Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Fire away - you're missing

Robert Lefkowitz takes a few digs at open source at Eclipsecon. I'll concentrate on one dig and leave his nonsense about patents aside (much smarter people than me have destroyed that argument many times over). Lefkowitz's dig in question is a good one because it exposes the incoherence at the ideological principle of the OSI (or the open source movement or ESR's ideology, take your pick) that the way to talk about free software was to drop talk of freedom, and talk only about technical/business issues. So when we get the following:
The ideology of the open-source moment is built atop some odd assumptions, Lefkowitz argued, including the idea that buyers need access to code because product designers can't be trusted to get it right. Couple that with the extensive disclaimers routinely attached to all software, commercial or free, and you have a philosophy standard in the software industry that's at odds with other fields.Flashing a photo of a pill bottle, Lefkowitz quipped, "Sorry this drug was defective. I'm sorry you got sick but, you know, we included the chemical formula on the bottle! You could have fixed it yourself!"
...its worth noting that this claim has nothing to do with free software because nowhere in the Free Software Definition is the claim made that "product designers can't be trusted to get it right". On the contrary, we do trust you. Mind if we take a look at the code ourselves? Mind if we share this with our friends? Or just tinker with it for the heck of it? Or use it any way we want?


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