Archive for open source

The Future of the Internet…. and the Black Pearl of Freedom

// April 18th, 2012 // Comments Off on The Future of the Internet…. and the Black Pearl of Freedom // Apple, iknode, microsoft, open source

Back when I was in college I was a Linux buff. I had 3 machines and all of them had different Linux distros. I contributed to Gnome and gave free copies of debian and redhat to everybody I knew. As I grew up, I noticed how Microsoft started to become more open, and started paying more attention to its products. Microsoft started softening to open source. I was actually relieved, because everything was not so Black and white, like I thought. Now, Microsoft is loosing grounds, and Apple is taking over. Apple is and has been a lot more closed than anybody in the industry’s history, not only on source code, but also on tactics.

I feel like we are going back in time. Instead of Microsoft and Google taking Open Source to the top, Apple, is taking everything back 20 years. It feels like all the advancement in the industry is lost. Microsoft is definitely loosing relevance, but Google might still be able to pull it off.

I am a big fan of Larry Page, but mostly of Sergey Brin. Their vision makes sense. It is a strategy of business with freedom. They might not be as ‘not-evil’ as they used to be, but the ideals are still there.

Sergey Brin did an interview where he spoke about the open web. How the current ecosystem is becoming too closed. Companies like Google, Yahoo, eBay, and Amazon would not be able to survive in this environment. Even thought Sergey mentions governments as part of the problem, I believe the problem is concentrated on the companies inside the industry. It has become a monopoly-friendly ecosystem. The industry and the government have not been able to set protections for another Microsoft to rise. And the problem is, it already has, and this time is going to be worse. It is Apple.

Nobody notices what is going on in the industry right now. How can a closed ecosystem exist in this era, where open source, freedom and open apis coexist ? It makes me think that maybe freedom is not that important. Comments like this one, make me think that even people I respect are blind to the situation.

The comment is missing the whole point. It is open because NOT ONLY Google can search through it and sell ads against it, in fact is not the only one. It is not about how Google dominates the search market. Because the biggest difference is that Google can be beaten any time by a worthy competitor, Apple can’t. Apple created its own ecosystem, effectively locking out competition. Only Apple can decide what happens in the App Store and in their devices. Google, actually provides a service, which works in the open. Google hasn’t been beaten, not because is the only one that can search through content and sell ads against it, it is because Google does it better.

I believe it is stupid how many people think Apple products are perfect, and lack the understanding that even thought they are quality products, they are on par with the industry. We have been hearing about how Macs are invulnerable to viruses. That idea is not only wrong, is naive. Macs are more vulnerable than Windows. Microsoft has been really good lately at securing the operating system. It is still not perfect but it is way better than Macs.

It seems Apple solution to security is lockdown. They seem to be taking MacOS to a model just like iOS, where only apps from the App store can be installed. They believe that the way to security is removal of freedom.

Segey Brin added more comments this morning through his Google+ account. He focuses more on governments, and leaves Apple and Facebook out of the picture. And even thought I agree with Sergey that governments have too much power now over the internet, I still think the main threat comes from companies like Apple and Facebook.

The whole idea of Freedom is what brought me to create iKnode. I call it my Black Pearl. When we started we saw all these companies like Parse, Kinvey and Stackmob focusing on mobile, specially iOS. And after the market analysis, it does makes sense. But we strongly believe in the Web and the future of it for organizations and software developers; so we put all of our efforts in the Web. We still consider mobile as part of our business model, but the Web is our primary focus.

I believe in the power of freedom, and I believe it is in the web. It is not about opening your source code, it is about allowing innovation to happen freely, and to be able to create an ecosystem where my daughter can be able  to create the next Google.

Microsoft and their huge problem in the clouds…

// October 31st, 2009 // 4 Comments » // .net, cloud computing, microsoft, open source

I just recently read an article from Krishnan Subramanian, which I believe is very interesting: Microsoft’s Huge Cloud Problem.

I agree with most of the article’s comments. They have to be taken with a grain of salt, since most of is speculation. Very smart speculation, but speculation none the less. But What I do disagree completely, is the following line:

“..cloud is an evolution from the web and .NET was never a platform of choice in the web…”

I agree that the cloud is an evolution of the web, but the article talks about choice, who is it referring to? Is it the open source community? Or is the enterprise community? or is it both?

Obviously as an Open Source advocate, .Net or even Mono would not be your web platform of choice. You usually go to either PHP (which is the leader in the Open Source community) Ruby or Python (just to name a few, I know there are a lot more).

But in the enterprise world, .Net is very much relevant, and in most of the cases it is the platform of choice. I know that this is a huge market and the competition is strong, but to completely dismiss Asp.Net as not a platform of choice is far from the truth.

Asp.Net and .Net are very much relevant right now, and it will stay that way for a long time. Whether Azure succeeds or not.

