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Open Source Community's Double Standard 336

AlexGr writes to point out a really good point Matt Asay raises in his CNET News Blog: Why do we praise closed source companies who open up a little bit, but damn open source companies who close down a little bit? "Deja vu. Remember 2002? That's when Red Hat decided to split its code into Red Hat Advanced Server (now Red Hat Enterprise Linux) and Fedora. Howls of protest and endless hand-wringing ensued: How dare Red Hat not give everything away for free? Enter 2007. MySQL decides to comply with the GNU General Public License and only give its tested, certified Enterprise code to those who pay for the service underlying that code (gasp!). Immediately cries of protest are raised, How dare MySQL not give everything away for free?"
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Open Source Community's Double Standard

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  • Human Nature (Score:5, Insightful)

    by suso (153703) * on Monday August 13, 2007 @03:42PM (#20215721) Homepage Journal
    This is human nature and it does not just apply to computers.

    Example: If a girl is a real bitch then people expect her to be a bitch and if she is suddenly nice one day, then people say "Wow, she's so nice today". But if someone is nice all the time then one day gets angry people say "What's wrong with her, sheesh."

    Its not a double standard, its human nature. Nuff said, discussion over.
    • by tholomyes (610627) on Monday August 13, 2007 @03:44PM (#20215749) Homepage
      Well put! (Note to self, lower others expectations of me...)
      • by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) * on Monday August 13, 2007 @03:49PM (#20215807) Homepage Journal
        who open up a little bit, but damn free states, who begin forced servitude little bit?

        The issue is not a "double standard" unless you use the current "mainstream media" Orwellian definition of "fairness."

        The predjudice is for freedom, openness and opportunity. When you compound closing of source by the inclusion of earlier community contributions, testing and evangelism - you then reduce freedom to a marketing tool.
        • by plague3106 (71849) on Monday August 13, 2007 @04:01PM (#20215981)
          If you ignore the stupid /. editoral and read the blog, its actually questioning why its ok for some companys to have some open and closed source but not others. The example in the blog was SugarCRM, which was 100% closed, and opened PART of its code. Counter that with RH taking its code and closing it (but complying with the GPL still in all its releases).

          Its not that SugarCRM will ever totally open, nor will RH totally close... the author seems to imply that both will continue with some open, some closed source. I think its a valid question... why not continue to critise SugarCRM for not opening the rest, and praise RH for not closing more?
          • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 13, 2007 @04:14PM (#20216149)

            If you ignore the stupid /. editoral and read the blog

            Wouldn't that be cheating? I bet you're the kind of guy who reads the instruction manual before putting the widget together.
          • by hummassa (157160) on Monday August 13, 2007 @04:14PM (#20216163) Homepage Journal
            (I normally RTFA before posting)

            The problem here is: IMHO (and RMS's opinion) non-free software is unethical, because it's basically a scam: making software is a service with value; making copies of software is of (marginally) zero value. So, the GPP is right on the mark.
            If a company that makes (unethical) proprietary software starts making some (ethical) Free Software, it is (1) improving its act and (2) contributing to the pool of Free Software.
            If a company that makes Free Software starts making proprietary software, it is (1) starting to make unethical things and (2) contributing less to the pool of Free Software.
            So, that's the reason why we praise non-free-software companies that open um and we boo free-software companies that close down.
            Putting it like the GPP: would you praise a country that permitted slave labour and then passwd a law freeing some of its slaves? (like mine did in 1871...) And would you protest a country without slaves that passed a law allowing for some to have slaves?
            • by AmericanInKiev (453362) on Monday August 13, 2007 @04:42PM (#20216521) Homepage
              beg to differ.

              "making copies of software" - presuming one is collecting payment for same - is extremely valuable, as it allows for the obscene cost of software to be distributed in some fair fashion among the pool of users.

              This is hardly unethical.

              Free software receives free marketing in a voluntary exchange. so long as there are people who value the advertising higher than the marginal value of their technical efforts - free software will persist. But then so will direct payment software. The two markets are vastly different and cannot easily be compared. but discounting either seems somewhat puerile.


              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by ShieldW0lf (601553)
                If you spend obscene amounts of a societies resources making a piece of software, then prevent that software from being put to the maximum possible utility by everyone far and wide who might have a use for it, you just drove up the cost of the software to our society, because it's been paid for and is not being used.

