Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 21st Jul 2012 23:06 UTC
In the News Okay, so this is entirely new to me. Sparrow is was an email client for Mac OS X and iOS (and Windows), which brought a decent Gmail experience to these platforms - as opposed to Apple's own not-so-good Gmail support and Google's Gmail iOS application which, well, is just a webpage. Google has now acquired Sparrow, and basically all hell has broken loose, to the point of Rian van der Merwe writing that 'we' lost "faith in a philosophy that we thought was a sustainable way to ensure a healthy future for independent software development, where most innovation happens".
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Comment by sicofante
by sicofante on Mon 23rd Jul 2012 15:56 UTC
sicofante
Member since:
2009-07-08

I'm all for open source, but what Sparrow highlights is the dangers of not going closed source for some desktop apps.

Consider for a minute what the Sparrow team achieved in about one year: they became the number 1 mail app for OS X, earned $10 from each of their thousands of users, and then they got 25 million USD for their company.

Now please explain how could they have done that by going open source. Remember this is an email client. No services, no support, no nothing to bring money home from that code. How on Earth would Sparrow devs and investors become financially healthy by giving away their code? Why would Google have to shell out those millions instead of just offering the (starving) guys some jobs?

If anything, this news shows very clearly that if anyone is thinking of doing some desktop apps they should go closed source, be very creative and expect some big guy to make the rest of their life a walk in the park, or just make a nice living by licensing their software to happy users, like Sparrow's were.

As a matter of fact, I'm thinking of just hiring people to develop a new e-mail client for Gmail (desktop and/and or webapp), since open source advocates are stubbornly settled on folders instead of labels and there's not even an IMAP server that does labels properly (and as far as I can tell, from diggin the mailing lists of the likes of Dovecot or Courier, that simply won't happen).

Open source applications can only be made by students being fed by their parents or teams sponsored by big corporations, like Mozila being sponsored by Google, or The Document Foundation being sponsored by a consortium of pretty big companies. Small teams of grown up individuals who live on their own must be crazy to go open source for their desktop apps development. The Sparrow experience encourages every adult developer not willing to work for huge corporations to go closed source, not the opposite.

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