viewpoints, because of your blatant I'm"

    Thanks for making my point. You want to murder me not because I hurt you or your familiy, not because I dragged a black man behind my pickup truck, not because I blew up a federal building, not because I killed a doctor but because I had the nerve to speak my mind and voice my opinion. You did not like what you heard and I did not pass some attitude test. No judge, no jury just cold blooded murder for thinking different then you and daring to speak.

    I have not done a study of the murders in oregon but I'd venture to say that percentage wise it's probably about the same as new york. Mostly though the bumper sticker is likely to get you assaulted or vandalized more then anything else. I guess that's restraint for you.

    On a side note. Yea Ashland is a fairly liberal because it's a collage town just like eugene. Medford is far from liberal as a simple perusing fo the OP-ED and the letters to the editor will make clear. Its been a while since I was in Medford so I don't know what the name of the mall is but if it's that place where the movie theater and the 24 hour gym is I think it's something plaza. Not much of a mall either for what it's worth not that I spend much time in malls anyway. When I was there I had to go to ashland to eat just about every day because nobody could think of a decent restaurant in medford. The I had crappy service in one deli and crappy food in the place witht he big fish on the wall just as you get off the highway.
  • "How would you feel about me if I told you your mother was a crack-smoking whore?"

    I hope to hell oregon is not your mother. You can talk all the shit about where I'm from It don;t bother me none. It's just another country.

    "I have a right to want to bitch slap the living shit out you because you are a loud, annoying, clueless, fuck."

    Check again. In the united states you do not have the right to bitch slap the living shit out of anybody. Maybe in your redneck town this is accepted practise but as a general rule anywhere where the judges and the cops are not rednecks this is called assault. One again you do not have the right to kill, you do not have the right to destroy property, you do not have the right to physically assault people just because they say things that annoy you. These kinds of things generally happen in small towns where everybody thinks the same. Kill a hippie in Klamath falls and the cops will probably help you bury the tree hugging, commie, pinko fag. Kill a hippie in portland and it's murder.

    I am going to say it again in case you still don't get it. You do not have the right to kill, hit, slap or therwise assault anybody. You also do not have the right to destroy other peoples property. No matter what they say, what they look like, what they smell like, what's on their bumper sticker, what they eat, what they drink, who they vote for, or where they are from. Got it?
  • "The problem with retards like you is you dont understand the real reason as to why you get the shit beat out of you. "

    First of all after a few years of studying Gracie Juie Jitsu I don't ever get the shit beat out of me. Being around rednecks like you makes self defense a priority. There is nothing more satisfying then putting a hillbilly in a chokehold in under 45 seconds and watching the expression on his face as the person he expected to wipe to floor with starts to cut off his air supply. It's priceless. Of course being a believer in on-violence I don't actually kill the bastard of even make him pass out. It's enough to scare him enough so that the next time he wants to kick some ass he'll think twice.
    Of course a chokehold is no good if the redneck is packing (most of them do these days) and is looking to actually commit murder today (most of them will not actually do it even if they really want to).

    Anyways I have toured oregon and there is nothing to see there. Cetainly I would never suggest that any liberal actually spend his dollars in a state that hates homosexuals, hates environmentalists, hates liberals enough to WANT TO kick the shit out of them. If you are a liberal it makes no sense to spend your money where people hate you. Go spend your money where people like you and welcome you.
  • Oh I see I can't perform a proper choke hold because of a typing error. I get it now. It must be some sort of a hillbilly logic going on here.

    If oregonians want to bet up liars then they must spend all day beating up people because every body lies every day. Ever go a day without lying? How about to yourself?

    If oregonians didn't hate homosexuals they wouldn't be passing legislation denying them basic human rights like right to marry. Oregonians are hateful people no doubt about it.
  • Well, Nautilus is in gnome-cvs. :)

    - - - - -
  • Yeah, California's neither Liberal, nor in the west. :P

    You advertise your beliefs pretty well, BTW.

    - - - - -
  • didn't even come out with a final product that's useful.

