One big trend we saw last year was companies trying to "get right" by open source.
Even Microsoft and Oracle sought accommodation with the open source imperative. (Picture from USLAW.Com.)
But this has also existed in the open source movement. We saw it at SugarCRM. We see it in companies with whom, on the surface, open source has no quibble.
That's what I think is behind the move by Ubuntu to open source Launchpad. Ubuntu is trying to stay right by the community, to keep faith, the top following the bottom.
From a practical point of view little will change. Ubuntu is responding to comments like this, and the fact it is responding is the story.
This is the key difference between open source and proprietary models many in the media still don't get. How change happens can be as important as what change happens.
In a proprietary model change happens from the top down. It may be informed by data, it may be a response to market pressure, but if the entrepreneur fails the whole enterprise is threatened.
Leadership still plays a big role in open source, but it has to be consultative in order to work. Individuals are no longer data points. Leaders are looking to people to alert them, and the quality of their interaction can determine their success.
We have seen how this works in the software industry and we're about to see how it works in the political realm, starting next week.
While many people are looking at the President-elect's list as data, or a market force, the challenge will be to enable true interaction, to take on what is said, give those who speak well validation, to somehow stay in tune with the community.
It's a different style of leadership, a consensual style, one whose implications we don't yet fully grasp, but the point today is it began here. In the open source movement and in open source enterprises.
In their efforts to "get right" by their communities, open source entrepreneurs have created this new leadership style.
While everyone in Washington is praising the man at the top, look closely at the community below. As every open source entrepreneur knows, that's where the real power lies and where the most important change comes from.