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HP And Bruce Perens

CmdrTaco posted more than 13 years ago | from the match-made-somewhere dept.

News 125

After Bruce Perens' brief stint as a venture capitalist (which followed his stint with Debian and OSI among other organizations), he has moved on to work with HP in a sort of consulting role for all things Open Source inside and outside of the company. The article talks about HPs questionable history (including the recent printer driver debacle among other things) and what sort of things Bruce will be up to.

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My personal experience with HP and a suggestion (4)

Flavio (12072) | more than 13 years ago | (#579357)

Not that I think my suggestion is worth anything to a company like HP, but there are some things I'd like to state.

First, I have a lot of HP products. From calculators to printers, everything I've ever bought from them was excellent.

Now they'll have to either take the first step embracing Linux drivers or face the competition that does.

Speaking realistically, not many companies are a threat to HP's desktop market. There's Epson, Canon, Lexmark and others, but HP is large enough to dictate tendencies.

However, consider that Linux users tend to be influential in the computer world. Let's suppose, for example, that I, as a network admin, have got to install a print server and a box for digitizing images in a small office. Linux would be the perfect choice *if* I had printer support for it.

With cheap printers getting 8+ ppm in black, one deskjet can be more than enough for a small office. I'd use this computer as a mail gateway as well, and maybe for NFS and other things.

I'm NOT willing to get a new box just to run Windows on it and use it as a print server, but as things are today, I have no choice. I refuse to buy a 2880x1400 dpi printer and use it in 300x300 mode under Linux.

Now if some company starts shipping a printer with decent Linux drivers, I'd buy it. I don't care if it only prints with half the deskjet-in-quetion's resolution and at half the speed. I'll get it!

Ditto for other devices with flaky Linux support.

So what I'm saying is that in some situations Linux support can be crucial. Perhaps not for the normal joe that runs office on his desktop at home, but that's going to change as well.

I, as a desktop user, find it irrational to reboot into Windows just to print a document that has a color photo in it.

As Linux takes over other shares of the corporate (and gasp! home user) market, HP will be forced to change.

Corporations don't care much about ideologies per se, but they will care when money's the issue. I'd do it early while I can if I were HP.

Flavio

Re:HP is doomed, with or without linux (2)

Ars-Fartsica (166957) | more than 13 years ago | (#579358)

Don't knock printers, they're damned important.

No. Paper-pushing is dead. You aren't going to build a multi-billion dollar business on a dead market with no margins.

Carly doesn't have the brass to pull HP off of its dependence on paper products - here is the result [yahoo.com] .

If you can't get a decent printer to work with your Linux box, you can't move your office to Linux.

If printing is that important to you, you're nuts to even bother with linux. Its a no-brainer that you're using win2k if you absolutely have to commit to paper.

Re:Irony? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#579359)

No kidding, you'd think you'd have learned not to buy Xerox printers by now.

Re:yes, but WHICH Bruce Perens? (1)

Rusty Foster (240375) | more than 13 years ago | (#579360)

P.S.: I am not the real Rusty [slashdot.org] (who claims the same). I guess nobody notices the irony...
--
There is no K5 [kuro5hin.org] cabal.

Re:Good (1)

chrispgh (148328) | more than 13 years ago | (#579361)

The first step, getting the printer drivers released, will probally be the tell tale for the entire effort.

IMHO if HP and Pern don't get a move on while the story is still somewhat hot off the press, they are out of luck as far as good PR in the open source community goes. However HP moving to an open linux would show some commitment.

As someone in California? said "while staring at a breakfast plate piled high with eggs and bacon, the chicken was involved, but the pig was committed"

Re:Just a note.. (1)

Cloud 9 (42467) | more than 13 years ago | (#579362)

If you're trying to burn off karma, posting a message saying you would like to have it taken away will not work. Moderators will ignore the message just to spite you. Didn't you learn anything in Troll 101?

Re:HP is doomed, with or without linux (2)

Azog (20907) | more than 13 years ago | (#579363)

If printing is that important to you, you're nuts to even bother with linux. Its a no-brainer that you're using win2k if you absolutely have to commit to paper.
You are seriously out of touch with how real people work. People like you have been saying for 10 years that the paperless office would happen "any day now". Meanwhile, the real world prints tens of thousands of pages a day.

Personally, I only ever print receipts from on line shopping. But I'm surrounded by people at work who print everything. Printing is essential to most people who use computers. Why do you think people bought them all? Word processing started this whole revolution. If the computer can't print, it's useless for them.

You may be right that there's no margins. I don't know - I suspect there's pretty hefty markup on those monster network laser printers and large-format color printers that sit in the corners of a million offices in the country.

Torrey Hoffman (Azog)

Brief stint? (4)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 13 years ago | (#579364)

CT, I spent more than a year as a VC, not a brief stint. You know the market has been terrible, there's no point in doing that now. Also, why the heck was this story rejected twice when I submitted it?

Thanks

Bruce

Re:HP is doomed, with or without linux (1)

Nathan Mates (129704) | more than 13 years ago | (#579365)

>> Don't knock printers, they're damned important.

>No. Paper-pushing is dead. You aren't going to build a multi-billion dollar business on a dead market with no margins.

There may be no margins in the printers, but those ink carts sell for a pretty hefty markup. $30 at the local Best Buy for an inkjet cart is probably $5 in parts and labor, tops.

Nathan Mates

eloquent statesman? (2)

_|()|\| (159991) | more than 13 years ago | (#579366)

[Bruce] is ... an eloquent statesman of the first caliber.

Actually, I'd rather Eric Raymond and Bruce Perens didn't presume to speak for the open source or free software movement. Remember when Bruce posted a crass email from Eric Raymond and called the police [slashdot.org] ?

A little market manipulation with your /. news? (2)

jonbrewer (11894) | more than 13 years ago | (#579367)

It sounds to me like you're an investor.

Are you an investor in HP? An investor in another company mentioned in your post? If so you should disclose this in your post.

Now, do you keep up on their financials? If not, here's some information for you, taken from HP's latest quarterly [hp.com] :

--------

Net revenue, in millions, 12 months ending Oct. 31, 2000.

