The best defense is a good offense

Is there some way for the open-source community to preempt the threats made against it?

Who knew squirrels could be so smart? Apparently, California squirrels are fed up with rattlesnakes and so do what each of us would do under similar circumstances:

Heat up our tails and shake them vigorously at the snakes.

But apparently it isn't just a reflex, because they only do it with rattlesnakes.

Confronted by gopher snakes, which can't sense heat, the squirrels wave their tails vigorously, but don't bother to heat them up.

It makes me wonder why we don't do the same to Microsoft and other would-be predators on open source.

Seriously, the open source business and development community has been sitting around for years now waiting for SCO to spontaneously combust (which it finally did), then Microsoft to wage its inane patent war, etc. This is like that Dr. Suess waiting place in Oh the Places You'll Go!, where people are just...

Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or waiting around for a Yes or a No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.

I'm not advocating that the open-source community launch a preemptive attack. I don't generally believe in those. But nor am I one to sit around waiting while people cast aspersions on things that I hold dear.

In short, I'd like to threaten the snakes. I'm just not sure what to do. What do you think?

Tech Culture
About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.


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