Ina Fried

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Hoping Others Will Drink the Kool-Aid, Yahoo Offers Its Mojito for Free

Yahoo said on Monday that it is releasing an open-source tool called Mojito that aims to give mobile developers some of the tools they need to create better Web apps for mobile devices.

Although Yahoo isn’t generally in the business of creating developer tools, the company said it doesn’t want to see a world in which companies have to develop apps for every mobile device.

“The Web is under threat,” Yahoo Chief Platform Architect Bruno Fernandez-Ruiz said in an interview.

Some of the characteristics that the Web counts on — particularly a consistent, high-speed connection to the Internet — aren’t always present. Mojito tries to address this by providing a means for apps that can persist even when the connection doesn’t.

Yahoo has used Mojito and other of its “Cocktails” suite of tools to create several mobile apps, including its Livestand product, as well as a fantasy soccer program.

“It doesn’t make much sense for Yahoo to keep those technologies closed,” Fernandez-Ruiz said. “We want the Web to win.”

And since that is the goal, Yahoo can win even if developers ultimately find Web tools that are tastier than Mojito, he said.

“If the community doesn’t find it interesting, it is probably because something better emerges,” Fernandez-Ruiz said.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work