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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More miscellaneous ramblings
by SReilly on Thu 21st Feb 2008 21:39 UTC 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

SReilly Member since:
2006-12-28

What you are saying definitely applies to Sun but when it comes to IBM and AIX, the situation is very different. IBM helps enormously with the Linux PPC port, including hardware and development. In fact, they offer two Distros, SLES and RHEL, as well as AIX for their POWER based System P servers. Every component is supported, something you can't say about many x86 devices.The reason for this is that IBM makes more money as a solutions provider then they could as just a hardware company with a nice Unix bundled.

The thing is, considering Linux is so well supported on the POWER architecture, how come our customers want AIX installed on the vast majority of POWER systems we sell? It's simple, AIX is more powerful, more flexible and scales better than Linux. It's optimized for one platform, POWER, making it out perform Linux in every benchmark you can throw at it.

So why don't our customers by x86-64 based System X servers with Linux preinstalled instead of POWER based system? After all, Linux on commodity hardware is arguably cheaper than a proprietary Unix running on a proprietary architecture. The answer is actually quite simple. When it comes to big iron Unix servers, i.e. performance monsters for DB and storage/backup systems, you can't beat these systems.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for Linux and the BSDs and I especially think they make excellent web servers, firewalls and application servers. But in the end, for sheer performance, they just don't measure up to Solaris and AIX on proprietary hardware.

I, and many other Unix admins, are of the opinion that this will change and that, given the amount of work that is going into developing Linux, it will change soon. But until that day, customers are still going to want to leverage every last bit of value out of the expensive proprietary systems they buy.

Reply Parent Score: 3