The great divide: open or free?

Summary:One of the great themes I've seen emerge in TalkBack has been a great divide on what should be the chief priority of open source.As we saw with Peter Brown, free is one priority.

One of the great themes I've seen emerge in TalkBack has been a great divide on what should be the chief priority of open source.

As we saw with Peter Brown, free is one priority. Tools should be free because it's work and what is done with software that carries the highest value. To continue paying for tools means continually paying tolls to the past, and that's the slow boat to progress.

As the folks at Sun see it, the key word is open. So long as you get the source code, so long as you can see how the program is made, companies should be free to contract on other conditions. Even hammers cost money, and those who make hammers need to be paid.

The free side sees complex software licenses as an enemy, binding each algorithm to different conditions, making real progress impossible.

The open side calls the GPL the "most restrictive" possible license, because it obligates you to offer what you make with GPL tools under the GPL.

So the question for today is this.

Which side are you on? Which is more important, free or open source?

Let us know at 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.

zdnet_core.socialButton.googleLabel Contact Disclosure

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.