I read “Top 10 FOSS Legal Developments of 2014.” A legal eagle generated the listicle. Despite my skepticism for birds of this feather, the list has some good news and—well, to put it positively—news for the open source movement.
The good news is that folks from courts to government agencies are paying attention to free and open source software. The “news” news is that use of open source “by commercial companies expands.” The write up states:
We have discussed in the past how many large companies are using FOSS as an explicit strategy to build their software. Jim Zemlin, Executive Director of the Linux Foundation, has described this strategic use of FOSS as external “research and development.” His conclusions are supported by Gartner who noted that “the top tech companies are still spending tens of billions of dollars on software research and development, the smart ones are leveraging open source for 80 percent of the code and spending their money on the remaining 20 percent, which represents their program’s ‘special sauce.’” The scope of this trend was emphasized by Microsoft’s announcement that it was “open sourcing” the .NET software framework (this software is used by millions of developers to build and operate websites and other large online applications).
The other item of “news” news is that the dust up with regard to Google and Java for Android continues. Who wants to risk a similar patent action? The answer to that question will help inform your assessment of the “news”.
I interpreted the information to suggest that open source is increasingly commercial. Good news or just news?
Stephen E Arnold, January 14, 2015
Phi Beta Iota: FLOSS went mainstream in 2014 but Reddit and O’Reilly are missing the boat — what is needed is an “all in” commitment across ALL the opens (cloud, data, hardware, software, spectrum, standards, among others), along with a wide-spread examination of the tri-fecta being put forward by Robert David Steele: holistic analytics, true cost economics, and open source everything engineering (especially in the farming, small business, and local government arenas). Still missing — and best documented by Micah Sifry — is the open source public empowerment toolkit including all eighteen CATALYST functionalities as an integrated open source activist tool-kit.