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Your losing me already ;-).

I'm already struggling what 'open source' entails. It's a fuzzy concept to me. It's even a term hijacked by marketing. There are currently multiple variants and concepts around 'open source'. There as many interpretations as we have religions (probably even more). Say reading open source literally en figuratively. Is OnlyOffice true open source? And we have 'open core'. Or closed core open the rest (SpringMail in the past). And surely not seeing that Open Source being the utopia/ Walhalla. Every approach having it's pro's and cons . This kind of topic is say non-topic for closed source: So open source isn't without flaws either.

I personally do like "open source' in literally way. So components can be re-used and you can can learn how problems are tackled (for you're own implementation). Have seen enough projects - sorry also closed source - existing because of open source components. Without those components those projects where not feasible in economic sense. Technically it could be home build but would cost to much effort; large prior investment. Making product price far to high. Same holds true for buying pre-build closed source components.

Being 'open source' - in sense of public source code isn't everything. Big part is code reading skills. Well you can read the code, but true understanding takes lots of time.  So the whole open source topic is actually more domain for developers. And how big part of the world population being developer? Obviously software products of developers are affecting the whole world, because of the usage of the stuff software developers build. But well the source code that's not a topic what the end-user keeps awake at night.
Everybody wants to get the job done.

And well open source can fail to. Chromium has big potential for disaster: we are getting pretty much a mono-culture (one browser engine, one design and all browser developers aggregated around same place). Not much room for different voices or doing it differently. Yes, forks are open. But well before you have a reputation for new browser engine.  And well Chromium is more or less defining the standards in this case (about being dominant).  Which has also it's good side of 'dropping' legacy security flawed stuff. And creating momentum for software changes in company (still relaying on very old security flawed systems). But in the long run this can/will backfire.

The Linux community kind of lacking 'stability'. How many different distro's have been on the top of Distrowatch in the 20 years. The user must constantly adapt to something else (different concepts etc) as your favorite distro making less optimal choices, goes bust, or developers running away to something more 'cool' (so development progress gets a hit). It's always touch an go. Whereas Microsoft being pretty old stable company and still alive and kicking. Yes, pretty dominant entity; setting standards. Having enough practices you can disagree with.  And surely has its (big) flaws in technical sense, but still getting away with that commercially.

And money - or even wider economic - plays a big role even in the open source community. You need financial stability to actually do something. You need to have a model to make money. And open source doesn't make the business model easier. If you key capital is the 'code' and put that online for free.  Mozilla is tied to Google search engine revenue (dependency) . LibreOffice tied to the eco-system partners. And those eco-system partners still having issues with their business model. Read: LibreOffice is cannibalizing on their products. And people are more interested functional software (even SaaS). Not some kind get product for free with bug fixing agreement for the issue which appear. Where you can't estimate the costs this way. You want to pay fixed price in advance which includes bugfixes (in general). That obviously exceptions. Additional special contracts for priority bugfixes and/ or features something else.

The only thing private part of "open source" and code knowledge (documentation is mostly so, so) . There only few people with true knowledge. Even at LibreOffice. Only one person working on scheduler in recent years. And the writer layout code (including track & changes) is also more or less domain of single developer. Skia the same. From risk management quite interesting. What would happen one of those developers suddenly stop? Would the gap be filled. And what if 3 developers would quite. How would affect the development progress and bug fixing. How sustainable would the eco-system be? Theoretically/ technically everybody could look into it, but you need lots and lots of tacit knowledge to truly change something. Something the old guard has. There plenty of abandoned projects on GitHub/ sourceforge. Everybody can continue, fork and so on. And does happen, but loss of the initial developer(s) means mostly a dead project. And open source leaves you in the cold, as commercial company's do.

Open standards (and proper documentation) and more using more common data structures is different topic. It's for interoperability this truly important. However it's also hard. Custom extensions of the file format (prior to official standard) pretty common. Standards are really bureaucratic (slow). Proper implementation those standards is also a thing.

LibreOffice does write evil DOCX files once in a while. Not because lack of documentation from Microsoft. Reasons are conversion aspects (LibreOffice styles model is different compared to MSO) and lack of interest and simply awful implementation back in the day (different assessment on relevance back in the day)  So instead of one style in the whole document, every text portion getting a separate unique style. So even open source not warranty that goes well. And well around for 10 years. So also not especially recent.  Surely some developer would work this, but not voluntary (in the sense of being unpaid). Everybody needs to make a living. So we end up in the area of money/ revenue topic. Or more broader economics. Limited resource and limitless pile of problems. And apparently Microsoft being pretty good in resource management. Prioritizing the proper projects/ tasks. Else everybody would run away at some point.

Also, regarding to DOCX standards. The technical specification/ documentation mess is affecting themselves. Implementation is one, maintaining step two. So they documentation is also relevant to them. So mess isn't only nasty for competitors who want to implement full compatibility but also for Microsoft themselves, in the long run. Obfuscation of technical documentation is working in the short term (giving some advantage), but at some point it will come back at you. And part of this isn't on purpose (culture) but simply effect how it worked in the past and complex systems with their own dynamics. How many coding concepts are applied through LibreOffice code base (every hype from 1985 - 2010 should be noticeable somewhere). And enough stuff gets unwinded again because isn't working in the long run after all. So design choices which had merits back in the day hunting you today (even seen as bad practice at today standards). And the functionality of buttons and such LibreOffice isn't properly documented either. There is enough madness inside LibreOffice. Which results in unintended features, unnoticed bugs, or sub optimal workflows. Also here not 'on purpose' but simply happens.

It's not black/white. Open Source being good and Closed source evil. Or visa versa Closed source being the Summum and Open Source worthless. Both approaches have their merits. And those debates about which religion being the best (open versus closed) worthless, pointless, unproductive exercise. Note: I'm using religion in sense of believe system. Atheist have a religion too. Most important to me are open standards. Note: I do like the 'open source' concept getting traction and more attention. As said there are advantages. And I know open source has to come from far behind. Dismissed over plenty of years, unrightfully. And open source needs it's true believers; missionaries/advocates. But there is momentum already, I think. And overdoing it is another part of the pendulum. Overshooting means a reversal will occur (which likely will overshoot again). However, it's hard to predict the future. Those trends are really. So more in terms of 10-20 years from now. Or maybe it doesn't happen after all? Time will tell.

Kind regards,

Op 24-4-2021 om 12:08 schreef Clocked Modular:
About owning your own data,
"Open Source or Open Windows"?
That is the question!

Met vriendelijke groet,
With kind regards,
Boudi van Vlijmen.

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