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An open-source misstep at IBM?

There's a minor brouhaha brewing in a remote corner of IBM land over the company's alleged mislabeling of a product as "open source."

TechTarget and vnunet report on how IBM angered iSeries customers by making a once free and supposedly open-source tool proprietary. IBM now says that a mix-up was behind the mislabeling and it will make good with its iSeries customers, according to the vnunet article.

But Illuminata analyst Jonathan Eunice doesn't let IBM off easy.

"If companies can claim that X is Open Source, enjoy the marketing and user acceptance benefits thereof, then later withdraw the Open Source label and re-assert proprietary control, that eviscerates the protections that Open Source is supposed to provide," Eunice writes in his blog.

Nobody's questioning the massive contributions IBM makes to open source. But it goes to show how the open-source label can give and take away.