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How big the Google open source credibility gap

I have written quite positively about Google in the past, yet there is a growing sense that they're just a technicolor Microsoft, led by a two-headed Bill Gates with better hair. This is a problem. Question. Is there a solution?

Googleplex from outside
I conducted some interesting experiments here last week.

I asked which company is the open source champion? Only 12% of you picked Google. (Canonical, which sponsors Ubuntu, was the winner with 29%.)

I also asked whether y'all thought Google was evil. Some 40% of you said yes. Not a majority, but enough to make you Canadian prime minister.

Yet high atop their Googleplex aerie Sergey, Larry and Eric still think they are beloved. Here is how Larry Page described the plans for Android to the BBC:

"With Android and Chrome we really are trying to do things differently that will be good for the world and good for technology in general and get a lot more innovation."

Hey, Larry, 1969 is on the phone. They want their rhetoric back.

Seriously, there seems to be a growing disconnect between how Google sees itself, vis a vis open source, and how the community (at least those who read ZDNet) view it.

I have written quite positively about Google in the past, yet there is a growing sense that they're just a technicolor Microsoft, led by a two-headed Bill Gates with better hair.

This is a problem. Question. Is there a solution?

Some might argue there is not. As a company grows in wealth and power Newton's Third Law takes over. There is an equal and opposite reaction.

Others might argue there are steps Google can take. Opening more key code to inspection, improving its license terms, maybe bringing back free dinners to the cafeteria. Take your pick.

Meanwhile, let's find out just how large this gap is.[poll id=90]