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Collaboration and Rivalry In WebKit

Soulskill posted about 3 months ago | from the enemy-of-slower-load-times-is-my-friend dept.

Open Source 44

An anonymous reader writes "An unconventional article on the development of the WebKit project was just posted to the arXiv. Those guys data-mined the WebKit source-code change-log with Social Network Analysis. They claim that even if Apple and Samsung fight each other with patent wars in the courts, they still collaborate in the WebKit community. The report provides a different perspective from the Bitergia WebKit analytics. Some interesting polemics regarding Apple, Google and Nokia participation in the WebKit project are also highlighted in the paper. There are some nice figures capturing collaboration and rivalry in the WebKit community."

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44 comments

EDITOR NEEDED (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46062101)

Of course you meant to say, Collaboration and Rivalry In WebKit," right?

Re:EDITOR NEEDED (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46062137)

Sorry, Asians working at the copy desk this afternoon. Can't be helped.

Re:EDITOR NEEDED (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46062161)

Olry?

Re:EDITOR NEEDED (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46062173)

Of course you meant to say, Collaboration and Rivalry In WebKit," right?

RIVARLY is sex among developers, so no fix is needed.

Just GPL the d' thing (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46062135)

This tends to be the problem with BSD licensed software. Everybody runs off in their own direction but no one makes sure that the whole things works together. Fix the problem, not the symptoms.

Re:Just GPL the d' thing (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46062283)

Yep.

Sure glad there is only 1 emacs

Freedom is not a "problem". (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46062361)

The near-absolute freedom one gets with BSD code, including the ability to create incompatible closed-source forks, is in no way a "problem". It is is the most beautiful and powerful thing about the BSD license. It's what makes the BSD license superior to other licenses, such as those in the GPL family, that go out of their way to put numerous impediments and barriers in place to limit freedom. Freedom is to be embraced, not limited. Freedom is what allows great things to happen. Freedom is what allows superb software to be created.

Re:Freedom is not a "problem". (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46062491)

My gosh.

It's a real shame to see a comment extolling the basic virtues of freedom modded down to -1, especially on an American-centric site like Slashdot.

As Americans, or anyone else, really, we should be embracing freedom, and those who promote it. We should not censor them.

While one can have the freedom to dislike freedom, and even stand against it if one so desires, such an anti-freedom stance should not be promoted by Slashdot's moderators. It's really quite shameful to see that it has been, in this case.

Your definition of freedom is at fault. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46068455)

Americans do not have a monopoly on freedom, nor are they particularly associated with it these days. Nor does nationalism of any sort have any correlation with this discussion.

The parent was modded down because he was trolling. As should be obvious to those with the meanest apprehension, the freedom of the developer to close the source is antithetical to the freedom of the end-user to obtain the source. Any discussion that does not proceed from that understanding is a waste of time for all concerned. Promotion of these views is at best ignorant, and does the BSD community no credit.

Re:Freedom is not a "problem". (2)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 3 months ago | (#46062581)

And how is BSD doing versus the oh-so-unfree GPLv2 Linux these days?

But, as always, the rules are simple. Pick the license you want for your project, and respect the license other developers pick for their projects.

Re:Freedom is not a "problem". (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46062719)

What exactly are you trying to get at?

BSD-licensed software is doing great these days. FreeBSD 10.0 was just released a few days ago, offering some superb functionality [freebsd.org] that we don't even see offered by any Linux distributions yet. Part of that is their seamless integration of LLVM and Clang. In case you missed it, there was a story here on Slashdot [slashdot.org] earlier today about how LLVM/Clang are making Richard Stallman himself shit one brick after another. LLVM/Clang are starting to crush the living hell out of GCC.

NetBSD is still found in all sorts of networking gear and other embedded situations. And OpenBSD is going strong, too. It's more relevant than ever, giving the increasing importance of security these days. That's why they just raised $100,000 [marc.info] in direct user funding. And their OpenSSH offering is used on basically every Linux system these days, too.

Then there's OS X, which is a heavy user of BSD software. Their contributions to LLVM/Clang have helped push it mainstream. And their operating system long ago eclipsed Linux in terms of desktop usage share, and is now encroaching on that of Windows.

And then there are all sorts of projects on GitHub that are licensed under the BSD license, or the nearly-identical MIT license. It's rare to see a *GPL license being used for new projects there.

These are excellent times for BSD-licensed software projects. They're doing better than ever, and they're continually providing more and more value, and more and more freedom, to their users constantly.

Re:Freedom is not a "problem". (1, Funny)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 2 months ago | (#46063075)

I always enjoy propaganda pieces masquerading as posts. What's next, a nice painting called Flowers For Theo?

Re:Freedom is not a "problem". (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46063605)

And OpenBSD is going strong, too. It's more relevant than ever, giving the increasing importance of security these days. That's why they just raised $100,000 [marc.info] in direct user funding.

Oh, yeah, that's right ... they had a Bitcoin Billionaire [slashdot.org] come to their rescue.

