View Full Version : Why use Open Source? (was Mozilla 1.2)
November 27th, 2002, 09:03 AM
November 27th, 2002, 10:26 AM
I don't think that this was unclear...
The issue with Mozilla is that it's difficult to support the Mozilla Open Source team if you don't want to support AOL/Netscape, as the better Mozilla gets, the better chance AOL has in the market. So, in this case you're actually helping a big company by helping open source software.
November 27th, 2002, 10:51 AM
I think one thing to consider is that big businesses, such as AOL, is going to help itself either way. They may use the Mozilla source code but all the development of Netscape comes from paid AOL employees.
Also keep in mind that AOL is trying to do with Netscape what many people are trying to do in their own right, get away from Microsoft.
The bigger picture is that when you support Mozilla, you are supported many independent projects that don't have the time nor money for starting from scratch and employing developers.
If you are truly concerned about not supporting AOL, use Mozilla and turn off Talkback. Bug reports will not be sent back to Mozilla, thus, you will in no way have supported future builds of Netscape but at the same time, you may hinder the development of other Mozilla based projects as well.
Netscape is an entirely different beast than Mozilla. Netscape is not trying to win some browser war. Netscape is an AOL portal, linking you to everything AOL from the start page, to bookmarks and different toolbar buttons. Mozilla on the other hand doesn't have anything AOL related in it. Its a browser plain and simple.
Once again, I stress, by downloading Mozilla you are not supporting Netscape.
November 27th, 2002, 02:59 PM
Once again, I stress, by downloading Mozilla you are not supporting Netscape.
I think fryke's concern is that if you contribute to the Mozilla project, you indirectly support AOL/TW/Netscape's efforts - whether that's submitting bug reports, crash reports, or actually work on the code itself. Turning off Talkback certainly curbs part of this participation, to be sure, but the act of downloading and using it suggests, to me at least, a measure of support for Mozilla, if for no other reason that it excludes (even part-time) the use of another browser. (fryke, correct me if my read of your statement is wrong.)
Does it (support of Moz) indirectly support AOL/TW/Netcape? I think it does, but I also don't think it matters. As mentioned, Mozilla is a different beast, with a completely different focus. The way I see it is that Mozilla is a browser for the browser's sake (with features that make it a really nice browser for the user), whereas AOL uses Netscape to further their goals with the portal. This almost complete lack of overlap works well, to me, since it means that AOL is, at worst, simply riding Mozilla's coattails.
But, I find it hard to imagine that AOL/TW/Netscape is not feeding back into the Mozilla project at all. It may not be the level of contribution that we'd prefer, but I don't think it's zero. Can anyone more familiar with the inner workings of the Mozilla project comment on this? I've done a cursory look at the FAQs and am not seeing an answer...
November 27th, 2002, 03:18 PM
i'm not sure but i think fryke was just explaining my position. which reassures me that i have communicated it and that some people do understand it. you don't have to agree with it to understand it.
what i want to know is why people are sooo defensive about mozilla and their approach to open source? why can't we simply have 2 different perspectives on this and agree to disagree?:confused:
November 27th, 2002, 05:14 PM
Well, I'm quite old on here and have been through some browser discussions, Ed. ;)
I guess it's that people _do_ understand that they don't want to support AOL, but it's a dilemma, really, as supporting open source usually is a _good_ thing - as it may hurt Microsoft in some or other way.
Also, since Chimera is definitely the fastest browser out there today, people are attracted to it. I must say myself that back when IE 5 appeared for Mac OS 8.6, I switched to it immediately, because it was the most complete, stable and the only standards-compliant browser around.
So, while politics _do_ move people, so do features. And the freedom to choose is, of course, also a burden. Responsibility comes with it.
And we just have to respect other people's decisions.
My decision was clear when I first saw OmniWeb and got onto their mailing list: I wanted to support those guys, so I bought a license. And I'm kind of glad that OW _isn't_ open source software, as this gives me the right to complain. And someone answers my complaints. And how well they do it shows me that I've put the money to the right people.
Another difficulty is how far you're thinking. If you don't stop, you might hurt the wrong people: Let's say I use iCab because I don't want to help Microsoft, so I don't use IE. Now, hurting Microsoft there could end in Microsoft stopping software development (or slowing it down) for Mac OS X. This, again, could diminish the attractiveness of the platform. And could thus hurt Apple. So, does supporting iCab hurt Apple?
November 27th, 2002, 05:28 PM
ah, so you are saying that it is the age old issue of existential fear of freedom? i hadn't quite seen this in this light, but the timing is perfect for you to present it this way. i have been looking at several other things in life from this perspective recently, including my school progress. at least part of what you are saying makes great sense and i will think more about it.
but i also suspect there is more to it than this as well. ;)
November 27th, 2002, 06:02 PM
November 27th, 2002, 06:10 PM
November 27th, 2002, 06:17 PM
well, you sent us to the gnu philosophy which i think i totally support. mozilla is not published under a gnu license, but is BSD. there are 2 different ways to go about the selling and distribution of open source. i think it may be simplistic to try and talk about them as one.
originally posted by kilowatt in another thread
Ed, I think I have this figured out.
