RealNetworks Agrees To Pay $4.5 Million In Legal Fees To Hollywood Over RealDVD; Gives Up

from the something's-wrong-with-the-system dept

We still can't quite understand Hollywood's crusade against RealNetworks over its RealDVD offering. The software presented a way for DVD owners to backup their DVDs. It didn't allow for distribution -- unlike pretty much every other ripping software. In fact, Real basically put a new DRM around each backup copy. Personally, this seemed to make the product less useful, but the MPAA still sued RealNetworks for daring to let people backup their movies, and amazingly won nearly every aspect of the lawsuit. The judge (the same one who shut down Napster, by the way) had already banned the sale of RealDVD, and now she's agreed to a settlement that basically involves RealNetworks conceding every point, and paying $4.5 million to Hollywood to cover legal fees. It's a full capitulation.

So what did Hollywood accomplish here? It shut down a software product that allows people to backup the DVDs they legally own -- not to distribute them. In the meantime, of course, there are a bunch of DVD ripping programs out there that have no such restrictions. In other words, Hollywood's brilliant legal strategists just pushed anyone who wants to back up their movies to use solutions that make it easier for them to share those movies with others. It just made sure that such products will always be underground, rather than where the industry can actually work together with them. Congrats, guys, for killing yet another tech product you didn't like, just because it made your products more valuable.


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  1.  
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    Lachlan Hunt (profile), Mar 4th, 2010 @ 3:24am

    While I agree that it was stupid for the MPAA to sue Real for this product, I also think the product would have been a complete failure from the outset. As you're aware, there are plenty of other DVD ripping tools widely available for free that do everything that RealDVD could do, but without any of the restrictions. So I don't know what Real hoped to achieve with it's worthless product. Seriously, who wants to pay for a product that is, by design, more restrictive than the free alternatives?

     

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    TheBeard (profile), Mar 4th, 2010 @ 3:27am

    It's not because they made it more valuable

    "Congrats, guys, for killing yet another tech product you didn't like, just because it made your products more valuable."
    No, no, no.... you have it all wrong. It's not because they made the products more valuable. It's because they made the products more valuable without paying a large initial fee plus 3/4 of their profits for the privilege to do so.

    ... yeah, that logic doesn't make any sense to me either

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 4th, 2010 @ 3:35am

    Re:

    Ask any IT mangager who recommended purchasing a Microsoft solution the same question.

     

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  4.  
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    Mar (profile), Mar 4th, 2010 @ 3:52am

    They didn't really kill it..

    They just angered honest customers who bought Real's products, which is now rendered useless. It's not rocket science that they'll just turn elsewhere for their fix.

     

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  5.  
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    DS, Mar 4th, 2010 @ 3:55am

    Re: Re:

    Vs what...

    Apple, which is even more restrictive?

    Linux, which does NOT have commercial support, and would require all of their users to be retrained on how to use an OS, how to deal with non-standard file types, and how to use applications that they never saw before?

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 4th, 2010 @ 4:13am

    was probably the only company large enough to be their scapegoat

     

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  7.  
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    Ima Fish (profile), Mar 4th, 2010 @ 4:24am

    "We still can't quite understand Hollywood's crusade against RealNetworks over its RealDVD offering..."

    I've said it hundreds of times, when the copyright industry is faced with competition, it sues. If it cannot sue, it has the laws change so it can sue, then it sues. If suing doesn't work, it uses the police power of the state to eliminate the competition.

    Lucky for the movie industry, it only needed step one of its master plan.

    Oh, and where is the competition? Because the movie industry would rather you buy a separate portable movie rather than use your DVD collection for free.

     

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  8.  
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    PaulT (profile), Mar 4th, 2010 @ 5:09am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "Linux, which does NOT have commercial support"

    This is a flat out lie. Many major Linux distributors, such as Red Hat, base their entire business model on providing such support.

    "would require all of their users to be retrained on how to use an OS"

    So, by your definition, nobody should use any non-MS solution? Even upgrading from Office 2003 to 2007, or XP to Window 7 requires some retraining, so it's not really a valid excuse.

    "how to deal with non-standard file types"

    This is also a lie. Linux is perfectly capable of handling almost all file formats. Those that it can't handle 100% are encumbered by patents and/or obfuscated. In which case you have to ask yourself - do you want your company's data to be totally dependent on a single software provider's product?

    "how to use applications that they never saw before"

    Like Firefox? Many applications are either cross-platform or work well under WINE. Yes, there are exceptions, but your reasoning is far from the truth.

