Isn’t it fun when the mainstream press figures out what you have been up to for all these years? The New York Times carried an article today about the “elusive” business model of open source software, focusing on acquisitions like Oracle/Sun/MySQL. The NYT piece in turn prompted this blog post saying that open source is “dead” as a business model.
Just for the record, getting acquired is not a failed business model, nor is it a dead one. Maybe I’ve been in Silicon Valley too long, but getting bought for valuations in excess of those justified by revenue or profit is what we call success out here in the Wild West. In fact, producing a high-quality, low-price alternative to an existing product, and being bought by the existing product’s owner, is an old and proven game. It doesn’t matter whether the alternative is open source software or just a better mousetrap.
Anyway, I love any prediction that open source is dead. The last time someone said that to me, it was 2002.
The open source Java clustering and cacheing software company has announced the acquisition of Quartz, open source (Apache 2.0) scheduling software.
The Obama administration recently switched whitehouse.gov to the Drupal platform. This article discusses the administration’s interest in open source.
Microsoft released Version 4.0 under an Apache 2.0 license. The .NET Micro Framework is a “development and execution environment for resource-constrained devices.” .NET is a generalized development system (including standard libraries) for Microsoft platforms, and resource-constrained devices mostly means embedded systems or single-purpose devices like cable boxes, medical devices or kiosks. The .NET Micro Framework enables development of .NET applications on these devices.
TCP/IP stack and cryptography stack were omitted from the open source release. The TCP/IP stack was third party software not available for open source release, and the cryptography stack was described as replaceable.
Microsoft announced that a Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool contained GPLv2 code. The code was introduced by a contract developer and was apparently not caught by Microsoft prior to release. Accordingly, Microsoft re-released the tool under GPLv2.
Let’s see if anyone in the free software community acknowledges Microsoft’s good faith in resonding to this, particularly after Brad Kuhn’s posting this week urging giving GPL violators the benefit of the doubt.