Irreconcilable conflict between $ and Open Source ?!


From the ‘FUD watch‘ files:

I’m always on the lookout for open source FUD. Today I came across an interesting piece today titled, “Legal Climate for Open-Source Users Changes With Litigation and License
Revisions, Wolf Greenfield Lawyer Writes in IP Law & Business
”  No that’s not the FUD part as there is little doubt that the GPL 3 and the recent activities of the Software Freedom Law Center in defense of GPL have raised the profile of GPL enforcement.

The SFLC lawsuits have also had the unfortunate side effect of providing some FUD fodder too, if the Wolf Greenfield lawyer comments are an indication.

“The {SFLC} lawsuits represent ‘muscle-flexing’ by the free-software community and,
taken together with changes in open source license terms, may foreshadow new
risks in the irreconcilable conflict between open-source software and its
widespread use by for-profit companies,” Edmund J. Walsh of the Boston IP law firm Wolf, Greenfield & Sacks, P.C.,
writes in the April issue of IP Law & Business


Let’s repeat the salient point here – “..the irreconcilable conflict between open source software and its widespread use by for-profit companies.”

I guess this particular attorney has never heard of Red Hat (aiming for $1 billion in revenue), Oracle (runs its own infrastructure on open source software), Cisco (world’s largest networking vendor that is now backing Linux) and many other for profit vendors that all have somehow RECONCILED open source and profit.

The notion that open source somehow is an inhibitor to making a profit hearkens back to the earliest days of open source when it was a concept that was poorly understood and not well adopted by enterprises. It’s 2008 now and open source is a vehicle for innovation and profit.

The actions of the SFLC in my honest opinion are the necessary actions of a legal group to defend the rights of developers, pure and simple. If you use code licensed under terms of a license (any license) than you’re bound by the terms of the license. It’s not about open or closed source. It’s about the legal license and it’s a shame that some just don’t get it.

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