Imaging and Printing Systems: $20,476
Computing Systems: $21,095
IT Services: $7,129
Other: $1,299

Total Revenue: $48,782

Earnings, in millions, 12 months ending Oct. 31, 2000

Imaging and Printing Systems: $2,746
Computing Systems: $960
IT Services: $634
Other: ($103)

Total Earnings: $3,889

--------

So, while it is true that they earn the most money from "Printing and Imaging Systems," they're hardly a "dud of a company." And if you really get down into HP's financials, you'll find some interesting things - their largest growth sector was Asia at 61% over 1999, and their fastest growth in "Printing and Imaging" happens to be in imaging:

Imaging revenues grew 31% over the year-ago quarter, fueled by strong growth in all-in-one (AiO's) products (up 31%), scanners (up 13%) and digital cameras (up 137%).

I hope this has been at least a little enlightening. HP is not doomed now, and certainly wouldn't be if HPUX dropped off the face of the planet this evening and HP never sold another server again. And their interest / investment in Linux shows they know where their money comes from. It won't be long before their AiO's and digital cameras will be running embeded linux along with their print servers.

Cheers,

Jon

Disclaimer: I don't own any publicly traded stock.

Re:Sounds good to me. (1)

ca1v1n (135902) | more than 13 years ago | (#579371)

Actually, a large number of HP-UX machines have video cards. $1500 video cards. PA-RISC makes for a real sweet workstation. I admit I don't have hard facts, but from what I've seen, the proportion is higher than 5%. You're right, Linux isn't ready for heavy enterprise. Linux is a wonderful desktop OS for those who don't mind tinkering, and it is developing towards the common user well. It is certainly adequate for compute-intensive or heavy serving, but the "tool-for-the-job" phenomenon is leaning towards the professionally developed Unices for these environments.

Re:Sounds good to me. (1)

0xA (71424) | more than 13 years ago | (#579373)

if you can give me one good reason to have functional sound drivers on a server running HP-UX, I will let you do me nasty in the but.

HP builds more than servers.

One good reason for functional sound drivers on a HP/UX box:


HP boxen are commonly used in SCADA systems. Chances are if I have a big industrial control system I would want said system to relay me as much information as possible. Using various signal tones and pitches would allow me to do this in a way that would be sure to catch my attention while I am busy surfing pr0n sites.

I humbly decline your offer.

Re:PPA printers (2)

booch (4157) | more than 13 years ago | (#579374)

If they did release the information, and a competitor started using the same color correction algorithm, HP would have no way to know that that competitor had stolen the code and violated HP's copyright (since the competitor wouldn't open the source either).

Sure they would. If they suspected some company, they could just reverse engineer the other company's driver. Microsoft got caught stealing Stacker code. Stacker took them to court and showed the judge that the assembly code was the same. Stacker was not a big company. If they can do it, surely HP can.

Re:PPA printers (1)

acacia (101223) | more than 13 years ago | (#579375)

I found an excellent way for HP to keep their IP locked up tight and I still get excellent print: I bought a Lexmark Optra color 40, added 32MB of RAM, and said fsck it to HP.

My Lexmark does PostScript level II in hardware, keeping my CPU usage to a minimum, and it cost less than $100 US.

THIS kind of message is the only message that HP exec's will ever understand. You vote with your wallet every day; don't loose sight of that.

Re:Brief stint? (1)

Syn Ack (3105) | more than 13 years ago | (#579376)


Ya, I posted this yesterday and it was rejected too. Oh well.

Paul

Re:Sounds good to me. (1)

Will The Real Bruce (235478) | more than 13 years ago | (#579378)

That would have been cool, since everything he's posted has been modded up to +5.

That way, my post would at least be at +3! ;)

Re:Sounds good to me. (1)

Syn Ack (3105) | more than 13 years ago | (#579379)


Ah, but chances are that if you invested the money in real HP PA-RISC servers they you'd be wise to also have a management system running NNM/ITO (Openview) and have a nice big projection screen turn red if something went wrong. Most enterprises, banks, etc. Don't have someone anywhere near a machine;therefore, sound is a little pointless on a $1,000,000+ HP V-Class or SuperDome. BTW, Check out that SuperDome, SWEEEEEEEET.

Paul

Careful (5)

American AC in Paris (230456) | more than 13 years ago | (#579380)

Are we sure this is the real HP? It could be an impostor...

(no disrespect intended)

$ man reality

Re:PPA printers (2)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 13 years ago | (#579381)

Go look at Raff Lewin's open-licensed patent portfolio (someone find the link, please). He has a lot of good innovation in the computer graphics field, and he's one of the people I will contact because he's taken over Ghostscript.

I think you can also go back to slashdot archives where this question has been asked and answered before. It turns out that we are not quite so immitative as you think.

Thanks

Bruce

Re:Sure, brief (1)

Felinoid (16872) | more than 13 years ago | (#579382)

>As for your comment about the story being rejected when you submitted it, I assume you just wrote that because you are frustrated?

It might be due purely to the note that it's a person submitting an artical on himself.

Re:PPA printers (2)

divec (48748) | more than 13 years ago | (#579383)

I'm trying to think of something that the "folks" you refer to (meaning, I assume, the Open Source community) has improved the state of the art.

Do we count things like bash (which most unix people seem to use) and autoconf and apt? or is the competition restricted to stuff like Freetype and Apache? (All of the above have improved the "state of the art" in the sense that there is at least one thing which each does better than any of the commonly available competition).

HP Open Source History (5)

Baldrson (78598) | more than 13 years ago | (#579384)

While he was at HP, Joe Ellsworth [pybiz.com] convinced me that IBM was going to support Linux well in advance of the Forbes magazine cover story on open source. That's what got me to create the LibmUX claim at Idea Futures back in July of 1998 [ideosphere.com] predicting that IBM would ship a Linux server before July of 1999. That turned out to be a month or two optimistic, but you have to understand that at the time, none of the suits really believed open source, let alone Linux, would be supported by the big server companies.

In August of 1998, while at the first open source conference, I briefly talked with Tim O'Reilly about approaching Paul Allen's Interval Research concerning open source strategies. I had a few well placed contacts at Interval and I figured if Linus would go work for Allen, maybe it was appropriate that Allen's think tank get in the act. However, it turned out that my contact with Joe was more important than my contact with Interval.

