11.23.09

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O’Reilly Does Not Know What Open Means (Let Alone Free)

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, GPL, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Protocol at 9:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Cut
“Open” can also mean open sores

Summary: Microsoft’s perversion of the word “open” (as George Orwell once warned) put in perspective

IN SEPTEMBER we showed that O'Reilly had grown closer to Microsoft, then a few days ago noting that both are neglecting web standards. There is a new article in eWEEK, going under the headline “Why Tim O’Reilly Sees Microsoft as a Proponent of the Open Web”

This is not intended to be humour. To quote from the opening paragraph, “O’Reilly says Microsoft’s recent deals to index Twitter tweets and use Wolfram Alpha’s APIs for computational data show a shift in its willingness to work with other Web companies.”

“When a company uses APIs or makes some available, it is merely looking for increased use, it has nothing to do with Freedom.”O’Reilly’s perception of “open” is a very biased and personal one, like “Web 2.0″. He eyes APIs as “open” when in fact there is no such thing as “open APIs”; an API is open by definition, for it begs to be used as an access point to Free or non-Free code. When a company uses APIs or makes some available, it is merely looking for increased use, it has nothing to do with Freedom.

O’Reilly must also have forgotten about .NET, which is proprietary and even a platform lock-in. It’s a case against the cross-platform, GPL-licensed Java. Microsoft boosters/bloggers are also busy at the moment spreading FUD about the GPL, helped by some other useful idiots who echo Microsoft talking points.

In the previous post we showed Novell’s de Icaza sharing this post from Mary Jo Foley about XAML as an anti-GNU/Linux weapon (Chrome OS specifically). Novell’s de Icaza then praised Silverlight.

Will Microsoft’s Silverlight dampen the appeal of Google’s Chrome OS?

[...]

First, as others have noted, Google’s Chrome OS is a new windowing system layered on top of Linux that is being customized to run on netbooks.

Microsoft is fraudulently trying to characterise Silverlight as “open source” [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], usually with Novell’s help.

This is clearly an attack on web standards, making parts of the Web Windows-only (and blocking Google spiders, not just end-user software). So how can O’Reilly be so blind to deals and partnerships that only make a Closed Web, not an “Open Web”? Whose side is he on? Reality? Or marketing? It’s not even about Microsoft, it’s about standards and those who oppose them, including Adobe whose blobs are now required to read O’Reilly-published literature. And just to think that O’Reilly used to stand for “open” (whatever “open” means). Richard Stallman was right all along about “open”.

[More Open Than Open]: “I am constantly amazed at the flexibility of this single word.”

Jason Matusow, Microsoft (for background see [1, 2])

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6 Comments

  1. dyfet said,

    November 23, 2009 at 10:20 am

    Gravatar

    An API is more like a border, in the traditional sense. And a Microsoft API is far too often more like the old Berlin wall. If people try to leave with knowledge of how the actual stuff works, they are “shot”, well, in a legal sense, in what are called non-disclosure agreements. Those looking to come in may often need to arrange special licenses like passport fees.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    In Microsoft’s case, APIs expire (or are phased out or die along with a product).

    dyfet Reply:

    That is also true. With proprietary API’s, whatever work one does may become unusable if the vendor chooses to withdraw them, for whatever reason it may choose and can potentially do so at any time. With a free software API, at least even if the original authors loose interest, others have the freedom to continue using and improving them. But I liked the border analogy :).

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Yes, the API can be substituted by native deployment/s. That’s why many people use identi.ca.

  2. Yuhong Bao said,

    November 29, 2009 at 6:32 pm

    Gravatar

    “including Adobe whose blobs are now required to read O’Reilly-published literature.”
    Yea, I know that fiasco. And posting my link to the original BN article on this issue finally forced Tim O’Reilly to respond:
    http://radar.oreilly.com/2009/10/safari-books-online-60-a-cloud.html#comment-2197553

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    It’s good that feedback is taken into account like this.

    Last week I went through Jono Bacon’s new book (from O’Reilly). It was plain PDF.

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