[LINK] So much for IBM.s commitment to open source

Martin Barry marty at supine.com
Mon Oct 16 09:16:39 AEST 2006

$quoted_author = "Deus Ex Machina" ;
> http://ipblog.org/blog/IPBlog.nsf/dx/so-much-for-ibms-commitment-to-open-source?opendocument&comments
> " But to all the activists who are continually trumpeting about how IBM
> has embraced open source software, well, guys, it's not quite as
> ideological as you would like people to think. Most of IBM's code is
> proprietary, especially the stuff they think they can make money at,
> such as Websphere. If you really look at IBM's products, they are going
> with open source in those cases where they think they can't win the
> competition with Microsoft. 

There's an old saying "The right tool for the job" and that applies to
software licencing as well. 

IBM is a large company with multiple product lines. Some of those product
lines are closed source software that companies are willing to pay for. None
of that takes away from their rather large investment in open source
software both in terms of sponsoring projects, employing developers or
releasing previously closed code. It's a Win-Win situation for all involved.

> The fact is that IBM is always going to choose proprietary code unless
> they think somehow that, in a particular application, going open source
> gives them some competitive advantage. And they are going to dodge open
> source whenever they can, because open source development is apparently
> NOT as risk-free as the open source advocates would have us all think. 

This conclusion is not support by the facts of the situation:

1) An extension to Lotus Notes/Domino was written by a third party.
2) IBM hired the guy.
3) They included only the code he'd written into a closed source product.

Seems fairly straight forward given that:

a) IBM didn't have the IP for any other code in the extension.
b) Incorporating open source licensed code into a closed source product
   would have had implications for that product's licencing.
c) The original version of the extension is still available.

> The fact is that Steve's template had open source code in it, and the
> features worked perfectly well, but IBM took them out and either left
> the features out or replaced them with proprietary code. And I think
> that's interesting. "

Of course it's interesting. It shows that IBM understands open source


with usenet gone, we just don't teach our kids entertainment-level hyperbole
any more. --Paul Vixie


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