Joe Ellsworth's foresignt at HP turned out to be critical to HP's participation with open source -- something I think he should have received more credit for initiating. Joe knew it would be very difficult if not impossible to get Idea Futures [ideosphere.com] set up as an executive decision support system within HP, so predictions like my (his) LibmUX claim weren't enough to establish priority for open source ideas within HP.

Nevertheless, we did discuss the idea of setting up prize awards for achievement of various open source objectives and after the first open source conference, Joe took that idea and ran with it within HP management, as well as contacting O'Reilly. The end result of his effort was a meeting with representatives of O'Reilly Associates on the same day that I departed for Russia. In fact, I walked Joe to the first meeting with Brian Behlendorf on my way out to catch Aeroflot. Joe thought he had convinced key managers of the HP-UX division to put up almost $10 million in a variety of open source awards that would have systematically converted all of HP-UX's administrative utilities to Linux as a way of channeling the growing base of Apache servers into the HP family of large servers. It was a great positive sum vision that I still think would have worked. In fact, I was convinced enough of its merit that I was traveling to Russia, on my own nickle, to discover what the impediments might be from the perspective of the Russian Academy of Sciences, to distributing prize awards in Russia for open source projects should HP actually come through with some major award money. The RAS desperately needed (and still needs) hard cash for their programming teams. That meeting with O'Reilly went well and my meeting with the RAS folks got their interest up and exposed some of the pragmatics of distributing such prize awards in Russia.

Fortunately, I presented the Russians with a lot of caveats, knowing how often they have been let down by Americans before. I say "fortunately" because support within HP with O'Reilly quickly went a fairly different direction than Joe (or I) had envisioned. For some reason, HP decided not to fund prizes for the massive translation of HP-UX utilities to Linux, and what money was available for prize awards was limited to US participants. Also, for some reason, Joe was not kept as the lead representative in the relationship with O'Reilly Associates and the rules governing the Open Awards program were substantially altered from the original internal white paper on the concept.

I don't know the status of all of this, lo these 2 years later, but its pretty clear to me the entire open source community could benefit from a way to set up objective prize awards, with provision for second and third place contenders. That way programming teams in developing (or recovering) economies can eat and (in the case of Russia) keep from freezing in the winter as they bring their manifest skills to bear on open source.

Information kills (1)

Pseudonymus Bosch (3479) | more than 13 years ago | (#579385)

in some cases you may be able to command the device to destroy itself

Interesting :)
__

Re:Just a note.. (1)

rjamestaylor (117847) | more than 13 years ago | (#579386)

I'm responding to the drivel above inorder to burn off excess karma points.

It's either this way or losing them via meta-moderation. This is faster. Meta-moderation requires that I actually have moderator points and it takes a while for that to cycle around.

Oh, and I'll leave my +1 bonus on for extra effect.

Re:OFF TOPIC! Bruce/Sig 11/Anne Marie (1)

Will The Real Bruce (235478) | more than 13 years ago | (#579387)

Well, I wrote the original parody; the original song is by Eminem, ("Will the Real Slim Shady Please Stand Up") and if you really want to know my secret identity...

Well, I don't care if you credit it to "Will The Real Bruce Perens Please Stand Up"; otherwise, I could set up yet another free e-mail account or something.

But yes, whatever you decide, please rap it, and post the link. :)

Re:eloquent statesman? (1)

divec (48748) | more than 13 years ago | (#579388)

Actually, I'd rather Eric Raymond and Bruce Perens didn't presume to speak for the open source or free software movement. Remember when Bruce posted a crass email from Eric Raymond and called the police?

Yeah, what use is getting a widely used toolkit freed if you're ever going to display any character flaws?

Re:Waaaaaah (1)

divec (48748) | more than 13 years ago | (#579389)

I suppose you've never heard of HP printers? HP electronic equipment? They're are hardly "patent-able first, usable second".

Well, my girlfriend has an HP Deskjet 710C, and there are patents on it, and it is barely useable under Linux (no colour, for example). So he's not entirely wrong.

HP keeps advertising Linux support (1)

Frantactical Fruke (226841) | more than 13 years ago | (#579390)

on this one page they claim Linux support for their new HP 2200/2250 printers: Wider operating system compatibility (Yeah, right) [hp.com] The only pity is that the base model, the 2200, does not and will probably not ever get supported, as it's another variation of a WinPrinter. HP keeps sending me those automated responses, but so far they haven't fixed the lies on that page (Like "Lower printing costs"). I don't think I'll ever buy HP again.

Re:Just a note.. (2)

rjamestaylor (117847) | more than 13 years ago | (#579391)

You probably are!

adjusting your threshold (1)

Ummite (195748) | more than 13 years ago | (#579392)

...the lack of respect that online media really gets. Maybe respect is a bad choice of words but it's Monday so I'll explain: While it is true that online publications are the minority, their contribution to the journalism "scene" seems to be minimized by traditional journalists who are afraid because anyone with just a AOL account (and 2 free megs of hosted space) can get as much attention as the NY Times. Decentralization of content publication is as worrysome to traditional print media as Napster is to the record labels. Anyone else see the parallels between RIAA v Napster and Mattel v That Guy Who Criticized Them On His Web Page? Anyway, The IOC doesn't see any online rags (not counting ABC, CNN, MSNBC and other traditional news franchises) as reputable, established news sources. I just hope in 10 years this conclusion comes back to bite them in the ass... we can all guess at how everything will change by then.

PPA printers (5)

Dr. Tom (23206) | more than 13 years ago | (#579393)

PPA printers are like Winmodems; they offload processing to the host CPU, so are cheaper to manufacture, and cost (a tiny bit; $$) less to buy. HP has repeatedly, consistently, and officially refused to release the info required to write PPA drivers, because the advanced color correction done by the driver contains valuable HP intellectual property that they don't want to release.

I can see their point. If they did release the information, and a competitor started using the same color correction algorithm, HP would have no way to know that that competitor had stolen the code and violated HP's copyright (since the competitor wouldn't open the source either). The assurances of large companies that they do not violate licenses like the GPL apparently are not enough for HP.

If only there were a way to enforce their copyright without resorting to expensive reverse-engineering and legal battles, that would clear the way for HP (and many other companies) to release Open Source products. Are there any technical solutions? How can you know if somebody is using your code in violation of the GPL?

