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Discussion on: Open Source is Broken

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Bernd Wechner

Wowsers, this really impressed me: This has only been a cursory introduction to just how problematic Open Source software is. There’s still a lot to be said.

I mean you touch on serious issues, and so I'd say TLDR but in fact it was TLBRA (which if your imagination fails you would be Too Long But Read it Anyway).

I mean serious your repeated yourself so often it hurts and almost 6000 words of effort writing what a 1000 word article could capture and not lose 90% of the readers this to me has almost assuredly lost.

That said, I thank you immensely for introducing me to the Hippocratic License and you are of course right in many of your concerns though I would counsel shorter more considered prose (as is often attributed to many famous names "I'd have written less but lacked the time") to make your point, and to remove some of generalisations about open source. They seem confusing and likely to confuse and/or generate reflexive responses.

As you have said over and over the value of FOSS is very clear and its popularity huge, and there is an imbalance arising between the rights of producer and consumer indeed and some have let their time be stolen from them for nefarious purposes in the pursuit of these dreams. BUT this only says to me, in a way that the Hippocratic License seems to address, that it is time we game some thought to licensing, and how we approach open source. Yes, I concur, and the conversation is happening, you are just in it and part of it, and not my first encounter with it, but drew me in it seems with just enough thoughtful writing and patience on my side to bring me through it.

We do have a dilemma though which is if any one of us wants to introduce a more restrictive license (the Hippocratic License say) we need to be careful that building blocks we use do not inadvertently demand a more open license, and thus our work could legally be interpreted as having the most liberal and open of the licenses of its constituent components applied (not least if those components are license greedy - will only play ball if the the thing they are incorporated into is as open as they are).

This poses a licensing dilemma indeed.

It's interesting though and not something you explored, does this mean that if Amazon relies so heavily on FOSS that pretty much the whole Amazon stack is FOSS and you or I could start up a competitor with the same basic website but rebranded? Where are the waters muddied I wonder, between IP Amazon legitimately owns (the brand name for instance) and the FOSS that it is built upon and it's upward pushing freedoms?

It may not help us of course as the value of a business like Amazon is not in their software stack but in their supply lines, logistics network and the contents of their databases ... (customer accounts and products etc.).

Still, if competing did not have the added barrier of the software stack and you could host say a new business, Daintree if you will, and starting building supply lines, product database and logistics relations etc ... then that would be a pretty handy at some level still.