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13 February 2006

Locking the Open Source

"A few weeks ago a long-time source said she'd been hearing "strong" rumors that Oracle was on the hunt again. This time for JBoss, the Atlanta-based app server fave. Now BusinessWeek reports that Oracle is talking not only with JBoss but with Sleepycat Software of Emeryville, Calif., and Zend of Cupertino, Calif", This is not the first case of acquisitions of Open Source companies by mainsteam ones. There was CheckPoint acquisition of Snort, Tellabs and Nessus, Novell and Suse, etc. The point is how Open Source companies should be valued. Imagine Programmer-X doing some development in Product-Y, then comes some monster company and buys such product giving nothin to that developer. Actually I don't know who is the ones who get peid in such cases. Also such moves may have a really bad effect on open source software industry. Imagine the case when Apache, Python, or even Linux Kernel being bought by some nasty comapnies forcing people to pay money for using them, this wll be the worst nightmare for the whole Open Source movement. Tags: , ,


  1. not really, people will just fork and move on.

    also license changes requires the agreement of all copyright holders, which in some projects means every single contributor, in other projects means a single person, or a single company and in some other projects means a non profit foundation.

    GNU, apache and mozilla are owned by foundations, they almost cannot sell their code. Linux is owned by hundreds of thousands, getting them all to agree is too big a task.

    mysql and QT are owned by companies, they can be bought but as I said the community will still have the right to the source code, they'll just have no access to future improvements made by the new owner, but then the community will fork the project, continue developing it and no one will feel it (this actually happened with XFree86, in a couple of months people moved to Xorg without any major problems).

    also if the software relies on GPLd libraries it will have to remain GPLd

  2. That's great, this may be one of the reasons that I like seeing your comments here, very informative