I'm still sorting through the last bits of my OSCON trip notes, but one striking conversation I had was with Byrne Reese of SixApart about people who violate the end-user licensing of for-pay editions of OSS apps. Do we sic the open source cops on them? I'd like to think not.
The whole thing came about during a discussion of Movable Type's licensing -- something that's become increasingly an issue to them and their users now that they have a fully open source (GPLv2) edition and a professional for-pay version. I asked Byrne what might happen if they found out someone had obtained a copy of the for-pay version and was using it on a fairly high-profile Web site without paying a dime.
"I'd see that more as an opportunity than an obstacle," was the way he put it. In other words, he would have been more inclined to get in touch with them first and work from there, instead of just suing them outright. I thought that sounded like a good idea: why recapitulate the worst excesses of the proprietary software industry when you have a chance to do better? The last thing I would want to see is enforcement of licensing for for-pay editions of OSS through some entity like the BSA.
Keep in mind I'm not talking here about stuff like the lawsuits the Software Freedom Law Center uses to insure that people comply with the GPL (although that's something that could be discussed in parallel with this). I am talking about illegitimate use of the for-pay version of Movable Type that SixApart licenses to you under its own terms.
You could, I guess, use this as an argument that charging money for software at all (as opposed to selling hosting, services, etc.) is immoral, because it creates a situation where piracy is inevitable. I don't take that view. Most of the people who grab Movable Type don't need the professional-level features; that's what 6A is banking on.
In the long run, I hope they're right. I would love to believe that the more open source we use, the less piracy becomes an issue -- and that we're not simply trading one problem for another.
Read my Q&A with Ubuntu's Mark Shuttleworth and a full wrap-up of my trip to the OSCON open source conference here.
German software maker SAP AG expects growth in its U.S. business to slow from the second quarter's 39 percent year-on-year rise, but still remain above 10 percent, a senior company executive said Tuesday.
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Apple And Security: Long Road Still Ahead
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Looking At Open Source CMS Market Share
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Forrester Consulting: Unified Communications Delivers Global Benefits This Forrester Consulting study shows how Unified Communications (UC) makes it simpler to contact others over any device in any location, enhancing business agility, cutting costs, and boosting employee productivity. Forrester finds that UC is already delivering major savings for organizations around the world in retail banking, manufacturing and education. Download the full report for free.
Software as a Service Research Report No longer a niche software delivery model, software as a service (SaaS) can help small and midsize companies get access to enteprise-class software functionality without having to commit enterprise-level capital resources. Download the full report for free.
The Internet & the Developing World The evolution of the Internet has been full of surprises - surprises that have sometimes resulted in radical changes in the commercial landscape, such as the arrival of Amazon, eBay, Google, YouTube, and Skype. Could one of the next big surprises turn out to be linked to developing countries? Read the full report for free from InternetEvolution.com
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Social is a Business ImperativeThe use of social media for a host of business purposes is rising. Indeed, social is quickly moving from cutting edge to business basic. Organizations that have so far ignored social - either because they thought it was a passing fad or just didnít have the resources to properly evaluate potential use cases and products - must start giving it serious consideration.
Social is a Business ImperativeSocial media is critical in the age of digital business. How can IT help? First, work with the marketing team to set up social networking programs on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, at minimum. Then work to put social media sentiment analytics in place to measure success.