Changelog Interviews Changelog Interviews #558

Open source is at a crossroads

This week we’re joined by Steve O’Grady, Principal Analyst & Co-founder at RedMonk. The topic today is the definition of open source, the constant pressure on the true definition of the term, and the seemingly small but vocal minority that aim to protect that definition. In Steve’s post Why Open Source Matters, he says “open source is at a crossroads” and there are some seeking to break the definition of open source to one that is more permissive to their desires, and they are closer than ever to achieving that goal. Today’s conversation goes deep on this subject.


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2023-09-23T20:38:51Z ago

You guys managed to get through the entire conversation without once mentioning the elephant in the room which is that Open Source was invented to be a business friendly alternative to the GPL.

You kept talking about the spirit of open source but being able to fork without giving back, relicense etc IS the spirit of open source. Free/Libre licenses don’t allow you to “exploit” the developers and the source like this and if you really want to prevent this sort of behavior the obvious answer is to relicense under the GPL.

As an aside I remember when you had the lawyer who had helped create business source license on your show and she said the license was created carefully to make sure it met the terms of the OSI standards but the OSI rejected it anyway because the community didn’t want it. It’s interesting to reflect on that podcast or maybe have her back on.

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