     

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  9.  
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    vivaelamor (profile), Mar 4th, 2010 @ 5:13am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "how to deal with non-standard file types"

    I award you the iron medal of irony for suggesting that the FOSS community uses non-standard anything in comparison to Microsoft.

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    :), Mar 4th, 2010 @ 5:14am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Hope you are not a manager because people under you are or will be very angry at that kind of mindset that think about problems as something to be tackled whole and not in pieces.

    Linux has commercial support, Red Hat and Canonical are just the most famous.

    Migration to open source can be initiated on windows, using the software first no need to dive with both feet. Abiword, Gnumeric, OpenOffice, GNUCash(I like this one) etc all work on windows. Most security tools and network stuff is already done in linux so no need for migration at the IT level.

    Which files are not standart? video files? text files? PDF files?

    So which was the contention again?

     

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  11.  
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    not, Mar 4th, 2010 @ 5:29am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "and would require all of their users to be retrained"

    - You're funny. Do you intentionally say silly things or are you uninformed? I have to use microsoft products at the office, and I find the constant rearranging of everything in new releases to be quite annoying. There are many hours of wasted time as a result of this, but you imply quite the opposite - microsoft products do not require any retraining - and that is funny.

    And, as already pointed out, your other talking points are also incorrect.

     

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  12.  
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    WammerJammer (profile), Mar 4th, 2010 @ 6:04am

    What's the big deal?

    Isn't it legal under the Copyright law to make a backup of any product owned for archival purposes? If not didn't it used to be? I lost track somewhere. As an IT administrator we were told that it was legal to make an archival copy of our software and then put the original into a locked safe or other secure area. If I am wrong then under our support we were responsible for making thousands of illegal copies for thousands of major corporations (we had 3500 corp customers on the books) OOPS!!
    Of course we were advised on the backup law back in the 90's and it has probably changed. So many of our laws in the US have been amended and we (the public) hear nothing and as a result we simply hope we are not breaking the law.
    Our company bought a corporate copy of Windows XP and made an install copy. Now the copy is wearing out. I am glad I installed all 450 of our computers with a copy or I would have to buy another corp copy and spend thousands on it again. Good for Microsoft but not good for me as a consumer. I don't want to buy another copy of anything just because it wore out.

     

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    yozoo, Mar 4th, 2010 @ 6:12am

    This is the kind of thing

    This is sort of thing that makes me want to be a pirate. In many ways I am sympothetic to the arguments of content creators, but then there lobbyists do things like this and it just pisses me off as a consumer.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 4th, 2010 @ 6:14am

    by DS

    "Vs what...

    Apple, which is even more restrictive?

    Linux, which does NOT have commercial support, and would require all of their users to be retrained on how to use an OS, how to deal with non-standard file types, and how to use applications that they never saw before?"

    A fanboy is a fanboy is a fanboy.

    Hollywood? Are you reading? Check this out and start suing.
    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&&rls=en&q=copy+dvd+free+software

     

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    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Mar 4th, 2010 @ 6:35am

    Re: What's the big deal?

    "Isn't it legal under the Copyright law to make a backup of any product owned for archival purposes?"

    Yes, it is.

    UNLESS the thing you're backing up has any form of DRM. The anti-circumvention clause of the DMCA makes it illegal to break any type of DRM even for perfectly legal purposes with your legally purchased content.

    As for your situation, Microsoft doesn't care how you install Windows on however many computers you have, as long as you have a legally purchased license for each install.

     

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  16.  
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    Mike C. (profile), Mar 4th, 2010 @ 6:37am

    Re: What's the big deal?

    The DMCA and it's anti-circumvention clause is what is hampering the archival right. You still have the right to archive your purchase, but if it's encrypted in any way to prevent said backup and you circumvent said encryption, you are in violation of the DMCA while trying to perform a fair-use archival backup.

    In the end, all it does is drive more and more people to find the underground tools to safeguard their purchases. Once they figure out how, they are generally happy to instruct their friends who run into the same problem. It's an issue with exponential growth.

    In the end, the abject failure by "major IP owners"* to collaborate with innovators will eventually destroy their business models. With 6+ billion people in the world, you can't stop nor even hope to control the eventual flood of innovation. The best you can do is find a way to go with the flow.

    * major IP owners: i.e. MPAA, RIAA and lawsuit happy software companies

     

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  17.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Mar 4th, 2010 @ 6:46am

    Re: Re:

    The difference is that companies purchase MS products because they're politically safe. As with IBM in days of yore, "nobody gets fired for buying Microsoft."

