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.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by sicofante
by marcp on Mon 23rd Jul 2012 16:33 in reply to "Comment by sicofante"
marcp Member since:
2007-11-23

If earning money [not writing the actual code. Joy of coding, anybody?] is your only motivation for creating and developing software, then you should probobly not do it. Otherwise you will make more harm and damages, than good. You will produce code of low quality, you will release it earlier, you will not test it, and all of this will be the result of one pursue: money. More money, less time to waste, worse code, less time to focus on a code of good quality. Your clients [otherwise called in open source community: users, friends] will suffer data loss, security failures and other unpleasant situations. All because of your greed and ongoing pursue for getting more and more money. You will end up being completely disconnected from the community of the users of your application, your ass will be sued continuously by dissapointed users, and there will be not much joy left.

I don't like that. If you like it - go ahead and create this filthy karma for yourself.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by sicofante
by lucas_maximus on Mon 23rd Jul 2012 19:48 in reply to "RE: Comment by sicofante"
lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

If earning money [not writing the actual code. Joy of coding, anybody?] is your only motivation for creating and developing software, then you should probobly not do it. Otherwise you will make more harm and damages, than good. You will produce code of low quality, you will release it earlier, you will not test it, and all of this will be the result of one pursue: money. More money, less time to waste, worse code, less time to focus on a code of good quality. Your clients [otherwise called in open source community: users, friends] will suffer data loss, security failures and other unpleasant situations. All because of your greed and ongoing pursue for getting more and more money. You will end up being completely disconnected from the community of the users of your application, your ass will be sued continuously by dissapointed users, and there will be not much joy left.


What an epic fail.

It like saying that every person that has a shop to make money only cares about making money and not their customers. If you have dissatisfied customers, you won't have repeat business.

Daisy Hosting I knew recently lost £500,000 contract with one of the largest charities in the UK

Some of us believe in providing quality code whatever the license is. Just because someone produces code for money doesn't mean they don't enjoy it ... what utter rubbish.

Bespoke proprietary software by agencies that don't care tend to be crap.

But we had a Web based Video library for the website, created by one guy and he did all the support and updates ... was one of the best products I have ever used. Very reliable and we only had the old codec problem.

I recently bought a bike from a bloke, and he was excellent ... cheap shipping (from the UK to Spain), beat the big guys on prices and was really friendly to boot and put in a few extra fun things.

Just because someone is making money doing something doesn't mean they are just in it to make money.

I am sorry you think that every business just wants to screw you over but that just isn't true.

Edited 2012-07-23 19:55 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by sicofante
by Soulbender on Tue 24th Jul 2012 04:32 in reply to "RE: Comment by sicofante"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

If earning money [not writing the actual code. Joy of coding, anybody?] is your only motivation for creating and developing software, then you should probobly not do it.


Who said it is *only* for the money?

You will produce code of low quality, you will release it earlier, you will not test it, and all of this will be the result of one pursue: money


Sure, if your only motivation is money but that is often not the case. There are of course those who's only motivation is money but far from all closed-source developers are motivated only by money.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: Comment by sicofante
by Soulbender on Tue 24th Jul 2012 04:24 in reply to "Comment by sicofante"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

earned $10 from each of their thousands of users , and then they got 25 million USD for their company.


Unless the thousands of users are more than 10k they didn't exactly rake in the profits.

How on Earth would Sparrow devs and investors become financially healthy by giving away their code?


How do you know they where financially healthy? Actually, you said they where starving.

Now please explain how could they have done that by going open source.


Neither the GPL nor the BSD/MIT license prohibits you from selling your product at a profit.

As a matter of fact, I'm thinking of just hiring people to develop a new e-mail client for Gmail


Good for you. Sounds like an interesting project.

Open source applications can only be made by students being fed by their parents or teams sponsored by big corporations


Wow, what a bunch of nonsense. There's plenty of proof to the contrary.
Stop talking before you make an ever bigger fool of yourself.

The Sparrow experience encourages every adult developer not willing to work for huge corporations to go closed source, not the opposite.


Well, that's their choice then. They should do what they feel suits them the best, be it open source or closed.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: Comment by sicofante
by sicofante on Tue 24th Jul 2012 22:42 in reply to "RE: Comment by sicofante"
sicofante Member since:
2009-07-08

"earned $10 from each of their thousands of users , and then they got 25 million USD for their company.


Unless the thousands of users are more than 10k they didn't exactly rake in the profits.
"

Whatever they made selling their software is much more than ZERO, which is exactly what they would have got by giving their software away. Being a prominent app in the OS X market place gives you plenty beyond 10K users, but even that is not the point.

"How on Earth would Sparrow devs and investors become financially healthy by giving away their code?


How do you know they where financially healthy? Actually, you said they where starving.
"

Maybe you should read my comment again, slowly. They WOULD BE starving if they had gone open source. I know they were financially healthy because they attracted investors (who are financially healthy by definition). You can bet those investors wouldn't be interested in an e-mail application that anyone can download for free. If you believe otherwise, please show examples and make reasonable assumptions that show you're right.

"Now please explain how could they have done that by going open source.


Neither the GPL nor the BSD/MIT license prohibits you from selling your product at a profit.
"

That's hardly the point. They don't prohibit that, but the effect is exactly the same: once I must publish the code, anyone can compile it and has no need to pay for my work. That's so obvious not even those explaining how to make money from open source consider the option of selling the software itself.

You haven't answered the question.

"Open source applications can only be made by students being fed by their parents or teams sponsored by big corporations


Wow, what a bunch of nonsense. There's plenty of proof to the contrary.
"

I'm eager to know about a single ONE proof. Just name one small company making a simple desktop app -akin to an e-mail client, which is what we're talking about here- that is making money out of selling it. Just one.

Until I see that proof, I stand by my point: open source desktop applications are made either by students (who are being fed by their parents) or by corporations (who make the money by using the software as a means to sell other products or services).

Edited 2012-07-24 22:44 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1