☆ FOSS is not “non-commercial”

I keep seeing people contrasting “free/open source software” with “commercial software”. This is a really bad contrast, as in my experience almost all open source software is commercial. It’s just commercial in a different way.

Open source software is not “non-commercial” – rather, it is software where, when commercial activity takes place, revenues are generated from the delivery of value around the software rather than by controlling access to the software. This switch away from artificial scarcity liberates developers from many different places – in location, cultural and motivation dimensions –  to synchronise overlapping interests and collaborate around an open source code “commons” to sustain the wealth-creating vehicle they jointly enjoy.

☞ Wednesday Tab Sweep

  • “I think we need a law that explicitly makes it legal for people to record government officials when they are interacting with them in their official capacity. And this is doubly true for police officers and other law enforcement officials.”

    I completely agree. This is a great explanation of why government officials should expect scrutiny in the conduct of the official duties while private citizens should expect privacy.

  • “Personally, I don’t want to sign Canonical’s agreement. I want to share my writing, not give it away. Other team members seem to feel the same. So where does this leave the Ubuntu docs team?”

    In response to Phil’s question, Laura MacPhee explains that Canonical’s “contributor agreement” is actually giving away your work to depend on Canonical’s judgement. Whatever the comforting words surrounding that gift may say, the fact is that the agreement redefines “contribution” from “sharing” to “giving” and makes community members less than sharecroppers.

  • I’m delighted to say that the first full release of the OpenDJ LDAP directory server from ForgeRock is now available. 100% Java, 100% open source.

  • I sense a disturbance in The Force as protection from 800+ patents is about to be snuffed out by a consortium comprising some of the most important opponents of open source.

  • “You wondered aloud how these people had managed to survive this long without drinking bleach by accident. As new clients came on, you hoped that the work you did with the first one would mean they would successfully use the system. No such luck. They were all stupid in subtly different ways.”

    To be clear, this is not my vision for ForgeRock!

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