THE NEWS BLOG

 
Steve and Jen bring you this daily review of the news
Premium Advertiser

News Blog Sponsors

News Links

BBC World Service
The Guardian
Independent
Washington Post
Newsday
Iraq Order of Battle
Agonist
NY Times
LA Times
ABC News
CNN
Blogger

 
Blogs We Like

Daily Kos
Atrios
Digby's Blog
Skippy
Operation Yellow Elephant
Iraq Casualty Count
Uggabugga
Media Matters
Talking Points
Defense Tech
Intel Dump
Soldiers for the Truth
Margaret Cho
Juan Cole
Tbogg
Corrente
Gropinator
Just a Bump in the Beltway
Baghdad Burning
Wonkette
Howard Stern
Michael Moore
James Wolcott
Cooking for Engineers
There is No Crisis
Whiskey Bar
Rude Pundit
Driftglass
At-Largely
Crooks and Liars
Amazin' Avenue
DC Media Girl
The Server Logs

 
Blogger Credits

Powered by Blogger

Archives by
Publication Date
August 2003
September 2003
October 2003
November 2003
December 2003
January 2004
February 2004
March 2004
April 2004
May 2004
June 2004
July 2004
August 2004
September 2004
October 2004
November 2004
December 2004
January 2005
February 2005
March 2005
April 2005
May 2005
June 2005
July 2005
August 2005
September 2005
October 2005
November 2005
December 2005
January 2006
February 2006
March 2006
April 2006
May 2006
June 2006
July 2006
August 2006
September 2006
October 2006
November 2006
December 2006
January 2007
February 2007
Comments Credits
Comments by YACCS
Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Firefox and Open Source


King of Open Source


An open-source slam dunk

In the summer of 1999, Salon was invited to observe a showdown at PC Week's testing labs in Foster City, Calif., between Microsoft Windows and Linux. The atmosphere was tense. The Linux representatives were young and arrogant; Microsoft's were middle-aged and arrogant. But at perhaps no moment did the Microsoft reps' self-satisfaction shine through more irritatingly than when they noted the superiority of their in-house approach to software development as compared to the collaborative, distributed, open-source way of doing business. Look at the browser market, one marketing manager noted. A year before, Netscape had released the code to its browser and started the Mozilla project. But it was going nowhere, and in the meantime Internet Explorer 5.0 was taking over.

To open-source advocates, the comment was cutting. Netscape had generated oodles of media hype when it released the source code to its browser, but there was no denying Microsoft's ensuing total domination of the market.

At Salon, we've covered the saga of Mozilla closely ever since, and we've marked several points at which we thought the Mozilla browser had made significant progress. But it often seemed we were shouting at deaf ears. Internet Explorer continued to reign supreme, and when we told our friends and relatives that there was an alternative, they looked at us kind of funny -- like: all that free software stuff was cute back in 1999, but now you're beginning to sound like one of those freaks who still think the Amiga computer is set for a big comeback.

Then came 2004, the release of the 1.0 version of Firefox, the stand-alone Mozilla browser, and the consequent first decline in Microsoft's browser market share in years.

Back in 1999, everything happened on Internet time. But writing good code isn't easy to speed up. Firefox is welcome proof that open-source software programs can be user friendly, easy to install, and competitive with Microsoft. If Salon awarded a Program of the Year medal, it would go to Firefox.


Here's the problem: Linux advocates are eager to define Open Source as Linux. Wackos like Richard Stallman (and I have the tape to prove he's one) take credit for it. But in reality, Open Source is an idea anyone can use. Hell, most games have a limited form of it, allowing for massive modifications. Open Source is, and will always be more than Linux, although that is the most ambitious project using that ideology. But too many people have been eager to comingle the two.

"Oh, Firefox is open source, just like Linux"

Well, no, anyone can use Firefox. Just because Firefos uses the Open Source ideology doesn't mean it's a harbinger of good things for Linux. What it does mean is that an organized, focused approach for application development works.

Which means if Firefox can take on IE, which is embedded into Windows, then a similar group can take on Word. Which is the real obsticle for wider Linux adoption. Firefox is a route to success, if people take it.

posted by Steve @ 1:55:00 PM

1:55:00 PM

The News Blog home page





 

Editorial Staff
RSS-XML Feeds

Add to My AOL

Support The News Blog

Amazon Honor System Click Here to Pay Learn More
News Blog Food Blog
Visit the News Blog Food Blog
The News Blog Shops
 
 
 
Operation Yellow Elephant
Enlist, Young Republicans