    I like it. It's great for use with my digital camera, scanner, and mp3 collection. :P

    - - - - -
  • Hell, at the command line I can say look in directory A and directory B which both have the same set of files and copy any files that are different from directory B to directory A. This process is relatively easy to express. You might be able to automate this particular process in a file manager, but unless you can implement a process by which I can easily express similar file manipulations, I'm really not interested.
  • The modified BSD license is considered a free [gnu.org] license by GNU standards too. Just because it doesn't mimic the GPL exactly doesn't mean it's not free. Next time you post a link to somewhere, be sure you've read what it's talking about.

    "I may not have morals, but I have standards."
  • Expect to hear the same announcement from Ximian in a few months. Any company that depends on ongoing funding to survive, is fundamentally broken.

    I would think there is a serious future in packaging GNOME for Mandrake, RedHat, Sun, IBM, HP, and others. Most of them would be happy to have someone compile and test GNOME for their platform.

    In the same light, RedHat will derive substantial income from packaging linux for Dell, Compaq, and others. It is not anything close to the revenue platform of Windows, but the game is changing. Packaging is support, and many companies would be happy to outsource such a task.
  • If we were all to read posts that congratulate eachother on how amazing they are, and if all responses to articles would point out how much they like Linux and how it's the best thing since sliced bread, we'd wouldn't be having much of a discussion. Instead, we'd have a mutual admiration society.
  • It's really not so outlandish. That's the whole thing -- free software lets you do that if you like. Not only that, we'll probably _have_ to strip out the Eazel logo, given that the Eazel mark will likely be passed on to another unrelated company that would have to give permission for the use of that logo.
  • by BierGuzzl ( 92635 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2001 @07:04PM (#220485)
    Nautilus is "owned" by it's copyright holders and it's licensed under the GPL when it is distributed. So even if the copyright owner were to be Eazel, and that copyright were to be assigned to another entity in the process of paying off creditors, the existing code would still be free -- just not free to be relicensed without the copyright holder's approval.
  • by BierGuzzl ( 92635 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2001 @07:08PM (#220486)
    Open source was not spawned from money nor will it die if the money is taken away. Open source is a result of a collaborative effort of many people working towards a common good -- something you can't buy, plain and simple.

  • by jemfinch ( 94833 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2001 @10:15PM (#220487) Homepage
    The only version of the BSD license that's not officially sanctioned by RMS as being 'non-free' are the ones that include advertising clauses.

    Actually, even licenses that include an advertising clause are Free Software. They just aren't GPL compatible. Note that the old-style BSD license is listed on this page [gnu.org].


  • by jacobito ( 95519 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @06:36AM (#220488) Homepage
    ... These guys are unemployed now. The last thing they want to hear is how much you hated their product.

    And jeez, was it really that bad? I felt that Nautilus showed great potential. Maybe the releases leading up to 1.0 weren't so hot, but I felt as if Eazel had been making strides. And I feel that we'll have quite a nice desktop environment by the time we get to Gnome 3.0.

    Anyway, try to be nice... Some "community." :-)
  • >>they're not making money

    Even the smartest people have a hard time making money off a product that isn't finished. Although Nautilus did have a 1.0 version a little while ago, it still hasn't been released as part of the stable distribution of gnome. I still don't really consider it very mature yet. That sort of thing takes more time than anonymous cowards seem to realise, I guess.

    Perhaps their business plan would have killed them if the economy hadn't. But in the end that point is moot.

  • a quick look at fuckedcompany.com [fuckedcompany.com] shows that they are not fucked yet. as a matter of fact there are only fucks [fuckedcompany.com] for Eazel. The last one dated May 12th.

    Anyway it's sad to see Eazel go, I've been saying for quite a while that linux and the like would never get a good thoughtout consistant user interface without traditional software development.


  • A filemanager for Unix would need to do much better than copying explorer and put pretty icons in it. You have to compete with the standard toolbox (cp, mv, rm etc.). No matter how nice it is users tend choose the best tool for the job. And cp in a good shell (like bash) is a fair bit faster than clicking around in a window for your directorys. I think we should look at Directory Opus for Amiga, one of the most rewarded Amiga proggies of all time and one of the longest survivors in a small market. Opus is not a replacement for the shell (which was also quite good). It is also totaly customizable and easy to use. You can be a experienced unix user without knowing the flags for building a tar package. This is a good example where a filemanager can be a good replacement for the shell. watching images and playing mp3 is not very usefull when you know how to start gqview and xmms.
  • by Trepalium ( 109107 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2001 @07:30PM (#220495)
    On the other hand, if you have no business plan, free software won't help you. HINT: "make a file manager and give it away" is not a complete business plan. Even if it becomes popular, if you lose money for every copy you give away, even if you lose less money per copy if you give away more copies, you still won't be a viable business.
    That wasn't their business plan. The plan was to develop and give away the file manager as a loss leader and then sell subscriptions to services that attach to that file manager. The problem was the services and file manager took far too long to come together. Nautilus is just finally getting somewhat usable, which means they would've STILL needed to implement the services.