Re:Freedom is not a "problem". (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46063535)

Pretty good, considering Mac OS X is based on BSD and has a much larger userbase than any desktop Linux.

Re:Freedom is not a "problem". (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46063979)

Include Tivos or Mobile phones and you will get yet another different picture. What are you trying to delude yourself into believing?

Re:Freedom is not a "problem". (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46064949)

Tivos and mobile phones aren't desktops.

Re:Freedom is not a "problem". (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46065339)

Correct. Hence why the post focusing only only desktops excluded tivos and mobile phones and why the reply to it said that if you included tivos and mobile phones you'd get a different picture. Understand?

Re:Freedom is not a "problem". (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46065691)

Not really, because that wasn't what was being discussed.

Throw in your dinky Tivos and mobile phones. Apple still makes more money off of BSD (Mac OS + iOS) than all Linux distros and Android device makers combined. You still want to talk about which is more successful?

Re: Freedom is not a "problem". (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46067259)

Remember to throw in TVs and BluRay players like mine that run BSD.

Re:Freedom is not a "problem". (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46064943)

About the same as many real programming languages are doing against PHP. There are many reasons for popularity, and many stupid people who conflate their personal favourite's popularity with superiority.

Re:Freedom is not a "problem". (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 2 months ago | (#46065143)

Considering Apple sales not to mention Webkit browser control pretty much the mobile web? Its doing pretty well actually.

Oh and if you are talking about old Theo nearly running OpenBSD into the ground? When those donating (for the second time in 2 years has Theo blown all the cash, just FYI) pointed out that pretty much everybody has abandoned VAX and those other early 90s power piggies and that it MIGHT be a good idea to look at VMs or cutting the really old junk nobody uses anymore? He released an EPIC rant about how they HAD to have all these ancient POS systems and why they were just idiots for not just handing him the money!

So no shit Theo nearly ran out of cash, stupid is as stupid does. Everybody else? just fine, thanks for asking.

Re:Freedom is not a "problem". (2)

mspohr (589790) | about 3 months ago | (#46062769)

With BSD, you get the freedom to do what you want including locking everyone else out from "your" system.
Freedom for you... not so much for everyone else.

Re:Freedom is not a "problem". (2)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 2 months ago | (#46063023)

With BSD, you get the freedom to do what you want including locking everyone else out from "your" system.

Why the quote marks? With BSD, you get the freedom to start your own system, starting from some code that was BSD. Your own system, not "your" own system.

In that situation, all the parts that were BSD are still available to anyone else. The only thing that someone else can't get their hands is your own work.

In other words, unlike GPL, it's not viral. It's this viral aspect of GPL that is turning people against it, and towards the more permissive BSD and MIT licenses.

Re:Freedom is not a "problem". (2)

marsu_k (701360) | about 2 months ago | (#46063505)

In other words, unlike GPL, it's not viral. It's this viral aspect of GPL that is turning people against it, and towards the more permissive BSD and MIT licenses.

Which is why we just heard Linux running out of funds? [slashdot.org] Oh wait, we didn't. And WebKit is LGPL (and not an Apple creation but a fork of KHTML - undoubtedly refined since though).

(For the record, I've nothing against BSD-licensed software, but people seem to be fine with GPL and its derivatives. Linux seems to be the platform of choice for most of smartphones [thenextweb.com] and completely owns supercomputing [top500.org] . The desktop part is missing, insert compulsory joke about "YEAR OF LINUX DESKTOP" here - but generally it seems GPL is not scaring people away. And yes, even you, running Safari on your i-Device - you're running LGPL software.)

Re:Freedom is not a "problem". (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 3 months ago | (#46069419)

Which is why we just heard Linux running out of funds? [slashdot.org] Oh wait, we didn't.

Right, because GPL projects never put out a request for donations, accompanied by a statement that if they don't get $X they will fold. Of course they do.

For the record, I've nothing against BSD-licensed software, but people seem to be fine with GPL and its derivatives. Linux seems to be the platform of choice for most of smartphones and completely owns supercomputing. The desktop part is missing, insert compulsory joke about "YEAR OF LINUX DESKTOP" here - but generally it seems GPL is not scaring people away.

For "people" (users) there's no difference between GPL and BSD. The distinction only matters to developers. It's there that the tide is turning against GPL. That isn't measured by counting users.

The turn against GPL isn't full flow yet. But there are is certainly more open source people complaining about the restrictions of GPL. Including ESR, who raised the issue that sparked this story, that GCC was likely to be overtaken by Clang/LLVM, not simply because of technical issues, but because of the deliberate way GPL GCC is handicapped so it's use by non-GPL is very limited.

Re:Freedom is not a "problem". (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46066569)

Not unless the fact that corporations exploit BSD-style open source to make huge piles of cash while working to undermine freedom with walled gardens, curated app stores, and unrepairable hardware, not to mention collude to destroy software development as a career, is problematic for you.

