Friday, December 03, 2010

ChemWriter, Google Chrome, and Many Eyes in Open Source

Update: Wow, how tired can you be. I have to apologize for this post: as Andrew points out in the comments, Rich did not analyze the Chrome source code, but his own source code. That is not so special indeed. I have misread Rich' post. This completely ruins the point I was making. He did not take advantage of Chrome being Open Source, and find the problem that way, but in an old fashion debugging session on ChemWriter. The below could have happened, but it didn't.

This was the old post:

Linus' law:
    given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow.

Rich of MetaMolecular works on Open Source and closed source cheminformatics solutions. ChemWriter is one product he is working on which uses JavaScript and SVG (two Open Standards), and recently asked feedback on the new version. Test users found a problem on Google's Chrome browser, and Rich then did something that is only possible in an Open Source environment: he downloaded the buggy product (Chrome), started looking for the cause, found it, and filed a detailed bug report. Just think that would have happened if this problem was in MS Internet Explorer...

Well done!


  1. I don't see where Chrome's open source made a difference. He never downloaded and looked at the Chrome source. What he did was come up with a easy reproducible and report the bug. I've done that with proprietary software.

    In other words, what would the difference have been if the program was Opera?

  2. Ha, Andrew, what I stupid mistake I made there! You are completely right! I know I have been tired, but blatantly misread the Rich' post :(