What happens when the underdogs get together and try to factor out their efforts to beat some evil dominant power, sometimes victoriously.
Or when startups use the cheapest stuff available and randomly become the next big thing, and decide to keep maintaining the open stuff to get features for free from other companies, or because they are forced by the Holy GPL.
Open source frees employees. When you change jobs, a large part of the specific knowledge you acquired about closed source a project with your blood and tears goes to the trash. When companies get bought, projects get shut down, and closed source code goes to the trash. What sane non desperate person would sell their life energy into such closed source projects that could die at any moment? Working on open source is the single most important non money perk a company can have to attract the best employees.
Open source is worth more than the mere pragmatic financial value of not having to pay for software or the ability to freely add new features.
Its greatest value is perhaps the fact that it allows people study it, to appreciate the beauty of the code, and feel empowered by being able to add the features that they want.
That is why Ciro Santilli thought:
Life is too short for closed source.
But quoting Ciro's colleague S.:
Every software is open source when you read assembly code.
And "can reverse engineer the undocumented GPU hardware APIs", Ciro would add.
While software is the most developed open source technology available in the 2010's, due to the "zero cost" of copying it over the Internet, Ciro also believes that the world would benefit enormously from open source knowledge in all areas on science and engineering, for the same reasons as open source.
A more precise term for those in the know: open source software that also has a liberal license, for some definition of liberal.
Ciro Santilli defines liberal as: "can be commercialized without paying anything back" (but possibly subject to other restrictions).
He therefore does not consider Creative Commons licenses with NC to be FOSS.
For the newbs, the term open source software is good enough, since most open source software is also FOSS.
But when it's not, it's crucial to know.
This model can work well when there is a set of commonly used libraries that some developers often use together, but such that there isn't enough maintenance work for each one individually.
So what people do is to create a group that maintains all those projects, to try and get enough money to survive from the contributions done primarily for each one individually.
Ciro Santilli's raison d'etre, one of his attempts: OurBigBook.com.
The outcome of closed knowledge is reverse engineering.
- MIT OpenCourseWare
- several e-learning websites, e.g. OpenStax
Not everything is perfect.
One big problem of many big open source projects is that they are contributed to by separate selfish organizations, that have private information. Then what happens is that:
- people implement the same thing twice, or one change makes the other completely unmergeable
- you get bugs but can't share your closed source test cases, and then you can't automate tests for them, or clearly demonstrate the problem
- other contributors don't see your full semi secret important motivation, and may either nitpick too much or take too long to review your stuff
Another common difficulty is that open source maintainers may simply not care enough about their own project (maybe they did in the past but lost interest) to review external patches by people they don't know.
This is understandable: a new patch, is a new risk of things breaking.
Therefore, if you ever submit patches and they get ignore, don't be too sad. It just comes down to a question of maintenance cost, and means that you will waste some extra time on the next rebase. You just have to decide your goals and be cold about it:
- are you doing the right thing and going for a specific goal backward design? Then just fork, run as fast as possible towards a minimum viable product, and if you start to feel that rebase is costing you a lot, or feel you could get some open source fame for cheap, open reviews and see what upstream says. If they ignore you, politely tell yourself in your mind silently "fuck them", and carry on with the MVP
- otherwise, e.g. you just want to randomly help out, you have to ask them before doing anything big "how can I be of help". If I propose a patch for this issue, do you promise to review it?
Writing documentation in an open source project in which you don't have immediate push rights is another major pain due to code reviews. Code code reviews tend to be much less subjective, because if you do something wrong, stuff crashes, runs slower, or you need more lines of code to reach the same goal. There are tradeoffs, but in a limited number. Documentation code reviews on the other hand, are an open invitation to infinite bike-shedding, since you can't "run" documentation through a standardized brain model. Much better is for one good documenter person to just make one cohesive Stack Overflow post, and ping others with more knowledge to review details or add any missing pieces :-)
Open source development model in which developers develop in private, and only release code to the public during releases.
Notable example project: Android Open Source Project.
This development model basically makes reporting bugs and sending patches a waste of time, because many of them will already have been solved, which is why this development model is evil.
Ciro Santilli can accept closed source on server products more easily than offline, because the servers have to be paid for somehow (by stealing your private data).
Closed source on offline products used by millions of people is evil, when you could just have those for free with open source software! Thus Ciro's hatred for Microsoft Windows and MacOS (at least userland, maybe).
The opposite of open source software.
ISO is the main culprit of this bullshit, some notable examples related to open source software:
How the hell are you supposed to develop an open source implementation of something that has a closed standard?
Not to mention open source test suites, that would be way too much to ask for, those always end up being made by some shady small companies that go bankrupt from time to time, see e.g. .
If you are going to do closed source, at least do it like this.
Basically the opposite of need to know for software.
Discussion (0)Sign up or sign in create discussions.
There are no discussions about this article yet.