Gartner Open Source Summit Day 2

Day 2 of the Gartner Open Source Summit started with the “Mastermind Interview” with Michael Tiemann, current president of the Open Source Initiative (OSI) and VP of Open Source affairs for Red Hat.

Many of the points Tiemann made about the efficacy of open source as a development methofology as compared to closed source were reported here in eWeek: “Is Open Source the Best Way to Unlock the Value of IT?” (which ironically enough had a big Microsoft VisualStudio ad in the middle of it when I read it).

Tiemann covered the approval this summer of the Common Public Attribution License (CPAL), noting that the safe harbor provision – enabling a variety of mechanisms for handling the attribution – was the fundamental change that made him support approval of the license, and giving props to Ross Mayfield and SocialText for choosing to submit themselves to that process – very few CEOs would request validation from an external body over which they have no control and inside of which are many competing ideologies and interests.

He also discussed the GPLv3, talking about it as a small incremental upgrade, and pointing out that in the closed source software world, every minor point release may come with new licensing terms, where the GPL has only had three versions in nearly 20 years.

(See also “OSI Calls for Major Revisions to Microsoft Permissive License” for other discussions with Tiemann from the conference).

Again due to the overlap between the Open Source and Web Innovation Summits I missed the opportunity to see Ray Valdes talk about “Web 2.0: The Open Source Connection.”

I’ve often made the argument (to anyone who will listen) that the real engine behind Web 2.0 innovation is open source – not that every important web 2.0 property is itself open source or even uses open source, but that the explosion of new approaches, new techniques, and new properties would not have been possible without the mature open source stack, which let startups create real functional applications without such a high barrier of entry, and without the “success tax” of increased licensing based on user adoption.