01.13.10

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“Mixed Source” and “Half Pregnant”

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Mono, Novell at 4:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: “Mixed source” will be off the menu at Novell if its semi- or pseudo-open products continue to fail as they already do

Novell calls itself a “mixed-source” company [1, 2, 3, 4], but to call the mixing of proprietary and Free “mixed-source” is like calling sand in water “mixed water”. It’s like saying that a lady is only “half pregnant”.

Mono is essentially Open Core*, which is a form of “mixed-source”. Its proponents were in total denial just before the TomTom case and hopefully they have woken up since then. Microsoft does sue Free software (even directly, not just indirectly [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]) using software patents.

The Harvard Business Schools has just published this short new paper on “mixed-source” and Microsoft is mentioned there too. It’s filled with business propaganda terms like “intellectual property”, but anyway, it’s all there.

The open source (OS) movement is one model—it’s going strong after nearly 30 years and still has its die-hard supporters. Meanwhile, other firms try to maximize profits by keeping a tight, proprietary hold on all intellectual property. Increasingly, however, software companies are taking a “best of both worlds” approach by creating products that use a combination of OS and proprietary software code.

“Best of both worlds” is just a cliché; Mono uses a similar cliché, “best of breed”.

Thankfully, Mono is going nowhere in terms of adoption and one of the people behind Ximian, Nat Friedman, has just quit Novell. This does not mean that “open source [is] in trouble”, it just means that the Microsoft/Novell “mixed-source” vision (or ploy) is in trouble.

Friedman has been working on SUSE Studio in recent years which is now a commercial product. Unlike Mono (led by his Ximian co-founder De Icaza), Friedman is not sticking with Novell after the initial public commercial launch.

His departure was mentioned in [1, 2, 3]. He came from Microsoft (where he met Miguel de Icaza), so this was never a good recipe to begin with.
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* There is a Free (gratis and libre) core and patent-encumbered (well, naturally) addons tightly attached to it.

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A Single Comment

  1. David Gerard said,

    January 13, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    Gravatar

    Here’s a useful heuristic for software freedom, for those who rant on about “practicality”:

    * How can my vendor screw me over?

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