Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Is open source a train anyone can stop?

This past decade the software community has experienced significant turmoil and success. Linux, a mainstream operating system, is proof you can monetize open source software with application service and support around the world. Red Hat harnessed Linux and initially it took off into the stratosphere. It has struggled since those early years but continues to survive. Legal battles surround it, mainly from suing other open source companies like SCO.

Open source code is steadily seeing growth. Wordpress, Opera and Mozilla are companies making significant financial inroads in the software industry. With thousands of open source developers and volunteer programmers adding features and plug-ins, open source software continues to rise in popularity and is for many a profitable industry.

Using a variety of software licence options within GNU - GPL, vetted by several organizations such as Open Source Initiative and Free Software Foundation, the genesis of a software application now flourishes, creating a never ending ecosystem of growth and updates. This allows continued increase market share and user base. None of these companies have been on the radar screen of any government oversight or anti-trust litigation.

The other side often referred as the dark and/or evil side is the money-grabbing power side with the likes of Microsoft, IBM, HP and others. Google’s foundation is built upon open source software and now it’s stuck somewhere in the middle of knight in shining armor and evil empire.

We know who traditionally winds up in court versus the Department of Justice or the European Union. Never has an open source company been in defendant position. The open source community have been witnesses and appellate to the software giants and the benefactor of government actions.

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