Skip to content

Open Source Gets Down To Business

Open Source Gets Down To Business :
Quote: “There’s the question of how does money flow into the open source ecosystem, and what kind of an impact does open source have on the commercial world. People start out thinking that they’ll save on licensing costs because the software is free. But it turns out that more of the financial benefit comes from the network effects associated with the transfer of knowledge, and the interactions that happen between people.”
Comment: This (open source and commercialism) came up recently in regards to the Elearning Marketplace…and it’s a discussion that will be happening much more in the future. The ideological nature of open source needs to be preserved, however, while the movement learns to “play for-profit”.


  1. A nice article in general, but fails at the end.
    To understand Open Source is to understand the GPL. All the rest is a trivial freeride on somebody else’s effort. Copyright is one solution to the Freerider’s problem, copyleft is another.

    “And then, there’s the secret sauce for which you wish to capture an innovation premium. You can take that open source stuff, add your secret sauce, and create some very nice commercial products.

    Again the conflation between “proprietary” and “commercial”. This is ordinary freeriding behaviour. This is the “embrace and extent” that many detest. This causes the lock-in everyone dislikes. Open Source should not be viewed upon as a craddle for proprietary software and vice versa.

    “Some open source projects, like those based on the GNU General Public License (GPL), are more directed at encouraging the growth of freely available software.”
    Some projects?? Around 65% of all projects use GPL, 11% LPGL, a mere 7% BSD. “freely” as in beer? It seems so.

    “Others, like BSD and Apache, are concerned with capturing a financial premium from innovation.”
    This is complete nonsense. The people choosing the BSD-license are NOT the ones concerned with “financial premiums. If Apple or Microsoft want “financial premium from innovation”, would they choose a BSD-license?

    Free Software and proprietary software are different paradigms. Both have axioms of what they feel is correct, both build a coherent vision
    about society. Answers to problems in one paradigm, are not necessarily answers is the other paradigm, simply because the problems might not be the same.

    James Boyle makes the comparison the “the environment”, my favorite analogy is math.

    How do you make money with the environment?
    Selling licenses to look at a tree for one day?

    How do you make money with math?
    Selling licenses that gives you the right the use the pythagorean theorem in calculations for a week?

    George wrote: “The ideological nature of open source needs to be preserved, however, while the movement learns to “play for-profit”.
    Companies need to learn to play-for-profit, but I don’t see how non-profit foundations or hobbyist contributors need to do that. Open Source doesn’t need to do anything, just like math. It can be used by people to achieve their own goals, and that’s just fine. But the non-profit sector are not obliged, even morally, to help companies with different mindsets and different goals for free.

    “Open Source Gets Down To Business”?
    More correct would be “business-people finally overcome their ungrounded anxiety to use open source.”

    But not all is bad. This is a quote that I’m particularly fond of:
    “One of the things that open source projects should aspire to is to create the definitive literature for a particular problem domain.”
    This is more in the “Open Content” arena.

    Tuesday, July 29, 2003 at 8:06 pm | Permalink
  2. tom wrote:

    hi is this real blog source?

    Sunday, August 31, 2003 at 10:23 am | Permalink