                The point is not that coders shouldn't be supported as they do their thing. The point is that there should be a better mechanism put into place to pay for the creation of this valuable software
                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by cayenne8 (626475)
                  "The point is not that coders shouldn't be supported as they do their thing. The point is that there should be a better mechanism put into place to pay for the creation of this valuable software that doesn't inherently destroy so much of its value once it is complete....Is this really so hard to understand?"

                  I don't understand how you think a company can make money then. Don't get me wrong, I love free software, but, if a company is paying coders a salary to write code. When it is done and finished, if the

                  • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                    by ShieldW0lf (601553)
                    Well, off the cuff...

                    One idea:

                    Create a pool of government funded money that goes towards software, and give everyone a vote for which projects they think are important.

                    Tally the votes, split the pool of money between the projects, running from the most votes to the least.

                    Don't give one share of the resources per vote though... determine an amount that guarantees a decent standard of living for those participants who are receiving support, and each person who gets anything gets that amount until the pool is
                    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                      by oatworm (969674)

                      Create a pool of government funded money that goes towards software, and give everyone a vote for which projects they think are important.

                      What if I don't think any of them are important? Do my tax dollars still have to go towards those projects? What if I want to vote, directly, with my own money? Sort of like I do now?

                      Tally the votes, split the pool of money between the projects, running from the most votes to the least.

                      What about a project like, say, Folding@Home? It's more popular now than it used to be, but it still pales in comparison to SETI@Home. Does that mean that we'd end up spending more money on finding space aliens than curing disease? Probably. Should we? Probably not, unless we can convince those space aliens to cure th

            • But the question is, what exactly have companies like Red Hat or MySQL done when they make these kinds of decisions that is intrinsically unethical? You seem to be confusing speech and beer - the codes remain in full compliance with the GPL, they have simply decided to change who they personally distribute it to. The only cost to the community at large involved here is that they have theoretically passed on some of those copying costs which you dismiss as marginal to someone else, so surely your attempt to
            • by iamacat (583406)
              IMHO (and RMS's opinion) non-free software is unethical, because it's basically a scam: making software is a service with value; making copies of software is of (marginally) zero value. So, the GPP is right on the mark.

              In this case, I hope both you and RMS start using creative commons license for your work rather than one that places severe restrictions on making copies.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by grcumb (781340)

            I think its a valid question... why not continue to critise SugarCRM for not opening the rest, and praise RH for not closing more?

            Witness the latest Fox news-style false-logic bomb being lobbed at the FOSS community. The stupidity of this argument is mind-boggling. It uses loaded terms to imply some logical (and therefore moral/ethical) disconnect in people's behaviour, then uses that to buy acceptance for the very thing we despise the most.

            Why do we applaud companies who open their code? Because we lik

      • Re:Human Nature (Score:5, Interesting)

        by ShieldW0lf (601553) on Monday August 13, 2007 @03:53PM (#20215875) Journal
        They didn't write it.

        It's not the product of their mind, not the product of their efforts.

        It's the product of many peoples minds and efforts.

        The administrators of the projects should be appreciative of that fact.

        It is not their property. Laws can say what they want, lawyers and contracts and twisting of justice aside, it simply isn't theirs.

        When open source organizations try to close access and extract money from people, they become malignant, corrupt, thieving organizations.

        Declaring that it's legal for someone to do this doesn't change the fundamental nature of what's going on.

        The misplaced sense of entitlement these organizations display is truly disgusting.
        • Re:Human Nature (Score:5, Interesting)

          by ShieldW0lf (601553) on Monday August 13, 2007 @03:57PM (#20215927) Journal
          I just wanted to add to that last post...

          Organizations have a lot of inerta. It takes a concerted effort to restructure.

          When a closed source organization starts becoming more open, it took a lot of hard work and restructuring to make it possible.

          When an open source organization starts closing things up, it takes a lot of hard work and restructuring to make that possible too.

          Which means the people at the helm are working hard to start hoarding things they were given in trust for the public good.

          It reveals that the organization has a poor moral character.
          • Re:Human Nature (Score:4, Insightful)

            by LithiumX (717017) on Monday August 13, 2007 @04:29PM (#20216345)
            I'll borrow your formatting and respond in kind. :)

            The purpose of running a business is to make money.

            Businesses that do not intend to generate profit become nonprofit organizations.

            Businesses that attempt to capitalize off any aspect of society, in any way, exist to make profit.