    It has nothing to do with the relative merits of the products. Real is not starting from that position -- quite the opposite, in fact, in that their history makes them a harder sell from step one.

     

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  18.  
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    Overcast (profile), Mar 4th, 2010 @ 7:13am

    At home - with my personal DVD's, I prefer to rip them, convert to AVI and then re-burn as I can put more on a disc.

    Since I still have the originals the quality issue isn't an issue, I can watch the full DVD whenever I choose.

    And yes, I use software in Linux to do it, but there's also 5-6 other software programs installed on my Windows PC that can do this too.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 4th, 2010 @ 7:18am

    Re: What's the big deal?

    If you really installed 450 Windows computers from a CD (or other physical media copy) then you have some things to learn about IT. There are several ways to do that more quickly.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 4th, 2010 @ 7:21am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Come on Paul T, youre giving people way too much credit here. Its hard enough to get folks to use ANYTHING new, much less a Linux product. Linux is a beautiful beast, but its far from user friendly...think about the family members that already call you with ridiculous Windows questions. I would rather stick a fork in my eye than suggest they use linux.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 4th, 2010 @ 7:22am

    This case is a double edged sword. I hate the MPAA and I hate RealNetworks. This was a case of evil vs. evil and evil prevailed. I'm not sure that anything good would have come from this case either way. In the end, there is one less piece of crapware out there. There is still plenty of good software available for free.

     

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  22.  
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    NAMELESS.ONE, Mar 4th, 2010 @ 7:25am

    make the 4.5 million last

    watch now as sales of dvdrs start to take a dive and guess what
    not banned in rest of the world
    not illegal in rest of the world perhaps real should just stop doing business in the usa like everyone else is doing.
    rest of earth can live without the lazy pricks

     

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  23.  
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    Jim, Mar 4th, 2010 @ 7:28am

    It's not about piracy...

    This is about control, not piracy. The last thing that Hollywood wants is someone creating a new legal business model, especially without Hollywood's approval. Of course they know people can rip DVDs dozens of other illegal ways, and that with a few bananas you can trail a spider monkey to click "Go" on a decrypter. New business models mean change, which means disruption. When you have a billion-dollar revenue stream, the last thing you want is disruption. I'm not saying it's good or that I like it (I don't), but that's the way it is.

     

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  24.  
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    pferland, Mar 4th, 2010 @ 7:47am

    Re: Re: What's the big deal?

    True, I have many a times had to call MS to get a new copy of a CD, as long as you had a valid license for that CD they would send you one.

     

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  25.  
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    Pixelation, Mar 4th, 2010 @ 7:48am

    Value

    "just because it made your products more valuable."

    Not sure I agree. Perhaps more palatable.

     

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  26.  
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    Aaron Martin-Colby (profile), Mar 4th, 2010 @ 7:53am

    FTW!

    Well, to Hollywood, NEENER NEENER NEEEEENER!

    SlySoft AnyDVD FTW! It gets past all of your encryption schemes, has no restrictions, and you can't touch it.

    I just need to wallow in this schadenfreude a bit, because this case has been pissing me off from the very beginning. This judge is absolutely out of her mind.

     

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  27.  
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    Dan, Mar 4th, 2010 @ 8:06am

    This was all about copying rentals

    I'll say up front that I was hoping Real would prevail. But..

    This issue was all about the ability to archive a DVD you didn't own. I can see big media's point here. If this product was commercially available, anybody could rent it from Blockbuster and save it to a hard drive. They would have had to make rentals illegal. No one would get away with trying to do that.

    I agree with the comments here that it was a pointless product, but only to those with tech savvy. For the mainstream buyers, this would have been a very useful tool and thus dangerous for the MPAA to allow. Media doesn't care that we can make an AVI. They want to make sure everyone can't.

     

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  28.  
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    Just me, Mar 4th, 2010 @ 8:08am

    always be underground?

    AnyDVD is and DVD shrink are perfect.
    Or AnyDVD and CloneDVD. Never used CloneDVD muself.
    look at slysoft.com

     

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  29.  
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    PaulT (profile), Mar 4th, 2010 @ 8:08am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I disagree, but that's down to taste. However, the talking point of how user friendly it is tends to be down to dated impressions - check out a live CD of a modern distro to see how far things have come.

