ramblings on PHP, SQL, the web, politics, ultimate frisbee and what else is on in my life
back

What open source is not

  • Open source is not a marketing toy.
  • Open source is not a way to get people to visit your site or to push your legacy tools.
  • Open source is not just choosing one of the OSI approved licenses.

These are not the reason why people trust in open source applications.

  • The reason is that peer review results in superior code.
  • In code that is flexible that we can integrate as needed.
  • Code we can poke and discuss.
  • Code we trust because we know technical reasons are the single most important steering guideline.
  • This process is why we think it is worth our time to provide free QA, support and advocacy for open source applications.

Now why am I ranting like this?
Zend has officially proposed a PHP IDE for eclipse (PHPEclipse is not an official Eclipse project) and they are certainly poring in development resources which cost them real money. The end product will however not be released in its entirety as open source. Even worse the parts that will not will not be specced out until the last second. I am of course talking about the debugger.

Now I have stated in my last few posts that there is an open source protocol and implementation for scripting language debuggers. Are these by definition technically superior? Of course not. It could very well be that Zend's debugger protocol and server component are superior. However if that is the case why isn't Zend publishing the protocol so that we can judge and compare?

I do have doubts that the protocol is so radically superior that having no open source implementation as a basis for further development can be offset however. The fact of the matter is that we can poke the XDebug code. Infact we may even be able to adapt it to the Zend debugger protocol once it is released. However the way Zend is playing things it seems more like a variation on the API wars.

It is not too late to turn this into an open source process. Atleast there was now some reaction to the concerns in the communuty. I can only hope that Zend realizes that it is not in its interest to further dilute the open source spirit by playing games like these. This only plays into the hands of Zend's competition. Maybe MySQL can talk some reason into them since they joined the party a few weeks ago.

Comments



Re: What open source is not

This all is very disturbing. The problem is simply that they're trying their best to get their profit..

But most of all I am disappointed of the "superior" Zend Framework - nothing more than "yet another class collection".

I was expecting more architectural highlights. But probably I'm too sophisticated. ;-)

Cheers,
Matthias

Re: What open source is not

what is so disturbing about a company trying to make money?

Re: What open source is not

No problem with that at all. I used to run my own business myself and I know how hard it is. But the problem in my eyes is that they are hoping on the open source bandwagon but are not following through with what this all entails. Of course the open source development process is an idea and not a law. So they can try to play games with that and I, or more specifically we, are allowed to call it as such.

Re: What open source is not

>Open source is not a marketing toy.

surprisingly this is exactly what Open Source is.

http://www.opensource.org/advocacy/faq.php :

"The Open Source Initiative is a marketing program for free software."

Re: What open source is not

Yes you are right in a way. The term "open source" was coined to provide an alternative to the idiological compaign around the term "free software". That being said the idea was to pitch the open development process without a political agenda to companies. It was not however meant to dilute the technical aspects of the process.

Before you can post a comment please solve the following captcha.
your name