            Companies that attempt to make money from open source software eventually exist to make money.

            The moment a company accepts investments, rather than donations, it's nature changes to a for-profit model.

            Companies that attempt to compete with major commercial enterprises WILL become like those commercial enterprises.

            Redhat, MySQL, and other companies like them are closing much of their source because open source and significant profit are not particularly mutual, and are only pushed into appearing so by those who want to turn everything into open source.

            The blame belongs to those who wish to contort open source software into what it was never meant to be, and into what it's creators never intended for it to be.

            If you want to get rich, close your source and do your own work. If you want to contribute to society, open your source and ignore money.

            If OSS is written well, it provides more alternatives to - and methods of - performing tasks than retail can ever hope to accomplish. However, if it is placed on a pedestal and designed to "beat" the "evil" proprietary options, it will, and so far inevitably DOES, become much like what it seeks to eliminate.

            The end of an open sourced program's freedom begins when it's creators become an ever-expanding company. It shouldn't work like that, people believe it doesn't have to work like that, but somehow it always does.
            • The purpose of business is not to make a profit.

              The purpose of business is to keep people busy, because if they are not busy, nothing gets done, and we have a depression, and starvation, and deprivation, and death.

              The purpose of money is to keep people busy.

              If everyone is happy to just keep doing useful things with their life and take what they need instead of trying to show off how many toys they have at the next guys expense, money is a liability, wasted bureaucratic effort that distract people from what
            • Re:Human Nature (Score:5, Informative)

              by Dahamma (304068) on Monday August 13, 2007 @04:58PM (#20216763)
              I was really agreeing with you until you said: "Redhat, MySQL, and other companies like them are closing much of their source because..."

              Redhat and MySQL are NOT closing their open source. That would in fact be illegal and unethical, because they did greatly benefit from (and in Redhat's case, built the whole product around) open source licensed with the GPL and contributed to by many OSS developers under that license.

              But in fact, all they have done is start following the strict letter of the GPL, which is basically "you have to make source available when distributing binaries". Not only do they still follow that, but they still support and make freely available a community version of their project as well.

              Based on your post I can't imagine you'd argue with that... I just found it a bit ironic that you propgated misperception that OSS companies are evil for "closing their source" when you seemed to be arguing against that FUD :)
              • Re:Human Nature (Score:4, Informative)

                by xtracto (837672) on Monday August 13, 2007 @05:55PM (#20217441) Journal
                That would in fact be illegal and unethical,
                Unethical? maybe, illegal? I am not sure about MySQL, as the sole owner and proprietor of the copyrighted code, MySQL AB can provide the MySQL technologies in any license they want. I guess it is like the foundation, every piece of code you give to them, you *must* waive your rights to make them the proprietors of such code.

                But in fact, all they have done is start following the strict letter of the GPL, which is basically "you have to make source available when distributing binaries". .

                Maybe RedHat, but again, MySQL does not need to follow the letter of the GPL, at least for MySQL database, as they are the ones who hold the copyright... YOU must comply with the GPL if you want to modify and distribute their software.

                Do you see how it works?
                • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                  by Dahamma (304068)
                  guess it is like the foundation, every piece of code you give to them, you *must* waive your rights to make them the proprietors of such code.

         uses a JCA, which stands for JOINT Copyright Assignment. You do not waive your rights, you just give them rights as well, so that you can't rescind their right to use the code later. From

                  In order to contribute code to the project, you must submit the Joint Copyright Assignment form (JCA). This form jointly assigns copyri
    • Re:Human Nature (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Chris Burke (6130) on Monday August 13, 2007 @03:48PM (#20215801) Homepage
      It's not even human nature, it's common freaking sense. If you have a student who averages C- and gets a B on a test you praise them for their achievement. If you have a student who averages A+ and gets a B on a test you ask them what went wrong. If you fail to praise the underachieving student or fail to question the overachieving student then you discourage further improvements by the underachiever, and encourage further drops in performance by the overachiever.

      It's not a double standard. It's a rational standard: Improvement is good, regression is bad. Becoming more open is good, becoming less open is bad. Ignoring this in order to be "fair" and avoid being accused of a "double standard" is just stupid.
      • by griffjon (14945) <GriffJon@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Monday August 13, 2007 @04:05PM (#20216029) Homepage Journal
        But, you see, if you phrase it this way, using clear logic, then the story is boooooorrrriiingggg - "Open Source Advocates: We like openness!" *yawn* "OSS Users dislike moves away from closed source, like moves towards open source" - *zzzzzz* Where's the conflict? where's the excitement? You can't have "fair and balanced" reporting unless there's a conflict!!

