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perspectives on open-source and web services

Friday, July 29, 2005

more about open-source

although I usually try to stick to web services talk, that interest routinely finds me at Google, so I ended up reading this post, its "counterpost," and Bosworth's followup.

now I'm not fishing for a job in Google's PR department, but I feel like Krzysztof Kowalczyk is really giving Google an un-merited hard time. I won't say that his stance is a usual one in the open-source community, because I know it really isn't. it just irks me when open-source advocates(Kowalczyk?) go about demonizing some of the most respectable, successful, and influential users of open-source. Google should be used a shining example of how powerful open-source is technically, and as a cultural movement.

as Adam says, Krzysztof's post essentially says that Google has a parasitic relationship with the open-source community because Google uses open-source technology without contributing back to the open-source pool. aside from the fact that Google does actively contribute to the general pool of open-source software, Krzysztof's accusation holds no merit for at least two other reasons.

1. Google has provided almost incalcuable value to every programmer in the world time and time again - all free of charge. just because Google's value is not delivered quid pro quo with "open source" proper, doesn't mean Google is parasitic. because...

2. the nature of open-source itself is a contribute-AND-prosper relationship with a fuzzy and wonderfully free middle - make it work however you can because you're free to do so. I personally think it is pricesly that dynamism, that absence of strict regimen in the exchange process, that makes open-source THE poster-child of the great new open culture that's cropping up in all economic and social spheres.

Google is one of the best examples of hugely successful symbiotic open-source production: Google takes open-source software, re-structures, re-factors, re-mixes it with their own creative juices (eww) and labor, then releases their results to everyone in an amazingly usable form.

I think for the most part, open-source developers love Google, and Google loves open-source. but I'd like to ask something of the open-source fairy as well...

just contribute and prosper without inventing artificial obligations or standards people must live up to in order to receive some mystical "blessing" from open-source developers. don't try to apply the meritocracy concept (which works damn well on the technical aspects) down into the very intentions and motivations of other participants.

for God's sake, don't even suggest a quantitative price tag level (10% of savings) a company must meet to redeem themselves of their profit-seeking sins. (the counterpost suggests "Do no evil" is a "refreshing" contrast to "corporate profits")

I know I nit-pick and criticize open-source too much, and hardly ever go the other way 'round, but that's because criticism is wasted and hopeless on the proprietary crowd. they'll just keep dismissing you as a communist - even to the point where you're rolling in shit-loads of what would have been THEIR money if they had changed their failing business model.

I jump on the open-source voices harshest because I already know how amazing open-source is, and can be. I hate to see it get into petty squabbling about insignificant things like "fairness" in exchange. it's like Mr. Gates issuing a press release to bitch about a papercut he received cashing his check.


edited aug 03 to correct Krzysztof Kowalczyk as the author of the post. sorry Michael.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

open source WS standards implementations

see, this is the kind of stuff that gets me VERY excited. I had heard that Apache was being given the reins of some web services standards, and that OASIS was going to play peace-maker in getting Microsoft and Apache to the same table to work out issues with the licenses on those standards that Microsoft had penned.

I love the way this article described standards development and open-source development:

"from the frying pan of standards adoption into the fire of open source implementation"

I'm hoping that this becomes a tried-and-true pattern for web service standards - major work in designing solid standards, and then handed over for open-source implementation. although I confess I don't really have any experience with the standards in question, nor have I even worked with Apache's other web service standards implementations. but I think I know enough about how Apache operates, and have enough excitement for web services to be "high" on the prospect of getting all kinds of open-source tools to integrate things.

but the dynamics of this kind of progress seem to have all the right components.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

it was a good read

a great read, in fact. better than I usually read from the other guys over there.

in any case, I can't say that I've ever thought it out as completely or spoken it as articulately, but I've had that kind of gut feeling about the demand for open standards eventually driving proprietary vendors towards open-source.

but, lo, what is this? one of our very own open source champions is pitching a marketing gimmick, and it is received positively by the open source community? and by community, I mean, y'know...you.

I thought the community/you had a pretty anti-marketing mindset...? could it be that marketing, as an act of conveying information in a targeted manner for maximum persuasive impact, is actually beneficial, even praiseworthy?

Sabre is as cool as Google

in addition to implementing possibly THE largest mission-critical Linux/MySQL database server on the planet, and in addition to providing some solid, business-creating web services, they're also on the forefront of Ajax development. oh yeah, and they've released their Ajax library as an open source project - Rico!

and they are located in Southlake, which means you should get a job there tomorrow.