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More on LinuxToday Beg, Borrow, and Steal: Why Open Source is the only choice

Jul 22, 2000, 20:38 (3 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Brett McLaughlin)

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"Just to ensure that everyone who flames me from the big players gets it right, let me say it again ;-) : Any piece of software that isn't at least grounded in open source, if not completely open source, is hypocritical, and contrary to promoting better software development. There it is. I believe this with every bit of my being, so much so that I've staked my career and well being by joining a startup company (Lutris Technologies) that completely depends on open source software to survive, and vis-à-vis, to pay me. But where did this volatile statement come from? How did I get from admitting that we all beg, borrow, and steal for advancement to this grandiose conclusion? Well, it's not such a leap."

"So how is it, that at some point, a company feels that they have the right to take all this code, this masterpiece that has been created by hundreds of people over time, and slap a label on it, and swirl their skirts around it, and claim ownership? Because they pay the guy whose name is on the "author" tag in the Javadoc?"

"But I actually said "hypocritical," right? Maybe it makes sense to open up code, but are these companies being hypocritical? Sure they are! Remember how outraged we all were (even the big companies) at Amazon for patenting… well… cookies? It seemed so silly to everyone... But because you don't really want to deal with the stress and difficulty of understanding open source, you decide that you don't want that sort of "sharing" to go on, and next thing you know, that engineer can't write an e-mail without it being protected by the company's proprietary interests. It is taking advantage of the system, and giving nothing back. And it's why, ultimately, you are here, at Enhydra, instead of one of the big boys (you know, all those guys who just need acronyms for names…)."

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