      • by PCM2 (4486)

        It's not even human nature, it's common freaking sense. If you have a student who averages C- and gets a B on a test you praise them for their achievement.

        Somewhat OT -- OK, maybe you have an opinion on this one, which has bugged me since high school. When I was in high school, some of the underachieving kids had parents who would reward them with cash money whenever report cards came out. $20 for an A, $15 for a B, and on down. I, on the other hand, was a smart kid and I was pretty much expected to be

        • by Chris Burke (6130)
          When I got an A on a report card I got jack squat, not even a pat on the head.

          This is pretty much the only problem. I mean, my parents expected me to be the smart kid and I certainly didn't get paid by the "A", but maybe because I was getting better grades than they ever got they still thought it was a praise-worthy accomplishment to get my "usual" report card.

          And yes, I did get cussed out major for any C that showed up. Nothing wrong with that; we all knew I could have done better.
        • by Intron (870560)
          So are you still smart and overachieving or do you now just do the minimum that you get paid for?
      • Exactly. The answer is simple: Opening a little is a step forward, closing a little is a step back.
      • by kaffiene (38781)
        Absolutely! This story is an utter non sequitur. How the hell did this get posted to the front page???
    • by CastrTroy (595695)
      It's not even a double standard. If you look at it, we, the open source community always want things to be more open. So if a closed source company releases something under open source, then we praise them because they are becoming more open, which is good. However, if a product that was once open source stops being open source, then it is becoming less open, which is bad. More open = good, less open = bad. Simple really. I don't see where the double standard exists.
  • Makes sense (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NetNifty (796376) on Monday August 13, 2007 @03:43PM (#20215731) Homepage
    Praise for companies moving towards our goals, opposition to companies moving away from them..
    • by 3seas (184403)
      How anyone made that out to be a double standard I do not know.

      Maybe the BS side needs more space for a bigger number.... 12875 []
    • by pato101 (851725)
      Yes, the derivative matters!
    • by Otter (3800)
      I think the phrasing of it in terms of changes of policy confuses what is a real point.

      Look at the hatred that used to be directed towards TrollTech because they only gave Qt away for free instead of Free or free Free or something. Look at the hatred that gets directed towards Miguel de Icaza for whatever it is people are enraged at him for now. I remember when the FSF finished copying pico they issued a statement about how the pico/pine people were "worse than Microsoft". People and companies who are 95% i

      • by alienw (585907)
        I think you're misunderstanding something. The issue with TrollTech is that by using their library, you are basically preventing anyone from writing non-GPL software that uses Qt in one way or another. Having to pay money to Trolltech simply for developing non-GPLed KDE applications would be quite the antithesis of a free operating system, wouldn't it?

        As far as the pine/pico folks: they were always complete jerks, and the FSF is quite right. They like being jerks, they don't want anyone else to modify th
        • by Otter (3800)
          Yes, that's precisely the sort of counterproductive hate I was talking about! It's not just about criticizing or praising changes in direction.
  • by spun (1352) <> on Monday August 13, 2007 @03:43PM (#20215733) Journal
    Shocking. The open source community wants software to be open source, that seems pretty consistent to me.
    • Mod parent up! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by khasim (1285)
      Companies that are moving towards being more Open are praised.

      Companies that are moving towards being more Closed are denigrated.

      Where's the problem?
    • If anything, there's too much misguided "fairness". Decisions that bring more freedom are praised. Decisions that reduce freedom are denounced. This is good, when all other things are equal.

      The only double standard is that some people are willing to give bad actors more credit than they deserve. They are deluded and servile for thinking that M$ and friends will be around forever and must be placated. The bad actors are easier to see through the lens of freedom than they are though the purely function

      • You're posting on a web site owned by a company that positions itself as a palladin of open source, yet closed off access to their (once freely available) main product years ago. SourceForge is the ultimate example of these double standards that according to you only exist when considered in the context of things you happen to hate, like "Windoze".

        Eventually, all free software users understand the benefits of real freedom and shuns non free.

