Twitter Joins the Linux Foundation, but Is Just as Closed as Microsoft in Its Heyday

Twitter, Facebook, Google are closed companies no matter how much software they open up

Twitter is joining the Linux Foundation. The Linux Foundation is a non-profit group that works exclusively to further Linux development. It sponsors core development, to the kernel for example, but it also acts to maintain standards, protect the trademarks and so on.

It is funded by companies that rely on Linux for their day to day operations. All the big names in tech are there, IBM, Intel, Google, HP, Dell, Oracle and so on. Now, Twitter is on the list as well.

"Linux and its ability to be heavily tweaked is fundamental to our technology infrastructure,” Chris Aniszczyk, manager of Open Source at Twitter said.

"By joining The Linux Foundation we can support an organization that is important to us and collaborate with a community that is advancing Linux as fast as we are improving Twitter," he added.

You may be wondering though, what does Twitter have to do with Linux. Obviously, it uses Linux, but, then again, who isn't. There's not one company out there that doesn't rely on Linux in one form or another if only because it powers the vast majority of servers on the web.

Still, Twitter, like many of Silicon Valley's top companies, is a big believer in open source. It released some of its core software as open source, the Bootstrap project has been very popular for example. Facebook, Google are also big contributors, even Yahoo!.

Yet these companies are as closed as Microsoft used to be, open sourcing some in-house software or relying on open source software to power their products may be in the letter of "open source" but it's not in the spirit of "open source."

None of these companies open up any crucial piece of software. Even that would not be enough; open source is about empowering the users, about making it possible for others to build on your product. Facebook notoriously guards its data even from the users that create and own it.

Twitter has been doubling down on pushing third-party developers out of the way so only it can benefit from its platform and data. Google also notoriously guards its search algorithms and policies. None of these companies, including Twitter, are open no matter how many pieces of software they open source.

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