Open source, embedding, and Opera

“Mozilla is more or less focusing on desktop browsers and that’s complex enough. We are, at any given time, dealing with more than a hundred different deliveries, because we’re not only doing desktops. We’re doing mobile phones. We’re doing set-top boxes. We’re doing cars. We’re doing game consoles. We’re doing all these things. And handling that complexity is extremely hard. And I think that requires fairly good control over the piece of code.”
I don’t what history will make of Opera Unite, but I do think that claiming that open sourcing Opera would lead to complexity, which would prevent Opera from embedding their browser in many devices, is a strange one. What software is embedded more than, say,

2 thoughts on “Open source, embedding, and Opera

  1. I think embedding-ness (is that a word?) is a “hard problem”, but something totally separate from whether something is open source or not. The two examples you cited of Linux & Java are case in point: Linux is open source. Java, while it is now, achieved its wide embedded distribution while it was closed source (yet following open standards, not unlike Opera).

    Linux achieved its embedded distribution precisely because it lacked “fairly good control over the piece of code”, and people could fork it and port it to whatever platform they wanted.

    Java achieved its embedded distribution because it followed open standards. I don’t think having “fairly good control over the piece of code” honestly impacted its distribution at all… so for Opera to claim that that is central to its embedded-ness seems… wrong?

  2. I totally agree – Java’s embeddedness seems to have been largely irrelevant to whether or not to open source it. Open sourcing the code base does not mean that you lose control of your own distribution, does it? Just that you grant rights to others (others who might even extend the software).

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