Mitchell Baker and Kim Polese joined Esther for a panel on trends in open source. Baker said that the call for a smaller set of licenses is gaining some traction, especially in developing interoperability among the licenses, although the GPL is problematic on that front. Questioning whether the right entity exists as a balancing point for dealing with the licensing issues, she mentioned existing organizations, OSDL or OSI, as possible candidates to unravel the licensing complexities.
Baker also addressed security issues, saying that not being part of an operating system is a phenomenal advantage, but that deploying patches is problematic. "What's really complex is the release process, what you do with the fix." In addition, security problems that involve human behavior and interaction--not classic code failure--are not easily resolved. Some of the trade-offs in the Firefox browser involve some inconvenience: "Not having ActiveX is less convenient for users--that is, until you get hacked. We don't want those vulnerabilities, and only now in the last few months has the trade-off been more apparent," Baker said.
Polese called open source a condition of human existence, and was how humanity advanced and changed over millennia.