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The Inversion of the Open Source - Big Corporation Divide?

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I notice that since day one on GPL'ed Open source. If wonder if they explain GPL like this:

"You will be doing all the development and support, and will I use your software for free and make a profit without paying you anything."

That is basically the deal with opensource, except that in some cases you can get other people to volunteer into improving the software. You work for big companies, but you don't notice it and don't get paid for doing so.

On top of that companies like Apple can get away of using the open source and closing the platform by abusing the DRM act. Code that is not signed by them, do not run. And you need to A. buy overpriced hardware from apple. B. Pay $99 a year for entering the club. C. Receive apples blessing for your application. D. Give apple a cut of everything you make.  All while Apple gets the software for free.

Unfortunately, it seem that this will become the norm.

I think that releasing "some" of their software for free and open source, they gain some benefits(naturally)

-Makes big corporations look friendly
-Looks good in the news
-They show their intellectual power(to other corporations)
-They release a product without real support and warranty worries, but if someone wants support, they probably pay to get it
-More people use their software, which makes them gain ground. Especially if they can get more developers
-Community contributions which means that some of the developement will be shifted to dedicated unpoaid community developers and fanboy developers

In the end I think that it is incredibly benefitial for Corps to release their software for free or even open source. I would not be surprised if MS would start making a free version of Windows, now that whoever has more browser users seems to make big desicions in web technology.

I actually have a good example, think about Iphone from Apple. They released it and alot people bought it including alot of developers who wanted to make money from Iphone. I bet the number of developers who wanted to develop something on Iphone would be thousands of thousands people, not that everyone developes but you get the picture. So Apple not just makes money out of selling Iphones, it also creates a platform where it gives developers hope to make money. Well probably only %2 of those developers probably could get their invetsment back. Anyways you get the picture on thate example. The same thing can be said for open source. For example Google wave platform or other opensource web technologies. They first gain ground by making it developers only and slowly they make their number up. So the way I see is that open sourcing is a way to create buzz, build some ground, make money by making real products on top of those open sourced apps or OSes like Google phone and browser stuff.

I find it kind of amusing how the phrase "open source" got co-opted by people who are fundamentally opposed to the notion of open anything.

Put it right up there with other "made meaningless" words like: green, organic and free.

I remember in the early days of FOSS how there were some very serious discussions about possibly trademarking the term in order to prevent it from being abused by businesses and individuals who were looking to pull a bait & switch move, or otherwise get around the 'give back' part of the deal.

Interestingly enough, the overwhelming majority opposed anything because they felt people should be free to interpret "open source" any way they wanted - and truly believed nobody would be so stupid as not to know when the term was being misused.

Considering the number of bizarre notions so many people seem to have about GPL, I think I can say in retrospect - Boy were we ever wrong!  ;D

Please don't see the GPL as a product from the open source movement.

It's true that open source is easily exploited, many of it's inventors were in it for the cash.

But please keep the GPL out of that argument.

The GPL is the product of the Free Software movement, which is a completely different thing.
Richard Stallman (Founder) has to re-iterate this in almost every interview and talk he gives.

Free Software does not equal Open Source.

Note that I'm not talking about who benefits from *using* Open Source software -- I'm talking about which developers benefit from releasing their software as Open Source.-mouser (July 29, 2010, 07:02 AM)
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That depends on the software, doesn't it? A single freeware-type app in 2010 probably isn't going to make a splash like it could have in 2002. As others have noted, the term "open source" has been co-opted by many industries. The biggest example -- beyond Firefox, the Apache web server, and the MySQL database format -- is Linux, and more specifically, Red Hat. However, something big that is shared can make you a lotto winner, e.g., Wikipedia, MySQL, Innobase, and an endless list of industry-specific software bought out by such industries as airlines, autos, oil, healthcare, banking, travel, real estate, mapping, etc.

But writing software is the skill, and it's not the first "open" skill around:
- Carpentry
- Math
- Cooking
- Farming
- Repair (of just about anything)
- Fashion, sewing, weaving, etc.

Writing code is just another trade just like others.

A giant corporation like google can afford to open source most of its software because it's not the software that's valuable any more -- it's the company infrastructure that enables them to serve so many users, and the cross-marketing resources they can throw at the userbase any time it looks like they might be losing market share.  Open sourcing their software is merely a way to get more free publicity and free bug fixing for their code.-mouser (July 29, 2010, 07:02 AM)
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As Jaden says, Amazon's S3 service is available, as does Google, but then that begs the question in a way!

Meanwhile with the focus on online web services, for a indie coders without the money to compete with a large corporation, the paths forward are daunting. If you create something new and innovative, unlike the case with desktop software, you have to know that you won't be able to scale up the service to handle a large volume of users.-mouser (July 29, 2010, 07:02 AM)
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At least that's the hope; figuring out what to do with success, that is. I realize I'm out of my league here when talking about coding and its economics. Looking back, it's easy to see where computing was heading -- the web -- with increasing demands for smaller and more mobile hardware. From desktops to laptops to notebooks to netbooks to phones and now tablets, we all just want to have the internet at hand all the time. As a consumer of code, I recommend working in small groups, learn to take advantage of all the open code available to come up with your next great idea... Dick Tracy internet wristwatch, anyone?!


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