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    I actually like Safari, so “Safari but it has uBlock Origin” is very appealing.

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      I too use Safari, but there are things I’m not super crazy about with it. This seems like Camino, which I used to use and liked a lot, but since it’s using WebKit, probably significantly less likely to be abandoned.

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      I find squatting on the kagi name to be something that requires explanation. There’s a lot of good faith built up over a lot of years , and spinning something new up under that name requires some explanation for me, anyway. There’s nothing in the FAQ about whether they’re tied to the old business that used to own that name. (I think it went out of business entirely, and doubt there’s much of a tie.) They should at least say what the connection is if any, even if it’s just “we liked the name and bought it when we got the chance.”

      If there’s really none, which is fine, I still think they should say that “we recognize that we’re pitching a browser to mac users who might recognize this name. We’re unaffiliated and hope you like it.” That would avoid the mis-impression, that I very much have at the moment, that they’re trying to trade on the goodwill established by an old well-known company.

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        Orion founder here.

        “We liked the name and bought it when we got the chance.” is pretty much what happened. I wasn’t using Mac in ‘old Kagi’ days so was not aware of the name recognition among Mac users. Hopefully this explains it and we also added the same to F.A.Q.


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          How long does it take to respond to the formed signed up for beta

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            That works. Thanks for answering and for adding the mention to the FAQ.

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          Welp, here we go again.

          Is Orion open-source?

          Not yet, but we plan for it to be when we are ready to receive the benefits of open-sourcing Orion.


          I’d want more details + commitments regarding their plans to open source the browser before I use it. If there are no commitments, how can they be held accountable, and how can people tell if they are following through with their promises or not (and therefore whether they are trustworthy or not)?

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            before I use it

            So you already use iOS or macOS? Clearly closed source hasn’t stopped you before ;)

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              Here’s my comment from the previous thread:

              Although I’m not a FOSS purist (I’m typing this on a Mac), I’m gradually moving everything I can towards open software and open hardware because I’ve been burned far too many times by proprietary crap being abruptly and arbitrarily discontinued with no recourse (among many other proprietary problems). I’m not willing to shoulder the switching costs when I learn to love this app and then it’s inevitably bought out by Facebook or @#$%ing Yahoo or something, and turned into an ad platform (ads in your terminal! innovation!) or just deleted (thanks for joining us on our incredible journey!). The right to fork is essential for any software my workflow depends on.

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                I actually would understand your original comment better if you were a FOSS purist, because then I’d understand you had made the comment to try and spread the word to the proprietary heathens. As it stands I don’t see the point of making such a comment.

                I sincerely don’t mean this in a mean way but your comment would be like chiming in a discussion of steak and saying “I’m not a vegetarian but I can’t believe that we’re talking about consuming this meat. We must be held accountable.”

                Perhaps just an “FYI, for the curious, this is closed source: <relevant quote>” would be more sensible?

                I’m only even saying all this because the presumption that everyone else is unwilling or should be unwilling to use proprietary software from so many on Lobsters is honesty just exhausting.

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                  OK, if we’re running with this metaphor, someone could want to reduce their meat consumption e.g. to reduce their GHG emissions, without being a vegetarian 100% of the time. That would be a valid choice, it would reduce the harm they cause even if they do not achieve “perfection.” As George Monbiot said,

                  Hypocrisy is the gap between your aspirations and your actions. Greens have high aspirations – they want to live more ethically – and they will always fall short. But the alternative to hypocrisy isn’t moral purity (no one manages that), but cynicism. Give me hypocrisy any day.

                  Frankly harm reduction is the best we can do most of the time, under our harmful capitalist system most choices cause some harm somewhere, and our time is better spent trying to change the system rather than eke out the marginal best choice as a consumer. Cory Doctorow says we need to stop conceiving of ourselves as ambulatory wallets.

                  In real life I am a vegetarian, I have never eaten meat because I was raised by vegetarians. I was not raised by FOSS purists, so I do not find it easy to eliminate proprietary software from my life, unlike meat, which I’ve never had and therefore do not miss.

                  I am saying that I currently use some proprietary software and have no immediate plans to eliminate it, but I would like to reduce the amount of proprietary software I use, so I am generally unwilling to add new proprietary software to my workflow.

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              Orion founder here.

