Click here to close now.




















Welcome!

Linux Containers Authors: Samuel Scott, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Esmeralda Swartz, Ruxit Blog

Related Topics: Java IoT, Linux Containers, Open Source Cloud

Java IoT: Article

i-Technology Opinion: No Way Has Innovation in Open Source Reached Its Limit

Article in UK-Based Magazine 'The Economist' Seems Disappointingly FUD-Ridden

"Linux is good at doing what other things already have done, but more cheaply - but can it do anything new?" That is the question asked by Steven Weber, a political scientist at the University of California at Berkeley, and author of "The Success of Open Source" (Harvard University Press, 2004), in a "Special Report" dated March 16 published in The Economist this week.

Open source, Weber suggests, might have reached what he terms "a self-limiting state."

Although such an opinion strongly suggests that neither Weber or The Economist is aware of things like BitTorrent, that hasn't of course stopped it from doing the rounds of the Internet, especially at the author leaps on the anti-Wikipedia bandwagon by quoting professor Weber as saying, dismissively, as a further example of what he deems to be lack of open source innovation:

"Wikipedia is an assembly of already-known knowledge."
And here, it seems to me, we run into a classic problem. For the good professor clearly believes Wikipedia's recent problems corroborates the doubts and fears of those who, as the author of The Economist puts it, "question how something built by the wisdom of crowds can become anything other than mob rule." But surely Jimmy Wales and company aren't exemplifying Open Source methodology in Wikipedia so much as the attempt to aggregate knowledge collectively through an open content management system?

In other words it's an example of groupware rather than of Open Source.

What The Economist article heralds, then, is not so much a questioning of the innovation-levels within the open source software movement, as an inflexion point in the generalist discussion about Open Source, the very definition of which is about to change, if The Economist has its way.

The key passage is here [my emphasis]:

"Though the term [i.e., "open source"] at first described a model of software development (where the underlying programming code is open to inspection, modification and redistribution), the approach has moved far beyond its origins."
The author continues:
"From legal research to biotechnology, open-business practices have emerged as a mainstream way for collaboration to happen online. New business models are being built around commercialising open-source wares, by bundling them in other products or services. Though these might not contain any software "source code," the "open-source" label can now apply more broadly to all sorts of endeavour that amalgamate the contributions of private individuals to create something that, in effect, becomes freely available to all."
It is this switching of the points on his train of thought that prompts the author to write next that, in his view, "it is unclear how innovative and sustainable open source can ultimately be."

Although the article cites Firefox and MySQL as two examples of "just how powerful the open-source method can be," there is a substantial passage about SCO which seems totally uninformed by anything that has been written or said about the SCO vs IBM case in the past two years.

And to round things off, if any further indication were needed as to where the author's allegiances lie, The Economist article ends with a quote not from Linus Torvalds, Richard Stallman, Eric Raymond, Bruce Perens, or anyone of that ilk. No, it ends with the words of Microsoft's Bill Hilf:

"Even Microsoft has increasingly made some products open to outside review, and released certain code, such as for installing software, free of charge under licensing terms whereby it can be used provided enhancements are shared. 'We have quite a few programs in Microsoft where we take software and distribute it to the community in an open-source way,' gushes Bill Hilf, director of platform technology strategy at the company. Open source could enjoy no more flattering tribute than that."
All in all this is one of the least useful articles purportedly about Open Source that I can remember reading in the past three years.


 

More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

Comments (5) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
Danny Strickland 03/27/06 03:37:31 PM EST

As long as computers do as they are named, that is they compute....then there really hasn't been anything new since the abacus. There has only been a slow but increasingly fast evolution in the means and ways of computing from simply adding and subtracting to using numbers to power equipment, to manufacture, to communicate, to publish, etc. As far as Linux and Open Source being glorified copiers, perhaps....but in order to be journalistically honest then Weber would have to admit that the multi-billion dollar firms Microsoft and Apple became that way by first copying Xerox Parc (Apple) and then Microsoft copying Apple. And every piece of software ever written is just a glorified way of shuffling binary code, ie numbers....thus my point about the abacus. The real innovation which continues apace in the Linux/OpenSource world is how a worldwide community in some cases, a very small team in other cases, or an individual, can write software that is "good enough", as good as, or even better than the bloated buggy commercial stuff being sold for hundreds to thousands of dollars. And promoting freedom as well.

