Ronny Lam


Welcome to the Age of Open-ish Technology

Interesting view on how open open-source really is:

A developer friend deeply committed to open-source, about how Google’s Android is hardly a case study in openness. He argued that the difference between Android and iOS was smaller than is commonly appreciated in the media; I argued that the ability to fork Android still matters. For me, the result of that debate was simply the reminder that Android is an open-source project controlled (rather than supported) by a corporation.

If you look at the Alibaba case one might argue that Android is not as open as it claims to be. I am less optimistic than the writer. If Google is hitting every Android fork like that you can hardly argue that the OS is open.

There’s a recognition that you should let lots of other people contribute to your product or platform, but this decentralized activity is in many cases still coupled with centralized control. If there’s damage here, it’s less to open-source projects that exist, and more to the ones that never get a chance to.

So, what is open-source really worth these days?