Google and FOSS

Android

A few days back, on the occasion of Firefox 4 release I shared a link to download Firefox. Like any other stuff which I share, it too received a lot of attention and drew a small browser war. There were posts supporting Firefox, Opera, Chrome and even Internet Explorer (yuck!!).

So, coming back to the topic, one of the posts mentioned that Chrome is a very good alternative to Firefox, as it was based on Chromium (an Open Source Browser) and was a bit faster than Firefox.

This fact however didn’t get hold of me. To begin with, Chrome and Chromium are two very different products with different philosophies behind each one of them. Secondly, quite a few of Google Products like Chrome and Android are either Open Source on based on a Open Source software.

So, does this make Google the Biggest Open Source Company?

The answer is clearly NO.

Although Google does contribute a lot to the FOSS community through contributions to the Linux trunk or though programs like the Google Summer of Code, Google itself is NOT a FOSS giant. Furthermore, as of now Google has declined to publically release the source code of Honeycomb, its latest Android version. This act of Google, whose unofficial motto is “Don’t be Evil” seems to contradict its actions.

 

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Hello FOSS

With the blogosphere buzzing about the global slogans of how Mark Zuckerberg partied last night or how Google is making more money every second, I seem to have taken a leap away from reality into more of a intello-geekosphere. For beginners it sounds geeky but to be frank I came up with the word while writing this blog, just to be a bit sarcastic about my Blog’s Pagerank.

Okay, back to serious stuff,

WHY FOSS???

I mean people have been pounding me with questions of all sorts when I give them “FOSS” as one of my hobbies. The usual remark to being with is “Dude, go get yourself a life” or something like “Wow, you seem to really love your curriculum”. However, to be frank, I DO have a life (yes you read that correct homme 🙂 ), and more importantly, unlike most western universities like MIT or UCB who have FOSS licenses, named after them, my University barely gives a damn to FOSS let alone promote it. To begin with, the college uses Squid which doesn’t effectively block the usual censorship content (porn, YouTube), instead blocks people from connecting to FOSS repositories using SVN. Nonetheless, most of the people’s ignorance about the FOSS seems to add up to the burden. Secondly, FOSS contribution doesn’t really form a part of my college curriculum (at least presently) so, with every single line of code that I contribute, I seem to take some minutes of my time which I could have used up hanging out with friends or scoring good grades. So, getting back to the question I’d rather say I want to contribute to FOSS because unlike the notion of multi million dollar evil corporation that suck off people’s money in the name of software, FOSS is a concept that is heavily supported by a strong community of global hardworking volunteers who keep it going day on and day out. Moreover, in the words of Richard Stallman, “Paying isn’t wrong, and being paid isn’t wrong. Trampling other people’s freedom and community is wrong, so the free software movement aims to put an end to it, at least in the area of software….”

So, yes folks this blog maybe just another geek diary for FOSS but as they say never judge a book by its cover, so please read in more to find out.

🙂