              I believe the commitment is there already in the sentence you quoted (“when we are ready to receive the benefits of open-sourcing”). That means that we’d like to have benefit that would outweigh the risk and resource investment needed for maintaining an open-source project. I understand if that may sound vague to you, but that is the best I can do right now.

              What I can say though is that closed-source projects are in general less likely to be discontinued than open-source ones. The reason is that running an open source project requires additional resources that many smaller startups do not have. Doing what we do (focus on product and move to open source only when the benefit outweighs the risk) actually increases the chances of Orion succeeding and should address your main concern in a positive way.

              Please let me know if this makes sense and if not what do you think we should address further.

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                The reason is that running an open source project requires additional resources that many smaller startups do not have

                I disagree here because I think that you are conflating four things:

                • Providing an open-source codebase.
                • Maintaining an open-source project.
                • Managing an open-source community.
                • Monetising an open-source codebase.

                The first of these requires fewer resources than maintaining a proprietary codebase because the hosting and CI tools are free from companies like GitHub for open source but not for proprietary. The requirements for this are simply that your code is somewhere where people can download it, under an appropriate license. This doesn’t require you to make it easy to build, to provide contributor documentation, or to accept community contributions. It does require you to ensure that your code is of a quality that you’re happy to have other people read, that you aren’t relying on security by obscurity, and that you actually have the rights to all of the code that you’re distributing. If you’re not doing these things anyway then I would have deep concerns about your product’s viability.

                Maintaining an open-source project is more effort. You need to have some docs that let people build the code, you need to have a build system that isn’t tied to internal things. These are also valuable for a proprietary project because they help onboarding (you do intend to hire new developers at some point, right?). It also requires you to spend some time reviewing PRs and issues from external contributors. These can be of variable quality and so may be a net drain. In my experience, they’re generally a net positive (for the bad ones, it doesn’t take much effort to reply with ‘Thank you for the report but this doesn’t give us sufficient detail to reproduce the bug, please can you add some more information?’ and close it if they don’t reply in a couple of weeks. You may also need some form of CLA and other legal overhead. Building a pool of external folks who are already familiar with your codebase is great for having a strong hiring pipeline and external contributors can often multiply the impact of your in-house expertise (remember that far more smart people don’t work for you than do) but this isn’t free.

                Managing an open-source community is a lot harder. This generally isn’t a problem until you have a lot of external contributors.

                Monetising open source is a lot harder. Proprietary software is built on a fundamentally flawed economic model: You do something hard (write software) for free and then charge money for doing something easy (copying software). In spite of that, it works moderately well because consumers understand it by analogy with physical goods. Making money from an open-source codebase requires you to either come up with a model where people pay you to write the code (e.g. allow subscribers to vote for feature requests and implement them once they have a certain number of votes) or to give away the software and sell some value-added service (a lot of cloud providers, for example, contribute to open source so that they have a big pool of things potential customers want to run on their infrastructure).

                If you don’t have a way of monetising the project after it’s been open sourced then the only possible plan for your company is an exit strategy involving a company in a complementary market buying you and paying you to develop the program as open source. In your case, the only possible company I see here is Apple (making macOS more attractive may sell more Macs) but I don’t see them wanting to pay for an open source Safari competitor. From the FAQ, it looks as if your path is to sell a subscription that is effectively the same as the free version (you get to beta-test buggy versions and communicate with the devs, but if it’s an open-source project then I can build my own nightly versions and file issues / PRs, so that’s not really a win, and if I’m paying I don’t want to be beta testing I want the reliable version). I’ve seen a few companies try this model but I’ve never seen one succeed (and I’ve contributed to a few of them).

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                  As for the vagueness, it’s fine, it’s nice that you intend to open source it eventually, I’m just saying that I probably won’t use it while the plans remain vague.

                  Some more concrete goal or timeline would make me feel more comfortable using a product that is not yet open source. For example, say “we need to make more money than we’re burning before we can invest the time+energy to make this a proper open source project”, and then publish your financial progress, as SourceHut sometimes does. (In terms of building faith that your business will continue to exist, being open about finances seems like a good idea anyway.)

                  Or, if you know you’ll be OK if you make it through this year, say “we’ll start open sourcing things piecemeal beginning next year”, and people can check your repo to see if things begin getting added at that time. Basically, provide some signposts to set expectations, and lay out intermediate steps between 0% open source and 100% open source so that people can follow your progress and feel confident that you will get there eventually, that there is forward movement. Otherwise it’s easy to dismiss as empty marketing promises.

