Advertising "open core" software

Mario Torre neugens at limasoftware.net
Wed Apr 14 10:19:44 UTC 2010


Il giorno mer, 14/04/2010 alle 11.24 +0200, Jan Wildeboer ha scritto:
> On 04/14/2010 11:12 AM, Rahul Sundaram wrote:
> 
> > Question was not about what should be allowed.  It was about whether we
> > should be advertising such software in our promo material.
> 
> I don't feel good about delivering marketing for free to companies that 
> do nothing for Fedora besides putting a spec/srpm into the the repos.
> 
> So I would say that the companies that produce the stuff should promote 
> it but not the distro that has them in the repos.
> 
> Jan

But we can take it to the extreme so. Let's make a couple of examples.

First we have Eclipse. Eclipse itself is a core platform, everything
else is based on plugins.

You can definitely use the core version, but may you depend of vendor
specific plugins to do you job, just think about WebSphere or MyEclipse
with support for the Matisse graphics builder in Eclipse.

I've been using closed things like that for my daily job, for example I
have used the WindRiver Eclipse.

You may say that the core version is good enough, but in my opinion is
not. So where's the boundary? It's completely user defined.

OpenJDK. Currently the state is of a fully functional product, but we
had shipped it when it was not as ready, we shipped IcedTea based on
version 7 of the early (day 0 infact) code drop of the JDK. We then
added the missing features. You may consider those early days as a core
version of the JDK, where support for extra functionality (including,
back at the time, running programs like NetBeans, it took some time to
get there) had to be found in the closed version.

But let's take it ever more extreme.

Fedora can be considered in some ways as the core version of Red Hat
Enterprise Linux.

Red Hat has shipped in the past closed things as value added, like
Acrobat Reader or the JDK itslef. Does it means we should not even
develop Fedora anymore?

I know, it's a bit like comparing apples and oranges, but what I mean is
this: if a feature, as in software, is nice to have, and there are no
legal implications, that is, is fully conformant to our current rules
and guidelines, I don't see why we should not support it. A vendor has
the right to use and modify it's own software and sell it, with what you
may consider added values (and thus, a selling point, and more selling
means better chances to support the free code base).

On the other hand, it's true that maintaining a package is a costly
task, so, if there are no maintainers that want to do this, and if there
are better alternatives out there, if the code of those project is not
after all so important for us, then it's ok to drop it. The code is out
there, you can still use it if you want, so it's not that we kill the
project.

But this is a cost-benefit analysis that is always valid, and has
nothing to do with the morality of the FLOSS software.

I hope I explained my idea correctly.

Cheers,
Mario
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