        As always you fall into the trap of thinking people (normal peop

  • What? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SIIHP (1128921) on Monday August 13, 2007 @03:43PM (#20215735) Journal
    "How dare Red Hat not give everything away for free?"

    Why are they pushing this misconception of what open source means? AFAIK, it doesn't mean "give everything away for free" it means "the source is open".

    • Re:What? (Score:5, Informative)

      by negative3 (836451) on Monday August 13, 2007 @04:18PM (#20216213)
      Exactly what I thought. Unless I completely misunderstood everything, MySQL is not becoming "closed source", the enterprise version is just not going to be free as in beer any more. You can pay for the enterprise version, and you'll have access to the source code...that's free as in freedom. What is so hard for people to understand about that? From []:

      Selling Free Software

      Many people believe that the spirit of the GNU project is that you should not charge money for distributing copies of software, or that you should charge as little as possible -- just enough to cover the cost.

      Actually we encourage people who redistribute free software to charge as much as they wish or can. If this seems surprising to you, please read on.

      The word "free" has two legitimate general meanings; it can refer either to freedom or to price. When we speak of "free software", we're talking about freedom, not price. (Think of "free speech", not "free beer".) Specifically, it means that a user is free to run the program, change the program, and redistribute the program with or without changes.

      Free programs are sometimes distributed gratis, and sometimes for a substantial price. Often the same program is available in both ways from different places. The program is free regardless of the price, because users have freedom in using it.

      Non-free programs are usually sold for a high price, but sometimes a store will give you a copy at no charge. That doesn't make it free software, though. Price or no price, the program is non-free because users don't have freedom.

      Since free software is not a matter of price, a low price isn't more free, or closer to free. So if you are redistributing copies of free software, you might as well charge a substantial fee and make some money. Redistributing free software is a good and legitimate activity; if you do it, you might as well make a profit from it.

      Free software is a community project, and everyone who depends on it ought to look for ways to contribute to building the community. For a distributor, the way to do this is to give a part of the profit to the Free Software Foundation or some other free software development project. By funding development, you can advance the world of free software.
    • by Roadkills-R-Us (122219) on Monday August 13, 2007 @04:21PM (#20216247) Homepage
      RedHat still provides the source for free. They're only charging for support; they just don't provide you with the build formats you may want of the binaries they built and tested.

      You can get it all for free, and build it yourself, or get it from someone else who does just that (still for free), such as CentOS or Scientific Linux. You could even get the source, build and test it, and do the same thing RedHat does for less money. You might be hard pressed to make a living that way, challenging the big gorilla, and you'd have the /. community yelling at you, but you're free to do it. Or not.

      The GPM doesn't require you to give away binaries or support.
      • by crush (19364) on Monday August 13, 2007 @04:50PM (#20216627)
        It makes an absolutely crucial point: there may well have been howls of protest, but they were from people that either wanted to spread confusion or else were completely ignorant. There's another point: Fedora is the basis of RHEL not the other way around. Fedora is a very aggressively moving distribution that tries out new technologies. Red Hat looks at how succesful those are in Fedora and rolls any that work out well into its supported product: RHEL. It's in a good position to do so because many of the engineers that it hires are involved in the Fedora Project and so know intimately what features are stable and easily supportable. It galls me that Red Hat as a company is so open, adhering in both letter and spirit to the ideals of Free Software, makes money from selling support for that software, re-invests the money in hiring top-notch hackers that contribute Free Software for everyone and then are shit on by people that know that they're doing this work and yet a company like Canonical with a non-Free "launchpad" are fawned over. Feh.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by spevack (210449) *
          This is the best comment I've read on Slashdot in the last month. Thank you.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by crush (19364)
            Thanks. And thanks for Fedora. The amount of negative propaganda about Red Hat is mind blowing at this stage and as a happy user of Fedora, CentOS, RHEL (and Debian and OpenBSD and Gentoo) I'm very appreciative of the fact that Red Hat runs a succesful business within the paramters that Free Software imposes.
    • The problem is that there is a non-trivial fraction of open source supporters who really believe that the instant a company charges money for software and doesn't have it up for free download for anyone who wants to grab a copy, they are acting unethically and demonstrating a "misplaced sense of entitlement" and "poor moral character".

      It really does do quite a bit of damage to the potential acceptance of open source software that this idea is so common, but it's certainly not the article writer's fault tha

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 13, 2007 @03:44PM (#20215751)
    It's double penetration.

