72

Companies produce open source software for a variety of reasons, including marketing and developer relations. But I don't want to speculate. Instead, I want to point out three aspects: Browsers don't have any secrets that must be protected. Chromium is derived from a tradition of open source components. Google benefits from the reach and impact that open ...


60

The external contributors to the Android codebase are not private hackers. They are companies with business models that depend on the support of the Android platform. If you look at the email addresses of the contributors to the official Android sourcecode repository you will see that the vast majority of contributors seem to be Google employees. But if you ...


24

Disclaimer: I haven't contributed to Android in any way, but I've been actively contributing to other open source projects. Why help Google make more money? How does the society benefit from such a contribution? Aspect 1 of 2: The Contributors' Objective There may be all kinds of idealistic goals to open source software development, such as promoting ...


23

There is not much which would disallow that. The MIT license is pretty liberal and as long as one obeys the requirement to display the copyright notice in the product appropriately, there's not much one could do against that other than offering the better product and/or service. See also the excellent answer by congusbongus in this similar question as well ...


21

Google is broadly not in the business of selling copies of software. Google is in the business of offering Internet and Web services, most often accessed through a browser. The overwhelming dominance of Chromium clones that you suggest in your question has already happened: Opera, Edge, and Chrome are all Chromium-based. Firefox and Safari are the only major ...


19

In the core Android OS space, much of the free software effort is on alternative ROMs1, such as LineageOS, /e/, Paranoid Android, and the like. Many of these projects have removing Google's control as a principal aim: right now, the very first line on /e/'s website says "WE’RE OPEN! You can still shop for our unGoogled smartphones here". Nearly all install ...


18

Firstly, this is against the spirit of open source; if you don't want people exploiting your work without paying you, don't use open source licenses in the first place. rebranding However, you do have one option: you can protect the branding itself by registering the name as a trademark. "Red Hat" is a trademark. Other people can't call their ...


13

By making Chromium open source, Google succeeded in turning almost all competing browsers into rebranded copies of Chrome and getting to set all the baseline behavior/policy that would go into them. This would not have happened if it were not open source (either by virtue of not having source available, or not being licensed as open source, or both). It's ...


12

Probably not a Politically Correct answer for this site but ... JUST SAY NO Of course that isn't going to be enough for your customers, you need to present a good business case for them to continue using you even if it's not open source. Consider why the customers might be asking: They are afraid you will go out of business, and they will be left with a ...


12

Historically, many people have become professionals in coding without benefit of a degree, your perception of the California job market notwithstanding. A CEO whom I know well, amongst many others of my middle-aged peers, is an example. When I hire people, I put a lot of emphasis on 'portfolio', and I know that I'm not alone. Open source is certainly ...


11

What you're describing is called a Version Control System or revision control system. It essentially stores one canonical copy in a central place, which can be downloaded, edited, and committed back there. If someone else changes it in the time you do, you must review those changes and incorporate them into your code before recommitting. Some major version ...


11

Reading "Business Model Generation" by Alexander Osterwalder helped me understand a) how businesses actually work, b) how selling software actually works, and c) how open-source companies (among others) do it. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7723797-business-model-generation In a nutshell, any company is going to need developers, maintainers, ...


10

Can you share more detail about what your customers really want when they ask if your product can be more open source? There are various open source strategies and depending on what your customers are asking for some may be mutually beneficial. Open code, Restrictive license: It is possible to share source code while keeping that code licensed under a ...


10

First: nice question! Degrees are looked upon as a fairly standardised measure of your ability in the subject you study. Employers look for them because they indicate (in theory) that this person is capable of doing the job they claim they can do. In today's fast-moving world, where you need this new hire last week, they're useful in being able to say "this ...


9

So there's a bug in an Android comapatibility library. If you change the icon of a FloatingActionButton after it's been laid out (I wanted to animate it), the display doesn't update. I download the source, make the one-line code fix, and used the modified version in my sources. At that point, I can either file the bug report, and have the change show up in ...


