Vulgar in the open

Over the last week or so, I have been watching the World Cup with growing pleasure. Seeing such teams as the US, the Ivory Coast and Trinidad and Tobago fighting hard and not giving an inch to supposedly superior teams, pricks at the very essence of committed sportsmanship. This positive energy makes you wonder why in a fair universe that these small town heroes do not win their allotted matches.

The truth is, of course, that a little technique is missing in irregular ways and at irregular times. Italy in my humble opinion deserved to lose their match. However, I am certain that the US trainer considers the result beyond his wildest expectations.

Perhaps, I'm imagining it or just want badly to see it, but I see the same industrious spirit in projects such as Samba. The Samba team has pretty much built from vacuum energy a backwardly engineered and functional version of an SMB/CIFS file server. To achieve this goal required large quantities of sweat and blood. For a while, every time a minor version change occurred in Windows, a new swath of work was required to give the intended quality of experience to the end user. You can almost see the boxer/developer being punched by new work, falling against the rails and then punching back blow for blow. These defensive actions required committed sportsmanship at the binary level.

Year after year many free software projects have evolved or are evolving and fighting the core issues of functionality against quality of code. Pushing forward and making the free software community a conceptual banner that many are proud to wear. Therefore, anything that dilutes this communality of focused purpose is vulgar.

The reason I mentioned this is because I was reading up on the newest version of a certain browser that shall remain nameless. I noticed the overuse of the word “open” especially when it came to a new proprietary protocol. In fact, I read an article in a Dutch magazine which said that the use of the word “open” in the name of a trade marked technology meant that it was considered a standards based technology.

No doubt, the misuse of the word “open” helps the commercial entity gain naive customers. You see the same effect in supermarkets as well: packaging of products from a company brand will often look similar to well known makes. You intuitively know the reason why of course; branded products tend to have excellent reputations and customer bases.

What is the solution to this growing issue? One partial solution is for technology writers to actually double check the next time they read the word open. Is the product truly open? If not, give an honest review pointing out to the reader that a trade marked product with little or no peer review is a vulgar and brash attempt at profit making. Leave it to the readers to laugh at the perpetrators helping to erode their market share and shares.


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