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Open Source Software

Collaboration and Rivalry In WebKit 44

Posted by Soulskill
from the enemy-of-slower-load-times-is-my-friend dept.
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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Collaboration and Rivalry In WebKit

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    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.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Yep.

      Sure glad there is only 1 emacs

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 24, 2014 @07:00PM (#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.

      • 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.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          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

          • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

            by MightyMartian (840721)

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

        • by Anonymous Coward

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

        • by hairyfeet (841228)

          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 ra

      • by mspohr (589790)

        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.

        • 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.

          • by marsu_k (701360)

            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

            • 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 t

    • by jonwil (467024) on Friday January 24, 2014 @07:01PM (#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".

      • by kthreadd (1558445)

        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)

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

  • 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.

  • by Tony Isaac (1301187) on Saturday January 25, 2014 @01:47AM (#46064731) Homepage

    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.

Mathematicians stand on each other's shoulders. -- Gauss

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