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If open source has won, then where do we go from here?Matthew Aslett, May 28, 2009 @ 1:12 pm ET
My three-year-old son is currently obsessed with winning. Whether it is walking up the stairs or cleaning his teeth he has to be declared the winner. The interesting thing is, he doesn’t mind not actually being the first up the stairs just as long as he is acknowledged to have “won”.
I mention this because there has been a spate of declarations of victory regarding open source in recent weeks.
“Open source has won. Open source increasingly finds itself in virtually all software, open source or proprietary,” stated Matt Asay recently, prompting a debate with Savio Rodrigues, as a result of which he conceded that “‘we both won’ (we= the overall software industry, oss or traditional vendors).”
Or as The Economist put it today: “The argument has been won. It is now generally accepted that the future will involve a blend of both proprietary and open-source software.”
A victory or the ultimate failure? That is the question that lies at the heart of the recent tension between those that would seek to defend the purity of the free and open source model, and those happy to see open source assimilated into the mainstream. The tension has been simmering for some time.
Declaring victory for the adoption of software licensing and development methodologies is as futile as declaring victory in the “race” up the stairs. Winning isn’t the important thing, it’s what you do when you’ve won that counts.
Now that open source is an industry-wide accepted development and licensing strategy, where does open source go from here? What further benefits can open source deliver to the industry beyond merely “winning”. This is the focus that CAOS Theory will increasingly be turning its attention to, I believe.
Supporters of open source are fond of quoting Mohandas Gandhi: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” Did he happen to say what happened after that?
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