I'm convinced that consumer electronics vendors have much to gain from using and exposing open source within their products. Sure, there's a risk that another vendor could repurpose the open source software to build a competing consumer product. Considering how tightly integrated and optimized the software and hardware is in a consumer electronics device, access to the software alone isn't a compelling competitive issue.
I've previously argued that consumer device manufacturers should open source their firmware. As a very happy MBWE customer, I'd reiterate this call. And remember, I paid a price premium over an Apple product for the MBWE. I'd happily do so again and highly recommended the MBWE.
Kudos to Western Digital for using open source to offer user freedom, a great user experience, and value for (my) money, while serving Western Digital's own profit motivations. It's a win-win, enabled by open source software.
Note: My only issue with the MBWE is that the network transfer speed, in the 15MBps-to-20MBps range, pales in comparison to the 125MBps theoretical speed of the advertised Gigabit network adapter. The speed is, however, faster than the 10MBps to 12MBps I achieved with the Gigabit-rated Apple Time Capsule on the same Cat5e Ethernet home network.
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p.s.: I should state: "The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies, or opinions."
This story, "How open source helps Western Digital prioritize product features," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in open source at InfoWorld.com.