Go ahead, fight open!
cmw.osdude 120000QT77 Visits (3402)
Shuttleworth: Oracle dooms its prospects in open source business." Oracle has made some interesting choices as the new stewards-- yes stewards! -- of the open-source projects they received with Sun. Another, "Jailbreakers Smell Trouble in New Apple Security Patent," speculates about how some of the new patents that Apple has filed may have more to do with giving them a way to catch iPhone jailbreakers than enhanced user security.
It will be interesting to see how all of this plays out. What I see is an increased interest by many technology consumers in openness. Just as the era of the PC created a world which was unfettered from the rule of the system administrator the next age of computing will allow a tech-savvy user to have more freedom and flexibility with their equipment... provided that they are permitted. We are going to discover soon how much of your technology that you actually own. Imagine if you bought a car but were not permitted to outfit it with whatever enhancements that you desired to go faster, be safer or just look funky. Imagine being prohibited from cannibalizing your old electronics or motor parts to create your own toys, tools and inventions. I can see voiding the warranty and refusing to support a device which had been altered... but surely when I pay that much money for a piece of hardware I should be able to tinker with it. I'm hoping that the response to these sorts of things will be for consumers to go to technologies where they are not subject to such controls. We'll see. Likewise, if Oracle continues to tighten their grip on their open-source projects I hope that many do what has happened in the past when an open-source project has started to turn away from its community responsibilities: they'll turn to another option which is still open.
I agree that these companies are well within their rights to protect their property. However, if your need for protection exceeds the desire of the consumer to put up with your restrictions they will go elsewhere. Like I said... I can't wait to see what happens next.
On the other hand, there are a couple of interesting looks at where openness is blossoming. Here is an article, "What would persuade you to ditch Windows for Ubuntu 10.04?," which says what I've said for some time: Linux is ready for you if you want it. It's a nice description of the things that Ubuntu has done to make themselves friendly enough to by my choice as a daily work environment as well as the choice for people I have helped migrate from Windows to Linux. It's all just going to get better and better.
Finally, there is movement in an area where you would expect openness to be unwelcome: the military. I've seen a few articles lately about how the military is finding advantages to open-source tools. Do a little searching and you'll find them easily. This makes sense to me. Most of the guys I have met who are truly dangerous don't wish for a lot of fancy James Bond gadgets if they get into trouble. They just want a nice sharp pencil. I think that soldiers are discovering that there is an advantage to having transparency to the technology that they use when lives are on the line. It will be interesting to see where all that goes as well.
Enough for now. I wish I had a great tag line to leave you with... but I don't.