Linux

Finish this sentence: "I ________ Google"

Jack Wallen explains why he thinks Google is, indeed, a friend to the open source community, even though many people have negative feedback about its efforts. Do you have a beef with Google?

Over the weekend it was announced that Google was releasing a Javascript optimizer to open source (called "Closure Tools"). As I read the accounts of this news, I also read comments from various and sundry people. What really surprised me is that so many Linux and open source users/fans still hate Google. Maybe I am an anomaly within the Linux/open source community, but I happen to respect and appreciate Google for all it has done for the open source community. I realize (and respect) that everyone is entitled to their opinion, but let's take a look at what Google has done for both Linux and the open source community.

  • Closure Tools: open source Javascript optimizer.
  • Summer of Code: Yearly event that gives selected students a stipend to write code for open source projects.
  • Chrome: It's not open source, but it has given Linux one of the fastest browsing experiences to date.
  • Android: An almost fully open source mobile operating system that is giving the iPhone a run for its money.
  • One of the largest hosting providers for open source projects (almost 250,000 projects hosted).
  • Contributes patches to the Linux kernel.
  • Thousands upon thousands of open source contributions (see them listed in 777 pages here).
  • Uses a hardened version of the Linux operating system for their data centers (proving Linux does scale).

And much more. But, honestly, it's that last bit that makes you realize that, even indirectly, Google is one of the major contributors to the open source movement. Google is, without a doubt, one of the largest data centers in the world. And having that data center run on Linux should go a long way to prove the scalability of Linux (one issue the Microsoft FUD machine tries very hard to disprove.)

But even with all of the contributions Google makes to Linux and open source, it seems the community they try so hard to help hates them. Any time I cover a Google-related story the feedback always astounds me. It seems a thread inevitably begins about how much Google shuns the Linux/open source community.

Oh, sure they haven't fully released the Android OS, but that is on the way. And the code for Chromium is available to any developer here. So, I ask again...why do you hate Google? Especially when their are so many other companies out there who deserve your ire. Two come instantly to mind: Microsoft and Apple.

Let's take a look at news from the weekend. One tidbit in particular that came about indicating GPL code was found in a portion of Windows 7. Although this wasn't a huge case of theft, if it turns out to be 100% verified that means Microsoft is using code illegally. Ooooh...big surprise there. And even though Apple has an open source-like license (check out Apple Open Source)  why is it their products (like the iPhone or iTouch) refuse to work with open source tools? Why don't they open up those backends so Amarok, Banshee, Songbird, or Rhythmbox can sync with their toys?

I would venture to say that Google is doing more for the open source community than just about any other company on the planet (save for the likes of Canonical, Red Hat, Mandriva, and Novell.) But how would the tables turn if Google did finally release a version of Linux? Would that change everyone's mind? Would the open source community finally scream "uncle!" and admit that Google has the open source community's best interest in mind?

What about you? Fill in the blank: I ________ Google. Was your answer "hate"? If so, why? I would have to say my answer would be "I am thankful for Google".

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

40 comments
Oz_Media
Oz_Media

Or just a tiny bit, even a percentage of a percentage of a percentage, just a snifters worth, please??? With the new SPDY optimized HTML transmission they are workign on, they are again hoping to redirect the ways of the internet.

blah-blah-blah
blah-blah-blah

GOOGLE is no different today than Microsoft, IBM, AT&T, or even wall-to-Wal-Mart. "Do no evil" didn't last very long! Google now has many hidden agendas as well as "if you can't beat 'em, buy 'em!" strong-arm tactics. Also, many start-ups were bought by Google NOT to continue the development work but to mothball them.

KarrasB
KarrasB

I love Google. Love the company, love its attitude, and love what it does for me.

Answerfactory
Answerfactory

It went from a being a tight-knit community to a bunch of attention starved individuals who are scared to post anything for fear the song playing in the background on their radio will get them flagged for copyright violation and account suspended. Tech wise, they have some good ideas and excellent tech, but they are not good at designing viral products. It's free and it's big ( like Gmail ) only works for certain product categories. P.S. Widgets/Gadgets should not be tied to Google Desktop search.

jevans4949
jevans4949

i.e., paranoia about large organisations / Big Brother, etc. Granted that there are probably a lot of sane Linux users out there, of course.

jd110
jd110

They are the only real threat to Microsoft so even for that they should be welcomed in the marketplace, however, I don't fully trust them when it comes to harvesting so much personal information about how people use their products.

dmeguy
dmeguy

I agree with many that there are better search engines depending on what you are looking for. But, no other single source offers all that Google has from search to GMail, Google Voice, Google Talk, Google maps and now Navigation with Google Maps on the Droid. It's the package that's hard to beat.

john3347
john3347

I distrust Google with my personal information more than anyone else on the internet and therefore despise them and will not use Google under any circumstances that I can imagine.

