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Mixing Proprietary Software and Linux - page 2

Proprietary code on an open platform

  • June 30, 2009
  • By Matt Hartley

The biggest issue was the end user getting their head around SIP voicemail on Ekiga. With Skype, voicemail just works once it's subscribed to. With Ekiga, however, voicemail availability depends on your SIP provider providing it and how you are then alerted to new messages.

So even though I believe that Ekiga can provide a more stable user experience, it loses to Skype due to the fact that most people are not going to join you in using it.

Proprietary software at home in Open Source World?

Can proprietary software/driver modules find a home in the heart of a platform that was designed to be the complete opposite?

Yes, but not without compromise. Despite the belief that we as a society are ready to move on beyond proprietary code, the fact of the matter is most people are not going to go along with such a notion unless the process comes with a near seamless experience for them as end users.

"Joe Average" wants their computer to serve them, not the other way around. So rather than trying to pitch Open Source products as some religious experience, I think the Open Source community will continue seeing success with the biggest motivator of all - cost savings. Not just in software, but in avoiding the ongoing need to purchase new hardware just to keep up with the latest and greatest.

If having some proprietary code involved in an otherwise Open Source platform is what it takes to help the masses enjoy the benefit of desktop Linux, so be it. For those who are opposed to catering to the masses, I have great news...there are distros that cater to the "purist" point of view. You are not locked into using a distribution that goes against your software philosophy.

One thing I believe all of us can agree on is that the divide between purist-driven distributions and those distros seeking to attract a more "mainstream following" is growing. Whether or not this creates bigger issues in the development of this platform down the road, still remains to be seen.

Regardless, I remain hopeful that we can keep the lines of communication open between the two camps rather than allowing anger, frustration and bickering to further drive a wedge down the middle of issues that I do not see changing anytime soon.

Article courtesy of Datamation

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