Has the era of open source science really begun?

The aim of Red Hat's Kannapolis effort is to encourage sharing, with the hope of speeding innovation. For me it hearkens back to an old quote sometimes attributed to Robert Woodruff, chairman of The Coca-Cola Co. during its heyday. "There is no end to what a man can do if he doesn't care who gets the credit."

When I trumpeted news that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was demanding researchers share their findings, calling this "the final proof open source works," it was one of my most popular posts so-far.

Not to say y'all agreed with me. "You are unbelievable," one critic wrote. "Open source - the new communism" wrote another. "See a doctor," suggested a third. (I did. I have high cholesterol. How did you know?)

Now, with great fanfare, Red Hat has proclaimed the era of "open source science," with plans to fund a 2,000 square foot lab in the new North Carolina Research Center at Kannapolis.

Science in our time is not open source by default. All research that's shared is copyrighted, and it's pursued by Universities with an aim of winning patents and royalties. It is, in sum, proprietary.

The aim of Red Hat's Kannapolis effort is to encourage sharing, with the hope of speeding innovation. For me it hearkens back to an old quote sometimes attributed to Robert Woodruff, chairman of The Coca-Cola Co. during its heyday. (That's Mr. Woodruff above. Hey, I live in Atlanta.)

"There is no end to what a man can do if he doesn't care who gets the credit."

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