    The open source community wants to penetrate throug the business worlds, and throught the personal world. This is why the open source community has adopted a double penetration strategy.

    We can only hope that the double penetration strategy is successful.
  • by PJ1216 (1063738) * on Monday August 13, 2007 @03:45PM (#20215755)
    I mean to put it in a more exaggerated analogy, thats like saying abolitionists would have had a double standard for praising states that started giving up slavery and crying foul when a free-state adopted some slavery.

    The open source community wants open source. They'll applaud when a company goes towards that goal and they'll get upset when a company moves away.

    I don't think that qualifies as a double standard.
  • It's a collection of individual entities all with their _own_ voice. The Open Source community is not like the Borg Collective.
    Not everybody in the community will roar on the same topic, so you will always get mixed results when you summarize the comments.
  • In one case, things are getting worse, and in the other, things are getting better. The former is damned while the latter is lauded. Simple.
  • by gweihir (88907) on Monday August 13, 2007 @03:48PM (#20215799)
    After all the GPL only requires you to give source when you give executables. I think this is perfectly fine. And as long as you get a devcent version of the product for free, having a "special" version for paying customers is also fine in my book.
  • They're not the ones complaining. It's the Free Software Foundation fanatics who complain. They've never liked open source and they never will because it's not "moral" enough for them.

    It's that simple.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by tokenhost (1142183)
      The FSF and everyone representing free software know that free(as in freedom) software is not the same as free(as in beer) but the two seem to go hand in hand and whenever someone decides to make it so that libre software is not without cost it suddenly becomes about how they are closing their software. That is not it at all and nowhere in the GPL does it say that the software need to be distributed without cost.

      GNU protects the freedoms of the software and as RMS has said before you can sell that softwa
  • What double standard? Don't look at it as "A goes in a direction opposite of their normal direction" and "B goes in a direction opposite of their normal direction", look at it as "A moves towards openness" and "B moves away from openness." Makes sense to me. That's not a double standard, that's a single standard. By his logic, all standards are double standards if you look at them with the right perspective.

    This is like the riddle about the three guys who pay $30 for a hotel room, but the manager meant to c
    • Your math sucks or you told it wrong. They paid 30 and were reimbursed $3. So they paid a total of $27. The bellboy received $2 and the hotelier $25.
      money paid = money received.
      27 = 25 + 2.
      • by sootman (158191)
        It might not come across in text, but that's the point of the joke/trick. It's like sleight of hand. You get people focusing on the wrong thing and make them try to figure it out. I think I first heard this in a math or logic class in junior high.
  • by glindsey (73730) on Monday August 13, 2007 @03:51PM (#20215853)
    Is this really so hard to understand? As a parallel, consider the following statement: "Why do we praise countries that ease up on censorship a little bit, but damn countries that impose a little bit more censorship on its citizens?"

    Many people in the Open Source community believe that open source is the natural and correct state of software -- indeed, that it is equivalent to free speech -- and that closing it is comparable to throwing political dissidents in jail. Naturally, every move toward it will be lauded, and every move against it will be demonized.
    • by (782137)
      Many people in the Open Source community believe that open source is the natural and correct state of software -- indeed, that it is equivalent to free speech -- and that closing it is comparable to throwing political dissidents in jail.

      I really, really hope that nobody has such a gross lack of proportion.

  • Its quite simple.. Its the mindset most everyone has about nearly every opinion they have... You will allways get praise making steps towards a certain point of view from those who share that same view.. But if you make a step away from that view, depending on how strong feelings are you could be shunned by that group for even the slightest step away from their point of view.
  • by LynnwoodRooster (966895) on Monday August 13, 2007 @03:52PM (#20215865) Journal
    The open source community, that is... This is the type of behavior that will forever keep it 'second tier' to the big commerical/closed groups. That is, the for-profit type companies. Making the source available to those who buy the package is completely in keeping with the original intent (as far as I understand it) of open source. It was by no means a push for free software, all the time, every time. And as long as the latter stays the focus of the OS community, it will always be second fiddle.

    Like it or not, companies rely on solid sources and suppliers. A supplier that does not have a reliable revenue stream just can't be relied upon. And not every company has the resources or desire to staff up and do all its own software development in-house. Commercial, for-profit software has a serious role in business. And that means all involved in it need to make money. Giving away everything - for free - puts a big crimp on that.

