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Google is aware of the hand that feeds it

Google is aware of the hand that feeds it

Posted Nov 26, 2011 5:46 UTC (Sat) by Duncan (guest, #6647)
In reply to: dm-verity by elanthis
Parent article: dm-verity

Not that anyone will see this so late in the game, but...

Google, at least, seems reasonably aware of the FLOSS system from which it derives so much of its software base, and in, one would hope, enlightened self-interest, spends an enormous amount of time, energy and money not only "giving back" in the traditional FLOSS sense (for corporates, that's normally in the form of sponsorships and/or as cooperation and/or contribution of small bits of its own, all of which google does), but ALSO of enabling the community in ways the FLOSS community on its own doesn't always do such a good job at -- political lobbying, and otherwise in practice ensuring an atmosphere in which FLOSS can continue to be a healthy player.

The chromebook developer mode switch that has been mentioned several times already, is a good example of this. As others have pointed out, google's making this a non-negotiable. So google can continue to cater to the vast majority of "content consumers" while building on FLOSS ecosystem building-blocks, but it does so with mode-switchable devices that ensure those who are interested in exercising their own creativity on these devices cannot be prevented from doing so. Thus, unlike "the ms way" which doesn't particularly care about ensuring that "the next generation" has the hackable hardware necessary to bootstrap itself, "the google way" not only allows it as an afterthought when people protest, but actually designs that hackability into its products, speced as a non-negotiable, thereby doing more from a corporate mass production perspective to ensure the continued existence of mass produced and thus cheap and commonly available hackable hardware, than the FLOSS community on its own could ever do.

Google appreciates that by keeping the FLOSS community healthy, it keeps itself healthy, and unlike the quarterly results shortterm, annual results longterm, corporate culture so common these days, google is helping to ensure its own health not only next year, but a full human generation (how many mobile device generations is that?) out. That's pretty rare these days, but certainly quite welcome! =:^)

(This from one who's definitely not google-blinded, BTW. I definitely don't trust google's data mining and doubleclick side, and there's a reason I don't have a gmail account, block google-analytics via both request-policy and noscript, and filter out doubleclick at both the DNS and privoxy-page-rewrite levels. But credit where credit is due, tho I do wonder what the chances of google pulling a caldera/sco might ultimately be. But if you notice, caldera/sco pulled their trick on the way down, and google still seems like a rising star, so that's likely some time in the future if it happens. Meanwhile, google and floss continue to be allies, if only somewhat measured and rather wary allies united against a greater enemy, for the time being.)

Duncan


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