Politics

What you can do to help get rid of open core

Much has been said about open core, but with the OSI coming out squarely against it on the one hand, and Rackspace and NASA creating the OpenStack.org project as a "true open source replacement" for Eucalyptus on the other hand, it seems open core is now much less attractive than it was only a week ago. It seems everyone has now learned what open core is and agrees that it is not open source, nor is it good for open source. (And by "everyone" I mean everyone that really are open source advocates, naturally those who directly or indirectly are trying to profit from open core will continue to promote the model for a long time to come.)

The final question that remains to be answered is, if I know about open core and don't like it, what can I do to help prevent its spreading and rather promote the adoption of true open source?

With my personal experience working for MySQL, I've had a few years to collect some ideas, and would like to share them below. Please add your own in the comments and I'll keep updating this post so it can remain a useful reference.

(Last updated Aug 29, 2010.)

My IFCLA banquet note about forking and IPR law

Below is my talk from the International Federation of Computer Law Associations conference banquet that took place in Helsinki last week. (It is post-edited to match what was actually said.)

I have to say I was quite honored to be asked to speak. I was preceded by Finlands Minister of Justice Tuija Brax and later in the evening followed by imho Finlands funniest magician Martti Vannas. The dinner was set in the old stock market building of Helsinki, an exquisite restaurant now. I'm happy to say the talk was well received and many of the lawyers came to thank me afterwards.

Software patents are a bad legacy to leave behind

Glyn Moody has an interesting piece on Why Patents are Like Black Holes where he looks at the situation when a large patent holder goes bankrupt - or is about to. His point is that even if a company otherwise can go out of business cleanly, the patents often remain as a piece of "IPR" that can come back and haunt us like a zombie.

Also Matt Asay recently weighed in on the subject:

Finland to get 100% broadband coverage

Last week Finland voted a law that next summer everyone is entitled to at least 1Mbit broadband connection. Not for free, just that it must be available to 100%, if you are a nation wide service provider.

Considering that Finland is a sparsely populated country, and service providers have in fact been removing cables in the country side. Indeed, the statute allows for some variances in the speed specifically to allow implementations with wireless broadband.

Being pirated will double your sales

We know it's true, now it's been scientifically proven. (At least pending an independent study for confirmation?) When a book gets onto p2p networks, there is a sales peak, not a decline:

Brian O'Leary, founder of publishing consultancy Magellan Media, measured the impact of peer-to-peer piracy on titles published by the US house O'Reilly for 71 weeks. At today's Tools of Change conference in Frankfurt, the first in Europe, he revealed that while non-pirated books (both print and e-books) showed a "trending decline" after an initial sales peak, the sample titles saw a second peak at the onset of piracy. From week 19, which is on average when titles began to be pirated, to week 23, which was the average second peak, sales rose 90%.

Swedish Pirate Party takes seat in Europarl!

"Rick Falkvinge: Today is a good day for epic winnage.11 hours ago" (Facebook status of the Chairman of Swedish Pirate Party.)

The Swedish Pirate Party (the first of the many national Pirate Parties popping up) wins it's first seat (bordering on two, some votes still left to count) in the European Parliament tonight, with 7+ %. In percentages they drive right past 3 long time established parties from the Swedish national parliament.

This is a historical moment in the turns of copyright and even civil liberties movements. I've personally for years supported the EFFish approach (and member of the Finnish equivalent EFFI) of lobbying all political parties with rational arguments about how good copyright, patents and civil liberties legislation will benefit the economy and society in general. Maybe we have achieved something there, who knows how the world would look like without the EFF. I'm still a supporter of the basic principle of copyright, after all, Open Source licenses like the GPL actually rely on it.

The current and future of Free Culture... or whatever you may want to call it.

While everyone else is doing predictions for 2009, I want to do something different and look about 10 years forwards and backwards: ie. finish my trilogy into the past and future of Open Source and Open Other Things - let's call it Free Culture for this post. The first part and the spark to this trilogy was Nokia acquiring Symbian followed by Open Source has arrived... where's the money?. So let's complete the circle and look at how Openness is doing outside the world of software...

"The Arts"

Open Source has arrived... where's the money?

Uh oh. It seems my blog posting frequency is dropping even below my modest minimum target of one per month. I didn't post anything at all in my summer vacation. Well, a small child plus a house to re-decorate does take its share of energy I guess.

I thought I'd still follow up with were we left before holidays:

What I'm left with is the question: Are we there? Is this it? Is all that is left just some minor cleaning up after the big battle has already been won? I think it might be. For me, somehow the day I read the news of the release of Symbian as Open Source marks the milestone when it was clear that we had "won". [...]

Bruce Perens needs your help in re-joining the OSI board

Bruce Perens has nominated himself to become a board member of the Open Source Initiative. To get there, the OSI board (which elects its own members) has said he needs to show he has support in the Open Source community. If you want to show Bruce your support, you can do it here: https://techp.org/p/7

Direct Democracy - My presentation in Nottingham

Heyhey... after a year of hard office work, it's like the good old times again: my blog seems to contain mostly notes of various conferences I've been to :-) (By the way, I also had an interesting trip to Dublin last week, maybe I'll write about that later.)

On Wednesday night I'm off to Notthingam, where I'm attending a seminar titled "The political economy of peer production" organised by the Nottingham Trent University. Excited as I am I became a bit grandiose and chose as my subject the introduction of a system of direct democracy. In other words, I've been thinking I should replace all the current democratic governments we have.

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