Monday Oct 12, 2009

☞ Harmonising Principle and Pragmatism

  • While Matt's point has a certain populist charm, I don't agree with him that software freedom has no place on the business agenda. The key values businesses look for in open source - being able to use it for anything without external controls, having access to skills in an open market, being able to innovate without restriction, being able to share the results with customers, suppliers, government and citizens - all flow from software freedom. Having meaningful markers governments and larger businesses can use in their procurement to favour open source - the software that lowers costs, avoids lock-in and enables unexpected future uses of data and software - is not a matter of angels on pinheads or out-of-touch insiderism. It's exactly what the governments I've been visiting this year are asking for.
  • Good article by John Mark Walker. I tire of this debate too, but the "open core" noise was getting too loud to ignore any more and OSI wasn't doing anything about it. The populist claims by other voices that ethics plays no part in business decisions are wide of the mark. As I wrote in an earlier blog, I believe that software freedom delivers business benefit. Many businesses have used an ethics-based definition - the OSD - as a genetic marker for software that delivers business value. I believe that too many suppliers have learned to game that definition (among them some of the voices denouncing me). Simple policies predicated just on the license no longer deliver and the cost of due diligence for open source solutions to ensure business value is rising. My call for new definitions is a call to repeat the success of the OSD in creating a business value flag from software freedom ethics. A call for transparency, not religion.
  • This is a fascinating site to browse, showing how the land was before New Amsterdam and then New York came to fill every inch. Next time I'm in New York I want to visit this site to find out about the places I'll be visiting. Adding further layers from history (such as the British Headquarters Map) would be great too.
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Thoughts and pointers on digital freedoms and technology markets. With a few photos too.

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