'

Open source and the copycat charge

My own view is that expanding the market for innovation is itself an innovation, and that getting innovation into more hands spurs yet-more innovation.

Miro logo
Proprietary vendors still accuse open source of just copying their innovations in order to drive down value for innovators.

In some ways they have a point. VMWare will not get the monopoly rents it feels it deserves on virtualization because it has many open source competitors.

The same is likely true of Joost thanks to Miro, an open source Internet TV system using RSS feeds and BitTorrent which just went into its 1.0 release.

But anyone perceived as following is going to be hit with that charge. Today The New York Times did it to Yahoo, despite the enormity of its deal with Carnegie-Mellon to run Apache's Hadoop on its M45 supercomputing cluster.

Distributed grid computing does need innovation, and it's seeking that innovation from open source.  Yet because Yahoo's plan sounds derivative, in a business sense, it comes in for ridicule from the chattering classes.

My own view is that expanding the market for innovation is itself an innovation, and that getting innovation into more hands spurs yet-more innovation.

Just because the "tax" on innovators, in the form of open source competition cutting off their monopolies, may have gone up, I don't see people halting innovation. I see them working harder.

As always feel free to disagree. That's the difference between a column and a blog. I don't believe my words are the only innovation possible here. Yours are equally valid.