Arquivo de 27 de Maio, 2009


O Software Livre vai liquidar a Redmond (Keith Curtis)

Keith Curtis, que trabalhou 11 anos para a Microsoft, escreveu recentemente um livro (After the Software Wars – Depois da Guerra do Software) no qual explica como a Redmond irá falhar redondamente, fazendo ainda uma reflexão sobre o actual estado do Mundo e da Sociedade, culpando a Microsoft pelo atraso social que vivemos.

Podem verificar a notícia por vocês mesmos:

May 21, 2009CIO — Bill Gates probably will not sing the praises of Keith Curtis, a programmer with Microsoft for 11 years who’s now left the fold and written a book about why the Redmond way will fail. Oh yeah, Curtis is not afraid to speak his mind as a Linux guru, either.

The mantra Curtis repeats throughout his book “After the Software Wars”: proprietary software is holding us back as a society.

In the book, Curtis says that while proprietary software made Microsoft one of the most successful companies of all time, it’s a model destined to fail because it doesn’t let software programmers cooperate and contribute, and thus stifles innovation.

Curtis did programming work on Windows, Office and research at Microsoft and never actually used Linux, he says, until he quit his job in late 2004. The ensuing years have made him a Linux fanatic, and he is convinced that free, open-source software is technically superior. As long as Microsoft and its proprietary model dominate, Curtis says, we will live in “the dark ages of computing.”

“If Microsoft, 20 years ago, built Windows in an open way, Linux wouldn’t exist, and millions of programmers would be improving Windows rather than competing with it.”
Keith Curtis

In an interview with’s Shane O’Neill, Curtis discusses the rise of free software, Linux’s role in what he calls the inevitable fall of software’s biggest giant and … robot-driven cars.

In what ways will free software be Microsoft’s undoing?

Free software will lead to the demise of Microsoft as we know it in two ways.

First, the free software community is producing technically superior products through an open, collaborative development model. People think of Wikipedia as an encyclopedia, and not primarily software, but it is an excellent case study of this coming revolution.

There are also many pieces of free software that have demonstrated technical superiority to their proprietary counterparts. Firefox is widely regarded by Web developers as superior to Internet Explorer. The Linux kernel runs everything from cellphones to supercomputers. Even Apple threw away their proprietary kernel and replaced it with a free one.

Second, free software undermines Microsoft’s profit margins. Even if Microsoft were to adopt Linux — a thought experiment I consider in the afterword of my book — their current business model would be threatened. There are many ways for hardware and service companies to make money using free software, but these are not Microsoft’s sources of revenues.

Free products like Linux and Google Docs currently comprise only a tiny proportion of their respective markets compared to Microsoft. What will it take for free software to truly catch on with consumers and businesses as you predict it will? And how long will that take?

Linux and other free software are already doing well in markets other than the desktop. Google has hundreds of thousands of machines running Linux. Free software is well on its way to conquering the small and the large, and the remaining challenge is the desktop in the middle.

The desktop is a particularly hard problem, but Linux is very close and is advancing at a fast pace. The move to the Web has also undermined Microsoft’s position, as the most popular application on a computer is a Web browser, and Firefox ably meets those needs.

The second most popular usage is for productivity applications, and while OpenOffice still needs some work, it is good enough for perhaps 99 percent of users. I worked on text engines for five years at Microsoft and wrote my book using OpenOffice.

“Even if Microsoft did embrace Linux, not only would it hurt their profit margins, they’d be forced to explain to customers why they should continue to pay for Office.”
Keith Curtis

I don’t know when Linux will become 10 percent or 25 percent of the desktop market. Some said Linux would take over 10 years ago, and while that was premature, it is close now. Part of my book is a message to the computer industry discussing the remaining challenges.

Google Docs, and the question of whether all apps will move to the Web, is a raging debate. But Linux can succeed without such a transformation. I think that while the Web is great for simple applications, it is very limited. I think Google Docs is an example of a bridge too far.

You mention the bugs in Windows Vista as evidence of the limitations of proprietary software. How could Microsoft improve Windows?

If Microsoft, 20 years ago, built Windows in an open way, Linux wouldn’t exist, and millions of programmers would be improving it rather than competing with it. However, I think it is too late for that now.

For example, if Microsoft were to release the source code to Internet Explorer, no one would care because Firefox and WebKit (the basis of Apple’s Safari) already exist. Microsoft is manning a leaky ship, and the only thing they can do is just try to pump water faster. It appears that Windows 7 plugs many of the leaks in Vista, but it is still fundamentally flawed.

The biggest difference between Windows and Linux is that free software contains thousands of applications, installable with one click, and managed as one set. A Linux operating system includes all the obvious stuff like a spreadsheet, Web browser and instant messaging. But it also includes tools for making pictures and music, server software and development tools.

Linux changes how people think about their computer. Microsoft has no response for this.

In addition, proprietary software hurts Microsoft. Google writes mostly proprietary software, but quietly leverages a lot of free software that is a key to its success.

What can Microsoft do to curb the threat of free software, and what do you think it will be willing to do?

Other than adopting Linux, there is little Microsoft can do. Even if they did embrace it, not only would it hurt their profit margins, they’d be forced to explain to customers why they should continue to pay for Office if the company believes the free OpenOffice is good enough.

