Jun 06, 2011

What's your opinion on the engineer who just reverse-engineered Skype?

The latest news coming out of Russia is that engineer Efim Bushmanov has reverse-engineered the proprietary Skype protocol, with the goal of making an open source copy; a move that Skype (and no doubt Microsoft) is not too happy about. In an eWeek interview, Bushmanov said a few curious things. First of all, he praised Skype as "well-tested and fine-tuned," and then went on to say that "Open source products cannot match that level of polish." It seems to me that instead of participating in what is usually a lively and active open source community, he is discrediting the very community he is claiming to be a part of with comments like that. Is it true that open source can't match the quality of proprietary products? What can be gained from this reverse-engineering?
It's probably better to develop an alternative without the reverse engineering. That just opens a big can of worms and could complicate things legally. There's also an ethics issue with doing that sort of thing.

So I'd rather see something original developed that is not connected to Skype.
Open source can most definitely match the quality of proprietary products, and even surpass the quality. Firefox is a perfect example. I think Bushmanov is being disingenuous and trying to downplay his project hoping Microsoft won't sue an "inferior" product. Which is pretty much a bad idea.
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