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Sunday, July 24, 2005

Open Source : Maturity Journey

I have always been maintaining that open source requires more concerted growth and organsational support while covering Some Perspectives About Open Source, Open Source - Reality Check, Open Source Support Models

eWeek highlights that several product pitches - freely use the term "open source" in discussions, and occasionally in product marketing material, when the products involved aren't open-source at all. Many companies are really just talking about their products running on open-source platforms, such as LAMP, without actually taking the plunge. There are companies that say it has an open-source product, but there may be restrictions in the license about derivative work and the ability of a third party to sell this allegedly open-source software.
Besides the problem of semantics -open source description may have different intrepretations, the key issue is there are too many licenses, making it needlessly difficult for buyers to determine if a company really is freely licensing the technology. OSI has been wanting to reduce the number of licenses for sometime, and is promising that is working to do so. OSI says that it is making an active effort to make sure companies don't abuse the term "open-source" when they clearly are not. Right now, there are more than 50 OSI-approved licenses, when probably tem might do.
Michael Caton highlights (I strongly agree with his point of view) that in practical terms, the number of public licenses is likely well over a hundred because of derived licenses that include minor changes such as including developer credits. The industry as a whole should be considering standard ways to license products that fit the middle ground between restrictive EULAs and open source. The market would decide what is fair as much for the quality of the code as for how a product is licensed.

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"All views expressed are my personal views are not related in any way to my employer"