Meanwhile, fortunately for PPA owners, a rather good reverse-engineering effort has resulted in a working Linux driver that has been included in several distributions:

http://sourceforge.net/projects/pnm2ppa/ [sourceforge.net]

Keep up the good work!

Re:Sounds good to me. (1)

Will The Real Bruce (235478) | more than 13 years ago | (#579394)

Yeah right. Ever try to code sound on an HP/UX box? It's just yet another freaky, crufty Unix implementation, and it's weirder than most. When their passwd file gets corrupted, and they drop you to a prompt that says "Warning: you are SUPERUSER!", well... you'll be laughing too. Besides, HP has gotten Linux to run on HP hardware as well. But don't trust me; just see what HP migrates to...

Re:Just a note.. (1)

rjamestaylor (117847) | more than 13 years ago | (#579395)

i Know a way to gte a modurator to slap me a good one.

rite a dum mesage weth lats o' spellign arrows.

Maibe reffer to uthers bad gramer? What do you, think.

Agilent (1)

SETY (46845) | more than 13 years ago | (#579396)

I wish Agilent was still part of HP. Or Agilent would get a similiar open source rep. When I pay $100's of K for a test-set and it doesn't support Linux or have some type of open source driver I get rather pissed off. I would sure like to see this change.
Unfortunately Agilent and Anritsu make the best stuff, so there is no choice really.

Re:HP is doomed, with or without linux (1)

bradmajors69 (144135) | more than 13 years ago | (#579397)

Don't knock printers, they're damned important.

No. Paper-pushing is dead. You aren't going to build a multi-billion dollar business on a dead market with no margins.

Despite your blind assertion that printers are dead (what planet are you from?), I think the point was that even if HP is riding on its printers, the fact that it can do so is evidence that HP could still be a major force if they got behind Linux and started doing things as well as they do their printers.

In other words, the printers are enough to keep paying attention to HP.

Re:HP is doomed, with or without linux (1)

Teancom (13486) | more than 13 years ago | (#579398)

Nice try, troll. But associating the *huge* printing industry with Win2k isn't going to fly. The call of the paperless office has been ringing for more than a decade, and there has been no significant change in paper usage, except *upwards*. Also, here [yahoo.com] you will see Micron Tech's stock over the same time period. While not matching exactly, the curve is pretty daggon close to HP's, and Micron just had their most profitable quarter ever, by far. What does that prove? Just that yet again stock price is a poor judge of a CEO's ability to lead a company, or their performance, either one.

Re:HP is doomed, with or without linux (1)

_Quinn (44979) | more than 13 years ago | (#579399)

It's no brainer that if printing text is important to you, you're using [La|Te]TeX -> dvi -> PostScript -- which works best on a UNIX, hands down.

Color printing is bit tougher, but that's why Kinko's (et al) is open 24 hours...

-_Quinn

Re:HP is doomed, with or without linux (1)

DeathBunny (24311) | more than 13 years ago | (#579400)

Either you're a troll, or you've never *actually* worked in an office environment. Most of they companies I've worked for spend millions on printers. Everything from lowly inkjets for exec's who can't be bothered to walk out of thier office to pick up their print jobs, to monster ass network laser printers for the rest of us working stiffs to share.

Finish your degree kid and get a job. The world isn't as simple as you think.

Re:PPA printers (2)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 13 years ago | (#579403)

It happens that I bought one too. That message is not lost within HP.

Bruce

Re:Sounds good to me. (2)

Shadow Knight (18694) | more than 13 years ago | (#579404)

you use unix to COMPILE KERNELS and use emacs, not to listen to sound

Apple Computer and this here Mac OS X box disagree with that sentiment... and anyway, unless it's *BSD, you won't be compiling kernels on a "real" Unix. Unless you've shelled out da BIG BUCKS for a source license. Or Solaris, I just remembered, the source is available for that I guess.

As for sound and multimedia and "real Unix" ever heard of IRIX? Mac OS X (as I already mentioned)? No? Oh well...


Supreme Lord High Commander of the Interstellar Task Force for the Eradication of Stupidity

Re:HP is doomed, with or without linux (2)

aozilla (133143) | more than 13 years ago | (#579405)

Even more amazingly, they make more money on printer supplies than they do on the printers themselves.

Re:PPA printers (3)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 13 years ago | (#579407)

We need interface documentation first. Given interface documentation anyone can make a binary driver. There is no reason you can't have Open Source drivers, they would just not have the same algorithms HP uses for color correction and resolution enhancement, but what we can do is good enough.

Thanks

Bruce

A fine thing, I suppose (4)

grant12345 (261196) | more than 13 years ago | (#579408)

So I guess this is good news, although it seems to me to be an example of the whole "executives listen to consultants before they'll listen to employees (or g*d forbid customers)" syndrome. Clearly only progress can come from this, so it's a good thing.

In any case, until said progress arrives, people ought to take stock of those companies that offer better support for free software users, and buy products from them. HP makes all sorts of things (reasonable mid-range LAN euipment, workstations, etc) but as I mainly know printers, here's what I know about the industry as things stand right now:

  • Epson provides publically available developer information [ercipd.com] for their printers, scanners, etc. Epson inkjets, therefore, work extraordinarily well using free software drivers [sourceforge.net] .
  • Lexmark provides binary RH Linux-x86-only drivers for two representative inkjets. They're klunky, and they're nonfree, but they do work, and they do represent a gimmer of actual Linux support.
  • Of the reverse-engineering-reuired inkjets, HP is the best understood, followed by Canon, followed by Lexmark. None, of course, is at all well understood in absolute terms, although the gimp-print folks are rapidly absorbing support and developers from other projects.

As always, if you want to know anything about the state of free software printer support, consult www.linuxprinting.org [linuxprinting.org] . Particularly apropos are my vendor scorecards [linuxprinting.org] and suggested printers [linuxprinting.org] pages.

Re:My personal experience with HP and a suggestion (2)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 13 years ago | (#579412)

Why not just document the hardware interfaces and let outsiders do the drivers? That would sure work best for Linux, and you know, might even be better for other systems as well.

Thanks

Bruce

Good (3)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#579414)

"He criticized HP for holding on to the source code for its printer drivers, and for not releasing printer interface specifications, thus hindering development of drivers ported to other operating systems, namely Linux and the BSDs.

