☞ Political Costs Prevent Actual Savings

  • The speech by Neelie Kroes last week in Brussels was very carefully constructed and avoided almost all mention of free and open source software. In the spirit of rewarding the good and ignoring the bad, several commentators (such as Karsten here) have been loud in their congratulations but there's still a strong sense that the political cost of even mentioning open source is too high for Europe's politicians.

    I see this as a sign of the strength of the concept. The corporate forces that bear down upon the European Commission (even those apparently supporting open source when they speak from the side of their mouth facing the FOSS communities) do so out of fear that they will be forced to act transparently and openly, and we need to keep up the pressure. So I welcome the tiny concessions Kroes made in this speech, and as a concerned and expert citizen I demand more.

  • Adobe has actually created a security-related update for Flash on OpenSolaris. Of course, if it was open source we could all help them, but the community is still grateful for the work they've done to fix the serious security hole this time.
  • Both ForgeRock and OSSTech in Japan are developing the OpenAM codebase and it makes sense for them to cooperate. I'm very pleased to be able to announce this agreement, hopefully the first of many as we build a truly open ecosystem around the OpenAM open source project.

✍ Your Chance To Reform OSI

OSI was formed in 1998 to solve a pressing problem. The founders embraced the ideals of software freedom, but saw that businesses – being non-persons – lacked any way to embrace a philosophical principle. To advance software freedom, it needed to be pragmatically “projected” onto the surface of the computer industry of 1998, creating rules that could be followed without demanding ideological “purity”. The result was a focus on a certain kind of advocacy, plus an enormously valuable effort to analyse, categorise and selectively endorse copyright licenses. OSI was the pragmatic projection of software freedom onto the computer industry of 1998.

But in 2010, the industry has changed. It’s due in no small part to the effects of software freedom on technology and innovation, with the pragmatic liberties it guarantees seeding today’s key trends. It’s also in part due to the attempted corruption of open standards and the policies that rely on them, which has allowed proprietary software an undeserved ascendancy. So while new businesses are able to be formed with philosophical and ethical principles embedded in their DNA, existing ones still can’t “embrace software freedom” since that’s a capability only of intelligent individuals.

So it’s time for a revamp. Read more on my ComputerWorldUK blog or at OSI

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