UPDATE: I have another post on Illumos today. Critics on the discussion thread are invited to read it.
Everyone in corporate open source knows the story. You come to the open source market with a complete project, people download it without even saying thanks, and you want a way of assuring your own future.
When I write here of the 90-10 rule, I am likely to see comments from folks saying it's more like the 99-1 rule, or the 99.9-.1 rule. Open source users are all take and no give, they say. If you're not getting significant help open source isn't worth it.
That theory gets its ultimate test starting today as Oracle officially takes back OpenSolaris. Future versions of the code, dubbed Illumos, will only be released as they are finished by Oracle. Oracle will control the software's horizontal and its vertical.
The former Open Solaris board did come in for a lot of criticism, and not just from the company that released the code. It was seen as dithering, as ineffective. As the dog, the cat and the duck, in other words.
There is a warning here for users of other open source projects, a warning that should be heeded. A contract is not forever. It is not a guarantee. Open source depends on those who get free code doing something in return, and while many do most don't.
You don't have to be a programmer to give back. You can use beta code. You can report bugs. Some popular projects offer t-shirts and coffee mugs. You can write to friends and recommend the program, doing its marketing.
Or you can complain.