Several years ago, we had the chance to visit a crocodile farm in Queensland, Australia. There were several highlights, not least the chance for the children to hold a crocodile - a very small one, of course, with its jaws taped shut. Even with one that small, the frisson of terror remained and the children all laughed nervously for the camera.
It was a surprise to see Richard Stallman's signature on a letter to the European Commission calling on them to block the acquisition of MySQL by Oracle with its proposed acquisition of Sun. The surprise wasn't primarily because of that position. Clearly we are all concerned, and clearly there is scope for free software advocates to differ in their conclusions, as the intervention by leading European free software lawyer Carlo Piana shows.
In my previous posts, I've drawn an analogy between open source software and organic food, hinting that in both cases the rush to create a working brand lost some of the essence of the vision. I've suggested that having businesses identify "open source" purely on the basis of one "input" - using an OSI-approved license - is no longer adequate, because the success of the open source approach has led so many different companies to want to exploit the name.
When I wrote about Organic Software recently, I was largely eulogising the community dimension of open source software. But there's another way in which the idea of "organic software" is helpful to understanding the dynamic in free and open source software. Here are the comments I have been making at Open World Forum here in Paris.
This weekend we went to Winchester Farmers' Market. It was a beautiful day and the season is especially rich so there's a wonderful range of produce on offer. Our larder and fridge are now full of produce grown nearby: onions, squash, courgettes, beans, fir apple potatoes, garlic, watercress and plenty more.