Greg Stein (Apache developer and all-around nice guy) made an off-hand comment about open source trademarks in an article(How to Screw Your (Open Source Software) Customers). He was talking about how many users of MySQL have actually using a purchased proprietary licensed copy of the software, and not the open source licensed copy. MySQL's business model uses dual licensing: the GPL, and for the folks whom its strictures are unacceptable, a standard proprietary license.
The following is a comment I left on a blog posting by John Mark Walker at OStatic.
I would be delighted to see Larry Augustin acting as the CEO of an Open Source company, but my knowledge of his past actions makes me dubious. Will SugarCRM remain faithful to the open source model? Or will it be carved up into a mixed-up model of giving away freely that which the company deems to be "low value" and keeping proprietary what the company deems to be "high value"?
As families go, the Linux operating system family has become the family among the Top500 supercomputers, running on 89.20% of all systems. Proprietary Unix, which used to the the preferred OS for these supercomputers in the 1990s is down to 5% share, and Windows is reported to be running on exactly 5 systems, for a 1% share.
A lot of people seem to think that open source is a magic solution to project management and that open source projects will automatically attract a large and healthy community of contributors and users who will improve the software. This, of course, is not the case. In fact, creating a successful open source project is a really major and difficult effort. You have to deliver an initial promise that people find interesting, attract other people, then facilitate and lead the community, etc.
The CodePlex Foundation (http://codeplex.org/; Twitter @codeplex_f), which was started back in September of this year, has been trying to gain traction and momentum. Unfortunately, its pro tempore Board of Directors and President are all volunteers already with overflowing plates, so progress hasn't been particularly visible.
Here are some stunning facts that were published at the end of July in Malaysia:
More than 70 percent of Malaysian government offices are running open source software, according to figures released by the country's Open Source Competency Centre.
The centre was established as part of the 2004 Malaysian Public Sector OSS Master Plan, to guide and co-ordinate the implementation of OSS in the public sector.
The Open Source movement is consistent with a larger democratic proposition that the more that we can all be involved in affairs that concern them, the better off we'll all be. But sometimes the involvement of some people, whose concern is the maintenance of monopoly and control, doesn't serve the great good. Glynn Moody uncovers the sinister results that are threatening to emerge from a committee in Europe in a blog posting titled EU Wants to Re-define "Closed" as "Nearly Open".
I think the EU got it right the first time in 2004, when they said this about open systems:
When I was invited to speak at the STS Forum in Kyoto in 2006, I thought it would be a good idea to write an extremely concise white paper-3 pages total-comparing and contrasting open source software and proprietary software. Since then I have been invited to speak about, defend, and expand upon that paper. Now it's time to give it an update.
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.