Now that's innovation.

Wesley Parish 03/21/06 10:03:59 PM EST

It would be interesting to consider science from the same viewpoint, as the Free and Open Source Software communities refer back to the scientific method as inspiration, repeatedly. I seem to remember that as the cost of doing basic science grows higher, more scientists climb into the collaboration framework - consider the really big radio telescopes, etc. Has scientific discovery ceased now that the basis of the scientific method, broadly-based peer review, become a widely accepted part of the commercial software marketplace? Come on, let's take the title of The Economist as a pointer, shall we? Does peer review impact mostly on the development of economic theory? Or on economists' wallets?

RICHARD A MOORE 03/19/06 06:47:06 AM EST

>> Economist article ends with a
>> quote not from Linus Torvalds,
>> Richard Stallman, Eric Raymond,
>> Bruce Perens, or anyone of that
>> ilk

Raymond has become the spokesperson for the OSI (Open Source Initiative) and is now its president. The problem is that many of his arguments don't even stand up within the Open Source Community, let alone in the software world at large.

While Open Source has been effective in creating a compelling OS as an academic endeavor, now that Open Source has gone "commercial", the arguments no longer hold water.

Even within the Open Source community many people are refusing to release their source code. This concept of development worked fine while students and enthusiasts were working collaboratively on the Linux OS, but it will be interesting to see how this holds up as the community goes out and attempts to make money on their works.

Open Source development only seems to work as long as those contributing don't intent to commercialize their offerings.

Ahmet Dogramaci 03/19/06 05:36:36 AM EST

I bought Weber's book The Success of Open Source out of curiosity, but it turned out to be an eye opener. The author analyses the topic from social science perspective and did a great job of doing that. He puts the success of open source on an analytical framework and tries to extrapolate its meaning beyond computer programming. I loved reading it and highly reccomend it.

Glynn Moody 03/19/06 05:09:19 AM EST

The Economist is a strange beast. It has a unique writing style, born of the motto "simplify, then exaggerate"