    Most users just want a web browser, email client and an office package, along with a few other bits and pieces. All of that is installed *by default* on most Linux distros, meaning that the average user won't even have to work out how to install a program before they can do something useful (which is far from a user-unfriendly process nowadays). The issues that stop it becoming more mainstream are really just branding (e.g. people have been conditioned to look for "Photoshop" and "iTunes" instead of "a photo editing package" and "a media player") and lack of support from a few major companies (Apple, Microsoft, Adobe) rather than anything inherent in a user-aimed desktop distro like Ubuntu.

    Anyway, the points I was responding to were either outright lies, or implied that no user training is involved with MS products. I don't mind people who don't like Linux overall, as long as their opinions are based on facts and not lies.

     

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  30.  
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    Valkor, Mar 4th, 2010 @ 8:09am

    Re: FTW!

    Yeah, I'm off to download another copy of DVD Decrypter and DVDXCopy. (Back up your files, boys and girls. Hard drives fail.)

    It would have been nice to at least be able to consider a less grey-market, less potentially virus ridden option, but I can't do that now.

     

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  31.  
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    Rekrul, Mar 4th, 2010 @ 8:12am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    So, by your definition, nobody should use any non-MS solution? Even upgrading from Office 2003 to 2007, or XP to Window 7 requires some retraining, so it's not really a valid excuse.

    No, but Linux is far from the novice-friendly OS Linux users would have you believe. 90% of Linux software is written using a set of unwritten rules;

    1. Ready to run binaries should never be provided, always make the user compile their own.

    2. Every Linux program must require at least two other programs/packages to be installed first.

    3. No linux program should ever be written to do in one step, what the user can be made to do in two or more steps. Having 3-5 steps that must be performed manually is the preferred average. For example: No archive program should ever perform both the functions of joining files together and compressing them. Separate programs must always be used for both steps.

    4. Whenever possible, programs should be command line and/or hotkey controlled only. If a GUI is required it should be written by a different author and installed separately, preferably following rules 1-3.

    5. Every program must have at least 3-4 different ways of enabling or disabling every option. For example: During compiling, via a command line option, via a config file, via an option inside the program, via a user's global config, or via a system's global config. Accordingly, there must be a confusing list of which options override which others.

    6. A list of command line options can be provided for small programs, but under no circumstances shall detailed help or instructions be included with the program. The only permissable form of more indepth help is either a web page on the net (must be at least 2 versions behind the current release) or a bare-bones "Wiki" written by advanced users of the software who will gloss over all the details that beginners are looking for.

    7. If a program is anything larger than a small command line program, the authors will under no circumstances, provide a direct method for getting in touch with them. All bugs reports will handled through trackers. The only help that should be provided to end users is a forum where other users can answer the easy questions and completely ignore any users who have a genuine problem that doesn't qualify as a bug.

     

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  32.  
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    PaulT (profile), Mar 4th, 2010 @ 8:21am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Nice, but pointless bull. At no point did I say that Linux is perfect for novice users. What I said is that the implication that no retraining is ever required for MS products was misleading.

    BTW, I use Linux as my primary OS on 3 different machines, so I know what I'm talking about. Most of the points you raise are outdated at best, while those issues that still exist (e.g. package dependency) are often invisible to users. Installing a piece of software that's available in your distro's repositories is usually as simple as selecting it from a list, and the installer takes care of the rest. It takes less clicks than the average Windows installer.

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 4th, 2010 @ 8:31am

    Re: This was all about copying rentals

    "This issue was all about the ability to archive a DVD you didn't own. I can see big media's point here. If this product was commercially available, anybody could rent it from Blockbuster and save it to a hard drive. They would have had to make rentals illegal. No one would get away with trying to do that."

    You can also do that...with every other DVD ripping program in existence.

     

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  34.  
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    interval, Mar 4th, 2010 @ 8:52am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    @AC: "Its hard enough to get folks to use ANYTHING new..."

    Until they really need it. Then watch how fast they learn, at least the borderline trivial stuff. My wife, a long time Windows XP user, "got her hands on" a collection of tracks that were in flac format. She asked me what the hell these files were and where were the mp3 files she was expecting. So I created a shell account on our Ubuntu home file server, added mp3 lame and support utils from the repository, then wrote her a shell script that converts all flac (and ogg) files in the cwd to mp3; now a few months later she logs into her shell acct on that server to not only convert audio but video files too. Something you can't do on Windows without some effort and a little cash.

    Necessity made her into a Linux shell user and it wasn't that painful a transition for her.

