Tuesday, February 26, 2008

'Decade Zero of Open Source'

Bruce Perens, the man who created the Open Source definition on February 9, 1998, writes about the past and present of Open Source. In his State of Open Source Message, he labels the past and the future of Open Source. In his own words:

"Friday, February 8 is the last day of Decade Zero of Open Source. Saturday, February 9 is the anniversary of Open Source and the start of Decade One. It's a computer scientist thing. We always start counting from zero :-)"

The article talks about the rise of Open Source from Red Hat to most recently Sun's acquisition of MySQL. He also re-iterates the need for non traditional profit centers for Open Source companies, like in the case of MySQL.
"The largest part of the payment for Open Source development today comes from cost-center budgets of IT users, be they companies, institutions, or individuals, rather than profit-centers based on Open Source like that of MySQL. By participating in Open Source development, users distribute the cost and risk of the development of enabling technology and infrastructure for their businesses. Their profit centers are not tied to software sales, but to some other business. To find them, look to the communities rather than the companies. "

To Perens, 'Microsoft remains a problem.' whose current strategy, according to him, 'seems to be to poison us with money, most recently by making patent agreements with a number of Linux distributions.'

And regarding the potential impact of Microsoft's acquisition of Yahoo!:
"Some see the potential purchase of Yahoo by Microsoft as a threat. Certainly it might curtail or corrupt some of Yahoo's involvements in Open Source communities, and in half-Open-Source products like Zimbra. But a buy-the-loser strategy could potentially suck up a large part of Microsoft's unpleasantly (to us) ample cash while leaving them with the loser. An increase of Microsoft's influence in the content business could mean the entrance of DRM into conventional web pages. Goodbye "view source", printing without a fee, and Firefox, if Microsoft is ever successful with that. It wouldn't surprise me if Microsoft were to make more plays in the content market, perhaps investing in music and film companies. "

He also expresses his annoyance with SCO approriately calling it 'a toast'.

Overall, a very interesting read.

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