Open source has become big business, suggests an article in the Investors Business Daily, but it has done so by becoming more like the proprietary-software world it purports to leave behind.
The article cites recent research from IDC indicating that CIOs allocated up to 24 percent of their budgets to open-source software in 2008, up from 10 percent in 2007--a finding that jibes with. This open-source growth is propelling Red Hat to grow "at two to three times the rate of the broader software industry over a multiyear horizon," .
Red Hat is an example of "free done right," following analysis from TechDirt. We've moved beyond the business models that insist that every line of software be open source: they couldn't scale and tended to treat openness as an end in and of itself, rather than as a means to an end.
Today, if you look at the most successful open-source businesses, none of them pass the ideologues' unrealistic and counterproductive "100-percent freedom" litmus test. Not a single one of them.
And that's OK. Google does a on the Open Source Initiative's osi-discuss mailing list. Google's open-source program manager, Chris DiBona, responded:, yet took a beating last week for not being open source "enough"
Yes, I can see how people would think that Android and Chrome aren't 'real' open source. *rolls eyes* Damn foolish assertion, if you ask me.
DiBona is right to refuse to be goaded into a walk down an inaccurate and ill-conceived open-source memory lane. That "give-away-the-software-and-sell-support" model was always doomed to scale poorly and consign its adherents to minimal relevance to the wider software market.
Fortunately, the software industry has been embracing a broader definition for "open-source business" that includes many different ways to contribute to and profit from this interesting development and distribution model.
Those who persist in trying to shove the genie back into a crippled container are doomed to fail.
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