Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Professor predicts open source revolution

Filed under
OSS

What began as a keynote panel on the evolving world of open source quickly escalated into a debate on the future of open source licensing when a professor of law and legal history at Columbia University took center stage.

Professor Eben Moglen, who also serves as general counsel for the Free Software Foundation, took charge of the final keynote panel at this year's LinuxWorld Summit after moderator Larry Tabb, founder and CEO of the Tabb Group, asked the panel to comment on the future and evolution of open source license models.

Moglen asked those in attendance to consider software in the same light as the "free" sciences of chemistry and mathematics, in that if you are trying to solve a problem, there is a plethora of research, information and partial solutions available free of charge from a community of like-minded individuals.

Such a community exists today for computer science, Moglen argued, in the open source entity known as SourceForge.net.

According to its Web site, SourceForge.net is the largest open source software development site in the world, with the largest repository of open source code and applications available to developers free of charge.

"SourceForge is one of several such locations were 95,000 programming projects are proceeding," Moglen said.

Moglen added that because of its large size and number of contributors, SourceForge has become a perfect candidate for survey research.

"It turns out the average contributor [to SourceForge] is an IT pro with 10 years experience, who is spending on average between 10 and 11 hours on a chosen project per week," Moglen said. "This is only place on the Net where a community is harnessing 5.2 million hours per week of programming time."

With numbers like that, Moglen set off on his own research project. He said his findings proved that there is no problem getting work done in the open source community, which led him to his next point – that the face of software will soon be changing considerably.

"By the end of the decade… the real work of industrial software [companies will be] editing existing open source software from the outpouring of millions of minds, and weeding out what really matters to provide a product to the software customer," he said. "There are a few zealots out there who would raise holy hell if one line of the code were modified so that it was no longer freely distributable. So not only is a large part of the community doing QA work … but a large part of the community is doing your legal review as well. All for price zero."

With all of these services being conducted free of charge through intermediaries like SourceForge, popular opinion will sweep away the ways of traditional business, Moglen said.

"This is not an evolutionary stage, this is a revolutionary stage," Moglen said.

Moglen also expressed dissatisfaction with today's licensing practices.

"There are too many licenses; every additional license in the stack is an additional risk assessment, legal review – it would be good to have fewer licenses," he said.

In the future, Moglen said licenses will head in two distinct directions: Permissibly, where the developer acknowledges that the software is copyrighted but then can do what they wish with it in the spirit of BSD and the MIT X11 X Windows licenses; and a second model he called "copy left" where a part of the software would be developed under the General Public License (GPL) and could then be paced into proprietary software.

Source.

More in Tux Machines

today's leftovers

  • The future of xinput, xmodmap, setxkbmap, xsetwacom and other tools under Wayland
    This post applies to most tools that interface with the X server and change settings in the server, including xinput, xmodmap, setxkbmap, xkbcomp, xrandr, xsetwacom and other tools that start with x. The one word to sum up the future for these tools under Wayland is: "non-functional". An X window manager is little more than an innocent bystander when it comes to anything input-related. Short of handling global shortcuts and intercepting some mouse button presses (to bring the clicked window to the front) there is very little a window manager can do. It's a separate process to the X server and does not receive most input events and it cannot affect what events are being generated. When it comes to input device configuration, any X client can tell the server to change it - that's why general debugging tools like xinput work.
  • Please don't use pastebins in bugs
  • Linux Top 3: SparkyLinux 4.5, Mageia 5.1 and Peppermint 7
    SparkyLinux is (yet another) Debian based Linux distribution. The SparkyLinux 4.5 update codenamed "Tyche' was released on December 3, providing users with multiple desktop choice other than GNOME. SparkLinux 4.5 ships with KDE, LXDE, LXQt, MATE and Xfce.
  • Upcoming Linux Distributions Releasing In December 2016
    In December 2016, a big Linux distribution release is taking shape in the form of Linux Mint 18.1 Serena, flavored by Cinnamon 3.2. It’ll be accompanied by the release of security and privacy-focused Anonymous Live CD Tails 2.9.
  • AMD Extends Strategic Partnership with Mentor Graphics for Linux-based Embedded Solutions
  • Samsung Z2 gets Firmware Update to Tizen 2.4.0.6 Z200FDDU0BPK3 in India
    Samsung’s latest Tizen-based smartphone, the Z2 model number SM-Z200F, has had a new software / firmware update land in India today. The update takes it to Tizen version 2.4.0.6., firmware Z200FDDU0BPK3. The update log mentions the following improvements: Improved send SOS message (panic mode) and also improvements to the security of the device. Additional bug fixes and performance improvements may have also been bundled in.

Leftovers: Software

  • choqok 1.6 Twitter Client was released and completely ported with KDE Frameworks 5
    Choqok is a fast, efficient and simple to use twitter client for Linux (especially built for the KDE desktop environment) that is installed by default to some of the Linux distribution which shipped with KDE Desktop Environment. The name comes from an ancient Persian word, means Sparrow!
  • 10 open source tools for your sysadmin toolbox [Ed: Terrible list which starts with two suggestions of Microsoft EEE]
    Sysadmins, no matter what platforms they work on, are awash in great open source software tools. In this article, we highlight well-known—and not-so-well-known—tools that have released new versions in 2016.
  • NetworkManager 1.2.6 Lets You Activate Multiple PPPoE Connections Simultaneously
    Beniamino Galvani was proud to announce the release and general availability of a new maintenance update to the stable NetworkManager 1.2 series of the open source network connection manager software for GNU/Linux distributions. NetworkManager is the most used network connection manager, adopted by almost all Linux-based operating systems on the market, and NetworkManager 1.2.6 is now the most advanced release of the 1.2 stable series, coming four months after the NetworkManager 1.2.4 update to fix a few bugs and regressions reported by users since then.
  • GNOME loves to cook
    With the upcoming 20th birthday of GNOME next year, some of us thought that we should make another attempt at this application, maybe as a birthday gift to all of GNOME. Shortly after GUADEC, I got my hands on some existing designs and started to toy around with implementing them over a few weekends and evenings. The screenshots in this post show how far I got since then.

today's howtos

Linux Foundation: Blockchain and Automotive Grade Linux

  • Linux Foundation’s Blockchain Collective Hyperledger Hits 100 Members
    Hyperledger aims to enable organizations to build robust, industry-specific applications, platforms and hardware systems to support their individual business transactions by creating an enterprise grade, open source distributed ledger framework and code base.
  • The Blockchain Milestone You May Have Missed
  • Sasken becomes member of Automotive Grade Linux
    Sasken Communication Technologies Ltd has announced its membership with Automotive Grade Linux as its bronze member. This will enable Sasken to provide solutions to customers on Automotive Grade Linux (AGL). Sasken will provide product development and system integration services for automotive customers spanning in-vehicle infotainment (IVI), instrument cluster, heads-up display and telematics.