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Has Open Source Jumped the Shark? 250

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the 100-yard-shark-hurdles dept.
AlexGr writes to tell us that Jeff Gould has a somewhat jaded look at the commercial push of Open Source and what that may be doing to the overall Open Source movement. "I've been a Linux fan for years, but lately I wonder if the drum beating from the big IT vendors in favor of open source hasn't finally slipped over the edge from sincere enthusiasm to meaningless — or in some cases downright hypocritical — sloganeering. The example that brought this gloomy thought to mind was a recent IBM press release touting a 'new open client solution' as an 'alternative to vendor lock-in'. Wow. Imagine that. An alternative to vendor lock-in."
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Has Open Source Jumped the Shark?

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  • Commercialization (Score:5, Interesting)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Monday April 30, 2007 @02:40PM (#18930941) Journal
    I don't think it's necessarily 'jumped the shark' for to do so, it would have had to do something inherently dangerous or stupid as a grasp for attention (like the writers for the Fonz). Rather, I would point the finger at Commercialization of Open Source [slashdot.org] instead. You can read everyone's views on that from the conversation from Saturday if that helps.

    I think the vendors who (they're not fooling anybody here) are in the end loyal only to their shareholders. If their motives overlap with the community's then suddenly it's an open source project. Problem is, that project cannot fail for it would hurt the company's edge and prospective foothold. As a result, you see hilarious press releases like you cited.

    Once again, the community is usually in good standing with good intentions until a member (usually a vendor or large company) mangles something. Blame the mangler, not the group working together. They're the attention whores and their motives are not to promote open source but are really shady/hilarious Machiavellian moves to deepen their pockets.
  • by sirwired (27582) on Monday April 30, 2007 @02:44PM (#18931013)
    The IBM press release mentioned nothing about open source, other than to mention that open source envrionments (in this case, referring to Linux) worked with the announced offering. (The only other occurances of the word "Open Source" in the article refer to the VP's job title.) It did not claim that the offering was open source. The use of the term "open" (as used here) to refer to products that will run on multiple operating environments is not new, and substantially pre-dates the term "open source".

    IBM is simply announcing a client offering that will run more-or-less identically on multiple OS platforms. No, this isn't very big news, but it isn't as bad as the article author made it out to be.

    SirWired
  • by shaitand (626655) on Monday April 30, 2007 @03:06PM (#18931393) Journal
    'Keeping companies honest, to use Linus's phrase, is probably akin to herding cats but unless all OSS projects everywhere are ready to "just say no" to any and all help, financial or otherwise, from all corporations I don't see how the community at large, or even just one project, can afford to refuse help from big business.'

    Exactly. It isn't the job of open source, free software, or the community to keep companies honest. It's the job of the community to maintain the integrity of the community. Hitler could fund development for all I care, I'd still take it. As long as corporations aren't buying out independent free software developers then I don't see a problem.

    I am actually more concerned about prominent free software developers being given jobs by corporations. Of course these people need to eat and I am all for them making a living and being able to work on free software full time. What concerns me is that in such a situation the corporation has bought the right to 'lobby' those developers as much as they please, if not dictate what they work on outright. This has resulted in a more pro-business stance and sympathy for the concerns of these entities, many times at the expense of individuals, users, and the community at large.

    Linus himself is probably the most clear cut example of this. Please don't misunderstand, I'm not intending to put down Linus in any fashion, he has done and continues to do a great deal for the community. That said, since entering the corporate workplace Linus has become very sympathetic to commercial entities and their concerns.
  • by Bruce Perens (3872) * <bruce@perens.com> on Monday April 30, 2007 @03:11PM (#18931499) Homepage Journal

    "It turned out that he thought Free Software was software they don't charge for."

    That's what the rest of the world thinks when they hear "free"

    Yes, but he was speaking at a conference organized by FSF Europe and organized by people like Ciaran O'Reardon. He very clearly had not done his homework.

    Bruce

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 30, 2007 @03:38PM (#18931913)
    I used to be a pretty heavy user of GNU/Linux. But then I kept seeing more and more crap like this. On one hand, we have people on mailing lists, newsgroups or other forums who'd go on and on about how the GPL "maximizes freedom". Of course, they fail to realize all of the restrictions that the GPL imposes. They say that the restrictions are there to guarantee freedom. At first I believed them. But then I realized that they're just full of shit.

    So now I tend to use BSD-licensed software wherever possible. Yeah, somebody might create a closed-source product based on some BSD-licensed source code. Good for them! They have the freedom to do that. And I still have the freedom to use the pre-forked code. So we're all better off.

  • I love this. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by StarKruzr (74642) on Monday April 30, 2007 @03:57PM (#18932199) Journal
    La-dee-da, randomly reading Slashdot stories, BOOM, Bruce freaking Perens gets FP. Only on Slashdot.

    I think the real question the article was asking was "Has the Linux-in-business buzz jumped the shark?" I think the answer is unequivocally yes, not because Linux is overrated, but because it is so widely deployed and such a fact of life in business now that trying to sell yourself as "OMG WE DO OSS SOFTWARE SOLUTIONS TO MAXIMIFY YOUR CAPITALIZATION POTENTIALIFACTION" is just redundant and useless. Great, you sell Linux solutions. So does everybody else.
  • by 91degrees (207121) on Monday April 30, 2007 @04:44PM (#18932833) Journal
    It's always been a sort of vague mass of largely compatible concepts. Some people like getting free software. Some people want to have the freedom to modify it. Some see it as an ideal. Some see it as a business opportunity. Some just have an idelogical opposition to entrenched monopolies. It doesn't really matter.

    free software has never been opposed to commercial software, and neither has the related concept of Open source. The FSF just wants to ensure people are freeish. They like commercial involvement because it validates the concept.

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