Open Source software focused on Microsoft?

Think of all the Open Source software you know. Now, (assumming that the software is multiplatform) what is the one platform that’s most supported?

Is it windows by any chance?

Yep, it’s windows (in most cases). Linux always comes in second, then there is a mac version, and then a Free-BSD version, all of which seem to get far less attention than the windows one.

It’s almost like everything is being initially made for windows, and then other platform versions are just kind of put together in a rush, so that it can be said that the software is “multiplatform”.

This would be perfectly understandable if the software was made by microsoft or some other commercial entity, but this software is Open Source and as such shouldn’t it’s primary focus be on open source operating systems like linux?

Yea, yea, I know, the majority runs windows and therefore the developers develop for it because everyone is using it and therefore it becomes a self perpetuating circle. When developers develop software they want to make it available to the greatest audience possible, and for that windows is perfect, due to it’s widespread use.

Now, I’m sure that if Linux was as widespread as windows the developers would have no problem shifting their priorities, but there in lies the problem. To clarify: Windows is widespread because of it’s ease of use, and “all the software that is being developed for it” by commercial entities but more importantly (in the long run) by the “open source developers”. I, as many other Linux users still hold on to a windows partition, simply because there are things exclusive to windows that are not ported to linux, or because there is some sort of a bug on the Linux side of things that has been already solved on the windows version (because of the windows priority).

The key word here is “exclusive”. In order for linux to become mainstream, people have to be “forced” to cross over, and in order to do that we just need to take a page out of the microsoft playbook. You make software exclusive to Linux, or at the very least you make the Linux version a development priority. This is the only way that Open Source efforts will once again benefit Open Source itself, instead of additionally feeding a monopoly such as microsoft.

What do you guys think?

perhaps more open source software is written for windows simply because more programmers are using windows. period.

don’t forget that most developers who donate their time to these projects understandably want as many people to benefit from their work as possible - and if they only have the resources to develop for one platform - that would mean they make it for windows first.

i think that, no matter how well intentioned, advocating creating software that can only be run by a small percentage of people simply because you want to “force” people to use the operating system that you prefer is reprehensible.

i fail to see how you can seriously attack a monopolistic company and then advocate acting in a similarly authoritarian manner in the same breath and expect to be taken seriously.

not trying to start a flame war here… just giving you my two cents’ because i’m tired of the windows vs. mac vs. linux debate. it’s not worth having.

Actually you got this all wrong.

The crossover is much easier when you learn the opensource software on windows. So when you switch to linux you know the software with no problem. The opensource programs are like linux like anyways. Clever in so many ways.

Even the installations are easy now.

Now some things seems so hard on linux. Like drivers, opengl, photoshop and games. Configuration and so on. The old linuxes left bad taste in my mouth, nothing but trouble, and the new one are really good. I will just wait a little bit longer for the “perfect” version.

Look at Mac Os’s. There are softwares for them that only works on mac’s. Why didn’t more people switch to macs?

Mentality is the answer in most cases. If it works don’t change anything.

I’m on win xp and most stuff are open source. So why switch if everything works?!

I’m a software developer (professionally, for my own amusement/edification, and occasionally to give away to other people) and the thing is… all I own are Windows computers. I grew up on Unix, and I think Linux is spiffy and all that, and I’ve got nothing against Macs and OSX. Or Wang VS. Or the AS/400 OS. Or whatever.

In my case (as is probably true with virutally everyone out there who knows how to program and knows the computer inside and out) I’m also the informal tech support for all my friends and family, as well as many of their friends and family. They all use Windows, too, many because calling Dell or (in times past) Gateway was just too easy, and getting their favorite games or whatever was simpler.

I could build several computers (Lord knows, I’ve got the spare parts!) and run a few different operating systems. Truth is, I really don’t have the time to be down into multiple OS’s AND do my 3D art hobby AND do my programming. Something has to give, and it’s my choice of OS. I’d be willing to bet you find a lot of developers who favor one OS over another out of priorities as much as who their target audience is.

Good developers, of course, isolate the O/S specific parts of their code (where possible) to make their systems more portable, and Blender does a better job of that than most. One of the reasons I really like it is the philosophy behind it. :slight_smile:

My rambling $0.02 for the day…

The opensource movement will never catch on if there is no Windows suppport. People will not be willing to completely switch to all opensource overnight. What they will do is start using programs such as OpenOffice, Gimp, and others (hopefully including Blender). They will take small steps. Once they have these opensource programs running, they would be more likely to switch to an opensoure OS. Opensource has to support windows or it will never expand its userbase. By having it run on Windows, more people will likely use it.

As far as it supporting windows first, I don’t know that its true. I think in general, Linux users are used to not being mainstream, but for Windows users, this is shocking. I think that Windows is emphasized so that everyday Windows users aren’t frightened away. Many of the people that I know who use Windows don’t want to even think about switching because Linux is too different. Supporting Windows first is just a way to ease the transition. Once they are happy with opensource on windows, then it is time to switch over to something like Ubuntu.