    Their biggest mistake was jumping the gun in calling themselves a business. If they wanted to succeed, it would've been better to develop it as a side project until it was almost usable, and then to announce the formation of such a company when all the pieces were in place.

  • by Trepalium ( 109107 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2001 @07:51PM (#220496)
    The only version of the BSD license that's not officially sanctioned by RMS as being 'non-free' are the ones that include advertising clauses. He prefers calling the BSD style licenses without the advertising clause XFree86 style, and those with the clause BSD.

    The original clause is:
    3. All advertising materials mentioning features or use of this software must display the following acknowledgement:
    This product includes software developed by the University of California, Berkeley and its contributors.

    The rational behind not using licenses that include this clause is quite sound, you can see some arguments for omiting that clause at http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/bsd.html [gnu.org] (don't worry, it doesn't say the BSD license sucks and everyone should use GPL). You could imagine how such a clause could cause problems if, perhaps, you had a product that included 40-50 of programs with those kinds of licenses -- the required statements could outnumber actual ad-space.

  • And where is the Exchange clone for linux? Yup, there is none. I wonder if m$ would kill any company who even tried...

    The Exchange clone is Here [ximian.com]. (that's http://www.ximian.com/apps/evolution.php3 for the worried-about-bad-links folk). Evolution is already a pretty comprehensive package - if they manage to get it to interact successfully with centralized Groupware servers, such as Lotus Notes Domino, they stand an extremely good chance of taking Gnome deep into the corporate desktop, not just scratching the surface.

    There is a similar project underway for KDE 2 - I'm sure we'll get the goods on that from someone else.


    Toby Haynes

  • Just wondering if the GPL for Nautilus is 'owned' by Eazel or by a person.
    Gnu Public License.

    What part of Public don't you understand?

  • Software can be released under the GPL with the copyright ownership being retained by an individual or corporation. I thought everybody knew that...
    Name a package (or program, or library, or whatever) that has been withdrawn from the public after being released under the GPL. Maybe a later release, but once under the GPL, it's out there to stay. As long as one adheres to the license terms as released, no recourse can be had by the owner. So, sure, someone owns the code but they've given permission for others to use it, pursuant to the G(eneral)PL.

    Perhaps I just need to shut up and get back to work...

  • wedit [q-software-solutions.com] used to be GPL. Then, all of the sudden, the authors just took the source code out of the site, without warning anybody. And now, I'm stuck with the desire of using the GPL'd versions, but all there's left in the site are binaries, and, apparently, nobody bothered to mirror it. :-(
  • What's a yurt? Was that a misspelling, or something real?
  • Yes, the sourced is open, but if Eazel still owns the code, they could very well do this. They have "property", the property definetly has some "value", and the property, namely the code ownership can be given to a non-profit. In fact, the natural home for this project, the GNU foundation, already exists.

    Why would a VC bother? it's all about the Benjamins. See, companies buy other companies for tax losses all the time. Compag paid for about a 1/3 of the DEC acquisition just from DEC deferred tax losses. NO, the VCs won't get their full $13 million back, but with a few hundred thousand dolars spent on lawyers and accountants they could probably make back a few million. Not a bad ROI!

  • Now I have evidence to back up the things I've been saying for years. I'm a free software and open source fanatic, but at least I'm a REALISTIC free software and open source fanatic. Business need to make money.
    You have zero evidence. Eazel was never able to test services, they didn't get enough funding to get to that point.
    Eazel must have figured that so many people would want to get automated updates of Nautilus that they'd have a sustainable growth. Yeah, right. The customers who would use Nautilus are technical enough to use Ximian's update tools, Red Hat's update tools, or simple FTP downloads and RPM/APT/whatever.
    I don't think they ever meant to make money from the service catalog. They always said they would have some free services.
  • Yes, but those are free services. They didn't have the ones that would cost money available yet. In fact, they only recently started to develop a framework for that (reef).
  • Ads? I find that very strange. Perhaps they meant they were going to place ads on their service's pages, do you know?
  • Yes. But it's strange for a program that comes with source and that's for the most part distributed by other people (your distro, Ximian, etc.) who would probably remove the banners before packaging.
  • Nice try at thinking but check MS's financials and you'll find relatively they don't make much money from support.