    When I work with some of the big boys in the consumer electronics market to qualify a new factory, they don't just audit the floor, the QA department, and the PMs. They look at the suppliers, they look at financials, they look at receivables, they look at other customers. Because if they are going to rely upon this new factory, they want to know it's got a future outside of just them. It's got to be stable.

    It's REALLY HARD to make that case when your products are available for free, and you're trying to rely upon pure support as your only income stream...

  • by vux984 (928602) on Monday August 13, 2007 @03:53PM (#20215877)
    A double standard is when you are inconsisent.

    There is nothing inconsistent about praising people for opening up a little bit, while condemning those that close down a little bit. We praise ANY move towards openness, and condemn ANY move away from it. How is that a double standard.

    Allow me to illustrate using the oft neglected fruit analagy:

    I gleefully watch my strawberry plants grow little fruit that ripen into perfect sweet strawberries, but watch me complain when my delicious strawberries start rotting and become ever less their original strawberry goodness.

    Why oh why do I praise the things as they become ripe, but criticise them as they rot! I am such a hypocrit. Hmm.
  • by mattnuzum (839319) on Monday August 13, 2007 @03:54PM (#20215887) Homepage
    When RH changed their business model it hurt a lot of people because prior to that, there was paid support available for the free product. We felt waylaid because we used RedHat Linux as the foundation for our critical applications. We knew we could pick up the phone and call (for a fee) if we were stuck and we felt secure with a reasonably long life cycle of security updates and support.

    For example, a product my company created required 80+ hours of testing for minor version changes in critical software components. With 5 people on staff, that was an incredible expense, therefore we craved stability. Then, RHL was gone. *poof* just like that. We thought we could count on them and they changed the game on us.

    I don't dislike RedHat's new business model, but I felt that after such a sudden and unexpected change in their support policy I could not trust them any longer. Later that year Ubuntu came out and I began experimenting with it (and debian). Now I have Ubuntu LTS which is supported by the vendor for 5 years, and I can call the nice guys in Montreal whenever I have a problem.
  • Open source is (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jessecurry (820286) <> on Monday August 13, 2007 @03:58PM (#20215935) Homepage Journal
    The open source community is full of misguided evangelicals. If open source is so great it should stand on its own merits, not need some political figures shoving its virtues down our throats. When I installed Ubuntu(which I love, btw) on one of my boxes that happened to have an NVidia card I was confronted with a message that talked about how bad closed source drivers were before I could enable them and get a good resolution for my display. If some notice needs to be there due to licensing that's fine, but don't try and mold my views or express your personal beliefs in place like that.
    If the NVidia drivers really are so hard to maintain, then they should break in the future... if closed source software really does run slower with more bugs then I should notice it.
    I'm all for open source software, and I can identify with the ideals of the FOSS movement, but I also see that there is sometimes a need for software that works well, even if it is closed source.
    I would rather have a closed source project that worked perfectly than an open source product that is a work in progress.
    Linux has grown by leaps and bounds and is perhaps one of the best examples of open source does right, but the political figures in the linux world, while entertaining, do nothing but hurt the product with their constant bickering and injection of personal politics into a product that should be "free".
    • The funny thing about OSS is how many people it involves. You increase the amount of people and you increase the amount of chatter. Add to that a little politics and you get exactly what you'd expect. But the beauty of the OSS movement, like anything, is the diversity of the pool. Calling it one way or the other is unjust. There are lots of people on both sides of the fence and all imaginable variations of between.

      We fixate on the polarity because it makes news. Because it's interesting. Because people wh
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by BobMcD (601576)

      You may have been mislead into missing the point. To me, it is all about choice. OpenSource underscores and enables that. When a platform is OpenSource, I am given a type of control over it that I would not get if it were closed source. Others having access to the code and the right to use it will generally result in options and variants popping up to fill in all sorts of opportunities - both real and imagined. The projects roll in and out like the tide. Things evolve, die, and are reborn. If you're
      • I see your point, and as I said a couple times in the scope of this thread, I like open source and the ideals. I just see too much of the good get polluted by people who would want everyone to run open source just for the sake of running open source.
        I'm still not convinced that Ubuntu couldn't deliver the closed-source driver warning in a less scathing manner.
  • When a closed company opens up a little bit, they're moving in the right direction, so they deserve praise. When an open company starts closing off their software, they're moving in the wrong direction, so they're condemned. Where's the double standard here, now?