This is the classic case of a GNU/GPL person clashing with a BSD-style person.
there is nothing I can say now :-)
Check out http://www.gnu.org
if you wish to compare the licenses. I have a feeling you will fit in just fine at gnu.org ;-)
No offense intended, though. I hope you find your prefect license through this ;-)
November 27th, 2002, 06:19 PM
oh, and MacLuv - i think you left the door open for the discussion to steer towards the mozilla implementation of opensource when you included it in the title of the thread.
November 27th, 2002, 06:21 PM
November 27th, 2002, 06:25 PM
November 27th, 2002, 06:25 PM
i think it would be interesting to hear from some actual developers who have participated in contributions to open source software, their perceptions of the 2 licenses and how they feel about the idea of their work being taken and profitted off of by a major corporation.
November 27th, 2002, 06:48 PM
November 27th, 2002, 06:53 PM
November 27th, 2002, 07:34 PM
Well, let's not get too deep into _that_ discussion. Communism as an idea didn't suppress the people. It was its implementation in a totalitarian system.
Choosing between GPL and BSD style licenses is really a political and a economic decision.
BSD style licenses allow you to make money. So it's a natural choice for companies that want to make money. (Directly out of a product.)
November 27th, 2002, 07:35 PM
Isnt communism actually a good thing? The problem is, it never works out because there is always a group of greedy S.O.Bs who want more than everyone else?
November 27th, 2002, 07:40 PM
that's my opinion, too... but i didn't want to go into it. rather read this: http://ask.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=02/11/27/0747238&mode=thread&tid=99
slashdot's a good place to look at open source developments...
November 28th, 2002, 04:24 AM
lol. I'm kinda flattered that a whole thread has been based on my (what was meant to be mostly joking) remark.
This has certainly shed a little light on the subject. I didn't even know there were different forms of open-source. Thanks, guys. :)
November 28th, 2002, 11:33 AM
One aspect of open source that no one else here has mentioned when compared to closed source software is that the programmers are donating their free time to the project. They are truly passionate about the work they are doing. They are not locked in a cubicle and chained to a desk deep inside a corporate vault being paid for programming some mind-numbing project. I think the best work comes from people who are truly passionate about their work.
For example, as a graduate student I oftened tutored one student for FREE for an entire year. The subject of money was never brought up for my tutoring services. Yeah, I needed the money very badly, but it was more important for me to see this student succeed than to view her as a cash source. In the end, she did pay me a rather large lump sum; I was completely shocked. The nice thing about this is that I've made a new friend.
The other aspect about open source is that the parties involved are more likely to network with others in their work rather than keep their projects confidential. The goals of open source software and closed source software are very different indeed. The closed source model is about providing a product or service to make a PROFIT. The open source model is about providing a product or service for PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT AND GROWTH.
November 30th, 2002, 05:15 PM
IMO neither closed source nor proprietary software is better. The main differences are only worth while to state if you are selling to a computer programmer. Open Source means that the source code for the program is available. Depending on the liscence, a programmer is free to change up the souce and re distribute the application. If you have no idea how to code, having the source is useless.
Even less relivant is the differences between BSD and GPL liscenses. They are based around the same general terms, only BSD wanted the liscense to be far more simple to understand, and far more bendable. Open Source means free as in speech, not free as in beer. Companies are free to charge as much as they like for a product, they simply have to distribute the source to hold the liscence.
Mozilla is open source, yes... but as I stated, that is not important to most users here... Mozilla is the open source version of Netscape, most of you would do fine and dandy with the full version of Netscape 7 (I think)...
December 1st, 2002, 08:43 AM
Even for non-programmers, open source can be useful compared to closed source. For example, you can compile some software without all the features you don't need. Apache for example. Of course this option can be added to closed source applications by selecting features before installing, but performance-wise, selecting features at compiling time is better.
Open source also leads to faster bug-fixing, as a user can not only submit a bug report but a fix, too. Yes, we users won't do that very often ;) - but if there are a few clever people, things can move on faster (and they do), which is important for security issues.
December 1st, 2002, 09:42 AM
you can also trust open source software more than closed source software. you might not be able to review open source code for hidden nasties, but someone else can and you benefit from it.
I remember reading a story in The Register about open vs closed source. They pointed out to some piece of software from Borland that was recently open sources. apparently, borland added a little something to spy on their customers. open source programmers found it in their third week of the code review and pormptly exiced it.
you can bet that a lot of the open source initiatives by other countries are as much about saving $ as they are about making sure the US does not spy on the other countries.
PS>I work for Xerox, during the cold war years, Xerox sold and serviced the main copy machine in the Russian embassy. The CIA approached Xerox and requested that we find a way to add a camera to the copier (copier were *much* noisier back then, easily hidding the noise from the shutter). The Rep came to service the machine every week and every week he changed the roll of film in the copier when he changed the other materials as part of regular service.