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[News] Debate Over "Open Core" Heats Up

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Open Source, free or not free?

,----[ Quote ]
| To be or not to be, free. That is the 
| question. Well the answer is not 42. Or 
| maybe it is. Forty two is the answer to life 
| according to Arthur Dent yet he didn't know 
| the question. The question is probably too 
| big for us to understand or even ask so I 
| guess we will never know. Perhaps one day at 
| the restaurant doing some pasta equations 
| while watching the end of the universe we 
| will know but until then.....
| [...]
| The meaning of the word free in the Open 
| Source context is freedom (who doesn't have 
| Mel Gibson shouting that in their heads 
| right now :). What freedom though? Freedom 
| to devalue the hard work of companies and 
| programmers trying to make a simple living? 
| No! Open Source freedom is freedom of 
| knowledge. Freedom to understand and freedom 
| to learn. Advocates of Open Source are free 
| to freely share their knowledge and freely 
| learn from others.


Afraid of open core lock-in? The alternative could be worse


Open Core Debate: Avoiding the Law of Unintended Consequences

,----[ Quote ]
| In the interest of transparency, I work with 
| over twenty open source companies, most of 
| who were funded by venture capitalists and 
| the vast majority of which use the âopen 
| coreâ model. These companies have provided 
| significant value to end users through the 
| software licensed under open source 
| licenses. Simon states: âBut to use the 
| package effectively in production, a 
| business probably wonât find the functions 
| of the core package sufficient, even in the 
| (usual) case of the core package being 
| highly capable.â This statement is simply 
| incorrect. I have sat through many Board 
| meetings and, in fact, the conversion rate 
| from âopen sourceâ to âcommercialâ licenses 
| is generally less than 10% for these 
| companies. Thus, more than nine out of ten 
| end users find the functionality of the open 
| source version satisfactory.
| Simon says that open core does not provide 
| software freedom for âend usersâ. Yet, 
| nothing prevents the end users of the open 
| source version to modify it and distribute 
| it or otherwise exercise the rights under 
| the license. In fact, Compiere demonstrates 
| the fallacy of this position because it 
| created two different forks. Simon complains 
| about the lack of access to the âcommercial 
| extensionsâ of open core programs.


Open core is not a crime

,----[ Quote ]
| Simon Phipps has articulated why this 
| strategy does not meet the approval of 
| software freedom advocates, but in doing so, 
| in my opinion, mischaracterises the 
| relationship between open core vendors and 
| open source.


Open Core and OSI

,----[ Quote ]
| Is Mark suggesting that OSI intended to 
| facilitate less freedom for the code and end 
| users than the GPL offers, that this was an 
| OSI goal, that "software freedom for the 
| software user" isn't and never was an OSI 
| goal? Does freedom mean only the right to 
| fork the code? If so, I'd like OSI to say so 
| clearly and on the record. If so, it might 
| provide insight into why OSI is struggling 
| and provide indisputable proof that they 
| were foundationally wrong. I hope they'll 
| weigh in on this debate and plant their 
| flag, because if that is what OSI stands 
| for, maybe it's time to let them float out 
| into outer space without the community, thus 
| making it clear there really is no 
| connection between the real FOSS community 
| and OSI any more.
| If that is not what OSI stands for, I'd like 
| to hear them say so. I hope it isn't. But 
| the community wants to know where they 
| stand, and for what.
| For myself, I believe that OSI, in order to 
| be relevant, needs to reinvent itself and 
| restructure to represent the entire 
| community with its license list and its 
| definition. Enough with the old divisions 
| and the debates. The community needs to face 
| the world more unitedly now, as a broad 
| spectrum, including those who had the 
| foresight to realize that VC guys and 
| proprietary types would be coming along 
| someday and would try to close down the 
| freedom of the code and the freedoms of 
| those using it just to make a buck. 

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