8

While I cannot help to convince your colleagues, I can offer some of the answer I give to (more or less) the same objections. It is insecure and has no guarantees This is inherently true also for closed source software. No software is secure. The main advantage is, basically, that sometime you can fix an open source software yourself, while you ...


7

Let's step through them: "I make a project opensource without a license." Then it's not Open Source. See, for example, What can I assume if a publicly published project has no license? "I continue contributing to it and at some point I commit a license doc and license text in the header files." From this point, the code is licensed under the license you ...


7

What would be a suitable license for this situation? The license that comes closest to your desires seems to be the Apache 2.0 license. It is a permissive license that allows derived works to be distributed under different terms than your template and it has a mechanism for handling attribution notices. The license does have a requirement that if different ...


6

Yes, that would be allowed. Versions of a software product that don't derive from/use GPL code are not subject to the GPL licensing terms, so you can use whatever license ou like for those versions. If the people using the development builds are all part of the same organisation, which holds the copyright on the project, then there the use of the GPL ...


6

Normally, help is very welcome. But every project has its own culture. Sometimes it's spelled out explicitly as a “Contributing” guide, sometimes it's implicit and you'd have to learn by lurking. It is best not too invest too much effort at once. One reasonably-sized pull request at a time. This helps you to become familiar with the conventions of the ...


6

Why we cannot have a mobile operating system and application store independent of any country's current political views as an alternative for Google android OS So you're presumably aware that there are many community rebuilds of Android. Nearly all of those leave out the Google core apps (the bits that identifiably tie you to Google, including the Play ...


6

First of all, Android != Google. Yes, Android is maintained and mostly developed by Google, and a key factor in Google’s business plans, but it is still open in the sense that the community can take it, fork it and use it any way they like, which includes use cases which might go against Google’s interests. I think of open-source developers as people with ...


5

Well, this is basically a question about how to change the business model. Because a software company CAN make money with open source software, but it probably cannot do it always the same way. But first a question for clarification. You write: It led to the development of a system we can use as a base to build custom software for our customers. So you ...


5

I wrote a book on FreeBSD 20 years ago. And today I make money from Windows Desktop, Windows Server, Ubuntu and FreeBSD. You have to keep in mind that Windows Server costs money so nobody is going to buy it just to bang around on and have fun with. They buy it because they have an app that lists it as a requirement. You take for example Clearview software, ...


4

Yes, open source projects can be platform-constrained. Look at the various FreeDOS projects for some examples; many of them only work on DOS PCs. There are many other examples of Windows-only projects, Linux-only projects (even Linux-only projects that work on a single architecture), AmigaOS-only projects... Of course with a free software license there's ...


4

First of all, you're worrying about an assumed problem. You two may run out of time, get a backlog of issues ... or not. So it might not even happen that you run into problems. You also may simply do no maintaining at all. Nobody is forcing you or your friend. Or you could do as much as you can manage. Some people might complain if their issue isn't ...


4

I really would like to continue helping this project. Is there any general rule of etiquette on GitHub or open source projects in general that I don't see? This is my first major project I helped with and I spent a large number of my free time working on it recently so am slightly angry to be told this. In general: they are the owners of the project, not ...


4

The OGL 1.0a isn't the easiest licence in the world to read, and one might be forgiven for thinking WotC's lawyers drafted it on an off-day. Also, IANAL/IANYL, so my analysis may be no better. Nevertheless, as I read it, it does address what you're doing. In s1, it says "Derivative Material" means copyrighted material including derivative works and ...


4

We don't have an alternative to Android OS because no one has made an alternative. There should be no reason it can't be done, it just hasn't been done. I would expect at this point in time, given the market share of Android, that anyone would have a hard time getting a decent market share with an alternative OS. You would need to offer a strong incentive ...


4

I've been contributing to various FLOSS projects over almost two decades now, and the dominant motivation for most if not all of my contributions wasn't some ideal of building a better future for the mankind. It was scratching my own itch. I know this also applies to many other contributors. It always starts with a bug in a tool that you're using, or with a ...


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