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Open Source Zealotry???

by Arbogast (Monk)
on Feb 02, 2004 at 16:23 UTC ( #325889=perlmeditation: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

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Re: Open Source Zealotry???
by jonadab (Parson) on Feb 02, 2004 at 17:00 UTC

    What is "open source" to one person is a black box to someone else. I'm thinking here in particular of XS modules. You have to think in C to even begin to have a prayer of altering them in any meaningful way. As far as I'm concerned, a BSD-licensed XS module may just as well be binary-only and free for non-commercial use. I'll use it if there's nothing better, but given the choice I'm going for the pure perl solution every time, even if it's less efficient, less actively maintained, and less popular.

    I guess that means I'm not an orthodox Stallmanite, because practical matters concern me more than idealistic licensing issues. But then, we already knew I'm not an orthodox Stallmanite (off-topic details in comment).

    As far as proprietary stuff, the number one reason I tend to avoid it (when I don't need the source code) is because of portability concerns. Portability is a big deal in the Perl community, which is a significant part of what attracted me to Perl. I can write code and use modules and expect it to all run totally unmodified on another system, another OS, another hardware architecture, et cetera, as long as I don't do anything unportable myself (such as hardcode paths, backtick out to system commands, assume that filehandles can handle binary without binmode, or cetera). This is *valuable* to me; I can implement stuff *once* and then *have* it, without the need for worrying about whether some future development (such as platform obsolescence) is going to take it away from me. (Sure, when we get Perl6 then Perl5 code will be obsolete, but it will not magically stop working. If necessary, we can keep Ponie around for virtually ever.)

    Heck, people will even mod your post down for discussions about Proprietary Systems?

    There's no telling what some people will downvote you for. If the thing you're talking about is on-topic, don't worry about it. Now, if you're inserting plugs for proprietary Windows-only stuff in response to a question about some issue on a *nix system, then of course you're going to get downvoted into non-existence for being off-topic. But if someone asks about text editors that run on Windows and can syntax-highlight Perl code but don't have any learning curve and can function as a drop-in replacement for Notepad for a total newbie, I would expect some proprietary solutions to be suggested, and I don't think they would get downvoted much.

    In other words, it is (or should be) all about whether what you're saying fits the discussion it's part of. If we're talking about mod_perl and you start blathering about ASP, then you're going to get a visit from NodeReaper and will get no pity from me.

    $;=sub{$/};@;=map{my($a,$b)=($_,$;);$;=sub{$a.$b->()}} split//,".rekcah lreP rehtona tsuJ";$\=$ ;->();print$/
      Now, if you're inserting plugs for proprietary Windows-only stuff in response to a question about some issue on a *nix system, then of course you're going to get downvoted into non-existence for being off-topic.

      Since people (especialy the unixers) usually do not bother specifying their OS it's a bit hard to know what's on and off topic. And it's true that you are more likely to be downvoted for assuming Windows when the person needed a Unix answer than the other way around. At least it seems like that to me.

      Always code as if the guy who ends up maintaining your code will be a violent psychopath who knows where you live.
         -- Rick Osborne

      Edit by castaway: Closed small tag in signature

        Since people (especialy the unixers) usually do not bother specifying their OS

        When *nix people don't specify their OS, I would like to think that it's usually because you can tell well enough what it is from the content of the post, or else it's not relevant to the question. When the question revolves around e.g. the /proc filesystem, is there any real need to specify that it's a Unix system? Even when it's something like a mod_perl question, it's a pretty good bet that it's some kind of *nix if the user doesn't say otherwise.

        If OTOH the question is about something that's commonly done on other platforms (e.g., encoding audio files, doing stuff with Tk, or whatever), then *nix people ought to specify their OS if it's in any way relevant. I certainly would, though being a multibooter perhaps I'm slightly atypical. I'm sure there are those who neglect this, but there are Windows users who neglect to mention what OS they use as well -- the operating system is such a fundamental underlying thing that people have a tendency to take it for granted. This is true for most operating systems, especially the common ones. (Unix and Windows are by far the two most common. Windows is more common overall, but I suspect that among Perl users *nix is more common, because of Perl being included OOTB on almost all of those platforms.)

        Of course, if the question is about some deeply-Perl thing like the efficiency of repeatedly unshifting an array, then the OS doesn't matter and will often not be specified, but in that case nobody's going to be tempted to post a non-Perl solution, are they?

        I will also note that it's a mistake to universally identify Unix geeks with the open-source movement. My cousin's husband works quite a lot with HPUX; that doesn't have any bearing on his view of open source development. There are several other proprietary unices as well. AIX and Solaris are no more open-source than OS/2 or VMS, unless you count the fact that they ship with tools like Perl included out of the box. But if using Perl makes you a member of the open-source community, then that would include also the people who use Perl on Windows, wouldn't it?

        There is a bias toward *nix systems within the Perl community's collective question-answering, but I suspect this results not so much from a big Zealotry Conspiracy as from the use of *nix examples in certain major Perl books, most notably the Camel, which probably results from Perl having been originally developed under Unix and ported to other systems later. Larry Wall uses some kind of Unix or another, I think, and so when questions are answered straight from his documentation, they tend to be Unix-oriented answers, unless they're pure Perl. It could also be partly because Unix systems all come with Perl included out of the box; on Windows you have to download and install it separately, so most Windows systems don't actually have Perl. (Microsoft would do themselves and their customers a big favour if they included ActiveState Perl with future versions of their OSes, but that's another thread.)

