2 minutes ago, cbae wrote
What exactly are you arguing here? Are you saying that companies made a mistake by choosing an OS that's been supported for over 12 years rather some version of Ubuntu LTS that gets maybe 3 years of support, if you're lucky?
When is anything ever guaranteed? Can you guarantee something written for Ubuntu 12.04 today will run on Ubuntu 24?
Different situation. FOSS is not under the control of a single vendor, can be modified and maintained internally (freedom to modify) and can be redistributed freely. These are the fundamental differences, in fact, the literal difference that separates FOSS from non-FOSS. If some FOSS dependency is part of some critical system and suddenly isn't maintained anymore, the organization using it can keep it alive. Internally or externally. If some roadblock bug f**ks with their use, they can simply fix the bug instead of rewriting their system that depends on that component. Imagine just taking random parts of a system they developed and just telling the company they aren't allowed to look at these parts, even though their system executes in these hidden contexts. That's exactly what proprietary software does.
I can not keep Windows XP alive, I don't have the source code or whatever. I may have the resources, the money, the manpower (or the ability to set up a Foundation..) - it doesn't matter, the license doesn't let it happen. This is true for any proprietary library. I have to follow the roadmap of the proprietary vendor - no matter what. This is what makes any apples to apples comparison between FOSS and proprietary software silly.
Can you name one such example that didn't have a comparable replacement?
ActiveX? VBScript? Didn't I mention these?
So, in your mind, had ActiveX been open sourced, support for the technology would exist in all modern browsers. Is that what you're saying?
Possibly, in an improved form. You know I think EvilD made a similar argument about Silverlight, which is kinda-sorta like Microsoft's successor to ActiveX. I agree with his general idea. I don't nessiarly think Silverlight would have survived if it was FOSS, but it would have had a better chance, certainly.
As he mentioned, people didn't trust Silverlight because it was proprietary. Maybe they didn't know the exact reasons, maybe they can't articulate it like someone who's read GNU philosophy, but there is fundamentally something suspicious about a framework that sits in a sea of open standards but is completely proprietary and controlled by one vendor. There was suspicious talk Microsoft would discontinue the Mac OS X port for instance, and of course, the official Silverlight did not support GNU/Linux at all. These suspicions were of course, later confirmed, when continued development for Silverlight was largely dropped on all platforms.
The thing about proprietary software is not just the code, the building blocks, are hidden, but the strategy around it is also often difficult to follow and can change at any time even though they will intimately affect you. You might have no control over this at all. There is a trust issue here, I mean, you have to put trust in the proprietary vendor. But it's hard to trust proprietary software, because to some degree, it doesn't trust you.