Linuxgruven > Software > Archived Bits > Lphoto and Lsongs

Lphoto and Lsongs

Open Source innovation at it's best

April 2004

Here's a disturbing Open Source trend: Take a known, good commercial app, make a one-to-one copy, then claim that this is somehow new. Really, this has been happening since the absolute beginning. Ximian started copying interfaces directly with Evolution, but Linsipre (nee Lindows) has perfected this art with the release of their two new "lApps."

lPhoto and lSongs aim to fulfill a legitimate gap in the Open Source product offering, but this didn't mean that they had to make direct duplicates of Apple's equivalent iApps. Check it out:

Apple's iPhoto:

Real... (iPhoto)

Linspire's lPhoto:

Fake... (lPhoto)

Apple's iTunes:

Real... (iTunes)

Linspire's lSongs:

Fake... (lSongs)

Don't get me wrong, Apple's apps are great and I welcome Linspire's additions to the fold, but this really is going too far. Not only are these blatant copies, they're bad copies. lSongs offers about half of the features and is much slower than iTunes. That is, my P4 2.8GHz 1.5GB RAM desktop machine is significantly slower than my G3 iBook 700 with 640MB.

lPhoto is better, but it doesn't bring anything new to the table. They've even copied Apple's mistakes: You still can't have hierarchical photo albums in lPhoto.

Oh, and to get an idea as to how deeply this copy runs, lSongs can actually use iTunes XML library files without modification. That's right, you can re-use your iTunes XML file as an lSongs XML file. While this is very handy, it is yet another example of the lack of originality in these applications.

Shameful, yes. Sadly, these are still two of the most usable new Linux apps out there. I guess the thing that gets me is that, Open Source or not, if Microsoft had done this, everyone would be screaming bloody murder, Apple would have already filed lawsuits, and the press would have been all over it. I don't like Microsoft, but the double standard that exists in the Open Source community degrades us all in the end.