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The State of Open Source Software 76

Posted by samzenpus
from the line-them-up dept.
snydeq writes "InfoWorld's Peter Wayner provides an in-depth look at the state of open source software and an overview of the best open source software of the year. 'It's easy to find hundreds of other positive signs of open source domination. If the mere existence of a tar file filled with code from the nether regions of a beeping device that's buried deep inside someone's pocket is all you need to feel warm and fuzzy about "open source," you might conclude that open source development is the most dominant form in the increasingly dominant platform of the future,' Wayner writes. 'But anyone who digs a bit deeper will find it's not so simple. Although the open source label is more and more ubiquitous, society is still a long way from Richard Stallman's vision of a world where anyone could reprogram anything at any time. Patents, copyrights, and corporate intrigue are bigger issues than ever for the community, and more and more people are finding that the words "open source" are no guarantee of the freedom to tinker and improve. Some cynics even suggest that the bright, open future is receding as Linux and other open source tools grow more dominant.' Included in the writeup are the best open source applications, best open source desktop and mobile offerings, best open source development tools, and best open source software for datacenters and the cloud."
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The State of Open Source Software

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  • by jmcbain (1233044) on Wednesday September 07, 2011 @05:53PM (#37333474)

    As J. Gruber of Daring Fireball points out [daringfireball.net], Google doesn't do open source as we would expect. An internal Google memo on Android development clearly states their policy:

    • Do not develop in the open. Instead, make source code available after innovation is complete
    • Lead device concept: Give early access to the software to partners who build and distribute devices to our specification (ie [sic], Motorola and Verizon). They get a non-contractual time to market advantage and in return they align to our standard.

    This is not how open source is supposed to work. Open source doesn't mean "closed until we decide to make it open". Open source doesn't mean "closed until we and our partners can profit."

  • Re:Google (Score:3, Interesting)

    by anubi (640541) on Wednesday September 07, 2011 @08:36PM (#37334834) Journal
    Yeh, I remember the day I bought a new timex "datalink" watch. I had high hopes and dreams of what I could do with that watch, being I could "talk" to it with nothing more than a LED.

    I bought three of the things.

    I remember well the frustration I encountered when I tried to find out aboutl the protocols needed to talk to the watch. I had all sorts of microcontroller projects I wanted to use it with... at the time, all 6502 based. Microsoft was involved. That's when I began to get a real sour taste in my mind every time Microsoft was mentioned. Microsoft had gotten big, and no longer thought well of those of us trying to find other ways of using their products.

    Now, please tell me why keeping the protocols under tight wraps helped Microsoft or Timex? Did they really think I was going to copy their watches? Geez, there is no way I had any intention of getting into the watch manufacturing business! I just wanted to horse around with the darned thing and have fun seeing what I could do with it. To me, that was the fun of having the watch in the first place. If I can't do anything with it, I might as well buy a Porsche as a lawn ornament.

    I ended up, five years later. throwing the watches away, two still in the original packaging. Junk. The only benefit I got was a lesson to be very wary of my intentions to see potential in products when the manufacturer is going to do their legal darndest to make sure I can't horse around with it. Its like going to a restaurant and having the chef come to my table and make sure I "enjoy" the meal exactly as he deemed. A shake of salt could bring a lawsuit.

    I have seen books on how to program Androids at the bookstore. That, by itself, has biased me strongly towards the purchase of an Android phone when I get ready to buy a "smart" phone. The other phones look too much like a "datalink" to me.

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