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                    I’m not sure you understand my main concerns. Two of the top reasons why I want to use open source software are:

                    1. Can the community continue to develop Orion if your business fails? I don’t care as much as you presumably do about managing the likelihood of your business failing, frankly I expect most businesses to fail at some point. The question is, what happens after that?
                    2. Can the community fork the project if you become evil? Your business could be very “successful”, but make lots of money by doing terrible things, and I want the option to stop supporting you if that happens.

                    There are a number of other reasons I think open source is vital, such as the right to repair and stop throwing away electronics due to forced obsolescence during the climate crisis, but those two are the most relevant to this thread.

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                      Well put, I agree both of these arguments are valid and sensible.

                      I can also notice that if one was to follow these expectations religiously, they would be left out of some of the best things in internet user’s life - macOS and iOS, Google and DuckDuckGo (depending in which camp you are), Flickr and Tumblr, Github and Reddit, iCloud Mail and Gmail, YouTube and Wikipedia, Instagram and Twitter …

                      If you already made a leap of faith for some of these closed-source software projects, I hope you can consider making one for Orion too!

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                        Now that I think about it, the properties you list also contain excellent examples of why I’m concerned about building to last on a proprietary foundation.

                        You list Google and Gmail, but you’re not listing all of the products that Google has killed off. It’s a timely concern, since apparently Google is adding RSS feeds to Chrome again, which has reminded everyone of when Google single-handedly destroyed the RSS ecosystem by achieving world domination with Google Reader and then killing it. If these products had been open source and built with the help of the community, they might have survived, even if their market was too small to interest Google, or opposed to Google’s financial interests.

                        It’s also interesting that you list Flickr and Tumblr, two websites I once loved that were destroyed by Yahoo. They have made partial recoveries under new management, but they are shadows of their former selves. If the founders had gone for some form of exit to community instead of selling to a corporate overlord that cared nothing for what they had built, those potentially revolutionary platforms might be much more relevant today.

                        TL;DR: Talking about the wonderful things that exist today shows some survivorship bias, you’re ignoring all of the dead products. And many of these could be much better products with stronger communities today if they weren’t built on a proprietary corporate model.

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                          Are you saying that Wikipedia is not open source? MediaWiki is GPLv2 licensed software, and the content is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike. It’s hard to think of a better example of the benefits of collaborative culture and FOSS.

                          I also have to question your description of these things as the best things in an internet user’s life. Nowadays, people frequently talk about doing a digital detox, because the internet is toxic to your mental health. Why is that? The sites you listed must take some responsibility. People may need to use these products in order to survive, but that doesn’t make them good, or good for the people using them, anymore than a coal miner being forced to risk black lung disease in order to feed their family is “benefiting” from coal.

                          Many of these corporations are also responsible for real-world death and destruction, to a degree that is too depressing to list here. The lack of accountability and ethics among these names is shocking and horrifying, and they illustrate perfectly why the right to fork for ethical reasons is essential.

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                    This is basically what I want out of Firefox:

                    • No telemetry
                    • Runs the extensions I want (1password and uBlock origin)
                    • Option to pay directly for it

                    Not sure if it is or isn’t a loss to move away from Gecko. Anyone have thoughts on that?

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                      Until or unless another option appears, Gecko is the last existing independent web engine that you can use for day-to-day. Supporting Gecko is the most important thing anyone can do for the web right now, IMO.

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                        Unfortunately, the reality is that Mozilla’s main competitor is paying for its development (90% of Mozilla revenue comes from Google). So it would be inadequate to classify Firefox/Gecko as “independent” because it obviously operates in a conflict of interest scenario (where user != customer).

                        Once Mozilla Firefox makes a switch to a fully user-centric business model (meaning being directly supported by its users, and thus user=customer) we can really call it independent.

                        If you do not accept this as an argument, then it would be only fair to also call WebKit independent too, because like Gecko it is open-source, and like Gecko its development is primarily sponsored by funding from a big tech company (in this case Apple and to some extent Sony).

                        I hope that while the dust settles you can give an alternative browser like Orion, with a truly independent business model, a chance!