     

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  35.  
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    interval, Mar 4th, 2010 @ 8:59am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    @Rekrul: "No, but Linux is far from the novice-friendly OS Linux..." blah blah

    Yeah, there's a curve, but I haven't found it to be as bad for non-techies as you paint it. See my other story above.

     

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  36.  
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    nasch (profile), Mar 4th, 2010 @ 9:39am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    This isn't really very accurate, but it has some grains of truth to it and it's pretty amusing. :-)

     

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  37.  
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    PaulT (profile), Mar 4th, 2010 @ 10:23am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Actually, it's worth noting that on top of that, the original post made by the AC specified a corporate environment. So, however easy or hard software installation and management is, a "novice user" should not in a position to be doing it anyway.

    It's also worth noting that the few points that rang even remotely true in Rekrul's post don't apply to Linux specifically, but to open source software as a whole. There are many well-documented and fully-featured Linux applications, and many Windows-only open source projects that suffer from these problems.

     

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  38.  
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    chris (profile), Mar 4th, 2010 @ 10:28am

    Re: Re:

    because no one ever got fired for buying microsoft.

     

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  39.  
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    chris (profile), Mar 4th, 2010 @ 11:03am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    90% of Linux software is written using a set of unwritten rules;

    writing them down sort of stops them from being unwritten.

    also, your list of complaints must be at least 15 years old. if we are going to have a 15 year old argument you should explain to me why windows NT isn't plug and play.

    1. Ready to run binaries should never be provided, always make the user compile their own.

    BS. the apt and rpm systems install ready to run binaries, and apt will even down load it for you.

    and 99% of the time compiling your own is just typing 3 commands:
    ./configure
    ./make
    ./make install

    the process is positively onerous.

    2. Every Linux program must require at least two other programs/packages to be installed first.

    BS. on windows you almost always need a .NET runtime, some sort of VB, MFC, visual studio runtime, or a java VM to run a program.

    3. No linux program should ever be written to do in one step, what the user can be made to do in two or more steps. Having 3-5 steps that must be performed manually is the preferred average. For example: No archive program should ever perform both the functions of joining files together and compressing them. Separate programs must always be used for both steps.

    BS. windows still can't open tar or rar files to this day without additional software. the -z and -Z options for tar are at least 15 years old.

    4. Whenever possible, programs should be command line and/or hotkey controlled only. If a GUI is required it should be written by a different author and installed separately, preferably following rules 1-3.

    BS. firefox is the gui frontend to what program? open office is the gui front end to what program? gaim is the gui frontend to what program?

    how do you graphically release and renew the IP in windows? oh that's right winipcfg disappeared after win95. what is netsh and why doesn't it have a gui?

    5. Every program must have at least 3-4 different ways of enabling or disabling every option. For example: During compiling, via a command line option, via a config file, via an option inside the program, via a user's global config, or via a system's global config. Accordingly, there must be a confusing list of which options override which others.

    BS. what is the windows registry for? what are all those folders in your windows user profile? local settings? application data? surely those don't affect things in strange and arbitrary ways, right? why are there all those .inf and .ini files there?

    6. A list of command line options can be provided for small programs, but under no circumstances shall detailed help or instructions be included with the program. The only permissable form of more indepth help is either a web page on the net (must be at least 2 versions behind the current release) or a bare-bones "Wiki" written by advanced users of the software who will gloss over all the details that beginners are looking for.

    BS. you want me to post a hijackthis log to the internet?



    7. If a program is anything larger than a small command line program, the authors will under no circumstances, provide a direct method for getting in touch with them. All bugs reports will handled through trackers. The only help that should be provided to end users is a forum where other users can answer the easy questions and completely ignore any users who have a genuine problem that doesn't qualify as a bug.

    BS. you know the guy who wrote active directory? yeah, me neither, and i damn sure don't know how to contact him. how about the guy that wrote internet explorer? i would *REALLY* like to talk to that guy.

     

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  40.  
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    chris (profile), Mar 4th, 2010 @ 11:06am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I award you the iron medal of irony for suggesting that the FOSS community uses non-standard anything in comparison to Microsoft.

    microsoft file types would be standard if you hippies would quit using everything things other than windows and office.

     

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  41.  
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    chris (profile), Mar 4th, 2010 @ 11:08am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I have to use microsoft products at the office, and I find the constant rearranging of everything in new releases to be quite annoying.

    i like the assumption that a company trained it's users to begin with.

