Bonum Certa Men Certa

A Black Duck Loses Its Head

T

he last time we wrote about Microsoft insiders, we also mentioned Black Duck as a possibility. Some insiders don't perceive themselves as such, yet they naturally function in this way.

Here you have a Microsoft employee founding and heading a company that sells services around Free software FUD. The company has developed proprietary software only. It has nothing to do with Free software, yet its CEO moderates panels that discuss the subject. In a way, the CEO sought some authority over GPL matters, which is astounding. It's a case of "do as I say but not as I do".

Anyway, here's what just happened at a very interesting moment. We won't draw conclusions; rather, we simply present the case as-is.

Black Duck Software — a pioneer in the open source legal consulting business — has lost its CEO.

On Thursday, Douglas Levin, the company founder and a director at the Waltham, Mass.-based company, announced his resignation, effective Sept. 1.

The announcement came the same day that a federal appeals court issued a decision maintaining that open source licenses are valid under copyright law. Black Duck Software is a software and services company that advises developers and corporations about open source licensing requirements and compliance.

Are the two related?

No, Levin said in a broadcast email and blog posted yesterday.


Sheer hypocrisy of the company aside, recall this story. They also pretty much stole GPLv3 data from Palamida, which recently lost its GPLv3-tracking person. Black Duck is based in Waltham, Massachusetts where Novell's headquarters are located too. Black Duck commented extensively on the GPLv3. It still does so in press release that it issues. According to this, "He [Doug Levin] moderated an OSBC panel with Microsoft just as Novell was preparing to release details of its deal with the company." Remember that OSBC is funded and was at least partly founded by Microsoft to serve Microsoft [1, 2, 3, 4, 5].

There are some more details about this surprise departure in the blog of the 451 Group.

For his part, Levin sees proprietary software not being displaced by open source, but vendors being forced to evolve and, in the process, accept and embrace open source more themselves. As for open source companies, they are increasingly opting for dual-license and subscription strategies that rely on commercial licensing. Levin says open source is still very significant and now represents a checkbox item not only for companies interested in supporting or developing software, but deeply and broadly in enterprise IT beyond the LAMP stack to a host of open source components. Along those lines, Levin says he is not sure what his next move will be, but whatever it is, it will have something to do with open source.


Taking this paragraph apart, there's room for sensing a lot of what we find in Microsoft's 'open source' endeavours.

"...proprietary software not being displaced by open source, but vendors being forced to evolve..."

"...increasingly opting for dual-license..."

"...beyond the LAMP stack..."

This has shades of Stephen Walli, but maybe we are being overly picky. By allowing certain individuals to gain influence, their former colleagues (who tend to be clannish) can use them to steer developers in particular directions. It's part of a very broad affinity charade [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6].

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