Bonum Certa Men Certa

No, Virginia! APIs, Visual Studio, and Apple Are Not Open Source

The Dresden Dolls - No, Virginia...



Summary: Latest dangers to the identity of "Open Source", which increasingly means all sorts of things that depart completely from software freedom (or from software as a whole)

UNLESS a brand, a trademark, or a name gets actively defended, it ceases to have a meaning. When the word "freedom" is used in sentences like "freedom to fight", the label "terrorism" comes to mean anything someone disagrees with and Hoover just becomes synonymous with any vacuum cleaner, there is danger that the language we all use to communicate (i.e. transmit images, connotations, and feelings that accompany) will get warped beyond recognition.



"Open Source" as a term has been stress-tested for several years now. Several vendors constantly attempt to bend the term "open-source" (sometimes with a dash or minus) to better serve their marketing pitch, which also includes "cloud", "2.0", and other drop-in terms that are popular these days because they are associated with modernisation and advancement.

“"Open Source" as a term has been stress-tested for several years now.”The term "Free software" -- not just "Open Source" -- would get bent if it gained a lot of traction and became a sought-after trait -- one that potentially makes the cut and appears in checklists as a requirement.

Watch this new pro-Microsoft (it seems like the firm is boosting Microsoft) release where Visual Studio is described as "Free platform":

“There are literally thousands of open source projects across the net that graduates can sink their teeth into. Free platforms such as Microsoft’s Visual Studio Express series means that it costs very little to get involved, too.


"Free platforms," eh? Microsoft has been openwashing Visual Studio for years and IDG's fauxpen has just received a comment rebutting this.

It sometimes seems to us, as we explained earlier today, that IDG's fauxpen source blog will happily grab the term "Open Source" and then 'openwash' almost everything that's of value to the stakeholders (the blog is predominantly written by proprietary software folks). Right now they talk about open APIs as though it's nearly the same as "Open Source" (Tim O’Reilly does the same thing).

How much should the term "Open Source" be interchanged and bent before it's worth discarding for too broad a scope?

Another troubling pattern that we find is the illusion that Apple is "Open" or even "Open Source"; this is sometimes put forth quite sincerely by fans of this this large company (which does not lack marketing people, either).

"Welcome Apple, seriously," says the headline of this new post which is crediting Apple with the MPEG4 push -- the same one that actively threatens GNU/Linux and Free software at large. Just amazing.

Apple has been very careless and reckless when it comes to "Open Source", but many Apple customers prefer not to see it. Apple has a history of exploiting Free software and sometimes just harming it in the process.

“Apple has a history of exploiting Free software and sometimes just harming it in the process.”What are Dana Blankenhorn and OStatic doing then? As stated correctly in first comment, by Martin Owens: "Except WebKit is based on Konquorer's khtml library. So it's not like Apple had a lot of choice in releasing the code."

"Apple for me have been the worst company for their ability to misunderstand and abuse free software. They see it as public domain and not commons, which is a shame.

"They are not my friend."

If Apple was to qualify as "Open Source", that would mean that "Open Source" as a term is dead and buried. Earlier today we contacted the OSI regarding these issues.

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