    Try rewording it as "If you had a monopoly and made lots of money on incompatible upgrades, would you stop developing your product?"

    Or were you talking about Oracle?

    Why, I'm afraid I can't begin to understand what it is you are talking about. My sig is referring to the manufacturer of Kleenex.
  • by e_n_d_o ( 150968 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2001 @08:13PM (#220519)
    But, regardless of it all, we still have Nautilus, right?? Ok, back to the merits of the program for just a minute: It sucks. It single-handedly sets GNOME back a couple years as far as useability goes.

    Nautilus is extremely easy to use. It does not set the usability of Gnome back a couple years. It just seems that Nautilus suffered the same fate in its 1.0 release that Gnome 1.0 did: It was released many months to soon. Gnome 1.0.50 worked great, but Gnome 1.0 was less stable than 0.9x. Nautilus was pushed out the door. (It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out why). Nautilus will be just fine, and so will Gnome.

    You probably think I'm full of shit, so I guess we'll just have to wait six months and see who is right.

  • by e_n_d_o ( 150968 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2001 @08:29PM (#220520)
    Anybody remember the hype that "Java was dead?" Well, here we go again...

    My predictions:

    Dvorak will declare Gnome dead, saying KDE has won.

    Having been overcome by the excitement, Fred Moody will have a fatal seizure while trying to write a similar story.

    ZDNet will run future KDE vs. Gnome reviews, and give KDE the thumbs up based on Gnome's "no longer maintained" file manager.

    In the meantime, both the Gnome and KDE camps will continue building great desktop environments. Nautilus will lose its services, get cleaned up, stabilize and offer dramatic performance improvements such that it is everyday usable.

    Well that's all of my rant, best be getting back to that highly lucrative Java programming now.
  • Now I have evidence to back up the things I've been saying for years.

    Most businesses fail. That was true before 2000 and that will be true after 2001. Eazel, like so many high-profile dot-bombs, burned its VC like birch. Eazel is not evidence. It's a statistic.

    Currently, I'd say Red Hat is the best example of a successful free-software business. It sells a brand and support, and it's going to be profitable Real Soon Now. That said, I'm not sure Red Hat is the best prototype for commercial free software.

    Take, for example, a specialized database system, like school records. A university pays big money to a clumsy Oracle VAR for a poorly designed school records system. Multiply that by ten or a hundred schools (each with an IT department and a CS school), remove the Oracle VAR (and maybe the Oracle) and you have a free software project with paid developers.

  • Linux is not windows. We don't have to cater to the masses. Linux was never intended to replace Windows on the PC. If it does great!

    This statement is kind of contradictory. If it's great to have Linux replace Windows, how will it happen if the intention isn't there to make this a reality? Of course Linux wasn't intended to replace Windows, it was a hack by a guy who just wanted to use the same kind of computer at home that he used at school. By that criteria, the whole project was finished long ago and he could've moved on to something else. But the goal and intentions for Linux have shifted since it's beginnings, and will continue to. Of course we need to accomodate new users--the more the merrier. And they don't need to be comp-sci students either. We have a great thing going and to horde it all to ourselves isn't the right or intelligent thing to do. My mother doesn't need to know how her car engine works in order to drive it, nor would I expect her to. I just want her to have a way to get to my grandmother's house without any hassles so she can help out with things around the house. I want the same for my brother, who not only needs the car to do stuff, but may be curious about some of the stuff under the hood and more interested in learning about the details. He can do that as well. If I had designed the car and was the only one who knew how to operate it, I would make my next goal to fix the design in such a way that others could use it without having to know everything.

    Of course your friend was unimpressed with Nautilus. It looks the way it does because so many Linux users insist that they don't want or need a good UI and are happy when a company that was trying to develop one went out of business. Nautilus isn't ready for prime time--it's got a ways to go. Eazel was a company that needed long term investors, not short term ones. The software is still in development and I'm sure the pace will reduce now that the developers aren't getting paid to work on it full-time, but hopefully it'll still achieve it's goals. It's sad that is the way it has to be, but that's the reality of the situation.