Not only that, but he asked HP either to kill its HP-UX operating system and replace it with Linux, or just Open Source the Unix splinter. He finished up the letter with this warning: "You'll also find that we're rather cynical about ringing endorsements; we've heard those before without result, and they won't earn you a lot of cred by themselves without actions and commitments that back them up."

He's focusing on opening up options for users. Will he have any kind of authority/ear of senior managment? Somebody there must have grabbed him because they have ideas for making open source profitable for HP

Impostor (2)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 13 years ago | (#579415)

Note the "." before the name. Another Bruce impostor.

Bruce

HP and open source? (1)

311Stylee (106182) | more than 13 years ago | (#579416)

perhaps they are finally starting to see the light?

this seems seriously strange for a company who designs things that are patent-able first, usable second. perhaps someday i may consider buying an HP product if they straighten out....


C:\>ls
bad command or file name
C:\>uptime

Re:My personal experience with HP and a suggestion (1)

jacoplane (78110) | more than 13 years ago | (#579417)

That would be:

http://hp.sourceforge.net [sourceforge.net]

Jaap Vermeulen

Re:HP is doomed, with or without linux (2)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 13 years ago | (#579418)

Didn't the RF design software go to Agilent when it was spun off? Bdale of Debian fame is over there. I do want to work on wireless, though. 802.11, Bluetooth, and wireless WAN are probably in my future.

Bruce

Irony? (2)

lambda (4236) | more than 13 years ago | (#579419)

Wasn't it a printer that got RMS mad in the first place?

Re:HP is doomed, with or without linux (1)

Mathetes (132911) | more than 13 years ago | (#579420)

That's why they make all their money off of the ink cartridges!

Re:yes, but WHICH Bruce Perens? (1)

Will The Real Bruce (235478) | more than 13 years ago | (#579421)

Exactly. The Real Bruce Perens has some low UID or something, and doesn't post anonymously and stuff.

And I haven't seen him posting on this SID yet, but we'll see.

Incidentally, I'm the guy who originally notified him about "Bruce Perens.", the original impostor. Weird, eh?

Re:Don't forget the other free software OSes (1)

Agent Drek (18979) | more than 13 years ago | (#579422)

Hey Bruce,

Can you make them understand that HP-OpenView is not *open*? They are very disillusioned about that product of theirs.

Imagine.. (1)

sockworm (261158) | more than 13 years ago | (#579423)

A beowulf cluster of Bruce Perens. troll accounts on slashdot...

Oh wait...that happened over a year ago.

scanners (1)

tralfamador (159554) | more than 13 years ago | (#579424)

when you're done with the printers, bruce, please get my hp scanner to work under linux.

Re:Brief stint? (2)

kmcardle (24757) | more than 13 years ago | (#579425)

Hey, I submitted it too and it was rejected!

Of course, it probably bothered you more since the story was about you. :)

Re:Raph's patents on color halftoning (1)

Madoc (107) | more than 13 years ago | (#579426)

What I'd like to see is a really modular printer. That is, one that I would never have to turf completely. If I could buy replacement mechanisms to increase speed, dpi, interface (move to USB or Firewire or whatever-else-may-com) or deal with different styles of ink cartridges (as technology improves there), and not have to do a complete replacement, I'd be supremely happy. Also, there would be less of an environmental impact which would be much nicer in the long run.

HP is doomed, with or without linux (2)

Ars-Fartsica (166957) | more than 13 years ago | (#579427)

SGI + XRX = HWP

Thats all you need to know about this complete dud of a company. I don't really think Perens is going to have any impact on this Silicon Valley dinosaur.

For the last ten years HP has been a day late and a dollar short on just about any interesting innovation you can think about, with dwindling marketshare and nonexistant mindshare in unix systems.

So how have they been paying the bills? Printers. Sad but true, this tech titan is nothing more than a paper pusher. Carly has done an excellent job dragging the stock through the mud and now people are taking their money over to SUNW where at least someone understands how to market a product that has some margins of interest. I expect Sun to effectively push HP out of the server room within four years, with IBM and Compaq picking up the scraps

European Pike Perch? (1)

jdaily (35368) | more than 13 years ago | (#579428)

From the article:

"...the normally outspoken Perens isn't turning into a schill any time soon."

That's a relief. Those cross-species transmogrifications typically left Calvin in a bit
of a mess.

Mask the contempt, Taco (1)

Tool-Man (11199) | more than 13 years ago | (#579429)

C'mon, Taco, could you mask the contempt a little bit better, next time:

from the match-made-somewhere dept...After Bruce's
brief stint as a venture capitalist (which followed his Stint with Debian and OSI among other organizations)...[emphasis added]

Show some integrity, for chrissakes.

MOD THIS UP! (1)

rjamestaylor (117847) | more than 13 years ago | (#579430)

It's FUNNY +1!!

(gee, I hope I remember to click "Post Anonymously"...)

Link - The original upstart -Bruce Perens (2)

Arker (91948) | more than 13 years ago | (#579431)

LinuxWorld does a profile and interview with BP: "Filmmaker, Linux hacker, and ham radio geek, Bruce Perens is one of the quirkiest figures in the open source and free software communities. He's as famous for resigning from high-profile projects in high dudgeon as he is for founding them. He helped to set up Software in the Public Interest, the Linux Standard Base, and the Open Source Initiative -- and he has left them all. This is his side of those stories -- and a few more." A rather good interview in that they get ESR and RMS to clarify some points made and some titbits about the OSI debacle etc are thrown up in the air.

The Original Upstart [linuxworld.com] is a great piece, highly recommended reading.

Re:My personal experience with HP and a suggestion (5)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 13 years ago | (#579432)

Hi Flavio,

The lack of printer drivers (and by extension, other hardware drivers) is the number one thing I'm hearing about from the community. I have now collected a mandate from one division to deal with it, and will work on another division tomorrow. Right now you can look at hp.sourceforge.com and a second effort on sourceforge that deals with HP printers, but possibly not the printers you want. I will probably have to visit the printer divisions in Ohio and Washington state to talk with people. My desire is that all HP hardware interfaces be open and documented. Obviously, I will have to evangelize that within the company. I will have something to say, and something to show, at LinuxWorld in NY, but will not have finished with the issue by then. It could take much longer. In some cases documentation doesn't exist, in some cases you may be able to command the device to destroy itself, in some cases the existing Windows driver contains other people's proprietary IP, not just HPs, etc. So, this will be a pain to deal with, but it'll get done.