@ThingsExpo Stories
WebRTC has had a real tough three or four years, and so have those working with it. Only a few short years ago, the development world were excited about WebRTC and proclaiming how awesome it was. You might have played with the technology a couple of years ago, only to find the extra infrastructure requirements were painful to implement and poorly documented. This probably left a bitter taste in your mouth, especially when things went wrong.
As more and more data is generated from a variety of connected devices, the need to get insights from this data and predict future behavior and trends is increasingly essential for businesses. Real-time stream processing is needed in a variety of different industries such as Manufacturing, Oil and Gas, Automobile, Finance, Online Retail, Smart Grids, and Healthcare. Azure Stream Analytics is a fully managed distributed stream computation service that provides low latency, scalable processing of streaming data in the cloud with an enterprise grade SLA. It features built-in integration with Azur...
Through WebRTC, audio and video communications are being embedded more easily than ever into applications, helping carriers, enterprises and independent software vendors deliver greater functionality to their end users. With today’s business world increasingly focused on outcomes, users’ growing calls for ease of use, and businesses craving smarter, tighter integration, what’s the next step in delivering a richer, more immersive experience? That richer, more fully integrated experience comes about through a Communications Platform as a Service which allows for messaging, screen sharing, video...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IceWarp will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. IceWarp, the leader of cloud and on-premise messaging, delivers secured email, chat, documents, conferencing and collaboration to today's mobile workforce, all in one unified interface
The Internet of Things (IoT) is about the digitization of physical assets including sensors, devices, machines, gateways, and the network. It creates possibilities for significant value creation and new revenue generating business models via data democratization and ubiquitous analytics across IoT networks. The explosion of data in all forms in IoT requires a more robust and broader lens in order to enable smarter timely actions and better outcomes. Business operations become the key driver of IoT applications and projects. Business operations, IT, and data scientists need advanced analytics t...
With the proliferation of connected devices underpinning new Internet of Things systems, Brandon Schulz, Director of Luxoft IoT – Retail, will be looking at the transformation of the retail customer experience in brick and mortar stores in his session at @ThingsExpo. Questions he will address include: Will beacons drop to the wayside like QR codes, or be a proximity-based profit driver? How will the customer experience change in stores of all types when everything can be instrumented and analyzed? As an area of investment, how might a retail company move towards an innovation methodolo...
As more intelligent IoT applications shift into gear, they’re merging into the ever-increasing traffic flow of the Internet. It won’t be long before we experience bottlenecks, as IoT traffic peaks during rush hours. Organizations that are unprepared will find themselves by the side of the road unable to cross back into the fast lane. As billions of new devices begin to communicate and exchange data – will your infrastructure be scalable enough to handle this new interconnected world?
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome,” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
Consumer IoT applications provide data about the user that just doesn’t exist in traditional PC or mobile web applications. This rich data, or “context,” enables the highly personalized consumer experiences that characterize many consumer IoT apps. This same data is also providing brands with unprecedented insight into how their connected products are being used, while, at the same time, powering highly targeted engagement and marketing opportunities. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nathan Treloar, President and COO of Bebaio, will explore examples of brands transforming their businesses by t...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Micron Technology, Inc., a global leader in advanced semiconductor systems, will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Micron’s broad portfolio of high-performance memory technologies – including DRAM, NAND and NOR Flash – is the basis for solid state drives, modules, multichip packages and other system solutions. Backed by more than 35 years of technology leadership, Micron's memory solutions enable the world's most innovative computing, consumer,...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Pythian, a global IT services company specializing in helping companies leverage disruptive technologies to optimize revenue-generating systems, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Founded in 1997, Pythian is a global IT services company that helps companies compete by adopting disruptive technologies such as cloud, Big Data, advanced analytics, and DevOps to advance innovation and increase agility. Specializing in designing, imple...
Akana has announced the availability of the new Akana Healthcare Solution. The API-driven solution helps healthcare organizations accelerate their transition to being secure, digitally interoperable businesses. It leverages the Health Level Seven International Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (HL7 FHIR) standard to enable broader business use of medical data. Akana developed the Healthcare Solution in response to healthcare businesses that want to increase electronic, multi-device access to health records while reducing operating costs and complying with government regulations.
SYS-CON Events announced today that HPM Networks will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For 20 years, HPM Networks has been integrating technology solutions that solve complex business challenges. HPM Networks has designed solutions for both SMB and enterprise customers throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
For IoT to grow as quickly as analyst firms’ project, a lot is going to fall on developers to quickly bring applications to market. But the lack of a standard development platform threatens to slow growth and make application development more time consuming and costly, much like we’ve seen in the mobile space. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Weiner, Product Manager of the Omega DevCloud with KORE Telematics Inc., discussed the evolving requirements for developers as IoT matures and conducted a live demonstration of how quickly application development can happen when the need to comply wit...
The Internet of Everything (IoE) brings together people, process, data and things to make networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before – transforming information into knowledge and knowledge into wisdom. IoE creates new capabilities, richer experiences, and unprecedented opportunities to improve business and government operations, decision making and mission support capabilities.
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Red Hat's Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems, described how to revolutionize your archit...
MuleSoft has announced the findings of its 2015 Connectivity Benchmark Report on the adoption and business impact of APIs. The findings suggest traditional businesses are quickly evolving into "composable enterprises" built out of hundreds of connected software services, applications and devices. Most are embracing the Internet of Things (IoT) and microservices technologies like Docker. A majority are integrating wearables, like smart watches, and more than half plan to generate revenue with APIs within the next year.
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Opening Keynote at 16th Cloud Expo, Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, d...
In his keynote at 16th Cloud Expo, Rodney Rogers, CEO of Virtustream, discussed the evolution of the company from inception to its recent acquisition by EMC – including personal insights, lessons learned (and some WTF moments) along the way. Learn how Virtustream’s unique approach of combining the economics and elasticity of the consumer cloud model with proper performance, application automation and security into a platform became a breakout success with enterprise customers and a natural fit for the EMC Federation.
The Internet of Things is not only adding billions of sensors and billions of terabytes to the Internet. It is also forcing a fundamental change in the way we envision Information Technology. For the first time, more data is being created by devices at the edge of the Internet rather than from centralized systems. What does this mean for today's IT professional? In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed this very serious issue of profound change in the industry.