Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Nokia and open source

Nokia makes some  big news announcement

Ok, so they made an announcement they are buying a controlling percent of Symbian, and will be putting it under an open source license. Specifically the Eclipse Public License (EPL).

What remains to be seen is just how much source will be released as open. The EPL  is very generous to proprietary interests. Allowing contributors to relicense their derived works. Which means, "it" won't stay open source. If it is anything like their Maemo offering, it won't be much. Just enough that PR can call it open source. 

Unfortunely, the EPL is not compatible with all the GPL and LGPL works out there, so not very many of the thousands of really great applications for Linux will be available for this. Unless, of course, an application can be relicensed and uses Qt, which will surely be licensed to allow development on this new EPL Symbian.

As with Nokia news lately, I feel it is generally good and it is great to see such a huge company try and be a better 'citizen'.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Big business needs to learn open source

There are certain open source rules businesses need to obey. 

Most of them I learned in kindergarden, "Share everything. Play fair. Don't hit people. Put things back where you found them. Clean up your own mess. Don't take things that aren't yours. Say you are sorry when you hurt somebody."

Open Source and the GPL put power and more rights into the hands of users than proprietary software. Such things as DRM, and IPR take rights away from the people, the users.  Richard Stallman sought to empower users and take power back from the establishment that so often abuses it's power and doesn't play fair like a good citizen. This is what open source is about.

To Big Businesses that use open source, you cannot be part of the solution, if you are part of the problem. You cannot move beyond old business models if you are standing still. 

I dare you to take not small steps, but giant leaps forward to bring back power to the users of your software,  hardware and services.