     

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  42.  
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    interval, Mar 4th, 2010 @ 11:15am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Damn hippies.

     

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  43.  
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    interval, Mar 4th, 2010 @ 11:25am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    @chris: "2. Every Linux program must require at least two other programs/packages to be installed first."

    If you believe that every executable image on Windows is a total, complete, and dependency-free monolithic application then you are only showing your utter lack of knowledge. Every time an installation of Windows to any Linux distro? The difference is HOURS. That's where you Windows "requirements" are; right there with the megs of other cruft that you may never use.

    Linux does away with you carrying everything you could possibly (not "do need", but "might need") need by calling dependencies up at install time. Is it better for novice users? Maybe not. Then again, is it ok to get 3rd parties involved to charge you EXTRA over and above the cost of the OS to allow you to play a dvd on your pc? Or can you learn a few extra commands to install the free software to do it? Depends on how much time your willing to invest to save the cash I guess.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    identicon
    interval, Mar 4th, 2010 @ 11:31am

    Re: Re: Re:

    That belief was wiped away of course by the many problems the various places I've worked at over the years have had with upgrading different releases of Office and SQL Server, not to mention the Vista debacle. The philosophy of sticking with Microsoft because there is huge corporation what can stand behind their products and accept blame for lost hours and productivity for defective products is wiped completely clean after you realize how large and really uncaring that corporation is by simply attempting to get them to respond to your please for help.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    identicon
    TheStupidOne, Mar 4th, 2010 @ 12:06pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Linux is a beautiful beast, but its far from user friendly."

    I have to disagree with you, Ubuntu is really user friendly though there is a bit of a learning curve. However, with just a touch of corporate IT support, Ubuntu would be as easy, or even easier to use than Windows.

    Linux's degree of user friendliness is entirely dependent on what package it is wrapped up in. Most aren't user friendly, some are very user friendly

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    identicon
    JEDIDIAH, Mar 4th, 2010 @ 12:08pm

    The call of the fear monger.

    > Linux, which does NOT have commercial support, and would
    > require all of their users to be retrained on how to use
    > an OS, how to deal with non-standard file types, and how
    > to use applications that they never saw before?

    Mindless, Nonsense, FUD.

    Apple is restrictive, but it's easy enough to install better tools that aren't so restrictive. Linux is where most of these tools to "liberate" MacOS are coming from. They are also widely used among Windows users.

    Everyone is using the same stuff and the same file formats. The really leading edge stuff is not the stuff that's under the thumb of Apple, or Adobe or even Microsoft.

    In general, many tools are cross platform. The data formats are cross platform and well understood by everyone. If a novice might have trouble with one of them it is due to the fact that they are inherently complex and many devices (like the ones from Apple) are somewhat crippled.

    Even then, stuff like Handbrake is available for every platform.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    identicon
    JEDIDAH, Mar 4th, 2010 @ 12:15pm

    1998 called. It wants it's FUD back.

    > No, but Linux is far from the novice-friendly OS Linux
    > users would have you believe. 90% of Linux software is
    > written using a set of unwritten rules;
    >
    > 1. Ready to run binaries should never be provided,
    > always make the user compile their own.

    You lost it at this point. Linux has had very slick binary
    software managers since about forever. The current crop of
    dominant desktop Linuxen use to those slick package managers
    to very good effect.

    In this particular area (multimedia codec support), Linux blows the doors clean off of MacOS and is also better than Windows. Linux is more than just stuff like Slackware or Gentoo. It alway shas been.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    identicon
    JEDIDAH, Mar 4th, 2010 @ 12:18pm

    Putting a toe in the water...

    Don't forget VLC and XBMC. We're talking about DVD and video here.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    identicon
    JEDIDAH, Mar 4th, 2010 @ 12:24pm

    Welcome to the future. We've been waiting for you.

    Once liberated from their physical media, multi-media can be accessed in a manner that was once strictly the domain of science fiction. You can sit on your own couch and use an interface that looks like it came out of Star Trek.

    Having all of your DVDs in a Tivo-like device is very handy and it does infact make your DVDs more useful and usable.

    Of course it's just an extension of the mp3 jukebox idea.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
    identicon
    Valkor, Mar 4th, 2010 @ 1:13pm

    Re: This was all about copying rentals

    Yeah, and in the 90's I was able to defeat the Macrovision protection by using a camcorder as a playback device. I didn't even have to buy a cheap doo-dad to make a clear (analog degradation notwithstanding) copy. Don't remember anything about making rentals illegal then.

