Opera moves Dragonfly to Apache for patent promise
Browser closed. Debug open
Web 2.0 Expo Opera has switched its Dragonfly open source debug tool to an Apache 2.0 license to include a promise that users are protected from patents owned by Opera or any other contributor to the project.
Dragonfly - similar to Mozilla's Firebug tool - completed its open sourcing in February, when it was moved from Opera servers to BitBucket. It was originally under the BSD license.
The tool only runs in the Opera browser, and it speaks to the browser via Opera's Scope protocol, which also receives patent protection under the Apache 2.0 license.
According to Opera, Dragonfly is now used by 100,000 developers, and its use has grown "rapidly" since the introduction of Opera 10.50, based on the new Carakan rendering engine.
Dragonfly is Opera's first open source project, and the company still has no intention of opening sourcing the browser itself. On Wednesday, at the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco, Opera chief standards officer Charles McCathieNevile told The Reg that open sourcing the browser would mean transforming Opera from a company of engineering to a company of managers, and that's not something it wants to do. He acknowledged that open sourcing the browser would win the company some good will, but said it wouldn't make sense financially.
Opera does use the open source GStreamer multimedia framework for video, and per GStreamer's LGPL license, the company has open sourced its modified source code. You can find it here. ®
Opera doesn't have a timebomb but one modern equivalent is "hideous security defect"
...and they have had those. And fixed them quite promptly.
But Opera isn't going anywhere anytime soon. Unless, as I speculate from time to time, a major competitor based in Seattle crashes a plane on Opera's building, or something, and wipes the company out just like that. I genuinely don't understand why that sort of thing happens so rarely.
Also, you shouldn't really develop for Opera, you should develop for "any or every capable web browser or other suitable client, regardless of operating system". But this, evidently, can be your development tool. And even if there is a new and unfixed hideous vulnerability in Opera, you can still safely use it internally for development and testing.
What I'm not clear on yet is whether the open source part works separately from the Opera browser itself. It reads like you could write your own web browser - call it Rigoletto (or is that taken?) - that Dragonfly would plug onto, but it also reads like no one is expected to do that any time soon.
I'm not directly interested anyway, I just like Opera.
I need open source.
The biggest issue is when you become reliant on a product made by a company that then goes out of business. Their assets might get bought up by someone else...they might not. Meanwhile, that product can't be updated for new operating systems, ro to cope with patches.
In many cases throughout software history this story is told over and over: frequently it is with applications that simply have no alternative. You could try to write one of your own, (and that is what most companies in those situations do,) but you are then stuck trying to nurse the old App along until your in-house version is ready.
It is even worse if the application is one that has a timebomb or “call home” feature. In that case; yes you need to crack it. You can’t leagally get the program re-armed, but your corporation is dependant on it.
Abandonware is a serious issue for some companies.
Given Opera editions are free on several PCs and many handsets -
Who needs "open source"? If you mean "open like Linux, rewrite it at will."
Strictly, open source also can mean, "You can see the source code but only we get to use it." These days, I guess that mainly helps crackers to perform security violations on the product in use. So, less popular.