Outsourcing Stability or Open Sourcing Stability?

Last weekend it was very hot. So me and my family went up to my uncle’s house on the lake. But of course when we get there, my uncle requests my help to fix his Internet Explorer. Right after you launch IE, it closes itself. But he has no idea what would be causing the crash.

I have seen this before, so I immediately uninstall and extra ‘toolbars’ that the crazy internet has installed in his browser. Turns out that after uninstalling the Yahoo! Toolbar, IE works fine (well actually not fine — but that’s how its supposed to work).

Of course the next thing I did was install Firefox. Then if that ever happened again, he wouldn’t be stuck without internet. But this raises a question in my mind. It wasn’t some dodgy spyware or anything that broke his browser — it was Yahoo!. I think Yahoo! is a respectable company, and they have a reputation to maintain. So why would their plugin for IE be so unstable?

This is relevant to me because we are in the process of creating the Jokosher 0.2 extension API. I would really like it if someone as popular as Yahoo! made an extension for Jokosher. But I would not like it if a user installs an extension and gets rewarded with Jokosher crashing immediately after startup.

We could just use DBUS and keep every extension on a long leash and a separate process, but that would hinder possible integration with the core code. We could also use a lot of exception handling, but that would only work if there was an exception, and not if there was a freeze.

The other possibility is that Yahoo! didn’t have the source code for IE so bugs of that kind could not be found during their testing. Maybe I shouldn’t worry about it at all and just trust the extension writers. Or better yet would be the creation of extensions.jokosher.org where we peer review everything. Of course the only problem with that is that I don’t feel like reviewing every single extension. Any suggestions?

Jokosher Update: Since the launch or 0.1, I have been mostly working on getting translations working. We have all the strings in the POT file with the exception of instrument name (but I’m working on that). If anyone feels like translating please go to: http://launchpad.net/products/jokosher/trunk/+translations
We already have four languages more than 50%!

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