The New Open Source

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The New Open Source

Postby Marcush on Mon Nov 30, 2009 1:41 pm

This is a little long but bear with me and read it, also give a reaction to the artlicle afterwards, thanx!

It is commonly said that Linux is growing up, along with it is open source in general is maturing. What does this mean for the vast world of open source, well it means that Open Source has gone out to find a job. It seems that now for a while and increasingly more companies are "backing" open source projects. What is really happening is what were ounce open source communities are now unpaid loyal workers to Corperations who reap the most benifit. This post is a small article on two of those companies Sun Microsistoms, the veteran and Google, the Newbie.

Sun microsystems currently backs multiple open source projects. The most famous possibly being Open Office. Now what a great thing for a company to do, use their own recources to back th projects of open source communities. Well in all reallity Sun Microsystems likes to mSun has been take micro computers. You may come across them time to time. Sometimes used only as an internet access point for guests in an office building. However With OS projects like Solaris and a Offic Suite along with MySQL and other products like virtual box. All Sun needs to do is make a basic product and pay for some web space an people do all the rest for them. It is like a R&D department set up on a city block. Where people just stop and help out it is bassically free and sun can use all of this stuff in there real buisness for no cost. Sun has been doing this for a while now and nobody seems to really care, but there is a new competitor on the scene that semes to want to take opensource to its premiere level.

Google the web search and advertising giant that is so appart of our daily lives, Google is now a verb. Google first got involved with open source with one goal in mind. Kill the only company big enough to ever get in their way. It is quite obvious this company is microsoft. First thay threw funding to Apple and a well known open source community known as Mozilla. The proud makers of firefox. Google was trying to take microsoft off the throne of web browsing by helping its mayjor competitor keep ahead of them. This worked with limited success because Mozilla could never get far enough ahead to really make people switch from explorer. So now google has tried again. Under the open source banner they made chrome. And then advertised it heavily. not only to help take control of the web market but also help them track users and plan products acordingly. They have also entered the phone buisness with andriod. But instead of kicking their product off with a bunch of apps made in house and then starting a profitable app store they started the gun by making dev software and encouraging open source development so people can make there own apps. IT saves google time and recources and gives them some decent quality apps that people want.

Google and Sun are not the only companied reaping the benifits of open source across the board companies are begining to use open source to bolster their bottom line. So what does this mean for the open source community. Will it grow with corporate recources or will it wither and die in the shadow of companies like Google and sun. This could be the begining of the end for mainstream open source of the beginging of its rise. You tell Me.
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Re: The New Open Source

Postby Husse on Fri Dec 04, 2009 7:24 am

Moved to Chat about Linux
There may be something to it, but I doubt we see the end of Open source
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Re: The New Open Source

Postby Fred on Fri Dec 04, 2009 7:50 am

Marcush,

Your commentary is thoughtful but neglects to mention the 800 pound Gorilla in the room. That is the FOSS licensing.

Regardless of how you feel about R. Stallman, His foresight on licensing is what has made FOSS possible and enduring. Understanding the GPL, and derivatives, is the key to answering the questions your post poses.

Below is a post I made in a discussion that might shed some light on my point of view.

viewtopic.php?f=90&t=5714&p=203697&hilit=Fred+cultural#p203697

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Re: The New Open Source

Postby Marcush on Sun Dec 06, 2009 8:33 pm

Fred wrote:Marcush,

Your commentary is thoughtful but neglects to mention the 800 pound Gorilla in the room. That is the FOSS licensing.

Regardless of how you feel about R. Stallman, His foresight on licensing is what has made FOSS possible and enduring. Understanding the GPL, and derivatives, is the key to answering the questions your post poses.

Below is a post I made in a discussion that might shed some light on my point of view.

viewtopic.php?f=90&t=5714&p=203697&hilit=Fred+cultural#p203697

Fred


The Gorilla is ignored because it does not matter, the GPL allows anyone to use it as long as Source code is availible and they dont make a profit. You put up an interesting point however a company can use open source to thier harts content as long as they dont make profitable dirrivatives and or sell it. However they can sell hardware or software that works with it and use the free open source just to and gravy to the mashed potatoes

PS keep this going I want to here your counter arguement

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Re: The New Open Source

Postby sverris on Mon Dec 21, 2009 9:27 am

Don't know about the outcome, but I rather vote for being careful with big companies... especially the big Goo***, now also having their browser and their OS gaining more popularity. Indeed, not that many people ask themselves what you asked, and this is sad. I actually do not use Goo***-services anymore, I rather use smaller alternatives. I do use FF, knowing about the 50 or something Million deal, but with another search engine (ecosia.org) and AdBlock.
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Re: The New Open Source

Postby emorrp1 on Mon Dec 21, 2009 10:25 am

It's still FOSS. The main freedom I associate with using FOSS is that the software project can continue when financial backing is removed - if skype suddenly disappeared, we would be worse off because it's all proprietary, so there's no way to realistically continue the project. However if firefox lost its substantial financial backing, the project would continue because it's open-source. Note that contrary to popular opinion the GPL does *not* say you can't sell software, just that you have to make the *source code* available. So contrary to your opinion, I am happy that some large companies have seen that they can still profit while releasing FOSS code and our community is better off from it.