Thanks

Bruce

Re:PPA printers (2)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 13 years ago | (#579433)

but you'd get good enough and knowing you folks, you could improve on the state of the art.

I find this statement interesting. I'm trying to think of something that the "folks" you refer to (meaning, I assume, the Open Source community) has improved the state of the art. I simply can't think of anything. Just about everything in the OSS community is imitative of commercial software.

Do you have a particular example in mind? I suppose TeX, but that's really the work of one unique genius, and leaves a LOT to be desired in the user friendliness dept, which is why it has only influenced the industry, but does not lead it. Significant, but you can hardly call it state of the art compared to what is commercially available (although I'm sure there are some particular bells/whistles that somebody could name).


--

Re:Just a note.. (1)

update() (217397) | more than 13 years ago | (#579434)

I think Andover will make you a Slashdot editor.

Re:Good (1)

leo.p (83075) | more than 13 years ago | (#579435)

Read more attentively. You are quoting Eric S. Raymond, not Perens. Perens has a bit more fucking class than to ask HP to dump HP-UX (an excellent operating system) for Linux (a thoroughly pedestrian work threatening to get a little better every year.)

Does this sound like Perens to you: Hello, I am Bruce Perens. Screw you, your OS, your employees, your customers, your money. Install Linux" -- of course it does not.

Re:PPA printers (5)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 13 years ago | (#579436)

The Free Software community is well able to come up with its own color correction. This is a well-known art, with lots of technical papers published on it. You might not get color correction as good as what HP does, but you'd get good enough and knowing you folks, you could improve on the state of the art. What we need is to be able to send raw pixels to the printers, something that does not require the disclosure of HP's color correction algorithm. So, I don't really consider this a reason to keep from releasing a printer driver.

Thanks

Bruce

Re:My personal experience with HP and a suggestion (3)

Trepidity (597) | more than 13 years ago | (#579437)

Hmm. While generally the HP hardware has been fine and I haven't had any problems with it, the drivers have been complete crap. Forget shaky Linux support; they have shaky Windows support. The printer driver takes 80-90% CPU on my Pentium II 266 just to print a normal page. My old Canon took around 5-10% CPU to do the same thing. The scanner's drivers are utter crap - half the time you have to reinstall them before scanning will work, and if you use multiple Windows users you have to install the drivers/software from each user's login because of the retarded way it stores info in the registry. The CD burner had this minor little bug in that it didn't recognize CD-R's, whether blank or already burned that luckily was fixed in a firmware update by the time I had bought it. You'd think recognizing CD-R's would be a somewhat important feature to have in a CD burner.


So in short: HP has some quality hardware but need to hire some programmers who can write drivers.

Re:A little market manipulation with your /. news? (2)

Ars-Fartsica (166957) | more than 13 years ago | (#579440)

Are you an investor in HP? An investor in another company mentioned in your post? If so you should disclose this in your post.

You've been watching too much Matlock.

Bitching about a stock, or company management is not tantamount to stock manipulation, which you would know if you really had any idea what you are talking about when it comes to disclosures.

Re:HP is doomed, with or without linux (3)

Ars-Fartsica (166957) | more than 13 years ago | (#579441)

But I'm surrounded by people at work who print everything.

Okay, I'll say it again so you have it clear - its a dead business because margins are incredibly thin. A company like HP can't stay afloat long with printer margins.

what about the most important thing of all? (2)

kzadot (249737) | more than 13 years ago | (#579442)

I don't think any corporation can be considered Open Source friendly until we can see some actual open source code.

Re:Sounds good to me. (2)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 13 years ago | (#579443)

OK, I've made your day.

IMO, Linux' role can only increase. With that said, some things will take years,

Thanks

Bruce

Re:HP is doomed, with or without linux (2)

Ars-Fartsica (166957) | more than 13 years ago | (#579446)

Just that yet again stock price is a poor judge of a CEO's ability to lead a company, or their performance, either one.

So how do you judge a CEO's abilities. considering that growth, revenues, profits, etc are factored into the stock price.

Why do you think Chambers and Gates are obsessed with market caps? Simple - market cap is everything. No other measure matters for a publically traded stock.

Re:A fine thing, I suppose (2)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 13 years ago | (#579447)

Hi Grant,

I'm not a consultant. I'm an employee. I've got a badge and everything :-)

Nice job on the printers pages.

Thanks

Bruce

Re:yes, but WHICH Bruce Perens? (2)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 13 years ago | (#579448)

That wasn't me, you got duped by "." Bruce, the impostor. Remember to look at the user ID number.

Bruce

Re:Submitting stories is a waste of time (1)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 13 years ago | (#579449)

I submitted the story about HP and me too, and was rejected just like you. Twice.

Bruce

Re:hey bruce! (2)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 13 years ago | (#579450)

How do you know that such things exist at all?

Rather than chase down every flavor of operating system, shouldn't I just get the interfaces documented so that people can write their own drivers?

Thanks

Bruce

Re:Will the real Bruce Perens please stand up? (2)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 13 years ago | (#579451)

Yes, there was constant immitation a while back. But the .signature itself became a sort of joke, and something that was itself widely imitated. And now people everywhere refer to me as the "real" Bruce Perens. I guess this is the price of our nerdy flavor of near-fame. I don't bother myself about it too much.

Thanks

Bruce

Sounds good to me. (1)

Will The Real Bruce (235478) | more than 13 years ago | (#579453)

Isn't HP supposed to be replacing HP/UX with Linux?

Isn't that why they were supporting Itanium in the first place?

Is Slashdot getting as sensationalist as ZD-Net?

I mean, really, people, this is a perfectly sane article about one of the pillars of our Open Source community getting a job where he can guide the strategy of yet another Unix distribution. We should be happy for him.

Why don't we all stand up?

Re:Don't forget the other free software OSes (3)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 13 years ago | (#579454)

I am more interested in documenting the interfaces, because I think that the Free Software folks do best writing their own drivers. You will, however, see a lot of Free Software written by HP people on salary.

