An open source Christmas present

There's a lot more to do in codifying all this, and getting all colleges (as well as major companies) to sign off. But the initial list of sponsors -- IBM, Stanford, Cisco, MIT -- is promising.

The big news is that 12 major institutions, in a deal brokered by the Kauffman Foundation (Ewing Marion Kauffman founded Marion Labs and was the best owner the KC Royals ever had) have agreed to a basic set of open source principles.

Big whoop, right?

Well, yes.

The devil is always in the details, and open source is no exception. As software moves back-and-forth across the academic-corporate divide, often subject to different licenses, the goal can get lost in competing interests. The agreement is a start toward ending that. Just a start.

There's a lot more to do in codifying all this, and getting all colleges (as well as major companies) to sign off. But the initial list of sponsors -- IBM, Stanford, Cisco, MIT -- is promising. And they've got Joementum!

But it's a nice Christmas present. Especially for the late Mr. Kauffman, whose foundation has become a model for many higher-tech fortunes. It concentrates on education and entrepreneurship, which he called "the two ends of the oppurtunity continuum." The list of its 2006 awards includes US First, entrepreneurship classes at a host of universities, and the Charter Schools Development Corp.