Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 21st Feb 2008 15:26 UTC, submitted by Robert Kratky
Opera Software Opera Software's CEO Jon S. von Tetzchner explains why they will not release the Opera browser as open source, arguing that open standards are more important than open source. Von Tetzchner also talks about the company's antitrust complaint to the European Commission in which it accuses Microsoft of abusing its dominant position by tying Internet Explorer to Windows.
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Miscellaneous ramblings
by elsewhere on Thu 21st Feb 2008 20:38 UTC
elsewhere
Member since:
2005-07-13

The good thing about Firefox's success is that web developers had it pounded through their skulls, for the most part, that it was not an IE-only world and developing as if it was could be restrictive.

The problem with Firefox's success is that web developers now tend to develop as if it was an IE or Firefox-only world. Google, of all companies, comes to mind for this.

Apple's momentum with Safari, and widerspread adoption of Webkit, will at least offer a third genuine alternative, but it's still kind of a drag that users still have to select a browser based on what works best with the web, rather than what works best for them.

I think the point he is making is that standards are pointless if a browser can earn enough marketshare to ignore them. I'd agree with that. I've always agreed that open standards are ultimately more important than open source.

Though I'm a little disappointed that they're running to the EU crying anti-trust. It's ridiculous at this point to claim MS shouldn't be including a browser.

I suppose, too, that it must be a little frustrating to see a browser that you have worked so hard to ensure standards compliance with is still dismissed, because the web caters to browser marketshare rather than standards.

Opera might be better off at this point to cut their losses and start working with Webkit, but it would be sad if that had to happen.

Reply Score: 4

More miscellaneous ramblings
by SReilly on Thu 21st Feb 2008 21:39 in reply to "Miscellaneous ramblings"
SReilly Member since:
2006-12-28

I'm very much in agreement on what you're saying. Open standards are, at least for me, the IT holy grail. For a user to be able to use whatever product combination suits their particular need, be those products open source or not, sounds just dandy to my ideal of personal freedom.

The thing is, more of a given product does not necessarily translate into open standards. Take the proprietary Unix scene of the '80s and '90s as an example. Unix today is considered by many to be the embodiment of open IT standards, but back in the day it was anything but the case. Yes, to an extent the systems themselves are open all the way down to the individual binary applications (obviously the binaries are just as open in the case of Linux and the BSDs) but inter Unix communication, hell even the divergence of the run levels and filesystem hierarchies, made cross platform interoperability, not to mention development, a nightmare. The last remaining relic of this era is arguably NIS+.

It's only really in recent years that the *nixs have started to really play nicely together and only because MS took the wind out of the sails of their workstation market with NT, not to mention the fact that, against all odds, BSD lives on. Hell, Linux eating into the Unix server market has done more to open the eyes of the last remaining proprietary Unix vendors then the lost market share due to NT's encroachment.

And there lies my point. In the end, the big boys figured the only way they where going to continue being able to sell their *nixs, products they have poured vast amounts of both time and money into, was to not only market they're obvious power and versatility, but also they're flexibility i.e. the ability to be able to swap one vendor's system for another with a minimum of infrastructure change.

Customer choice due to the utilization of open standards, something customers could already get from the free *nixs, was what enabled the big Unix vendors to keep their customers by letting their systems compete on a level playing field, at least in my opinion. For that to happen, open standards are a must.

I doubt that anyone can successfully argue against the good that choice in general does for the consumer, but the granularity of that choice is where open standards really shine. Yes, we all have the choice not to use a given PIM application, but if the choice is between using that PIM application, and having to change the PIM server, that's no choice at all.

Mind you, that's just my two cents worth.

Reply Parent Score: 5

PlatformAgnostic Member since:
2006-01-02

I don't know... I think the remaining proprietary Unix market has been pretty solidly defeated. The only reason these companies keep doing it is to sell a system that works better with their hardware than Linux can (I wager they wouldn't want to build their hardware-specific stuff on Linux because they might have to reveal platform-specific information to competitors if their optimizations require kenrel modifications). The non-OSS Unix market as a software market is dead. It's really just a hardware-OS bundle market because Unix OSes are too much of a commodity.

I'd say the same thing about web-browsers as well. To use one of those godawful car analogies: trying to sell a browser is like trying to sell an aftermarket car radio... there isn't much of a market for one unless it is many times better than the radios that come standard.

Reply Parent Score: 2