Subject: Re: Lack of imagination?
From: "Tim O'Reilly" <>
Date: Fri, 29 Jun 2001 13:25:50 -0700

Guido van Rossum wrote:

> Why does this project announcement give me the feeling that the open
> source world is lacking imagination?  Many open source projects look
> to me like they are trying to come up with an open implementation of
> something that's already available (or being developmed)
> commercially.
> Where are the open source projects that *innovate*?

There are many of them.  How about alpiri, gnutella, jabber, freenet,
BEEP, not to mention xml-rpc (OK, not really open source, but
open-protocolish, with open source implementations that use the
protocol).  Not to mention all the web sites built on open source

I've certainly been one of the people who has complained that the Linux
desktop vision was too small, but my complaint was not that it didn't
innovate (hey, in XP, MS is finally copying the multiple desktops idea
from X), but that they missed the network-centricity of the next
generation of software applications.  

One of the key concepts for all of us to keep firmly in the forefront of
our minds is that open source goes hand in hand with open protocols. 
sendmail and SMTP, apache and http, etc.  If MS is able to proprietize
the next generation of internet protocols, the internet is in deep
sh*t.  Creating open implementations of .Net (and especially of
passport) is going to be critical to making sure that there is the
possibility of open applications.  

So I don't consider open source .Net an issue of innovation so much as
it's an essential defensive move.  Innovation isn't the only important
thing in technology.  Standards and level playing fields are also
incredibly important, and we have to realize just how important a role
open source plays in keeping the playing field level.  But for sendmail,
kiss smtp mail goodbye.  But for apache, kiss open http goodbye.  

So I want to see more good work done on "embracing and extending" .Net,
whether or not all of it is innovative.

Tim O'Reilly @ O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.
101 Morris Street, Sebastopol, CA 95472
+1 707-829-0515, FAX +1 707-829-0104,