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From Brian Behlendorf <>
Subject Re: [OFFTOPIC] Netscape to give away Communicator source code
Date Thu, 22 Jan 1998 20:15:28 GMT
At 11:12 AM 1/22/98 -0800, sameer wrote:
>	This is as on-topic as it gets, Manoj.
>> -- 
>> Manoj Kasichainula - manojk at io dot com -
>> "If you tell a lie 40 times, it becomes the truth." -- Turkish proverb


Here's what I wrote for an online news magazine that wanted comments:


If this is true (are you sure it's not an early april fool's joke?) this is
an astoundingly bold move.  It looks like they're being sincere about it,
too - and if they make a good committment to fostering a developer
community, in integrating third-party patches and bugfixes and new
features, then the Communicator product will be an amazing piece of
software.  This is not a "slam dunk" - doing collaborative software
requires a lot of skills that typical software engineering does not.  For
example, extremely well documented code; a good architecture; and a
development team with enough humility to admit to being wrong every now and
then.  I'm sure there'll be parts they can't make public, such as the
crypto engine.  

Another really good aspect to this is now the software can be inspected for
security holes even more closely.  We'll probably see a rash of security
announcements, but we should realize that the worst security holes are the
ones the real hackers don't let us know about!

Hopefully they'll also release a set of tools to compile the source code on
the desktop, so the average user will be able to take advantage of the
third-party code, and even experiment with the code on their own.  If they
hold true to their plans to make their 5.0 products based on Java Beans,
then being able to modify the code and plug in new components will be much
easier than it would be with the way things are currently.

I'd like to think it's the success of public source code projects like
Apache, like Linux and FreeBSD and Perl and GCC and Emacs, that helped
convince Netscape of the value of source code availability.  Or maybe it
was the notion that if Netscape were to fail, then there'd be no
proprietary value to the source code for navigator anyways.

One last thing - I hope their java virtual machine is a part of this.  What
the public source code world needs desparately is a good Java VM.  

specialization is for insects

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