Will Reddit open source decision change publishing?

What Reddit gets out of it, through CPAL, comes to seem fair. They get credit, a little bug on the page identifying what they have done. Possibly they can use code contributions, and the heft of everyone else's Reddit-like site, to scale and compete.

Reddit founders Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian with Remember the Milk mascot
When Reddit announced yesterday it was open sourcing its technology under the CPAL license I didn't think much of it.

(Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian co-founded Reddit. Here they hold another site's monkey mascot. From Remember the Milk.)

The reason can be found on this chart, compiled by TechCrunch from Comscore numbers. I saw Reddit as another also-ran throwing code over the side before sinking under the waves.

Cynical me.

Then I saw this, a Digg-like site put together in an afternoon by a news site syndicated by The Washington Post. I had an a-ha moment.

Hey, C|Net could do this. Heck, Voic.Us could do this.

I put these two sites together deliberately. C|Net is our corporate parent (or was until CBS came in). It's a going concern. It has programmers and checks that don't bounce.

Voic.Us is a blog site I've been running, in a desultory manner, for a few years now. It costs nothing to run. I get nothing from it. Do not take its checks, please.

The point is that both these sites, and thousands of others, can now adapt this technology for internal and external use. We can all be Reddit.

What Reddit gets out of it, through CPAL, comes to seem fair. They get credit, a little bug on the page identifying what they have done. Possibly they can use code contributions, and the heft of everyone else's Reddit-like site, to scale and compete.

But then there's that little "oh noes." Given that Conde Nast owns Reddit, and Conde Nast is a competitor of C|Net (through Wired) would C|Net want to give Reddit any help, even if it's free? Might that be a conflict of interest?

But if publishers are all to form little open source keiretsu, does that not give the small fry new hope?

Maybe Voic.us can take over the world after all.

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