I really like open source, it gives clients comfort, developers solid foundations and end users never need to know about it. Why should they care!
Today, being the thick headed person that I am, I realise in my gut, what it actually means to companies. And this may be the biggest blow to the adoption of opensource.
To companies it means they no longer have a hold on things, no longer have ownership. To me, that’s a good thing, but to them I can see it would be scary.
Let me explain.
This morning I see an item on Slashdot (if you need a link, you just aren’t ready to read on!)
reading that, I realise, ‘software wants to be free’ is not just about being able to use ‘free software’ anywhere, it means the software itself is not tied to any company to develop it. The news of this team of developers jumping wholesale from one company to another AND TAKING THE PRODUCT WITH THEM is a sobering example of what this means. Companies do not ‘own’ the opensource projects they foster, they are mearly the custodian, and this custodianship is contingent entirely on them stepping up and being good citizens. That cannot translate to the balance sheet and the earnings call. I can see how, in the shareholder culture, opensource could be a very dangerous and difficult sell.
Finally, will MYSQL follow? Or, should the question be, when will it follow?