Open Communities vs. Open Source

Open Communities vs. Open Source. By tim

At an OSCON panel yesterday, there was a really interesting conversation between Danese Cooper and Dain Sundstrom. We were talking about what happens when money arrives at an open source project (either in the form of corporate sponsors or commercialization of the project itself.)

Mitchell Baker pointed out how hard it was for AOL to understand that she was still the project leader when they laid her off from Netscape. It took a concerted effort by the remaining Netscape developers to help them realize that she was still their leader, despite AOL's new organizational plans. I had been making a similar point to Laurie Tolson, the new head of Java at Sun, in discussing how Sun would have to change their thinking if they were to open source Java. Open source projects are typically headed by individuals, and in cluetrain style, depend on having a human face.

Dain made a really interesting distinction. We need to recognize, he pointed out, that open source doesn't guarantee open community. Some projects (JBoss was what he had in mind) are open source, but have a closed community, controlled by a corporate sponsor.  [O'Reilly Radar]

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