Are Open Source apps for Windows bad for Linux? (I don't think so)

by Todd Ogasawara

Efforts to port parts of KDE to the Microsoft Windows platform prompted this question on Slashdot:
Open Source on Windows - Boon or Bane for Linux?

As a person who uses both Microsoft Windows and Linux boxes on a daily basis, I think Open Source for Windows is a good thing and blog about it on my own site now at then when I spot an interesting FOSS application for Windows:
Open Source for Windows blog

My take is that if Microsoft Windows has an estimated 90 to 95% of the desktop world and a good chunk of the server world, Open Source can get more noticed by more people and bring great applications and server options to the Windows world.
I'd be hard pressed to function efficiently without WinSCP, Python, VNC, putty, JEdit and a bunch of other Open Source applications being available for Windows when I'm using that platform. So, I'd sure hate to see Open Source ports stop heading towards Windows.

What's your take about Open Source applications being made available for Microsoft Windows?


2004-12-15 11:11:58

As a teacher and Linux fan, I see two important advantages of OSS apps on Windows:

1. They give Windows users a taste of a world outside of Microsoft and make it easier for them to migrate to Linux.

2. I can use many of the same tools in both my Linux-based and Windows-based courses.

2004-12-15 22:40:33
DISAGREE: A Compromise Soultion
Microsoft users would LOVE to have access to all the FREE software that Linux users have available to them. I say make WINDOWS users pay through their noses -- Hey they can afford to pay through there noses for bug riddled Windows, it is only fitting they pay through their noses for Microsoft's bug riddled apps as well. I did say something about a "compromise solution". I say make a CRIPPLED version of the FOSS available to Window's users, or put a expiration time that the software can be used for after that Windows users would hqave to PAY for the software. There is NOTHING in the GNU that says developers can not charge for their products. In fact maybe a system that charges Window users while remaining FREE to LINUX and *BSD users should be considered. In fact charging Windows users about 1/2 -3/4 the price for the comparable Microsoft product might lend credability to the product -- "Hey if their charging that much $$$ for the product it must be good".

So the question becomes how to get Windows users to migrate to Linux and *BSD. The answer/s are simple: In the crippled version you announce that the full fledged version is available ONLY in Linux *BSD. In short we need to send a message: if you want OUR apps then you need to consider migrating to LINUX and/or setting up a duel boot Windows box. In case of charging money.... well the developers will at least make money from Microsoft users. OTOH if Microsoft users want the "Free" version they are again forced to either migrate totally to LINUX and/or *BSD, or to at least set up their Windows boxes and duel boot systems.

In short FOSS apps need to come with a "cost": the "cost" that I'm taking about is in terms of EXPOSURE, not $$$ per se. As long as Windows users can get FOSS apps and remain on Windows there will be no incentive to switch to Linux. M$ has played the apps game very well and it is because of their apps they have locked their users into Windows, now the FOSS community can repay the favor: You want to use OUR apps then you need to user OUR OS's.... or pay us $$$ just as you would for the equivalent M$ product.

There might be one tiny upside to making FOSS apps available to Windows users. Most Windows users are brain dead idiots with a point-and-click mentality. We should not be forced to dumb down Linux and *BSD to accomodate lazy and brain dead Windows users. For them I say let them stay on Windows. Linux and *BSD should require that those who wish to migrate to Linux and *BSD have a willingness to rise to our level of basic knowledge, we should not stoop to theirs. That said both Linux and *BSD both could stand to sometimes be a little more user friendly. In short if you are even half way competent then FOSS including Linux and *BSD should not be a problem in migrating to, OTOH if all you know is point-and-click, they you should stay on Windows.

2005-03-21 10:05:32
Agreed (in a way)
OSS is strictly positive for any platform, it is well known. And I would be very glad to see more of it available for Windows, but I'm afraid I won't. Not only because other systems are more "comfortable" for such projects,

Enoch Tobias
Geoffrey Cecily
George Cesar
Francis William
Garnett Zachary
Garret Bridget
Gartheride Cadwallader
Gawen Cassandra
Gervase Christian
Etheldreda Ursula
Evan Valentine
Everard Venetia
Faith Vincent
Faustinus Walter
Francisca Winifred
Fulk Wombell
Gabriel Wymond
Georgette Charity
Gerrard Charles
Felix Warham
Gentile Catherine
Ferdinand Watkin
Florence Wilfred
Erasmus Tristram

but because users of those platforms are much more grateful audience. So I guess that OSS will develop further were it is better accepted.