Open Tech Today - Top Stories

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Dumping on Open Source

Sitting here in Bangkok at a Regional Conference on Open Standards organized by Thailand's national IT agency, NECTEC, I was struck by two statements made by a senior executive from a major, global IT company:

"Open source is neither necessary nor required for open standards."

"Open source simply is a development methodology and a business model."

It makes me think that too many companies have a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hype approach to open source software, open standards and everything else open. Everyone loves to be "open," but hates the idea of someone else using "open" to compete with them. So . . . my "open" is good but yours is not.

What's driving this? Control. Companies cannot control open source. Often they can have significant control over open standards through their participation in standard organizations and the hundreds of meetings at which a standard is developed (many only open to those who pay to play). You want a seat at some standards bodies, great . . . for $1 million you get a seat, plus the cost of attending all those meetings. When one of those companies says (as it did just now), "Open standards is in our DNA," does that give you comfort?

So, back to those quotes - who do you think said it?


No. Guess again . . .