    Eazel was formed to try to take something that was good, but complicated, (Linux) and add another part that made it easier for people who didn't want to deal with complications. What's so bad about that? I don't mind building software from source, but my wife does. She has neither the training nor the patience to do it, but that doesn't mean that I want her to use something inferior to do her work. I want to use what I know to help her, and if that means adding another layer to make it easier for her, I'm going to do it.

    Why use pancake mix when I could use flour, eggs, and yeast to get the same result? Why buy a car with automatic transmission when I could buy one with a manual transmission? Should I have to know how to fly a plane just to get from Texas to Greece? Do you see my point?

    I just think that if we have something good (like Linux and open source development), it's good to share it with others because it will benefit us in the long run (more applications, more jobs, more competition, more of everything). That's all.

  • by max cohen ( 163682 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2001 @08:04PM (#220523)
    I, for one, am very sad to see Eazel shut it's doors. Call me biased because I verified bugs and wrote reports every extra minute I had, but Nautilus is an important piece of software that the Linux community needs and all of the sharks swimming around this site scavenging for blood sicken me. To say that some of the folks who developed one of the best computer interfaces (i.e. the Mac OS) are better off with their Linux start-up defunct is just nonsensical. Like it or not, Linux isn't what it used to be. Times have changed and will continue to do so, and the Linux interface will have to adapt to accomodate all of the new users that will come to the platform. To just stand around and suggest that everyone needs to get used to typing commands in a terminal window because "that's the way things are and have always been" is short sighted and unrealistic.

    To all of the Eazel folks who were affected, my sympathies and a hearty thanks to those (especially Eli Goldberg) who were always there to answer my questions and provide troubleshooting suggestions. I'm happy to hear that most of the major project leaders are going to continue working on Nautilus and look forward to what the future may bring. Maybe in another time and climate, things would have worked out differently. As the story submission says, it _has_ been a fun ride. ---tomg

  • by bouis ( 198138 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2001 @08:30PM (#220542)
    Look, my post was certainly inflamitory but not a troll by most definitions.

    Nautilus is no easier to use than most of the other "big" file managers for X desktops (konqueror [kde.org], gmc, the old kde file manager, gentoo [obsession.se], etc). As far as I can tell the only real advancement over them is the extensive (yet useless!) previewing capabilities and the MacOS Xesque look. But it is in not an improvement over the old GNOME file manager. The stability is terrible and the "features" are useless for real world work. It chokes on large directories and randomly crashes on small ones. The interface is showy at the expense of both speed and desktop real-estate. Fullscreen icons are great to look at and seem cool for the first 15 minutes, but after that they just get in the way. I don't think you're full of shit, I have no doubts that in 6 months the stability will be there, but that doesn't change the fundamental problem of giving up efficency (both speed and screen-space) for WORK for a few showy features. Nautilus, much like the company who made it, can get your attention but can't deliver what it should have been focusing on.

  • by hillct ( 230132 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2001 @07:03PM (#220549) Homepage Journal
    On the face of it, OSS projects should be able to survive the transition of management from the project initiator to another group of interested developers, but it's not that simple. OSS projects are more than the source code. There is a great deal of infastructure required in order to manage decentralized development efforts. Thanks to SourceForge for providing a great deal of that infastructure. The other componant needed in an OSS project is a leader, weather that is one person or a group of people. This leader is the visionary and driving force behind the project and unless projects can find new leaders for developers to gravitate around, the project will unboubtedly slide into mediocrity and disrepair.

    Much luck to the projects left stranded by the demise of Easel. It appears that the project leaders are taking steps to find the ptojects new homes, with varying degrees of success.


  • by droolfool ( 235314 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2001 @06:56PM (#220558)
    is that they wanted to start earning money from services, but we didn't see any services at all. How can you say you're going to get money from something yet to be made?
    ------------------------------------------- -----
    You think Bill Gates is evil?
  • ...big businesses, the government, charitable organizations and philanthropists. After all, is not art sponsored by the government and other organizations? Maybe Eazel should have applied for a grant, one never knows.