    Big media still fails.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 4th, 2010 @ 2:29pm

    Re:

    Does you average non-geek know anything you just said [,about Real alternatives].

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52.  
    identicon
    The Linux Band, Mar 4th, 2010 @ 3:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: Beating that drum

    "Linux, which does NOT have commercial support, and would require all of their users to be retrained on how to use an OS, how to deal with non-standard file types, and how to use applications that they never saw before?

    My grandma used Linux with no training, lol.

    Non-standard file types? WTH are you talking about?

    Commercial support is widely available for Linux, not sure about the quality though.

    Applications you have never seen before? You mean like every time Microsoft releases a new version of office and redesigns the entire interface?

    The only thing holding back Linux adoption at this point is Microsoft and the jokers like DS who are self appointed lackeys.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53.  
    icon
    Richard (profile), Mar 4th, 2010 @ 4:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    So which was the contention again?

    The contention is that video card and wireless network manufacturers have chosen not to support opens source properly so, if you have a laptop, the odds are that one of those devices will not work fully (or even at all) under Linux without considerable effort and head-scratching.
    Of course if you can't get your wireless card to work then all those wonderful automatic downloads won't happen. A real chicken and egg situation.

    This is the true weakness of open source at present, and I say this with great sorrow as I am a firm supporter of Free software and dearly wish it wasn't true. However it is not the fault of the OS community and they (we) are working very hard to fix it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54.  
    icon
    Overcast (profile), Mar 4th, 2010 @ 6:00pm

    You can install Ubuntu faster than Windows. Just burn the ISO to a DVD and install. It auto updates, adding programs is as simple as selecting a GUI menu app and installing them.

    Yes, some of the more complicated stuff requires compilation, but out of the box Ubuntu can copy/burn DVD's.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  55.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Mar 5th, 2010 @ 6:09am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "A real chicken and egg situation."

    Not really. Most mainstream Linux distros have a live CD (or USB) option available, so you can see if anything is going to cause problems before you install a single byte. It's also usually possible to find out whether a piece of hardware is going to work correctly before you buy it, and some manufacturers are known to be much more Linux-friendly than others. The information's out there if you spend a few moments in Google, especially if you're dealing with a major distro aimed at desktop users.

    There's really no excuse in this day and age to not be able to run most major hardware types on Linux. The problem is that you have to do a small amount of prior thinking, which many users aren't very good at doing. In the last few months, I've installed Linux on 2 older Dell desktop units, a 2-year old Acer laptop and a Toshiba - all installed from a live Kubuntu install on the same USB stick. The only thing I ever had problems with was the IR input on one of the laptops, which I would never ever use anyway. Linux was quicker than Windows, almost everything worked out of the box, and I had a complementary set of application software ready to go immediately.

    By contrast, one of the Dells was a bitch to install XP on to (e.g., no CD drive, no native drivers for the Ethernet - I had to download them via Linux), and the Acer keeps overheating under XP for some reason (never under Linux, though).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  56.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2010 @ 9:37am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    also, your list of complaints must be at least 15 years old.

    Really? Then explain this page;

    https://help.ubuntu.com/community/RestrictedFormats/BluRayAndHDDVD

    Let's see;

    1. Programs provided as source code? Check.

    2. Programs with dependancies? Check.

    3. Forcing the user to follow a bunch of steps manually? Check.

    4. Command line only with a GUI provided by someone else? In the case of MPlayer, check.

    5. Multiple ways of specifying the same options? Check. (MPlayer: From the command line, from a system-wide config file, from a user specific config file, from a file-specific config file, from within the program)

    6. No complete docs. Ok, the programs used there seem to be the exception.

    7. No way to contact the authors directly. Partial check. You can contact the author of DumpHD on the Doom9 forum, but what about the people writing MPlayer and ffmpeg? Oh, you can join the mailing lists...

    Or how about PING (Ping Is Not Ghost)? Here's the start of the "How to" section. How many steps are required to create and burn an image of your drive?

    http://ping.windowsdream.com/ping/doc-2.01/using.html

    Not to mention that not only does it not burn the image directly, it doesn't even separate the files into the required groupings for you. The section on burning the files to multiple discs is a complete mess with the examples showing various files appearing and disappearing from one "screenshot" to the next, examples of files being shown that don't conform to any example given previously, etc.