It is a mistake to think that everything will be in the cloud. What will prevail are hybrid environments. That is why I think Microsoft will not only survive this (even though is going to be a really difficult climb), but it will remain relevant.

Google’s view of *EVERYTHING* in the Cloud is not very down to earth (hence the name, everything in the clouds). And in my opinion, it will never get there. A lot of things are going to be done in the cloud, and probably the majority, but not all. We are creatures of choices, and we will keep our options open.

Now with the open source movement, Microsoft has done a lot. And I actually think we should thank Miguel de Icaza and his team for this. He might be called a traitor by some, but I think he is the biggest Trojan Horse of all. He has been pushing Microsoft to open source (with the help of so many).

But let’s think about Mono for a minute. Microsoft already released the source code for .Net in a very closed license, which I see as a glass box (look but don’t touch). It is getting there, to that openness that the article is talking about. They know they have to do it. But they don’t know how.

Now, Mono is a very good example. They have been reproducing the signatures and interfaces to use .Net on Linux and it works like a charm. Also they have been adding their own mix.

Microsoft will end up releasing .Net as an Open Source project, it will not be soon though. They already have their own license for that. With what Mono has done, when Microsoft plans to release, the integration with Mono will make it easier to hit the market.

The article is right about one important thing, in order to compete in the clouds, they have to kill Windows as an Desktop OS. But I think it will prevail as Windows Azure. That is why the word “Windows” appears in there.

Just one more thing before I close this rant. I think the mistake that Netscape did with Mozilla, is a learning experience that can be applied anywhere. When Netscape decided to build their browser from Scratch instead of fixing their bloated browser at the time. They lost too much time, and they lost the browser wars. They should have fixed their browser, not start a new one, which ended up with the same problems. It eventually got fixed when the community did the right thing and fixed it with Firefox, but they didn’t not start from scratch, they fixed Mozilla.

Microsoft is the browser and we (the community) are Netscape. Are we going to kill Microsoft so that Apple or Google takes its place? And then end up with the same problems all over?

I wouldn’t really want Apple in Microsoft’s shoes. I can see what they can do with their App Store. They have so much to learn. It would be like going back to the 90’s. We already went this route with Microsoft so many times, and now, Microsoft is learning.

How about Google? I wouldn’t want Google either. They are still too young, and we haven’t seen their evil yet, which scares me a lot. They not only have a lot of power in the internet, they hold most of our data, and they want *ALL* of it. Everybody has an evil side, and Google is not any different. We just haven’t seen it yet.

Microsoft is a known evil, let’s fix it. Why change it for a new one, when this evil has already been changed so much, and it is learning to live with the community?

Well enough of rants…I’m going back to work.

Important links:

Microsoft puts .NET Framework’s source code on a glass box.

// October 3rd, 2007 // 2 Comments » // .net, microsoft, open source

Open Source has been gaining momentum for several years now. The movement has even been called the largest disrupter that the software industry has ever had. And now the movement has taken Microsoft to a place nobody ever thought it would get. Microsoft is releasing the .Net Framework’s source code using a Reference License.

What this license means is that you can read the code, but not modify it. A lot of people have written about Microsoft’s license not being open source, and it is not. This is like having the code in a clear glass box, as opposed to being a completely black box.

A lot of Open Sourcers might feel offended by this, since they want everything to be open for modification and extension. Then, Why would Microsoft cleared the .Net Framework’s source code to be available publicly? I have a few hypothesis of my own:

1) Viral Effect: Now with this license, you are able to look at the .Net Code without even working on it. This means that you have been infected. And even if you try to avoid it, you will be pushed to see the code when the debugger in Visual Studio 2008 takes you. Yes, with the new version of Visual Studio, you will be taken to the source code if some problem occurs. This of course is good for people that don’t plan to contribute to Mono; but if you do plan to contribute to Mono, you have a problem.

You can see in the Mono Contributing page the following note:
“If you have looked at Microsoft’s implementation of .NET or their shared source code, you will not be able to contribute to Mono.”

This note is only intended to protect the Mono project from possible code violations. The problem now is that the number of people that will be excluded by that note is going to be up after Visual Studio 2008 is released.

This doesn’t mean that Microsoft is after Mono, for all I know they might be protected from this kind of situation; but still, I haven’t seen that note disappear since the Novell/Microsoft deal.

So in other words, Microsoft is using Open Source’s own weapon to at least make it harder for Open Source to succeed, and that is through Licenses.

2) Copyright Protection: I know it sounds weird but having the code publicly available makes it easier to protect it, because since everybody can see it, it can be easily compared.

3) Debugger Integration: This is the objective that the initial announcement provided when explaining why they released the code. And it is a real good one, I might add. Development is simplified when people understand what is happening. And knowing how things work helps in avoiding stupid problems.

I think that after all Microsoft is trying to fulfill developers needs. The ability to see the source code has been a request of windows developers for quite some time. Now it is a reality, but at what cost?

UPDATE: