Perens: Linux could learn from Apple

Summary:Linux and other open-software projects are under threat because they have failed to develop the sympathy for users shown by companies such as Apple, according to Bruce Perens

Linux and other open-software projects are under threat because they have failed to develop the sympathy for users shown by companies such as Apple, according to Bruce Perens.

Despite open software's popularity in some sectors of the community, and the success of some projects, the movement as a whole has failed to defend its own future against the threat of laws designed to regulate the flow of information, such as the US Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), and, before it, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), Perens said in his keynote address to the Linux.conf.au (LCA) 2012 conference in Ballarat, Australia on Tuesday.

In part, that is because many open-source developers have an attitude problem, said Perens, who created the Open Source Definition. "Let's face it; most of us don't even like users. We call them 'lusers'. We make the software for ourselves and the other developers. Why should we like them?" he said.

The community has to reach the common man, he said, pointing to the work of Wikipedia and the Mozilla Foundation as examples. "We haven't yet developed any sympathy for users that is manifested by companies like Apple... A good many of us, unfortunately, match the stereotype of socially impaired programmers."

This story originally appeared as Linux should copy Apple on user rapport and Open source needed to save democracy on ZDNet Australia.


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Topics: Apps, Software Development

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Stilgherrian is a freelance journalist, commentator and podcaster interested in big-picture internet issues, especially security, cybercrime and hoovering up bulldust. He studied computing science and linguistics before a wide-ranging media career and a stint at running an IT business. He can write iptables firewall rules, set a rabbit tr... Full Bio

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