Time for open source to build a Code Recycling Center

What I'd like to see is a Code Recycling Center. Corporate development staffs could unload their open source code, in whatever condition it may be in, secure in the knowledge the right home will be found for it.

recycle symbol
Corporations hold a ton of open source code behind their firewalls, and Jim Whitehurst wants to extract it.

The Red Hat CEO knows whereof he speaks. Before joining the company he was at Delta Air Lines.

In introducing the subject Matt Asay called this code waste. Which gave me a clever idea.

Don't think of these as corporate code contributions. Think of it as code recycling.

For the open source movement, seeking recycling instead of contributions may require some changes.

Right now we expect contributions to be coherent. We expect documentation, and verification, and maybe a signature proving that this code came from Corporation X and it's being contributed without blah-de-blah-blah.

But when you think recycling, there's less for the contributor to do. Maybe you separate your glass, keep the aluminum cans from the steel, magazines separate from newspapers.

Then consider what happens when you drop stuff off at the Goodwill or Salvation Army. They're lucky if it comes in boxes. It's expected that they will do a lot of work to make contributions ready for market.

That's the kind of model I'm looking for.

So rather than just having Red Hat support this effort, maybe we need something larger, with more projects paying for it. We don't know what's coming in, after all. It's not going to be sorted.

The open source industry has finally become large enough to support this kind of effort, if we all work together.

What I'd like to see is a Code Recycling Center. Corporate development staffs could unload their open source code, in whatever condition it may be in, secure in the knowledge the right home will be found for it.

The Code Recycling Center would acknowledge the contribution and then go through the code, passing along what's relevant to member projects, dumping the junk.

The corporation will have done its duty, the community will have the contributions, the code will be recycled, and it's a win-win for everyone.

What do you say?

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