Commercial Open Source

April 18, 2016 opensource 2 min read

@kfogel writes on IEEE Software Blog about Dissecting The Myth That Open Source Software Is Not Commercial:

In mainstream journalism, open source is still almost always portrayed as a spare-time activity pursued by irrepressible programmers who band together for the love of coding and for the satisfaction they get from releasing free tools to the world…Surprisingly, this portrayal is widespread within the software industry too, and in tech journalism.

I’m amazed at how pervasive the myths of open source are in the industry. @benbalter gives a slightly more colorful version of this myth: “Use the term ‘open source’ in government, especially around those that wear a suit on a daily basis, and you might conjure up images of hippies with tie-dyed laptops passing around source code like they might pass around an illicit substance.”

@kfogel continues:

For a long time now, a great deal of widely-used open source software has been written by salaried developers who are paid specifically for their work on that software, and usually paid by for-profit companies.

…I think people also want to believe in a semi-secret worldwide army of happy paladins acting for the good of humanity. It would be so comforting to know they’re out there. But what’s actually going on with open source is much more complex and more interesting, and is firmly connected to commerce.

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avatar of Brandon Keepers I am Brandon Keepers, and I work at GitHub on making Open Source more approachable, effective, and ubiquitous. I tend to think like an engineer, work like an artist, dream like an astronaut, love like a human, and sleep like a baby.