Thanks

Bruce

Information from the mouth of Bruce (4)

Livn4Golf (83604) | more than 13 years ago | (#579455)

This appeared on Bruce's site Technocrat.net [technocrat.net] yesterday. It also links to a Cnet article [cnet.com] on the topic.

Bruce sez: "There are two parts to the job. I get to be an activist in the Linux community, on company time, and speak for myself when necessary. And I get to advise top management. There are three people between Carly (the chairman) and I. So, I'll be a pretty effective bridge between the Open Source community and HP management." Here's the link [technocrat.net] .

Re:will the real Bruce Perens.. (1)

Will The Real Bruce (235478) | more than 13 years ago | (#579456)

Man, that's a catchy song! ;)

If anyone who can rap wants to record this for me... well... Post the link on slashdot; I'll happily link to the .mp3!

Re:Submitting stories is a waste of time (1)

weasel (8923) | more than 13 years ago | (#579457)


The problem is that you put the linux stories in the linux section. That would make sense for any other website, but this is slashdot and linux stories go ON THE FRONT PAGE!! WOOHOO!! GO LINUX GO!!

Re:Sounds good to me. (2)

Syn Ack (3105) | more than 13 years ago | (#579458)


That is the most crazy thing I have ever heard. HP-UX is not trying to be a desktop operating system so no S*IT that it would be hard to code sound on an HPUX machine. For goodness sake 95% of the machines that HPUX runs on don't even have Video Cards let alone sound cards. I've been using Linux for 5 years and HPUX for 3. As far as Unix operating systems go HPUX kicks Linux's ass every single time for Servers. You have to remember that while HPUX does work on workstations it is at home on servers that Linux could only dream of working on. HP's direction towards Linux is one of choice, they see it being important on their low-end A-Class and perhaps L-Class hardware not to mention their Intel and PA-RISC workstations. Linux has a long long way to go before it can be used in an enterprise server for anything. I work as a Solution Architect/Senior Consultant for a large Canadian Solutions company and I build ISPs and Web Hosting environments for a living and can tell you that Linux does not belong in an environment of the scale that I build. Linux doesn't have the maturity of an HPUX,Solaris or AIX. HPUX is easily, for an enterprise, my Unix of choice. It is WAAAAAAAAY more resilient than Linux will ever be. I mean there is no standard journaling file system for Linux, no Volume Manager, these are the tools that make an enterprise Unix solution. To take it to the limit, on an HPUX machine with "Online JFS" I can resize a logical volume without even umounting the file system!

As for your passwd corruption issue, while I have no idea why your passwd file would be corrupting I can assure you that what it did was most likely put the system into single user mode. HPUX says "Warning: You are Superuser" whenever you are in single user mode or login to the machine as "root," as opposed to su to root. No harm as you'd have to do that on a Linux box, that is if the Linux box would even let you in with a corrupted passwd file.

As for HPUX being weirder than most it's more common to Linux than Solaris is. Solaris is wacky! :)

Paul
----

Re:HP is doomed, with or without linux (2)

MAXOMENOS (9802) | more than 13 years ago | (#579459)

So how have they been paying the bills? Printers. Sad but true, this tech titan is nothing more than a paper pusher.

Don't knock printers, they're damned important. If you can't get a decent printer to work with your Linux box, you can't move your office to Linux. I say good luck to Bruce, and by the way, here's hoping he can get some of those printer drivers working on Linux. And maybe, while he's at it, their RF design software.

The Free ODMG Project [sourceforge.net] needs volunteers.

Re:Sounds good to me. (1)

Pandaemonium (70120) | more than 13 years ago | (#579460)

Yes, we (HP) are replacing HP-UX at one point with Linux. We're currently porting Linux to run on the PA-RISC architecture, and we're also porting HP-UX to run on EPIC as an interim solution.

IA-64/EPIC was actually our design, we didn't have
the means to implement it properly. We asked Intel for help, and voila: horribly named processor.

Now I don't speak for all of HP, but I'm pretty
darned happy and impressed that we hired him. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy that we're making a positive effort to help Open Source. It's also a Smart Move(tm), considering Linux's gaining power in the market.

Oh yeah, my opinions do not necessarily reflect those of my employer, etc...

Bah.. (1)

cmowire (254489) | more than 13 years ago | (#579461)

Like it costs them anything substantial to pay for him. Some $60-100k/year, which is nothing compared to $x billion in revenues. If a thousand Linux-heads picked up a HP printer on the "good feelings" from this instead of an Epson (who's printers I prefer anyways) they'll pay for it.

They can ignore him at will, too. They'll be able to get advice from him on a few ways to make money without any possibility of affecting their intelectual property or bottom line.

Re:Information from the mouth of Bruce (1)

Cy Guy (56083) | more than 13 years ago | (#579462)

Unfortunately, /. wasn't interested in posting the eWeek story [zdnet.com] when I submitted it yesterday afternoon. Now that they have an in-house tech news site, I guess they don't want to promote the competition by posting stories linking to c|net or ZDNet.

This new attitude wouldn't have been quite so obvious, if it wasn't for the fact that CmdrTaco had to submit the NewsForge story himself, instead of waiting for someone from the community to submit it.

Re:Sure, brief (2)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 13 years ago | (#579463)

"More than a year" is a heck of a lot less than the decades that most career VCs put in.

Yeah. It was long enough to be sure that I was wasting my time, this time. I remain in touch with a bunch of VCs, from Opticality Ventures (the Zope and Python investor) to HP's own venture fund, and yes, some of them have been in this for a long time.

Depending on who reads the submission, and what else they've read that day, and what their mood is, anything can get accepted or rejected.

Not such a great system IMO.

I submitted on Wednesday and Monday.

Besides, don't you think it looks a little less like self-promotion if the article is submitted by someone else?

Indeed. But sometimes there is something gained in getting the news from the source.

Thanks

Bruce

Re:Sounds good to me. (1)

Will The Real Bruce (235478) | more than 13 years ago | (#579467)

I'm not arguing about their hardware! I'm sure HP makes great hardware. But HP/UX is crufty and must die [slashdot.org] . If Linux isn't there yet, then you can bet that IBM, HP, SGI, and others will drag it there, kicking and screaming, until it is there.

My personal favorite Journaling filesystem for Linux is ReiserFS; the standard one will probably be ext3. There are a couple of others as well. Linux also has a Volume Manager now, although I haven't tried it. And it's pretty awesome in the hardware support department...

