Thursday, March 1, 2007

If You Can't See It, It Ain't Open

I've been fascinated by the number of articles on EnterpriseDB and whether or not they're an open-source company (Dana Blankehorn, Matt Asay, Allison Randal) all, apparently, given birth from this article by Nat Torkington.

EnterpriseDB is not an open-source product. In my opinion, they're not an open-source company either.

I happen to favor the GPL for a number of reasons but there are a number of other, perfectly valid, open-source licenses. It's interesting that some say that BSD doesn't require EnterpriseDB to publish their source code. But, BSD doesn't prevent them from publishing their source code either. For that matter, there's nothing preventing Oracle from publishing their source code save their desire to be a closed-source, proprietary product.

Let's see, the Oracle code that executes PL/SQL is closed and proprietary. The EnterpriseDB code that executes PL/SQL is closed and proprietary. It seems to me that EnterpriseDB is more akin to Oracle than it is to PostgreSQL, the base upon which it is built.

It's great that EnterpriseDB contributes back to PostgreSQL, but that's not the raison d' etre of their business. Their business is selling proprietary solutions to compete against Oracle. Those solutions consist of closed-source software and that makes them a closed-source company.

I suggest their participation in open-source conferences be based on the PostgreSQL tracks and their contributions to that project. Their EnterpriseDB product and messaging should be given the same consideration that the Oracle database would be given. Sorry, Andy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Of course their business very much depends on having an open source base. They want to maintain as little code as necessary as closed source in order to maintain their differentiator from possible competitors. Every line of code they have to keep closed, is one line of code they have to maintain on their own, will have to adapt to keep running when changes are made to the core product etc.

Dual licensing is nice and great, but the fact of the matter is that it does not create an open development community. So I do not see why its the golden path for open source, and we control the definition of what is an "open source company" and I think it makes sense to find a definition that does not shut out EnterpriseDB because everybody in the PostgreSQL community agrees that they greatly benefit from EnterpriseDB's contributions.