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Great Comments - Confusing Actions

Mark, your comments are spot on and historically accurate as I have lived much of that history on the front lines...

But to your point of the failure of these groups to actually get on the same page and work together under a common process, it seems that creation of Yet Another Open Source Organization further propagates the problem.

I've become much more pragmatic through the years when it comes to the intrinsic values of software offered under a source code included license. From a consumer perspective, all software has a use license that must be complied with. All software comes with a cost to maintain that software. The REAL value of software developed in the open and provided with source code are the STANDARDS that are being supported by the software. (sidenote: We have an incredible standards problem brewing in the healthcare space. Open Standards would go a long way to solve that problem just as open HTTP protocol engine standards have helped drive a common denominator for the web)

The more the Open Source/Free Software communities fragment, the more diluted that value proposition becomes. In the true interest of delivering on the vision of Open Standards, low cost of ownership, and "freeing" the technology to support the greater good of our society, the Open Source community would be much more effective if we were to come together and find ways to drive the common mission.

That means collaborating to improve the existing state-of-the-art rather than further fragmenting the mission.

Re: Great Comments - Confusing Actions


One could argue that prior to the CodePlex Foundation Microsoft was self-fragmenting with respect to open source. By that I mean that folks there didn't necessarily see a clear and consistent channel they could follow for open source engagement. Sam Ramji did a lot to address that during his tenure at Microsoft, but one person can only do so much, and force of personality is not a scalable solution.

We think (a) the CodePlex Foundation can be a meaningful bridge between companies like Microsoft and the open source community, and (b) it isn't just Microsoft that struggles with this challenge. So the intent is to be unifying, not fragmenting. Time will tell.

Re: Great Comments - Confusing Actions


It is unfortunate that Microsoft and others as you mention have not found people like myself that have long extended a hand to help navigate the maze. It is admittedly more confusing on the perception side than it is in reality.

I applaud the work that Sam and others have done at MSFT. The challenges for MSFT are admittedly slightly different than they are for an IBM or SUN as an example.

I wish you well and am ready to offer an objective perspective whenever asked.

How the GPL gets "business-friendly"

In practice, the GPL turns out to be "business friendly" because it _saves you an argument_. Actually making a company decision, especially a legal one, is expensive. If you use a non-copyleft license, _you_ have to decide what to do with the derivative work. In most cases, the software you're working on is not core to your business so it might as well be open source, but if you're not bound by copyleft _you_ have to decide that. Use the GPL, and you're on to the next problem, of which you probably have more than enough. It's like choosing to use the free boxes from FedEx instead of designing your own shipping box.

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