Is open source anti-American?

Summary:If ordinary users in other countries are fairly ignorant of a license's fine print does that make them any different from Americans?

Jim Whitehurst of Red HAt
While Matt Asay and Paula Rooney chose the meat in Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst's remarks at OSBC, others chose to play the political game of gotcha.

So, is open source anti-American?

Whitehurst admitted that open source advocates in the developing world benefit from an anti-American, and anti-Western bias where it exists.

Open source is a way of avoiding "intellectual property taxes."

Whitehurst drew an immediate challenge on this point, with an audience member saying even GPL violations are common in other countries. Whitehurst took the diplomatic way out, calling open source licensing a new issue the company is watching closely.

I suppose that if you can turn Roger Clemens' alleged steroid use into a partisan issue, you can twist open source's performance in other markets into a foreign policy issue.

But should you?

Personally I think we have a split here between the elites and the folks on the street. Whitehurst talks to the former, and his questioner -- the one who said they don't care about any license terms -- may be more in touch with the latter.

But if ordinary users in other countries are fairly ignorant of a license's fine print does that make them any different from Americans?

Topics: Open Source

About

Dana Blankenhorn has been a business journalist since 1978, and has covered technology since 1982. He launched the Interactive Age Daily, the first daily coverage of the Internet to launch with a magazine, in September 1994.

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