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deamon news: The Commercial World and Open Source

Mar 18, 2000, 15:54 (7 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Brett Taylor)

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"In the last six months we've certainly seen an increase in the amount of commercial interest in various Open Source projects. Certainly there have been a large number of Linux-related IPOs and it seems that rarely a day goes by without some well-established company sends out a press release touting their support of a particular project. Whenever an announcement comes out, the responses typically fall into one of three categories:

  • this company is clearly doing this for the hype and doesn't really believe in the Open Source movement;
  • this company is going to do great things for some project; or
  • this company is going to try to control this project and make it their own product and then try to destroy the original open source project (this response is especially popular if the project uses a BSD-style license)"

"Certainly any of these might be applicable to a particular situation, but in general the goal of the company in question is usually not going to fit neatly into any one of these categories."

"What role do we want the commercial interests to play in the Open Source world? Unlike many comments one sees in discussions on this subject, I don't think we have the right to expect a company to throw away all of their proprietary work and make every project they have open source. Since you're reading this here at Daemon News, you probably already agree with this as this is precisely what the BSD-style license is good for. For instance, asking Apple to open up Aqua is ridiculous. What right do we have to demand they release their source code to us when they've worked hard to create that added value to differentiate their product from others?"

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