Living Through the Wild West of FOSS History

Posted by Scott_Ruecker on Sep 21, 2010 3:45 AM EDT
LXer Linux News; By Scott Ruecker (Phoenix, U.S.)
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LXer Feature: 21-Sept-2010

Could things be more exciting in the the world of FOSS right now? Yes it could, but let's not be too hasty..

Oracle buys Sun and proceeds to use its patent portfolio to sue Google for infringement. Openoffice.org is going to have to split off or separate itself from Oracle somehow or change its licensing to remain free. Paul Allen unloads a patent Gatling Gun on every big name is the Tech industry. Is it going to be Red Hat or VMware that will take over the ailing Novell? Mandriva has broken into pieces. I'll keep going if you let me..

It seems that the SCO trial has finally come to an end but even in the settling of the dust the lawyers can't stop filing motions. The Oracle-Sun deal looks to be the next long term big story in FOSS I believe. The possible implications for FOSS with Oracle now owning one of the most extensive technology patent portfolios outside of IBM mean that there are more exciting times ahead, if that is what you want to call it.

All the while Microsoft still puts out tasty pieces of FUD every so often and I have come to find it reassuring in its consistency. But again Oracle could easily displace Microsoft as the Darth Vader of FOSS if they decide to go on the offensive with their patents, which looks likely to me. Larry Ellison is certainly tall enough for the part..

Ubuntu continues to grow, deepen its impact and cement its status as "The other word for Linux" to those who probably have no idea what FOSS is but are ten times more likely to have heard the word Ubuntu before Linux. I say that because I have been the person talking about Linux and/or Free and Open Source Software with someone for their very first time, many many times. I have seen how in the last several years Ubuntu has permeated the tech industry, just in name alone most of the time, many people having heard of it but not knowing exactly what it is. It is truly amazing.

It has looked to me like the tide continues to rise in the world of FOSS and as such its visibility does too. Things have continued to change at an ever quickening pace since my time managing our newswire. In the past decade alone Linux and FOSS have gone from their stone age to the space age. Could it be that FOSS is growing up too fast for its own good? Much like in the 19th century American West? Are we getting too big for our own britches?

Something I am starting to see as well are the beginnings of the far-reaching effects of Open Source ideals in communication and philosophy, which have the possibility of positively touching everyone on the planet. I can only imagine what the impact of FOSS on human society will look like in the next 20 or 30 years. I have started to see these things and ask myself these questions recently and I wonder what others would say in response to them. So I'm asking, what do you think?

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» Read more about: Story Type: Editorial, LXer Features; Groups: Community, GNU, IBM, Linux, LXer, Mandriva, Microsoft, Novell, OpenOffice.org, Oracle, Red Hat, SCO, Sun, Ubuntu

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My crystal ball is out of order caitlyn 6 1,006 Sep 23, 2010 5:12 PM

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