        $;=sub{$/};@;=map{my($a,$b)=($_,$;);$;=sub{$a.$b->()}} split//,".rekcah lreP rehtona tsuJ";$\=$ ;->();print$/
Re: Open Source Zealotry???
by hardburn (Abbot) on Feb 02, 2004 at 18:22 UTC

    I've found the Monestastery remarkably free of Zealotry. There are Monks here who are actively part of the effort to improve the Win32 port of perl. Personally, I use proprietary stuff because I have to, and will junk them at the first chance I get. I just saved my company about $2000 in the last week by suggesting the use of Open Source alternatives that do the job just fine.

    If you're mentioning proprietary systems in your posts and getting modded down, I don't think its because you're mentioning proprietary systems. More likely it's because you have the English skills of an American 3rd-grader (and no, I don't care if I'm downvoted for saying so in such a tone).

    I wanted to explore how Perl's closures can be manipulated, and ended up creating an object system by accident.
    -- Schemer

    : () { :|:& };:

    Note: All code is untested, unless otherwise stated

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Re: Open Source Zealotry???
by perrin (Chancellor) on Feb 02, 2004 at 18:10 UTC
    I see people talking about Java, Solaris, Oracle, Sybase, Exchange, Windows, Mac OS, and lots of other proprietary things here without being trashed for it.
Re: Open Source Zealotry???
by Gyro (Monk) on Feb 02, 2004 at 21:15 UTC
    Don't dispense with the Zealots too quickly. We need them, every community has them. They, in many ways, are like cheerleaders for the OSS community, just like the ones for the proprietary community. They are usually the first ones to rise to the occasion when the big boys fire a shot across our bow. If we didn't have them our place in the world would not be the same.

    If you are concerned about the response you are going to get don't write about it. Like I tell my kids it's not what you said it's how you said it. And don't mistake a rant for zeal, it's usually misguided anger. Ignore the ones that irritate you, they aren't worth it.


Re: Open Source Zealotry???
by cchampion (Curate) on Feb 02, 2004 at 17:04 UTC

    Personally, I downvoted your node because I couldn't make head or tail from it.

    Perhaps, if you could express yourself in more decent English, you could be more appreciated.

    Notice that English is a foreign language for me.

      I downvoted it for the same reason, and English is my native language.

      "Cogito cogito ergo cogito sum - I think that I think, therefore I think that I am." Ambrose Bierce

        I did nothing, but English is not my native language :)

        Who's next?

        Courage, the Cowardly Dog

Re: Open Source Zealotry???
by blue_cowdawg (Monsignor) on Feb 02, 2004 at 21:33 UTC

        Personally, I happily use Windows and Linux.

    Personally I am glad you are. I have long been a very vocal proponent of using the right tool for the job. Often times in my line of work proprietary is the only way to go and when the opportunity presents itself and I can make a good business case for it I will recommend Open Source alternatives over proprietary ones. Please note the verbage "business case" because that is important.

    I think this is the general attitude of the majority of monks here. We ain't interested in religous wars here.

        Personally, I find it irritating every time a subject involves non Open Source Perl programming, you gotta wade through all this irrelevant to subject at hand stuff about Open Source.

    I personally find rants to be offensive from any extreme. When I read your post the first question that popped into my mind was "is the OP talking about PM?" because it has only very recently on PM that I have seen anything resembling zealotry. Usually the PM powers that be will take care of those who get out of line. My second thought when reading your post and your own two follow ups to your own post I thought to myself "this monk wants to be a martyr" but wasn't sure what the cause is.

    Gentle monk: I personally think you are talking about some other site and not The Monastery myself.

    Peter L. Berghold -- Unix Professional
    Peter at Berghold dot Net
       Dog trainer, dog agility exhibitor, brewer of fine Belgian style ales. Happiness is a warm, tired, contented dog curled up at your side and a good Belgian ale in your chalice.
      Zealotry was perhaps too strong a word. As too martyrdom, I pass, :). Gardeners make poor martyrs.

      Perl Monks is most useful and educational. Seems like Perl on Windows related subjects do often result in a bunch of off subject posts about Open Source matters that will steer an inexperienced Perl person in the wrong direction. Certainly you get downvoted quickly for bringing up the Windows subject. I reckon I just don't get the whole Holy War, and get irritated (and shouldn't).
        To complete the "Go Ahead, Be A Heretic thread...

        I am kinda surprised few people see a very noticable anti Windows bias in the site. Oh well, opinions are always cheap and plentiful.
Re: Open Source Zealotry???
by flyingmoose (Priest) on Feb 02, 2004 at 18:41 UTC
    Posting three rants gives me more than one rant to downvote. Joy!

    FWIW, I agree with hardburn, this monastery is about the best user community I've ever seen -- on any subject. If you want ranting, post a Windows article on Slashdot. We all have to deal with proprietary software in our jobs, we're used to it, but we love what loves us -- that is, OSS.

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