Open Development

Posted on Mon 06 March 2006

There's more to Open Source than just source code available under an approved licence. The real value of Open Source is in the openness of the community that develops the source code.

There's been a number of companies jumping in the Open Source bandwagon lately, using it merely as a marketing tool to find new creative ways of locking in customers. Formally this is Open Source, but these are closed communities. People using these software are dependent on a single company paying developers. External contributions aren't encouraged, meaning the software's life is closely tied to the company's life or marketing strategy.

There are some ongoing discussions inside the ASF on this subject, initiated by a rant from Gianugo, that has been quoted by the ASF marketing blog.

Since openness of the code is a less distinctive criterion these days, we should define what Open Development is, so that people having to choose between different Open Source products can know what state of mind drives their developers and therefore what they can (or cannot) expect from them.

Interestingly, one of the key aspects of Open Development is a one-word change of article 5 of the Open Source Definition: No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups: The license community must not discriminate against any person or group of persons.

Open Development is really about considering people rather than code. And is exactly the ASF's motto: the community is more important than the code.

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