[Wolves] FOSS, who's it for? Us or them?

Peter Evans zen8486 at zen.co.uk
Tue Sep 16 14:18:03 UTC 2008

On Tuesday 16 September 2008 14:52:45 Kevanf1 wrote:

> But, surely it's got to be easier if you have full access to the
> source code rather than possible patchy access?  No, I'm not looking
> for an argument I'm just trying to get my head around what I've been
> told over the last 12 or more years about open source versus closed.
> Isn't this the reason it has taken the WINE guys and girls so long to
> be confident enough to release version 1.0?

That makes two of us not looking for a fight ;)

I was a programmer for a long time, back before there was such widespread use 
of FOSS. (I now feel really, really old - thanks :) )

For the type of programming I did, which was application level stuff (i.e. not 
low level/drivers - although I've done a wee bit of that too). So long as the 
product I was using had well defined API and lots of functions built into 
it - I didn't care what went on underneath.

When there were problems/bugs we'd knock up an example showing the problem and 
send it off  to vendor support.  Then we'd get back to doing what we were 
being paid to do, which was produce a client application.  Most problems we 
encountered weren't show stoppers, we'd work around them.  If we did find a 
biggy the tool vendor was tasked with fixing it.

The issue changes a bit with the example you've given. WINE is an emulator, it 
does need to know how the low-level functions work, because the published 
APIs aren't going to be enough to make compatibility reliable.  If you're 
writing this type of functionality then absolutely having access to the 
source code is useful and important.

But there's a huge difference in the complexity and level of knowledge needed, 
and it depends on what the applications supposed to do.

Does that make sense at all?  

Pete Evans

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