I use Ubuntu with a windows partition for gaming. If it wasn’t for video games, I could manage to use only Ubuntu. Once mainstream video games work under Linux without some crappy emulator, I will switch completely over. I think it is important for developers to support many platforms. If they try to make it Linux exclusive, they will loose a userbase because people will not be willing to switch over to a completely new OS to use free software. People would rather pay loads of money than spend a little bit of time learning how to use “new” software.

Because Linux is free. I’m not making people pay for the OS, just to use the software to it’s full potential.

Glad you understand that this is a mature debate and not a flame war.

Why would there be a crossover at all then? The software already works on windows and the windows version is a development priority.

See, that’s my whole point here. There is no incentive to crossover after that, because there is nothing to gain by doing so.

Don’t you think?

Why would there be a crossover at all then? The software already works on windows and the windows version is a development priority.

Give it time. Give it ten years. Where will linux be in ten years from now?

In every man’s computer.

Personally I can’t wait till the Microsoft Empire dies a horrible death. As you said it is a viscious cycle - software is developed for Windows because it is a monopoly (90% user base) and Windows is a monopoly because all software is written for it. By no stretch of the imagination is it because Windows is inherently better in any way in efficiency or security. “Millions can’t be wrong” is the biggest lying piece of FUD ever devised by Microsoft.

No doubt the educated people on elysiun know that M$ is actually evil. But if not please check out Real memos leaked to the outside world from inside the evil empire showing the countless dirty tricks they employ. If Microsoft’s practice of buying out other people’s innovation and squeezing the market for domination doesn’t disgust you then I don’t know what will.

Over the years I have briefly flirted with Red Hat, Ubuntu, Gentoo and Kororaa. Sadly now I just run windows - mainly because of games. The viscious cycle has me trapped and I hate it. I know cedega exists but it is too much hassle to get working.

There is a way out. As already mentioned, people using open-source on Windows can migrate easier to linux. Windows support of open-source projects is essential. But the way to beat M$ is not so much to swap to linux but to change your way of thinking. Paying for a “product” that can be copied infinitely is a flawed business model. Open source is the way.

Personally, I’ve sworn never to give another penny to M$ again - but that doesn’t mean I can’t run Windows. As long as I make it clear that I want linux support as well. Microsoft is afraid of the process of open source development. Use open source applications on Windows by all means, spread the word about the wonderful open projects out there, make people aware of linux. Use Firefox. Make people aware that you want linux support.

The most important thing is to educate the masses that:

  1. Free software is not the same as freeware. Free software gives you rights, proprietry software takes all your rights away.

  2. Just because you don’t pay money for something doesn’t make it inferior than a paying alternative. Look at Firefox for example.

  3. And most importantly - A PC IS NOT WINDOWS. Many people think a computer is Windows and that there is no choice. It is vital people know that Windows is an option - and a poor one at that. In my opinion, no hardware should be sold with software (other than drivers) unless a choice is given to the consumer.

Support open source. On all operating systems. That is Microsoft’s worst fear.


If things keep going as they are, the same place it is today. Right behind Windows.

1 - Because Open Source applications are being primarily developed for windows? Heh, thats the one thing that will keep them alive.

2 - None of that matters as long as those applications run on windows. As long as windows development remains a priority for Open Source software developers, Microsoft stays in the game. It’s that simple.

Koba, try to calm down a bit. Remember this is a thread on weather or not windows development priority is an inhibitor for linux development. Not a thread on weather or not microsoft is evil.

Yes they are a monopoly, but still, let’s try to be a little more objective here.

In that case I take the stance that Open source projects should support linux and windows equally. Equally so that windows users can migrate to linux easier and that linux development doesn’t get left behind. Then the merits of the OS itself will bring people over to linux in time.

As for Open Source projects making windows development a priority, I am not sure that is really true.


Opensource is about being open. It is about working with others to accomplish a common goal. Making opensource exclusive automatically destroys the idea of opensource. We aren’t going to get anywhere if we blame microsoft for being so controlling and exclusive but turn around and do the same thing. It is also about choice. Opensource allows people to choose what software they are going to use. By having it run on different OS’s, it reaches more people. You can’t limit this. If you want it to be linux exlusive, then that will kill opensource. Koba has the right idea. They need to be supported equally. It doesn’t matter what you think about the OS, it is only fair to have it available on any OS. Since it is opensource, it will be changed if there is a need. That is part of the beauty of opensource. It is widely adaptable.

I would also like to point out that while most people don’t like microsoft, if it was to suddenly die, there would be more problems. Right now it provides a standard for software for companies. If it would just disappear, they would be scrambling to find a replacement. No more tech support would employ a lot of Geeks like me, but there would be a lot who used to work for Microsoft but lost their jobs. Believe it or not, they are people too. The only death of Microsoft that would work would be a slow one, with plenty of time to adjust. I think that opensource is capable of bringing this about, but only if people are able to get a taste of it while still using windows.

I agree with you mostly (the bit about open source software prioritizing linux in order to benefit the OS) but if you make linux mainstream people will start to write crap software for it too. Of course by “crap software” I mean like that WhenU Save crap that clogs up everybody’s system resources, and people will try to write viruses (though i doubt they will be very successful) and I dont think linux needs all of those people messing with it. I think that the fact that linux is unpopular and not so userfriendly is one of the main reasons i like it. Linux forces you to learn and if you’re unwilling then you get weeded out. That’s why most people who use linux are computer saavy = )

That’s my $0.02

I’m sorry… what are some examples of OSS projects that are better supported in Windows than in Linux? I’m having trouble coming up with any.