  • The author has disregarded the admission by MySQL that they've willingly handicapped the software.

    With RHEL it was an issue of fulling giving up a portion of the software to the OSS world and then including their own proprietary developments in the paid version (along with the benefit of every enhancement having been well tested in Fedora first).

    MySQL has knowingly weakened the codebase. []

    Urlocker says that MySQL "wants to make sure the Community version is rock solid," but admitted that the company has introduced features into the Community edition of the software that "[weren't] as robust as we thought, and created some instabilities."

    Red Hat was attacked unfairly for their actions (at least that's how it can be seen today...when it happened, th

  • Because (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LKM (227954) on Monday August 13, 2007 @04:19PM (#20216223) Homepage
    One's a step in a direction we like, and the other's a step in a direction we don't like. Next question.
  • What?? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by thed00d (822393) on Monday August 13, 2007 @04:21PM (#20216253) Homepage

    MySQL decides to comply with the GNU General Public License and only give its tested, certified Enterprise code to those who pay for the service underlying that code (gasp!). Immediately cries of protest are raised, How dare MySQL not give everything away for free?"
    Right, so so how is this closing the source? The source is still available, and it's still open source. I think the author here has confused open source with "free", and their not interchangeable terms. There is plenty of open source software that also happens to be free, thats F/OSS. There is also plenty of software that is free, but isn't necessarily open source, thats Freeware. This is really a non-issue, the source is still available, and they also continue to have and support a F/OSS version of code base.

    Personally, I think this is a positive move for them. It's a positive move for the technology community as a whole as well. When my team looks at investing in technology for our business, we usually like to have a positive feeling that the technology will still be relevant 5 years and 10 years from when we purchase it. This move will make it easier for me to deploy MySQL in the enterprise, as I can now say to my review comity - "Look, they have a revenue source. They'll be around 5 years from now, and they'll be there to honor any support contract we purchase from them". Whereas in the past, I could only argue the point that they've been there a while, they should still be there a while from now. So, positive move in my book, not just for them, but for the technology community as a whole.
  • First, RHEL did cause a fairly big splash. A number of people were fairly vocal, and called for the downfall of RedHat. However, there is one critical difference: RedHat freely gave away everything needed to build RHEL to anybody who wanted to show up and use it. It sure sounds like MySQL is not giving away the source or binaries to anyone. They are following the letter of the GPL (which is very good!). But they are not playing in an open space. To the best of my knowledge, RHEL didn't get particular

  • What it's easy to forget sometimes, is that -- thanks to the GPL, and the combination (BSD licence + lots of hard work) -- Open Source is forever. Once a product has been released under an Open Source licence, it can never be closed up again. Even if they try to change it and make it incompatible, the Open implementation can always be adapted -- and general inertia is enough to buy the canny developer time in which to do this, since many people choosing the "closed" option will actually continue using the
  • You praise someone doing something right and condem someone doing wrong. The examples given in the article are totally consistant.


  • by Ant P. (974313)
    Where's this alleged huge crowd of people whining about Redhat and MySQL?
  • by martenmickos (467191) on Monday August 13, 2007 @08:19PM (#20219187)

    To all Slashdotters,
    Your comments are appreciated and we take your input seriously. Just to make sure that all facts are correct: we have not closed the source. MySQL continues to be GPL as before.
    We have only made a change in relation to binaries. Community binaries are available as before, MySQL Enterprise binaries are provided to our customers. We are highly grateful both for those who count themselves as users and those who count themselves as customers. And the binaries are produced from GPL source code so of course you are all in your full rights to modify, compile, redistribute etc. as before.
    The rapid innovation rate in and around MySQL is very much a reasult of the product being licensed under the GPL. Look for instance at MySQL Cluster and MySQL Proxy which are innovations from us, or at the SPASQL modification made by Eric Prud'hommeaux: []
    I look forward to more of your comments and suggestions.
    Marten Mickos, CEO, MySQL AB
  • Let me see...there is a direction I like to see businness move...some moving in that direction slow down or turn to the other side...I dislike that.
    On the other hand, some of the people going int he opposite direction turn around and start moving on the direction I want.

    What is "double" about that?? TFA seens to be quite brain dead.
  • by tom's a-cold (253195) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @01:40AM (#20221585) Homepage
    Because going in the right direction is good, and going in the wrong direction is bad.

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