The freedom to modify code is as important as any other freedom offered by open source, according to a new note from Gartner Group.
In a thinly veiled attack on SugarCRM and its "attribution license," Brian Prentice and Mark Driver advised clients to find their own definition of open source and stick to it.
I got a call from a PR person yesterday whose client competes with Sugar and wanted to make a similar point. But vendor statements are, by their nature, self-serving. I declined the interview. I should not have done that.
If customers do line up like this it will be a very good thing. The proliferation of open source licenses is driven by vendors, no one else. Customer pushback would do more to reduce license proliferation than any number of meetings.
Would this help or hurt the GPL, the license at the bottom of the open source incline? In the short run I doubt it will have much impact. Customers who think they can tweak open source at a profit already prefer BSD licenses. Those who know they can't are wise to stick to the GPL.
Customers, with their support dollars, can be a powerful force for good in the open source world. It's time more entered the conversation.