Re:Just GPL the d' thing (4, Informative)

jonwil (467024) | about 3 months ago | (#46062379)

Ummm, WebKit (and all its forks) ARE LGPL, all having been forked from the original LGPL KHTML engine.

And the whole WebKit vs Blink issue happened because Apple (creator of WebKit) had no interest in a whole pile of WebKit stuff Google created for Android and Chrome and Google had no interest in a bunch of WebKit stuff Apple created for Safari, OSX and iOS. So rather than try and pretend that there was anything like a single WebKit anymore, Google decided to go its own way and call it "Blink".

Re:Just GPL the d' thing (1)

kthreadd (1558445) | about 2 months ago | (#46064883)

As far as I know most of the original KHTML code has been replaced. According to WikiPedia (which is always right):

License

BSD v2.0 (most of browser engine),
GNU LGPL v2.1 (some files in the JavaScriptCore & WebCore components)

Re:Just GPL the d' thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46063513)

No thanks, GPL will make it less free.

Re:Just GPL the d' thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46065547)

BSD = we can steal it and never give away our changes and bugfixes

Re:Just GPL the d' thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46065705)

It's not stealing if the license gives you permission to do what you want with it.

People like you don't "get" what open source is about. You're only doing it because you expect something in return. In life, you are the kind of person who only does what is right for fear of being punished and not because you have any true sense of ethics.

Google/Samsung? (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 3 months ago | (#46062403)

Didn't Google fork WebKit a while back? Are they even participating on the main project nowadays?

Re:Google/Samsung? (4, Funny)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 3 months ago | (#46062565)

<blink> Yes </blink>

Re:Google/Samsung? (2)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | about 3 months ago | (#46062803)

Sadly there is no blink tag support in Blink

Re:Google/Samsung? (3, Funny)

sribe (304414) | about 3 months ago | (#46062923)

Sadly there is no blink tag support in Blink

Which is why we all need to band together and start a class-action lawsuit over this blatantly fraudulent promotional tactic ;-)

Samsung is huge (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46062669)

Samsung is huge and each division is nearly separate from each other (fab, tv, celluar, etc.) and just happens to be under one name. It's not surprising one business unit is getting sued (phone) and another is collaborating (fab and now apparently webkit).

It's a mess (1)

Sla$hPot (1189603) | about 2 months ago | (#46063091)

WebKit, Blink. It shouldn't really matter.
The sad facts are that HTML5 is a no go on mobile devices at the moment because of compatibility issues.
Especially on one of the mobile OS'es. None mentioned, none forgotten.
It's like a boxing match where HTML5 is in the canvas, nobody knows who Blink is and both WebKit and Blink are leaving the ring in opposite directions.
Damn.

Re:It's a mess (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46063397)

And then there's one guy in the stands yelling "It's all rigged! Elinks or w3m could beat the tar out of both of these baboons any day!"

Thank goodness for Mozilla (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about 2 months ago | (#46063315)

Gecko, FTW. :)

Re:Thank goodness for Mozilla (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46065909)

If Gecko is so "win", then why the fuck does it suck so goddamn much compared to Blink and WebKit? Why are users fleeing Firefox for Chrome and Safari? Oh, right, it's because Gecko is actually quite shitty.

Re:Thank goodness for Mozilla (1)

jemmyw (624065) | about 3 months ago | (#46070697)

It doesn't. I run Chrome and Firefox. I use Firefox for everything, but sometimes for work I need to test with separate sessions, or have multiple accounts logged in at the same time. I've switched which I use for primary a few times, but now it's Firefox because, laughably considering, it now lasts longer without random slowdowns or memory blow out.

But fresh, there's no detectable difference.

On mobile I've started using Firefox because I prefer the UI and layout. But again, speed wise and compatibility wise, hard pressed to notice any difference.

Lots of companies fight and cooperate all at once (4, Insightful)

Tony Isaac (1301187) | about 2 months ago | (#46064731)

The programmers contributing to Webkit from Apple, Google, and Nokia have probably never met, or spoken to, any member of the legal departments of those companies. The lawyers do their thing, and the programmers do their thing. The programmers don't care about the lawsuit, they just want to make a great rendering engine! It's not at all far-fetched for big companies to sue each other, and cooperate with each other, all at the same time.

Re:Lots of companies fight and cooperate all at on (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46067325)

A lot of companies fight and cooperate. i.e. GE and Microsoft in Healthcare IT, Sony and Erikson in mobile, Nokia and Siemens, etc. ok ... But it's very rare that they do it when selling similar competing products (mobile-devices) in the same market.

Lawyers do own thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46065929)

I think its clear their is a division between collaboration and lawyers. Companies don't seem to have a problem continuing to work on projects together even as litigation is ongoing. Webkit as it stands now seems to be the best engine going for browsers. I think Microsoft made a huge misstep in not adopting WebKit and doing a browser that could work on more operating systems. IE is simply losing ground because its versions are fragmenting due to the compatibility issues with in Windows versions.
I doubt a lot of computer users would know the difference between a Chromium browser and Chrome browser? Or that Safari is related to either one.

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