Thursday, February 22, 2007

Expanding The Community

In a recent blog entry, I asked what would happen if the establishment began to agree with the anti-establishmentarians. Here's another article that explores the same theme. Commercial entities, both suppliers and consumers, have started to recognize the value that open-source brings them. As these interests begin to apply commercial standards to support and services of open-source software then we start seeing the beginning of a sustainable economic infrastructure.

Unfortunately, we're also seeing some fraying of the edges of the messaging around open-source.

Open-source is just that, open. We're starting to see some constituencies complain about the spirit of open-source vs. the letter of the law on licenses such as the GPL. The GPL is what it is. There have been complaints about Novell bypassing some of the "spirit" associated with the GPL in their relationship with Microsoft.

The question is, though, is the "spirit" of open-source attempting to change. The beauty of open-source is that anyone can do anything with open-source as long as they adhere to the license agreements. This means anything. Generally, the licenses require that if any changes are made to the code, those changes are given to the community under the same terms as the original license. Once I put something into open-source I no longer control what happens to it beyond the terms of the license and I am happy about that.

The beauty of open-source is that it has the ability to benefit many constituencies, even those with whom we may not agree. We are only at the beginning of this revolution, let's do everything we can to grow the movement.

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