ACM Queue: The Age of Corporate Open Source Enlightenment
Sep 04, 2003, 01:00 (8 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Paul Ferris)
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"It's a bad idea, mixing politics and religion. Conventional
wisdom tells us to keep them separate—and to discuss neither
at a dinner party. The same has been said about the world of
software. When it comes to mixing the open source church with the
proprietary state (or is it the other way around?), only one rule
applies: Don't do it.
"Still, people keep trying to mix the two—the software,
that is. For example, some companies spend countless hours in
committees with the hopeful goal of finding a way the two can work
together in harmony. More often than not, however, a heated debate
erupts between warring religious factions.
"People on the sidelines (often wearing suits) are amused,
disgusted, or baffled by this. It's just technology, they say.
'This Linux thing is just like Unix, isn't it?,' they ask. No one
is quite able to explain what's going on. The constant blur of
change in IT doesn't help matters much either.
"Consider this a feeble attempt to explain some of the
undercurrents in the open source movement as they pertain to
corporate America today. Sure, it would be nice to avoid the
religious metaphor, but doing so would leave out some of the most
important elements driving this change, along with the caveats that
are a part of the craziness of it all..."