Cultural Changes Key to Reducing Barriers to Open Source Software

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| Several large companies whose software is in heavy use in DOD advocate a
| shared source code model in which people can view the source code but not
| change it. This shared source code approach has some problems, though. By
| sharing source code with organizations, the users have the ability to find
| flaws in the software. However, because they are not able to fix code
| security flaws, unscrupulous organizations may use access to source code to
| develop software that exploits the bugs. This shared source code approach
| potentially contributes to the rise in zero-day exploits in a number of
| commercial products. The best approach for truly secure systems is
| transparency--release the software as open source because security by
| obscurity rarely works well.

Microsoft only causes damage to 'open source'.

Is Open Access Devaluing Open Source?

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| When you look at the earlier period of this blog, I talked a lot about Open
| Source issues but I've largely stopped. Why? Because I seem to be more
| articulate about social media. But why not Open Source social media?
| This made me take a look at what I'm using right now and why. I came to the
| conclusion that there is both a perceptual and an actual channel of openness
| in software.


Using open source as a marketing ploy

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| This is typical trend riding fluff. If you go the Aras website you
| read about "Microsoft Enterprise Open Source Solutions", which is
| comical in and of itself.

A New Evangelist for Microsoft

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| When I first heard about this? let's call it "rumor," I have to admit
| that I was rather shocked at the very prospect of Microsoft wanting
| to bring on an "open source" evangelist into their ranks.

Microsoft's newest Halloween documents

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| * * * Microsoft is trying to look like it's all about interoperability
| * * through futile projects like Mono, Moonlight, and patent agreements with
| * * Novell and also-ran Linux vendors. But these deals are really nothing
| * * more than a way to tax open-source innovation to ensure open source is
| * * hobbled by Microsoft's fees. * *
| And so on. Microsoft is much more open about its intentions vis-a-vis open
| source. That doesn't mean it's any more supportive of open source. It just
| means that it's getting easier to glean from public documents how the company
| feels about open source. *
| We don't need Halloween Documents to read the tea leaves on Microsoft and
| open source. We just need to pay attention to what the company is doing. In
| the open. On an increasing basis. *

Halloween XII: What’s really behind those Microsoft licenses?

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| Given the OSI’s stated desire to reduce the number of open source licenses,
| not increase them, I asked the OSI board why they had approved it. “We won’t
| approve licenses that are too similar to existing licenses”, board member
| Russ Nelson responded in an email. However he praised the licenses for being
| simply written, for addressing trademarks and patents, and for not naming a
| specific jurisdiction. * *
| Is that enough to differentiate them? Not according to Greg Stein of the
| Apache Foundation, who is opposed to the creation and use of new licenses
| when existing, popular licenses already do the job. “License proliferation,”
| he writes, “slows development and discourages usage by making it more
| difficult to combine and remix code.” * *

OSI email group gets catty over Microsoft's Permissive License request

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| Things got really interesting when Chris DiBona, longtime OSI member, open
| source advocate, and open source programs manager for Google, Inc. chimed in:
| I would like to ask what might be perceived as a diversion and maybe even
| a mean spirited one. Does this submission to the OSI mean that Microsoft
| will:
| a) Stop using the market confusing term Shared Source
| b) Not place these licenses and the other, clearly non-free , non-osd
| licenses in the same place thus muddying the market further.
| c) Continue its path of spreading misinformation about the nature of
| open source software, especially that licensed under the GPL?
| d) Stop threatening with patents and oem pricing manipulation schemes
| to deter the use of open source software?
| If not, why should the OSI approve of your efforts? That of a company who
| has called those who use the licenses that OSI purports to defend a
| communist or a cancer? Why should we see this seeking of approval as
| anything but yet another attack in the guise of friendliness?

Merging "Open Source" and "Free Software"

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| Of course, they are not. Other Shared Source licenses may very well be too
| restrictive to be considered Open Source. But, Microsoft may conveniently
| divert the attention from this little detail to the fact that some of
| Shared Source licenses are Open Source.

Microsoft not so 'open' after all?

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| Head of open-source group says more than half of licenses don't pass muster
| [...]
| Michael Tiemann, president of the non-profit Open Source Initiative, said
| that provisions in three out of five of Microsoft's shared-source licenses
| that restrict source code to running only on the Windows operating system
| would contravene a fundamental tenet of open-source licenses as laid out by
| the OSI. By those rules, code must be free for anyone to view, use, modify as
| they see fit.
| [...]
| By his count, the OSI has rejected "two dozen" or so license applications for
| language that restricted the use or redistribution of software and its source
| code, even when the restrictions were written with what Tiemann
| called "moral" intent. For instance, the OSI has rejected license
| applications from Quakers and other pacifists who sought to prevent the use
| of software for weapons such as landmines.
| "I am highly sympathetic to that point of view," he said. "But the OSI is not
| in the business of legislating moral use. We allow all use, commercial or
| non-commercial, mortal or medical."

Is Microsoft Hijacking Open Source?

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| What really worries me is what looks like an emerging pattern in Microsoft's
| behaviour. The EU agreement is perhaps the first fruit of this, but I predict
| it will not be the last. What is happening is that Microsoft is effectively
| being allowed to define the meaning of “open source” as it wishes, not as
| everyone else understands the term. For example, in the pledge quoted above,
| an open source project is “not commercially distributed by its
| participants” - and this is a distinction also made by Kroes and her FAQ.
| In this context, the recent approval of two Microsoft licences as
| officially “open source” is only going to make things worse. Although I felt
| this was the right decision – to have ad hoc rules just because it's
| Microsoft would damage the open source process - I also believe it's going to
| prove a problem. After all, it means that Microsoft can rightfully point to
| its OSI-approved licences as proof that open source and Microsoft no longer
| stand in opposition to each other. This alone is likely to perplex people who
| thought they understood what open source meant.
| [...]
| What we are seeing here are a series of major assaults on different but
| related fields – open source, open file formats and open standards. All are
| directed to one goal: the hijacking of the very concept of openness. If we
| are to stop this inner corrosion, we must point out whenever we see wilful
| misuse and lazy misunderstandings of the term, and we must strive to make the
| real state of affairs quite clear. If we don't, then core concepts like “open
| source” will be massaged, kneaded and pummelled into uselessness.