Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Just another business model, eh?

A little follow-up to the spat brewing between the OSI and CRM vendors that I blogged about yesterday. As I see it, the OSI is bothered by the failure of CRM licenses to provide some crucial - and here I'm going to use a word that the OSI didn't want to touch with a ten-foot pole - freedoms, that the OSI considers an important part of the concept of 'open source'. The irony of this situation is immense. The OSI sought to distance itself from 'ideological tubthumping', 'free software zealotry' or whatever else it was, to make the case for 'open source as a purely technical, pragmatic, business strategy. It was all about access to the code, because that, you see, just helps us write better software. But 'free software', the conditions associated with which are stated quite clearly in the Free Software Definition was to be disdained because that wouldn't be business-friendly enough (they don't like talk of values and freedom apparently). But being business-friendly has its downside as the OSI is discovering. Maybe if they had kept their values front and center, they wouldn't have needed to have dragged them out now, pointing to them, and asking for community policing to try and block the path of those corporate vendors, who staggered into this space, enticed by a new business model, and now just want to exploit it for all its worth. It never was just about having access to the code so that more folks could debug it. And this story tells us why.


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