There are other issues surrounding Google and Sun, but we shouldn't be complaining that they back FOSS and earn money from related products. Google's privacy issues are easy to avoid: use non-Google web services (which are not usually FOSS). If somehow Google has "contaminated" Chrome with spyware, then as soon as it's discovered, it will be forked and removed. I have heard that Sun are not enthusiastic about some Open Office contributions, so the project was forked and maintained somewhere the contributions were more welcome. This fork is go-oo and I believe is the actual version used in many distros, including Mint.

My point is that you shouldn't attack the companies on fronts unrelated to the actual issues with those companies, i.e. don't attack companies for doing well using FOSS when the real problems are elsewhere.
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Re: The New Open Source

Postby markfiend on Mon Dec 21, 2009 10:31 am

Marcush wrote:the GPL allows anyone to use it as long as Source code is availible and they dont make a profit.

That's not true at all. The GPL says nothing about profits. Otherwise Red Hat (as an example) would be in no end of trouble...

But for every Red Hat selling Linux-based product, the GPL ensures that there can be a CentOS giving away for free the (almost) exact same system.

Once source code is "opened" under the GPL there is no way of turning it back into closed-source without infringing on the license.

I'm not sure about the impact that "the big G" will have on open-source in general (although from what I understand, Google's practice of allowing their developers one day a week to work on hobby projects has resulted in a huge injection of coding time into the FOSS-osphere) but they won't kill FOSS. It's unkillable.
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Re: The New Open Source

Postby emorrp1 on Mon Dec 21, 2009 10:44 am

markfiend wrote:But for every Red Hat selling Linux-based product, the GPL ensures that there can be a CentOS giving away for free the (almost) exact same system.

That's an excellent way of putting it!

markfiend wrote: won't kill FOSS. It's unkillable.

I think the asteroid now heading towards earth would beg to differ :p
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Re: The New Open Source

Postby markfiend on Mon Dec 21, 2009 11:43 am

emorrp1 wrote:That's an excellent way of putting it!

Thank you! *Takes a bow* :lol:
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Re: The New Open Source

Postby DrHu on Mon Dec 21, 2009 1:36 pm

If companies support FOSS for their own reasons, I have no objection. I only object when they try and control it..
    Change the direction of the coding (for their own purposes/agendas) being produced or accepted by them..

For most/all of these companies the FOSS support is only a happy accident, when they went forward with their main business
For example, to take Google as an example, their main business is advertising and web revenues, or maybe use IBM for their support of Linux: because they want to stick it to Microsoft a little, but not enough to do damage the windows OS support services, they also sell

Take Microsoft's new support of the mono project, and their new direction, when it no longer suited them
    Although I am not sure I can say mono project and FOSS in the same sentence

That's business after all, that's how it works..
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Re: The New Open Source

Postby Fluxx on Tue Jan 19, 2010 9:18 pm

Unless I'm completely wrong, and I have been before, (twice even!) the GPL seeks to limit the profits that can be made on any project derived from an original open source work as being based solely on the changes made to the product by the company or individual to make his product distinguishable from the original.

I think that's fair. Freedom means that you should be free to use the product in your own way, provided you do not limit anyone else's freedom to do the same thing.

I hope no one here would disagree with that idea, at least.

Caveat: As someone else has put it, "Half of everything I say is more or less complete nonsense." :lol:
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Re: The New Open Source

Postby Kendall on Wed Jan 20, 2010 2:54 am

As best as I can remember it, GPL versions 2 and 3 (pretty much everyting GPL is at least version 2 at this point) have no stipulations regarding profiting from anything licensed under the GPL (version 2 or later). I'm not terribly sure about the original version, I probably need to reread all of them actually. Not that the original version would have much say because all versions of the GPL give explicit right to anyone redistributing the software to upgrade to a later GPL version at their option/convenience.

Regarding Google, It seems to me that their business model actually works well for both FOSS and for their own profit margin. As simply as I can put it: Google's cash cow is search based advertising. It makes very good business sense for Google to support (or even give away) any project that is going to promote it's search engine (or other services that have ads) because if/when they gain any sort of momentum it's going to push the ad business even further. It's more beneficial to Google to open source a lot of projects because that way other companies have free access to tailor them to their specific needs while still inadvertantly supporting the Google ad business in the long run.

What's interesting to note is that Android is not GPL, it's licenced under the Apache license if I remember correctly. The Chrome browser and Chrome OS I think are licensed under the BSD license (it's possible I could be mistaken here). Regardless, there are a lot of other licencing options beyond just the GPL. For anyone who cares to do a lot of reading, you should now have a good place to start.
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Re: The New Open Source

Postby breaker on Wed Jan 20, 2010 3:43 am

People have been making money from free software since the days when the developer of emacs sold tapes of the program for $150 by mail order.

http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html

"Free software" does not mean "noncommercial." A free program must be available for commercial use, commercial development, and commercial distribution. Commercial development of free software is no longer unusual; such free commercial software is very important. You may have paid money to get copies of free software, or you may have obtained copies at no charge. But regardless of how you got your copies, you always have the freedom to copy and change the software, even to sell copies.


Another group has started using the term "open source" to mean something close (but not identical) to "free software." We prefer the term "free software" because, once you have heard that it refers to freedom rather than price, it calls to mind freedom. The word "open" never refers to freedom.


IMHO, when a company backs projects licensed by the GPL and copyleft, it is a good thing! This way everyone still has the freedom to check, correct, modify, etc etc, code, all with financial support!

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