Is eBay really friendly to open source?

Is eBay really friendly to open source?

Summary: I fear many companies tip-toeing into the open source world expect this to be a one-way street. That is, you write stuff that I like and I'll take all the benefit, plus I'll control what you write at the same time.

SHARE:
TOPICS: E-Commerce
3

This week eBay launched its previously-announced eBay Community Codebase. The service, hosted by CollabNet,  lets developers enhance eBay in a variety of directions. There's now an eBay toolbar for Firefox, for instance, and a TiVo plug-in.

All well and good. But when you open yourself up to open source developers it's a two-way street. There are going to be some ideas you don't like.

Here's one. It's a national search function for Craigslist, now 25% owned by eBay. It's a natural extension, but Craigslist has ordered it shut down, claiming they're all about the local. The developer did, and that may be the end of the story.

But it should not end the discussion.

I fear many companies tip-toeing into the open source world expect this to be a one-way street. That is, you write stuff that I like and I'll take all the benefit, plus I'll control what you write at the same time.

Life doesn't work that way. When you open yourself up to third parties, you open yourself up. If you can't stand the heat stay out of the open source kitchen.

Topic: E-Commerce

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

Talkback

3 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • I must agree....

    If the sites want people to help out and develop for free, the must give them some latitude to to do so, and the internet community will sort out those that are truly useful.
    And what's with that "Terms of Use", "you agree not to: use automated means... ...to download data from the Service"
    So they probably apply that as a way to weed out what they don't like.
    I goes against the whole community idea if you ask me.
    el1jones
    • I was expecting more disagreement

      After all, I put Craigslist together with eBay even though eBay only owns 25 percent of Craigslist and stated at the time it wasn't going to exert real control over the acquisition.

      I expected to be jumped on for that.

      I was being provocative when I wrote it, speculating that the two were more closely connected than they claim to be. But I don't believe my speculation was entirely out of bounds. It was worthy of discussion.

      Still is.
      DanaBlankenhorn
  • ebay has nothing to do with craigslist decisions

    Craigslist's focus has always been local-- long before eBay purchased a minority share. Besides, why would any company want third-parties taxing our servers without permission?

    More facts, less rumor mongering, thanks.
    seano_z