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The Downsides of Open Source Software

Linked by Paul Ciano on January 4, 2017

How-To Geek:

Open source projects aren’t always driven by the community. Saying a program is open source just means that the code is available to do what you like with. The company developing the software doesn’t necessarily have to run it as a community project, or they may have an interest in using the project to promote their other software.

CyanogenMod is a good example of this. Once Cyanogen Inc. came about, they didn’t really care about CyanogenMod. Cyanogen’s new goal became marketing the Cyanogen Modular OS platform to manufacturers, trading on CyanogenMod’s great name recognition after killing the project. Perhaps that’s just where the money is.

Oracle never cared about OpenOffice, but initially wanted to use its name to drive sales of its StarOffice proprietary office suite by branding it with the “Open Office” name. It then donated the project to Apache after most of the volunteer developers left.

Google doesn’t really care about Android as a full open-source project, either, which is why more and more parts of the “Android Open Source Project” (or “AOSP”) are being left behind. Google wants to keep Android open so it’s easy for manufacturers to customize, but open source applications like the keyboard and dialer are becoming more and more outdated. On a consumer Android device, Google just bundles its own closed source keyboard, dialer, and other apps. Google seems committed to an Android open-source core, but not an entire open-source operating system people can use without Google’s software and services.

Paul Ciano

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