This lab used to be all HP workstations, and it got replaced with DELLs running NT, and Solaris boxes. The NT boxes are getting replaced with Linux boxes... :)

Re:yes, but WHICH Bruce Perens? (1)

Will The Real Bruce (235478) | more than 13 years ago | (#579468)

Sorry, Bruce.

For some of us, slashdot is just fun and games, but some people take a good joke too far (or too seriously).

FWIW, I remember the original impostor, and that wasn't cool at all. In fact, I even wrote a song about it... :)

Good thing. (1)

SomeOtherGuy (179082) | more than 13 years ago | (#579473)

This is a good thing. HP printers are the most rugged and long lasting creatures that I have ever used (Not so long ago I had the fun job of installing and maintaining computers and printers in trains and other heavy equiptment...and I must say that the HP 540's 550's and 660's just kept printing....)

Maybe it was just dumb luck -- but I have chosen to go with HP's in my new (less bumpy) jobs -- and now am glad that maybe Linux drivers (and support) from HP may be a reality.

Raph's patents on color halftoning (2)

raph (3148) | more than 13 years ago | (#579475)

> I'll need a retainer for that.

No need.

http://www.levien.com/patents.html [levien.com]

But also look at gimp-print [sourceforge.net] for a very impressive example of what a "pure" free software project is capable of. What Bruce said originally is true - all we (the free software community) needs is the basic documents about how to get the dots on the page, and we can do a damn fine job of arranging them. I believe "intellectual property" is a non-issue for getting inkjet drivers under Linux.

Re:Raph's patents on color halftoning (3)

grant12345 (261196) | more than 13 years ago | (#579476)

Indeed. It's particularly interesting when you observe that the gimp-print framework will be able to print--rather well--on inkjets from various competing manufacturers using the same dithering/color code. When free software has leveled the "software-driven color quality" playing field (which really is pretty level as is for the big players, just with lots of duplicated effort to keep up with the Joneses) it will be interesting to see where manufacturers begin to differentiate instead. Mechanism quality? Operating cost? They certainly seem to be running out of room for improvement in the raw dot size and placement arena; the best HP has managed recently is the Detroit route of thirteen different trims for each actual model (most of the others have only half-heartedly followed thus far, but Epson's got a card-reading Stylus, and further daft SKUs are probably going to show up from the rest soon).

I'd love to see a new mechanism arrive without the various disadvantages of current low-cost printing, but heck if I can find anything likely on the horizon. It's just a hard problem to do laserlike black, dye-sub-like photos, and sharp, accurate spot color on plain paper from the same printer... The industry has done wonderful (heck, almsot miraculous!) things by spinning on the inkjet concept, but as a techie, I'd love to see the spinning repeated on another technology.

Re:Irony? (1)

vectro (54263) | more than 13 years ago | (#579477)

Yes, it was a Xerox printer. And incidentally, I'm the owner of a new xerox printer that dosen't work well with Linux either. Some people just don't learn.

Re:Sounds good to me. (2)

Will The Real Bruce (235478) | more than 13 years ago | (#579478)

Excellent.

It gets kinda dull down here, talking to the other impostors. (".Bruce Perens" is almost as annoying as "Bruce Perens." was originally)

Incidentally, I was the one who noticed "Bruce Perens." in the first place; if you've still got the e-mail, then you know my secret identity!

I agree with you about Linux, but it's nice to see the heavyweights getting behind it. After the GUI Wars, it's nice to see them agree on anything. Heartening, even.

Good for Bruce (4)

dragonfly_blue (101697) | more than 13 years ago | (#579479)

I'm personally very happy to see one of the brightest, most motivated, active, and honest people I know find himself in such high demand. Congrats, Bruce!

I have been working with QT lately, and it simply would not have been possible to develop free/GPL'ed software using QT without Bruce's beautifully diplomatic persuasion of Trolltech. He is a true scholar and an eloquent statesman of the first caliber.

HP history and pnm2ppa - from a core developer (5)

ajv (4061) | more than 13 years ago | (#579480)

I'm one of the leads on pnm2ppa. We have had several leads with HP since I joined the project last year. This is the most comprehensive reply from HP on their position wrt PPA printers [listbot.com] .

I've asked some of the original protocol developers and they don't have access to the documentation anymore. I've asked some of my friends who work at HP, and their access to the places where this doco is stored came up empty.

I've asked maddog via his Linux International link (of which HP is also a primary sponsor) to talk to HP for us, but never received a reply. He's a busy dude, so I didn't mind too much.

PPA printers are well supported using pnm2ppa 1.0.4. Usuable versions are in most of the distributions now, and we are FreeBSD/NetBSD/BeOS compatible (and for that matter, cygwin and simple to make under Visual C++). I develop under NetBSD on the alpha, and it's 64 bit clean.

About the last thing I'm going to work on is ghostscript integration. We need some help from the ghostscript dudes as we must calibrate our printers, so that should be fun.

PPA printers do use a lot of CPU time. We feed the printer data that is ready for the print head - there is nearly nothing in the three families of PPA printers. The sheer amount of data is uneconomical from the point of view of how fast you can send data down, and the level of compression we can achieve in the protocol is only moderate in comparison to PS or PCL3e (which is what the other HP deskjets use).

Sure, brief (3)

Galvatron (115029) | more than 13 years ago | (#579481)

Of course, when you use a term like "brief," with no objective meaning, anything can be considered brief depending on what it's compared to. In this case, I don't think it's much of a stretch at all. "More than a year" is a heck of a lot less than the decades that most career VCs put in.

I think what CmdrTaco was saying was that you did some VC work, but you didn't make a career out of it. I mean heck, I've had temp jobs that have lasted for as much as four months, a year really isn't that long a time to spend in a profession.

As for your comment about the story being rejected when you submitted it, I assume you just wrote that because you are frustrated? Depending on who reads the submission, and what else they've read that day, and what their mood is, anything can get accepted or rejected. For that matter, how long ago did you submit? Maybe they'd already decided once to post this story before your submission came through. I had a story wait in limbo for over a week before being posted once, and another time I had a story get rejected less than ten minutes after being submitted. Besides, don't you think it looks a little less like self-promotion if the article is submitted by someone else?

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