March 11, 2011, 11:26 AM — "If you are not planning on getting an iPad 2 on Friday at 5 p.m., the terrorists win." So said open source icon Miguel de Icaza on his Twitter feed this week, and he wasn't joking.
"I'm going to be the first one in line Friday," de Icaza confirmed in an interview with Network World.
Somewhere, free-software purists shook their heads, as one of de Icaza's Twitter followers pointed out to him.
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But de Icaza, who has been prominent in the open source world since creating GNOME, seems to care at least as much about usability as he does the principles behind the free software movement. De Icaza gets his share of criticism because of his occasional support for Microsoft software and other proprietary projects, but he says that, in some cases, usability should trump openness.
De Icaza's mixed-source philosophy can be seen both in his work for Novell and in his personal buying habits. While he still prefers Linux to Windows on the desktop, de Icaza did not opt for the open source Android in his mobile life. He says he owns an iPhone and, yes, two iPads, and that's not including the third iPad he's about to buy.
Why two iPads? "One for the kitchen and one for the living room," he jokes, before explaining that one of them is for work and debug builds but that they are really "interchangeable."
You might think de Icaza would embrace Android, which is released under the Apache license and uses a kernel derived from Linux. But he looked at Android a couple of years ago and decided it would be a step back from Apple's iOS. Android, perhaps, suffers from some of the same usability problems that have held Linux back on the desktop, he says.