Does open source need to be “organic”?

Sparse notes from the talk, I noticed Sheeri recording some video, so sitting through that at some stage might make sense. There were no slides, this was a panel discussion. Suggested reading: Organic vs. Non-organic Open Source.

Does Open Source need to be “Organic”?
Brian Aker, Rob Lanphier, Stephen O’Grady, Theodore Ts’o

Taking code, and slapping a certain license on it, doesn’t a successful software project make.

Blurring the distinction, by marketing. Not doing any work to get external contributions.

Open sourcing a product one plans on “genociding”, its really bad.

“Corporate sociopathic Druckerism” — Brian Aker

“As long as the source code is open, let the market decide. MySQL is largely inorganic, and its a success. Much of it comes down to choice.” — Stephen O’Grady

Mark Shuttleworth has pushed the idea that forking is OK. Look at Launchpad: take a project, fork the project, make your change, and you can publish your tree that people can use. The wonders of distributed version control.

Its up to a company to decide if they want an organic or an inorganic project. Its your code, do what you want with it. In the future, an organic project may outstrip your inorganic project.

Netscape: inorganic piece of open source (with Mozilla). Firefox: forked the code, turned it into an organic model, then there was success.

Is Firefox really the best example? Look at what it did for Netscape Corporation or AOL? This won’t work well with the Pointy Haired Boss.

What was your goal of releasing the product under an open source license? If marketing buzz, then you make lots of PR, etc… then go home. If your goal is wanting to cut your development cost, you’re going to be disappointed with an organic model. If your goal is ubiquity, you aim for an organic model.

Commit access actually means you’re a worker bee. It doesn’t mean a free wheel to push features, it means you’re the garbage man – you collect everything, you sort everything, and so on. Let’s rethink what it means to have commit access.

Related posts:

  1. Free and Open Source Software: Use and Production by the Brazilian Government
  2. Malaysian Open Source policy
  3. Open Source Disaster Relief
  4. Politics in the open source world
  5. open source initiative: open for membership

i