    Maybe we should actively pressure our representatives to sponsor free software because it's for the greater public good. Just one man's opinion. I hope the McArthur Foundation and others are listening.
  • by Claric ( 316725 ) <shock...r@@@freeuk...com> on Tuesday May 15, 2001 @11:51PM (#220576)
    I gave a company $13m in venture capitalism and all I got was this lousy file manager.


  • by sleeper0 ( 319432 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2001 @07:05PM (#220582)
    Here is a question for all you IANAL types:

    If a company were to donate their source code to a non-profit organization that acted as kind of a clearing house for open source projects, is it possible that some or part of the development costs could be written off once the result was donated to the non-profit?

    While Eazel might not be the best example of the power this could have, as it has already provided the code open sourced and likely doesn't have much tax liability at all... Imagine a closed source project that never sees the light of day and ends up in a bit warehouse somewhere. I am the investors in many of these failed tech companies wouldn't think twice about assigning the IP rights to get something back after everything blew up.

  • by sebtesting ( 320828 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2001 @11:41PM (#220583)
    you might want to check www.eavel.com [eavel.com] and download gnome.mp3 [eavel.com]
    it's... bitter than the official site.
  • by janpod66 ( 323734 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @09:34AM (#220586)
    Eazel and other open source companies are missing their time-to-market windows. It may be OK for an X11 version of Emacs to take nearly a decade to come out, or for a Linux kernel to take a long time. But that's because those projects are truly open source and not intertwined with some revenue model. If it takes a year longer, nobody loses money and nobody goes out of business (although some users may switch to something else). But Eazel and similar companies need to deliver software fast in order to get revenue from their services. They can't afford to spend years fiddling around with their software.

    You can have your own guesss how time to market can be reduced. My personal view is that they should at least have written their software in a different language, maybe Java or Python. That would by no means guarantee fast time-to-market or frewer bugs, but it at least removes some obstacles.

  • by foonf ( 447461 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2001 @08:00PM (#220596) Homepage
    I think these guys deserve a lot more credit for their business plan than they are getting. For almost a year, they succeeded in getting idiot venture capitalists to pump buckets of money into the development of a large, complex free software project with no realistic hope of ever making money. Now that its nearly in a usable state (it is NOT a fun thing to use right now on my 64mb celeron, but it shows lots of promise, and is at the very least better-looking than any other linux file file manager), they have smartly disbanded and turned development over to the gnome community. The only people really hurt by this are the eazel hackers (who doubtless will be able to find other employment) and the idiot venture capitlalists, who 1. deserved what they got, and 2. probably won't be turning up in soup kitchens or homeless shelters any time soon, rich bastards that they are. On the other hand, we, the free-software community, have gained at no cost a nearly complete, commercial quality (in slickness and in bloat) file manager.
  • by Not A Democrat ( 448542 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2001 @07:02PM (#220598) Homepage
    This is a company I am not sad to see go.

    Free software is a wonderful thing, and it is definitely possible to make money off of it. Companies like Red Hat and IBM are demonstrating this. I encourage that. If you have a business that can survive while developing and releasing free software, that is excellent.

    On the other hand, if you have no business plan, free software won't help you. HINT: "make a file manager and give it away" is not a complete business plan. Even if it becomes popular, if you lose money for every copy you give away, even if you lose less money per copy if you give away more copies, you still won't be a viable business.

    I have no sympathy for anyone involved. Neither the idiot venture capitalists who sponsored a project with no clue how it would make money, nor the developers, who obviously confused coding sense with business sense.

    I've been in business, and you can't always do what you want. Sometimes, you have to put a lot of effort into making a profit, or else you just won't survive. Where are your ideals then? I wish the best of luck to the hackers involved, and I have a lot of hope for Nautilus. But next time you get involved in a business venture, make sure that sound financial advice is one of the first things you get!

  • by Dutchie ( 450420 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2001 @07:20PM (#220601) Homepage Journal
    *UGH* How about Linux in the time there WERE NO DISTROS? No GOOD project in my opinion has ever needed a distro to get the project out to the people. It's the other way around, distros NEED good projects. If Nautilus is really so good (personally I don't like it but it looks neat) it'll survive, hehe, despite the lack of funding :P
    • Imagination is more important than knowledge.

Neutrinos have bad breadth.