    I didn't say what I wrote applied to all Linux programs, but it seems to apply to a large number of them. And yes, the same points apply to other open source software as well. Just try and get someone to help you diagnose an out of the ordinary problem with Firefox or Thunderbird. Unless it's something really common, nobody on the forums knows anything. The authors would probably know, but you can't contact them, you can only post in the forums or talk to a volunteer who has no idea why it's not working properly for you.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  57.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Mar 5th, 2010 @ 11:07am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Sigh.... you see, this is why this kind of debate is impossible. You selectively pick on type of RESTRICTED format that artificial barriers have been put into place to stop Linux from using, and then pretend that's some kind of problem with Linux itself.

    "Really? Then explain this page;"

    From the link you provided:

    "Ubuntu 9.10 contains a version of Mplayer that is capable of reading decrypted Blu-ray files."

    The damn program is supplied with the new versions of Ubuntu, ready to go. As for the rest of the steps, yeah they're clunky but that'll be down to patent and copyright/DMCA issues rather than technical issues - the problem steps are to bypass the DRM. Your argument is an argument against DRM, not Linux. Same issue with Red Hat not supplying DECSS and MP3 codecs a few years ago - no technical reason for it, they just couldn't afford to get sued by the **AA.

    Other than that, there's nothing to stop you using VLC, XBLC, Ogle, XINE, Kaffeine, Totem or any other piece of software you want to use to play back non-DRMed video files - you have the same level of choice as you do on Windows. Most of these programs can be found in your distribution's repositories, and all dependencies are automatically resolved.

    "2. Programs with dependancies? Check."

    Windows programs also have dependencies. Don't believe me? Try installing a Java or .NET-based program without the required framework installed and tell me if it doesn't come up with a dependency error. Sorry if this confuses you, but it's not exactly rocket science. Besides, as already mentioned, dependencies are automatically taken care of if you're using a comprehensive repository. This does not normally happen in Windows.

    "3. Forcing the user to follow a bunch of steps manually? Check."

    Which steps? All I'm seeing the the equivalent of "if you want to use DRMed media, first install the following software". How is this different from Windows, apart from the fact that a drooling moron might get confused while following the step-by-step?

    "4. Command line only with a GUI provided by someone else? In the case of MPlayer, check."

    I fail to see why this is a problem. There are plenty of Windows programs that also do this, it's just more hidden from the average user. Besides, who's forcing you to use such a program instead of a fully integrated application?

    "5. Multiple ways of specifying the same options? Check. (MPlayer: From the command line, from a system-wide config file, from a user specific config file, from a file-specific config file, from within the program)"

    Again, if you don't like this, choose a different damn program! Windows programs also store preferences in different locations (registry only, registry + other files, no registry in the case of WOW, and so on).

    "6. No complete docs. Ok, the programs used there seem to be the exception."

    I'd be interested to see which Windows program you've used recently that has 100% perfect documentation. I certainly use several programs at work where Google is far more helpful than any supplied docs.

    I'm sure there's similar counterpoints to your Ghost analog, but I don't use those kinds of programs. What I do is store all of my data and program settings in my /home directory, back that up regularly, and spend minimal amounts of time restoring it from a fresh install if need be.

    "The authors would probably know, but you can't contact them, you can only post in the forums or talk to a volunteer who has no idea why it's not working properly for you."

    ...unless you pay for support from the company supplying you the distro or other provider. You want your software both free *and* fully featured and supported? You'd be surprised at how many Windows providers don't do this either. I mean, how many authors do you directly deal with on closed source projects? Maybe you have a paid representative who is able to relay information to the authors (on a support contract you paid for directly or indirectly), but contact the author themselves for every issue you come across? Highly unlikely.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  58.  
    identicon
    Rekrul, Mar 6th, 2010 @ 6:33am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Sigh.... you see, this is why this kind of debate is impossible. You selectively pick on type of RESTRICTED format that artificial barriers have been put into place to stop Linux from using, and then pretend that's some kind of problem with Linux itself.

    The problem is that those are the kinds of instructions I see every time I go looking for a program to do something and I end up on a Linux site by mistake.

    I'm not saying that Windows or Windows programs are perfect. There are a lot of aspects of Windows that seem to have been designed by either a moron, or by someone who had never used a computer before. However, Linux seems to have just as many quirks and WTF? aspects, they're just different.

    And if the end user is into games at all, then Linux isn't even an option. No, I don't consider WINE to be a viable method for gaming.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  59.  
    icon
    chris (profile), Mar 10th, 2010 @ 7:48am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    8. software is illegal to distribute in binary form due to licensing restrictions?

    check.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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