At his blog over at Free Software Magazine, Chris Holt negatively reviews Clay Shirky's discussion of open source in the Breakthrough Ideas for 2007 section in the recent issue of Harvard Business Review.
The study, which analyzed IDC surveys from over 5,000 developers in 116 countries in the spring of 2006, found that developers worldwide are increasing their use of open source. IDC found that open source-software is being used by 71 percent of the developers in the world and is in production at 54 percent of their organizations. In addition, half of the global developers claim that the use of open source is increasing in their organizations.
I expect this number to grow even larger. The whiz kid programmers and technologists of 20-30 years ago all fought to create and sell the ultimate proprietary software app. Legends Bill Gates and Steve Jobs grew out of this generation. The new generation is no longer thinking hide the source code in binary format, own it, and sell it, but sees the value of collaboration through open source for creating the latest, greatest software. That is, if software patents don't get in the way (sigh!).
Via Digg and Slashdot comes the news from the Financial Express that Richard Stallman's recent visit to Kerala has "has inspired Keralaâ€™s transition to free software." No more MS in the classroom, Linux only. Too bad we can't focus here in the US on the long term ideological and pedagogical benefits of such a move and advocate this switch along with instituting the OLPC here in K-6.
I'm sort of disturbed by the the title of the piece on NewsForge, A GPL requirement could have a chilling effect on derivative distros. It gives one the impression that this is some new thing. I remember reading this in the GPL years ago, and the fact that MEPIS, etc. have chosen not to provide the source code doesn't negate the legality of the document.
It's a license, people, created to protect rights. This clause in the GPL is important for making sure that the cost of sharing is distributed appropriately. Consider the following example. Project X is an open source software application which is extremely popular and maintained by a small community of developers. These developers not only volunteer their time, but their personal funds to provide the bandwidth for everyone to download the binaries and the source code for their project.
Now Project Y comes along and repackages and adds on to Project X's software without modifying the original source code, like MEPIS in the article. But instead of supplying the source code on their site, they point users to Project X's source code download. When Project Y becomes popular, now the developers on Project X are faced with supporting source code downloads for Project X and Project Y.
Placeholder for publishing a version of my dissertation manuscript.
Ars Technica notes that Richard Stallman is now withdrawing his support for Creative Commons licensing, complaining that people "lump" all of the licenses together in their understanding of them. This is rather ironic given that the GPL v3 will deny anyone's right to modify the software for use with DRM. So much for "free" as in freedom when it comes to the GPL. One of the main principles of free software is that the programmer must have "the freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements to the public, so that the whole community benefits." Someone please tell me how prohibiting the implementation of DRM does not restrict that freedom? I just don't see how the FSF can call this a free software license.