Open source does not end corporate intrigue

Summary:Just because a piece of software is open source does not mean we are no longer subject to corporate intrigue.David Berlind and this blog's own Joe Brockmeier combine to teach that lesson today.

Just because a piece of software is open source does not mean we are no longer subject to corporate intrigue.

David Berlind and this blog's own Joe Brockmeier combine to teach that lesson today.

David explains how JasperReports is being turned back into a commercial product. Joe explains a game of chicken between Sun and IBM over OpenOffice.

We were all taught the Second Golden Rule. He who has the gold makes the rules. In open source the corollary is in the tale of the Little Red Hen. Those who do the work control the result.

In a way this is justice. It's very much in keeping with the spirit of the GPL, which obligates you to return your improvements to the community that made them possible. But the result can be a direct challenge to the letter of the GPL. When you're a Community of One to whom is your obligation owed?

Many readers of this blog have noted how most open source users don't take advantage of their rights to manipulate their code, and lack the skills to do so. I am one of those users. My protection lies in diversity and transparency. But if few of us plant the wheat, thresh the wheat, and bake the bread, transparency becomes invisibility.

Is this the way you see it? Let us know in TalkBack.  

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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