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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"the dangers of closed source"
by martini on Sun 22nd Jul 2012 02:57 UTC
martini
Member since:
2006-01-23

Thom, I liked this post.

It may even sound strange but I can not believe that there are not laws that regulate the software business.

Since the source code is secret, software companies can boycott competition.
- Software developers may include intentionally instructions that make the software of their competitors to run slower.
- Developers can include secret backdoors inside software to gain access to you system or personal information.
- Since the source code is keep as a secret, it is hard to find out that the software you are using is taking your personal information without your permission.

Hi-Jack Customers. Customers may be hi-jacked by the software authors.
- Software authors may force the customers to pay for software updates by removing the support of older versions of the software
- There is no way to keep the same software and select a different author to support it, since the software authors has the exclusivity of the Source Code.
- Authors may force the customer to buy newer of different kind of hardware devices to support newer versions of the software.

Abandonware is not consider legal.
- When the software is discontinued by its author, or the company that produces the software goes out of business, the customer is left “High and Dry”
- The customer does not know if it legal of not to keep using and installing new licenses of this kind of software on their business.
- The software does not has any more possibilities to be improved. This harms the customer that relies on this software for performing their business activities.

The worst thing is that we think this is normal. (Business as usual)

Solution??
Use Open Source Software.

But I dream with the day that governments will force Software manufacturers to:

1) All software binaries offered for free or a price should have the source code available for inspection for their customers. (The source code can be under any license the author wants)

2) When the Software reaches the end of life marked by its author, or has been X years since it was released, the binary and source code will turn public domain or open source software.

3) Use, modification, distribution and reverse engineering of software binaries will be legal for products that reached the end of life, that had been discontinued, or when the software company went out of business.

Reply Score: 2

ricegf Member since:
2007-04-25

I believe that was the point of copyright (at least in the USA per our constitution) - you receive exclusive distribution control of your work for "limited times", then everybody can reuse your work for free.

Only it was corrupted with software, as the feds granted copyright on code but still allowed that code to be kept as a trade secret - and even outlawed reverse engineering that code from what was being distributed under copyright protection!

Of course, they also defined "limited times" as a couple of human lifetimes - but don't get me started on that!

Reply Parent Score: 3

zima Member since:
2005-07-06

It was corrupted even earlier.
I mean, for text, the work itself is essentially its source code ...but it's already not really so with music or films, too. With those, that would be the multi-track version, before final output; and the highest-quality video, pre-mix audio, also models & textures and so on for 3D animations.

Sometimes I do think the condition for copyright should be placing the "code" of the work in some escrow system, to be made publicly available when the copyright lapses (or even when copyright holders show disinterest? Like with abandonware, or even music and films that aren't kept available for some long enough time).

As it stands, all different kinds of media are forced into a system designed for writers - even when (if?) they'll get into PD, they can't be mixed nearly so easily as text.

Reply Parent Score: 2

lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

Oh more open source zealot bollox.

Seriously all the evils things that you are highlighted regarding privacy etc. are pretty easy to discover with a copy of fiddler/wireshark and a decompiler/hex editor.

The rest, how dare someone make a living by working to support a newer set of features, which take time and money to create.

This sort of rubbish continues because fundamentally a lot of open source proponents don't actually understand how software works ... they think they know how it works and think FOSS is the be all and end all.

Come back to me when you have actually been through a few death marches.

Edited 2012-07-22 17:14 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

tidux Member since:
2011-08-13

Keep sucking on that FUDgesicle. There's nothing that says you can't charge for support on FOSS. Red Hat, Inc. made a BILLION FUCKING DOLLARS doing that last year.

Reply Parent Score: 3

ze_jerkface Member since:
2012-06-22

You dream of having the government forcing open source because economic realities don't fund enough of it.

That's price fixing and would wreak havoc on the software market. Company A would look at the source of Company B and then decide not to buy because they now (cough) have decided to go with their own internal solution. Or Company B now has SimilarProductForLess and they SWEAR it was just a coincidence that it came out after looking at Company's A source for security reasons. You're going to f--k up working business models because Stallmanology obviously has economic limits.

The problem is your religion. This is no different than the government forcing creationism in schools because there is zero natural drive within the sciences to teach it. Gee whiz maybe the old men (in your case man) didn't have all the answers? Or (GASP) might have been wrong about a few things?

Stallman expected "hackers" (unpaid developers) to write everything and bury the proprietary software world. That didn't happen but loonologists like yourself dream of forced-open source and creationists dream of burying evolution through force because your religion puts you at odds with reality. Proprietary software is no more evil than dinosaurs.

Edited 2012-07-22 22:15 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 0

martini Member since:
2006-01-23

But, what to do when you are left "high and dry" with all the investment you made into an specific platform that the author refuses to continue developing it?

OS/2 user here ;)

I see a good way to FUD OSS here, too bad we are used with this kind of techniques in the past. We all understand Stallman's dogmatic approach, but that approach is not related to the OSS movement at all.

Open Source is superior than any other close source software. Not necessary technically, it is superior cause it reduce you the risk to have only one provider. It kills the single vendor dependance for any business.

I just go and visit my COBOL CICS, RPG, PL/I, fox, VisualBasic, Smalltalk, Kylix customers and see how they are screwed right now. What would happen if all that technology would be opened up at its time?

Edited 2012-07-24 03:03 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

zima Member since:
2005-07-06

There are some OS which got open-sourced like that... Symbian, GEM, CP/M. Didn't seem to help them a lot, with how they were already fading or dying (like OS/2 before it was largely dropped - but you still have support with eComStation).
With such, it's probably better to move as fast as you can on some more lively platform.

With some more crucial software, code escrow is commonly practised, anyway (and quickly checking CICS, RPG, PL/I that you mentioned ...they don't really seem abandoned? Also, Smalltalk implementations are around)

Reply Parent Score: 2