Should we join the clergy? Or run free in the market?

Software development for Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android software’s can be compared to two models discussed by Eric Raymond, the cathedral and the bazaar.

Apple’s iOS software is comparable to the cathedral model, because of Apple’s policy of only allowing Apple staff to work on Apple products. Raymond (2001) summarises the cathedral model when he says “software… needed to be built like cathedrals, carefully crafted by individual wizards or small bands of mages working in splendid isolation, with no beta to be released before its time (pg. 2).” This summary is very true of Apple’s development strategy as they adhere to this characteristic of the cathedral model, only releasing the iOS update when all identifiable bugs have been resolved, even if this means releasing once a year.

Google’s Android software on the other hand is a perfect example of Raymond’s (2001) bazaar as it is developed in open communities where releasing software early and often – whether it be newer versions of Android operating systems, updates, or apps – is balanced out by the idea that “given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow (pg. 9).” Android operating systems or apps being developed in the bazaar have the luxury of releasing early and often because there are many people working on them. These projects can have hundreds of people developing them, and the advantage gained by having this number of people working on a project is that bugs and problems are quickly identified and resolved, allowing for quick updates and patches (Raymond 2001, pg. 9).

The cathedral and the bazaar are both models for developing software that work effectively, with parts of each that users both like and dislike. In terms of the operating systems themselves, Apple’s iOS offers security because it’s software has been developed in the isolation of the cathedral to it’s thought to be ultimate form. In the other camp, Google’s Android offers a customisable platform where users have the freedom to choose and replace software that has been created and co-developed from the bazaar, where products are stuck in permanent beta, always improving.

At the end of the day, there is a choice to be made, a choice between comfort and freedom. Would you rather have the comfort of a device that supports closed software? Or the freedom of choice afforded by a device that is open to any software?

Resources:

Mitew, T 2014, iOS vs Android: The Two Futures of the Mobile Net [part 1], Online Video, YouTube, viewed 13 September 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=93_KfPDwpu4&index=24&list=PLiPp71qLKusXOU1bKxHVappCbRNN3-J-j

Mitew, T 2014, iOS vs Android: The Two Futures of the Mobile Net [part 2], Online Video, YouTube, viewed 13 September 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mBQDsZG8nVk&list=PLiPp71qLKusXOU1bKxHVappCbRNN3-J-j&index=25

Mitew, T 2014, iOS vs Android: The Two Futures of the Mobile Net [part 3], Online Video, YouTube, viewed 13 September 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kNvC-AEAxdY&index=26&list=PLiPp71qLKusXOU1bKxHVappCbRNN3-J-j

Mitew, T 2014, iOS vs Android: The Two Futures of the Mobile Net [part 4], Online Video, YouTube, viewed 13 September 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2gtNXm_gDOY&list=PLiPp71qLKusXOU1bKxHVappCbRNN3-J-j&index=27

Raymond, E.S. 2001, The Cathedral and the Bazaar, The Cathedral and the Bazaar: Musings on Linux and Open Source by an Accidental Revolutionary, pp. 01-40.

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2 thoughts on “Should we join the clergy? Or run free in the market?

  1. I really liked your post as there was a great amount of content and you linked the ideas of the topic to other examples such as the cathedral and the bazaar! the only downsides i see in your post is that its a bit lengthy and the infographic has no spacing and that can make the post look a bit too heavily loaded and harder for readers to follow along which could be easily solved with spacing and paragraphs!

  2. Hi,

    First off, you’ve really done your homework. The text accompanying your infographic was probably more educational than the infographic and you linked your content to the ideas discussed in this week’s lecture really well. To further your post and infographic further, I would suggest accompanying both the closed and open network context, with examples of some of the strengths and weaknesses of each for example; open network allows apps, software etc. to be personalised through individual coding where the closed network provides seamless integration of devices. Here are a few online articles that show some of the strengths and weaknesses that you might be interested in for further developing your post;

    A Month Inside Apple’s Walled Garden; It’s Not as Bad as You’d Think
    http://lifehacker.com/a-month-inside-apples-walled-garden-its-not-as-bad-a-1304272986 and

    The Consequences of Apple’s Walled Garden
    http://techland.time.com/2011/11/14/the-consequences-of-apples-walled-garden/

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