Microsoft has created Web sites where developers can use free code and collaborate, and the latest is called CodePlex. While it shows that Microsoft understands the benefits of free software, this site mostly contains tiny add-ons to proprietary Microsoft products.

Microsoft has also released some software it wrote under various open licenses. While it is good PR for Microsoft, this software is being absorbed by the outside community. This doesn’t actually curb the threat; it increases it.

So I don’t really know what Microsoft can do. While the company says it doesn’t like piracy, it does allow itself to compete on price with free software. As Bill Gates wrote: “It’s easier for our software to compete with Linux when there’s piracy than when there’s not.”

Other than operating systems and application development, how is proprietary software impeding progress in the world?

Faster progress in artificial intelligence is one of the most interesting benefits we’ll receive from free software. We could have had thinking machines and cars that drive us around years ago if we had our AI researchers all over the world working together.

It will also improve our understanding of biology. I went to a human genomics conference and found it was filled with proprietary software. I think many companies in this field have adopted the Microsoft model, thinking it was how people should build software. In my book, I talk about how free software will play a key part in the 21st century renaissance.

Em suma, para além de muitas outras coisas, Keith Curtis acusa a Microsoft de estar a atrasar a sociedade. Chega mesmo a afirmar que só depois de ter conhecido o Linux (em 2004) é que percebeu que se viviam e vivem os tempos mais obscuros da computação. A culpa reside inteiramente em todo o conceito do software proprietário. Na sua opinião o software livre resulta em programação de maior qualidade, apontando como exemplos o Firefox e o Kernel do Linux (passe a redundância).

De acordo com a sua visão, o software livre está a fazer mossa nos lucros da Microsoft, bastando olhar para o exemplo da Google que dele depende em larga escala na medida em que possui centenas de milhares de máquinas a correr software livre, contudo, ainda assim, reconhece que no mercado dos desktops o software livre não tem vingado.

Também considera que, há 20 anos atrás, se a Microsoft tive desenvolvido o Windows em software livre, o linux nunca teria existido, querendo com isso concluir que, ao invés do que hoje se verifica, teríamos agora milhões de utilizadores e programadores a contribuirem para Windows. Como não o fez, verifica-se precisamente o contrário: milhões de utilizadores e programadores a combaterem o software proprietário, contribuindo para o software livre.

Curiosa é a conclusão de Keith Curtis acerca do futuro da Microsoft. Ele considera que o fim não tardará ainda que a Microsoft pondere adoptar o software livre, porque se o fizer terá que explicar aos seus clientes, por exemplo, porque é que eles devem pagar pelo Microsoft Office quando o OpenOffice faz o serviço com toda a competência. O mesmo é dizer que se o fizesse, a Microsoft estaria a colocar em risco toda a sua fortuna. Ou seja, no seu entender, é já tarde de mais para a gigante de Redmond.

Pessoalmente acho que Keith Curtis tem que colocar os pés na terra. Apesar de eu concordar com o que ele disse em relação ao facto da Microsoft estar a atrasar a sociedade bem como o conhecimento e de se viverem tempos obscuros na computação por culpa do software proprietário (especialmente neste período de crise), jamais ponderarei a hipótese da Microsoft cair aos pés do Software Livre, pelo menos no que concerne ao mercado dos desktops. Infelizmente vivemos os tempos do esforço mínimo, daí que o Windows, enquanto produto, continuará a vingar independentemente de o GNU/Linux o superar, ano a ano e cada vez mais. A filosofia do software livre não é compatível com os desktops, isso tem sido comprovado nos últimos anos, com as mais recentes distribuiçoes GNU/Linux, contudo já não é compatível com a ignorância nem com o facilitismo. O software livre, e muito bem na minha opinião, procura que todos conheçam as suas máquinas e as saibam configurar, que todas as pessoas saibam o que faz realmente um sistema operativo, bem como procura que todos conheçam as aplicações que utilizam e a forma como funcionam. E quando o software livre perder esta faceta, então perderá toda a filosofia que está na sua origem – livre para partilhar, mas também livre para alterar e melhorar (sem esta faceta, cedo deixa de haver algo para partilhar). Enquanto a humanidade viver na ilusão da filosofia “out-of-the-box”, o Windows continuará a ser um produto lucrativo nos desktops, ainda que se enterre a si próprio cada vez mais (veja-se o exemplo do Windows Vista, e cá estaremos para ver o Windows 7 do qual todos dizem maravilhas, contudo…).

Quanto ao mercado empresarial – não tenho dúvidas: o software livre irá esmagar a Microsoft, especialmente em tempos de crise. É só uma questão de tempo. Certamente que seria neste mercado que Keith Curtis estaria a pensar quando concluiu que o Software Livre iria liquidar a Gigante de Redmond.

Seja como for, este é um tema muito controverso, até porque Keith Curtis, como disse, trabalhou 11 anos para a Microsoft, daí que toda a cautela seja requerida. Acho que as suas palavras não devem ser acreditadas mas tão-somente reflectidas.

Convido todos os leitores deste blog a lerem a notícia completa porque é muito interessante e dá que pensar sobre o estado da nossa sociedade.

fonte: CIO


Ubuntu 10.04

Ubuntu: For Desktops, Servers, Netbooks and in the cloud
Maio 2009
« Abr   Jun »

Petição contra o Novo Acordo Ortográfico



Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape


  • 437.730 visitantes