Ted Leung on the air
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Fri, 25 Jun 2004
Open Source versus public or private betas
As I commented on Katherine's blog, NetNewsWire 2.0 is going to be awesome. Brent Simmons posted a status update on 2.0 today. I've been part of the beta group, and I'm just about in heaven (and Brent is definitely aware of where I'm not). One of the great things about Macintosh software is that a lot of it is done by "little guys" like Brent, who have beta programs where they really get to interact with the testers. We've had lots of discussions about big features, performance issues, memory leaks, and very fine UI details, for example.

One of the things that gets touted about open source is that there is a very tight feedback loop between the developers and users of a piece of software. In my previous Mac life, I also did a bit of beta testing for little guys, and I remember the same pleasant experience that I'm having now. While I do wish that I had access to the code (and I'd be more than willing to pay Brent extra and give him back all the changes GPL style so that he can keep eating), Brent has done such a good job with the tight feedback loop that it's hard to complain. I also had this experience with Nick Bradbury when I was using FeedDemon on Windows. Unfortunately, I never had this experience with the larger software houses.

As I read Brent's post, I can sympathize with a lot of what he's wresting with in terms of the public beta. I have the same sort of feeling about Chandler, except of course, everything is all public. But there's the same feeling that people are going to judge the final product by what they see now.

Is it odd for an open source guy to feel such a kinship with a closed source/proprietary software guy? I don't think so. I don't consider myself to be ideologically pure when it comes to open source. I'm happy to pay money so that people like Brent keep on contributing to software that I use. I'd be happy to contribute money to open source developers working on software that I use. Figuring out how to make that happen is a continuing interest of mine. It's not about money for software or IP. It's about making sure that friends can keep doing what they love, and what they are good at. And that's the same whether its friends in the open source community or whether it's little guys like Brent Simmons or Nick Bradbury.

[22:58] | [computers/open_source] | # | TB | F | G | 1 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
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I work at the Open Source Applications Foundation (OSAF).
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