Royc_1
Royc_1

Try a "new" search engine! Called "Scroogle" http://www.scroogle.org/ 1.) Uses a "Goo IP". They have 270 of them. 2.) Uses "Google" but mashes the "google cookie". As a result of #1, Google is confuse and does not know where the search came from. As a result of #2, Google is very confuse and does not know your next search came from your PC.

zeke123
zeke123

There is a great article online about Google's patches to the kernel and it seems theyre pretty useless since theyre about 18months behind so I wouldnt use that as a plus. I think most free software developers dont trust Google (and they shouldnt) or like them because they seem to do a fandance around Linux when it comes to apps. "How the hell do you make an open source browser but not have it available on the open source OS?" kind of thing. Google Earth, Picasa, its always one step behind the other OS. How can we expect to have companies release Linux compatible apps when Google doesnt want to? Google;s reputation is off using open source when it serves their purpose which is their right. Heck, Canonical didnt release all their parts and they claim to be free software champions. As for Novell, their contributions is overshadowed but the fact that they have tried to drive a stake in the community playing the legal vs illegal Linux game when it comes to patents extortion. I may not like distro a, b or c but were all in the same boat and I trust Buntu, Red Hat and Mandriva to do things that will benefit us all. Were all in this together except Novell who is playing a different game.

JimInPA
JimInPA

but... Are they the next Microsoft? Surpassing MS and becoming the next 3000 pound gorilla? Only time will tell. So far the droid is working pretty sweet too. B-)

.Martin.
.Martin.

I don't know why but for some reason I just don't trust them... other than that I have found (most of) their services very good :D (except when spammers use it to find zombie posts)

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

It's another tool. While it works for me satisfactorily at the moment, like any other software I will abandon it if I find something I like better. Disclaimer: I use only Google's search web sites; none of their server- or web-based applications, and none of it's downloadable client apps.

itpro_z
itpro_z

Or at least rarely. Why? Crappy search results. I search every day for tech related issues, and find Google to be the worst of the search engines. Crappy maps. I have used Google Maps a few times, and usually find better results on Mapquest or Yahoo. Sometimes, Google puts the address I am looking for outside of town in a vacant field, and I have had roads plotted where the aerial view show none. Crappy software. Google Desktop makes even fast computers run in slow motion, while I have had numerous problems with their toolbar. Now, when you download one Google package, you get everything else thrown in whether you want it or not. I keep finding Chrome on our computers with my users having no knowledge of how it got there. Spying. This is the big one. Google records every search, every click, every thing that one does on their site or with their software. Their Desktop software even searches our hard drives for data, and then reports back to them. Isn't that enough? I remove Google software from every computer I find it on.

alfielee
alfielee

Go Bingosearch for Alpha status & you'll find zip you windows freak. Hey was this posted by Steve Ballmer perhaps?

jlwallen
jlwallen

in fact it has become my default browser on all my linux installs. and i understand your point about the kernel patches. i believe i read that same article. the problem with the google kernel patches is that they are dealing with data on such a huge scale that they're naturally going to fall behind. and yes i understand that their patches are usefully only to them, but isn't that inherent in the nature of open source? open source has always had an "if it doesn't do what you need it to, make it so" nature. i know i have been guilty of that - altering source code to fit my needs. my changes wouldn't do anyone else any good - but they sure helped me. of course if i thought for a second they would have helped someone i would have made them available.

ahivatal
ahivatal

Whomever dislodges evil microsoft from its position has my vote. Should they become tyrant themselves later on, i shall be glad to face the new problem.

AOS/VS
AOS/VS

I don't trust them either. They have so many products and units now. From health care databases to cell phones. All gathering data. What are they doing with all that data? They will always be way ahead of any legislation to protect privacy. That also means they are getting to big. I don't want another to-big-to-fail corporation. Competetition is good.

Shellbot
Shellbot

I use Search, and GMail..but I don't trust em..

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

any of the junk either. Just the search tool. No probs. I [u]like[/u] Google. :D

blah-blah-blah
blah-blah-blah

But Google can still use their corporate motto "Don't Be Evil", right???

highlander718
highlander718

the only problem with Google is that they start to be ubicuous and that is never good. I use their search engine from time to time, but do not find it better than Yahoo or Bing, I use their maps quite often out of habit, but there are other products as least as good outthere.

Mehul Bhai
Mehul Bhai

I Agree completely with "itpro_z" as an IT Adminstrator. But suggest to use only the Search part of Google to others as get it gives good results and is second to none of the other search engines.

maecuff
maecuff

Lick. Burn. Grope. love. hate. desire. trip. own. rock.

Royc_1
Royc_1

Called "Scroogle" http://www.scroogle.org/ 1.)Uses a "Goo IP" 2.) Uses "Google" but mashes the "google cookie". As a result of #1, Google is confuse and does not know where the search came from. As a result of #2, Google is very confuse and does not know the next search came from your PC.

.Martin.
.Martin.

you won't like my response :D

itpro_z
itpro_z

Didn't you read the poll?

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Appointments by reservation only. Don't call us, we'll call you.

maecuff
maecuff

with spank and lick. I'm on to burn.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

You gotta start at the top! You can't just skip around like that! What happened to 'spank' and 'lick'?

maecuff
maecuff

Prepare to be burned.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"People ask me, 'Where the hell is Margaritaville?' "It's anywhere you want it to be!" From the "You Had to be There!" live album.

Royc_1
Royc_1

Or is it at any bar in Pa that serves Margaritas?

JimInPA
JimInPA

To detect and decipher sarcasm ;)

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