Think of all the Open Source software you know. Now, (assumming that the software is multiplatform) what is the one platform that’s most supported?

Is it windows by any chance?

Yep, it’s windows (in most cases). Linux always comes in second, then there is a mac version, and then a Free-BSD version, all of which seem to get far less attention than the windows one.

I can’t think of any open source projects that has better support for windows. Maybe you could name a few?

Most of the open source developers I can think of actually work on linux, so I fail to see how windows will get better support. (except if by “better support” you mean that you can download some binaries instead of the source)

No, I think Social has a point. There is some proprietary software like Logic, Final Cut Pro and Shake, which are among the industry standards and they do encourage people to switch over because if they didn’t, you can’t use the software. If I used Linux or Windows, I couldn’t use Final Cut or Shake, which I do. If I used Linux, I couldn’t use Flash, Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign, Quicktime etc. Same with khtml-based web browsers. Look at what you have to do to get one on Windows:

The trouble with Linux is it has largely nothing that you can’t do on other systems. I think this is one of the biggest marketing ploys that commercial companies take advantage of. Microsoft supports OpenGL but maintains proprietary DirectX so it can play both whereas everyone else can only do OpenGL.

Now, just because it is a solution, it is not a commendable one. I would love it if the computer industry was fair but I would also love it if most things in life were fair. The reality is that if you play fair, all it takes is for one person to play unfairly and they can squeeze you out the market entirely and it will always happen. There will never be an end to greedy, exploitative people.

If Linux went down the commercial route then I think it would decrease the number of users because it would inevitably mean closing the sources. This goes against what Linux stands for.

We just have to accept that different systems are better for different things:

Windows for the business world and gaming
Mac for media, DTP and film
Linux for the servers

To an extent, they can all do the same stuff but they each have things they excel at.

Hmm … interesting.

But do I miss a little something here: how come that -all- of the mayor animation/film studios allegedly use linux? And that notorious hardware vendors like HP (used in film studios, don’t brag, look at dreamworks), IBM (also, on the sidenote I have an intellistation), etc -explicitely- provide topnotch -linux- graphic workstations (not just the ones for medical stuff etc.), while major vendor explicitely provides -pro level- graphic adapters with heavy linux support and a -film- renderer which runs on windows/linux? On the side note, wildcats only run on windows (I know a guy with one). I don’t need one, I guess.

I’m completelly clueless why is that linux is only good for servers?
Should I change my hardware?

Regarding opensource: if you can compile with gcc, you can -probably- do it on windows, too.

Linux is starting to get corporate backing from some of the largest Computer companies out there: Novell, IBM, HP, just to name of few.

I would have to say its not Open Source programs that have poor support for Linux. Infact Linux usually gets better treatment. Blender & ffmpeg anyone?

The main problem is that software companies are scared of Linux, being Open Source many people expect the software to be free. And companies dont want to feel presured by this.

When it comes to M$ & Mac there is very little, “I want the programs to be Open Source & free”. So companies focus there.

If it was comercial proprietary software you where talking about having worst support for Linux than Windows, I would agree.

Seems to me that providing choice is one of the biggest philsophical underpinnings of OSS and Free Software rhetoric. What your suggesting is pretty much the antithesis of that.

Personally as an OSS developer I’m not much interested in such exclusionary power plays. But thats just my opinion.


It will take commercial software vendors porting their softwares to open-source platforms to get people to switch – or at least make switching feasible, for many. There just isn’t enough market partially because of what kit89 said. It seems though, that where the problem could be minimized is in games. A lot of people would probably be willing to pay for games in linux because its one of those markets where there aren’t good open-source alternatives. Many high-school/college students that I’ve talked to play around with linux but wind up using windows because it runs their games AND the open source productivity apps that they originally tried linux for.

For making OSS exclusively for linux: as long as open source software remains open source, anyone can port it. In other words, you’d have to make your software closed source if it were to be exclusive to open source platforms – which would then go against the whole open source philosophy.
There are probably several pieces of open source software where the primary developer only writes a version for *nix, but it gets ported by an outsider who thinks it would be a useful program on windows. And, there are probably more "outsider"s running windows.

An interesting note that relates to tedi’s post: A while ago, I noticed that Apple creates Shake for both Mac and Linux. However, the linux version costs 10x more ($4999 vs $499 unless Apple has a typo) than the mac version. This shows that there is still a professional market for certain non-server applications on Linux. Enough that Apple can charge 10x more and still get the business.

I can’t think of any open source projects that has better support for windows.

I’m going to third this comment. The vast majority of proper open source software that I’m aware of is availble for Linux and then possibly for Windows and Mac. I can’t think of a single stable, well-regarded GPL app that’s availabe for Windows and not Linux. I’m sure they must exist… I guess I can picture some kind of utility like a file format converter being released like that, but nothing serious that I know of.