Rehost and Carry On, Redux

A key value of open source is the ability to switch to a different supplier if your first becomes unavailable or unattractive. Forgerock is apparently withdrawing that value, on which it relied itself for its inception.

Swords

After leaving Sun I was pleased that a group of former employees and partners chose to start a new company. Their idea was to pick up the Sun identity management software Oracle was abandoning and continue to sustain and evolve it. Open source made this possible. Continue reading

Free vs Open

It’s been almost 20 years, but people are still arguing over “open source” and “free software”. Here’s why it’s the wrong argument.

Open hand, free bird

The term “Open Source” in the context of software was coined in 1998 by a group of experienced software freedom advocates frustrated by the challenges of helping corporations adopt Free Software. As the movement has energetically grown over the ensuing decades, it has been repeatedly necessary to remind people that framing it as a methodology is a construct chosen nearly 20 years ago to help cultivate executive acceptance and business promotion of software freedom. The frame is necessarily not the entire story, no matter how often newly-woke geeks may assert it should be and how evil it is not to say “Free Software”. Open Source is inescapably a part of the culture, philosophy and ethical construct that is software freedom, not an alternative to it. Continue reading

Growing The Community

How can you grow an open source community? Two blog posts from The Document Foundation (TDF) illustrate a proven double-ended strategy to sustain an existing community.                                                                                                            Spanish

Fern Fiddlehead

Since it was established in 2010, the LibreOffice project has steadily grown under the guidance of The Document Foundation (TDF) where I’ve been a volunteer — most lately as a member of its Board. Starting from a complex political situation with a legacy codebase suffering extensive technical debt, TDF has been able to cultivate both individual contributors and company-sponsored contributors and move beyond the issues to stability and effectiveness. Continue reading

Keyloggers: An Interview With HP

Simon spent time on Friday with Mike Nash, HP’s vice president of consumer PCs, to discuss the keylogger that was found in one of their device drivers. Nash was open, honest, accepted responsibility and demonstrated that HP already had the problem addressed despite the researchers who found the issue being less than effective.

The whole incident shows how vulnerable our Windows-dominated approach to IT is however. Stateful desktops delivered in a cut-throat-competitive market are beyond the oversight of any individual and as the Wanacry worm shows malware can spread rapidly using a defect just like this one.

Simon ends by suggesting “Maybe we need to break that problem apart — stateless desktops, open source code, cloud-hosted statefulness — if we’re to avoid disaster.”

Read more over on InfoWorld.

Is The GPL Really Declining?

Is the GNU GPL “dying” or is that just the prejudice of those whose open source exploitation would be hampered by its use?                                                       Italian version 

gpl-phobia_6243461518_o

At the huge FOSDEM developer meetup in Brussels in early February, I attended a panel where speakers discussed whether the use of “permissive” open source licenses like the Apache License is now outstripping use of “viral” licenses, such as the GPL. The discussion was spirited, with advocates associated with the Free Software Foundation pushing back on the assertion the GPL is “dying”.

Continue reading