Comparing Apache and Eclipse…What is open source afterall?


Greg Stein kicks off today's keynote with what is "free source code"?


He says most people will do open source because they see other using GPL(GNU Public License) so they will use it as well. With GPL if you combine your software with GPL and you have to provide your source code where as with Eclipse you only have to provide the changes you make to Eclipse. Gosh does this sound confusing? or is it just me?


So let’s look at copyleft vs non-copyleft. With Non-copy left users can provide the source or share where with copyleft they have to share. So is it really free?


Over time do we have to go Licensing Pressure rout?


Commercial->Source Available (Restricted) -> Copyleft licensing-> non-copyleft (e.g. Apache, BSD)


Microsoft does a great job with their MSDN site in sharing their APIs, but you have to be in the range… But Linux is better because you can see all the code. So which is better? Well if you’re a developer Greg thinks it’s better to see all the code.


Greg Stein kicks off today's keynote with what is "free source code"? Greg works at Google but today he says he is there to talk about, well...open source. Gotta wonder will google share their source? Or do they go the Copyleft route and choose not to share.


He says most people will do open source because they see other using GPL(GNU Public License) so they will use it as well. With GPL if you combine your software with GPL and you have to provide your source code where as with Eclipse you only have to provide the changes you make to Eclipse. Gosh does this sound confusing? or is it just me?


So let’s look at copyleft vs non-copyleft. With Non-copy left users can provide the source or share where with copyleft they have to share. So is it really free?


Over time do we have to go Licensing Pressure rout?


Commercial->Source Available (Restricted) -> Copyleft licensing-> non-copyleft (e.g. Apache, BSD)


Microsoft does a great job with their MSDN site in sharing their APIs, but you have to be in the range… But Linux is better because you can see all the code. So which is better? Well if you’re a developer Greg thinks it’s better to see all the code.


Apache Geronimo had a number of reasons for starting, we wanted something at the bottom of the Licensing pressure stack so they can be free to develop and share.


Greg says:


Early 90’s: Perl, rough Linux


Mid 90’s: Python, PHP, MySQL, Apache


            -LAMP stack


Late 90’s: KDE, GNOME, Zope


Late 2000: OpenOffice goes live (moving from the Microsoft office closed model to a free open mode to change and make updates to)


 


Basically the above is to show software is becoming commodity and is very easy to get. So eventually the free software package will take over. There is always more developer out there working on open source than any company. As most companies have a few dozen developers. So basically as the open source grows the value add of closed source will become minimized and hence go away.


Quoting Steve Ballmer's saying: "Developer, Developer, Developer...." well with open source it's about "Community, community, community..." It's all about some people getting together on Saturday's and fixing a few bugs for a couple of hours to people spending 8 hours hacking bugs.


Apache HTTP Server is Number 1 in 10 years running! It also encourages standards conformance. When Eclipse was being founded the people who began the work took a look at the Apache model and took a look at how do you manage the project with the legal aspect and keep it inclusive to keep people in? Since then Eclipse has solidified. People think about Eclipse being an IDE but there is more to it than that.


Now we see people looking at Eclipse and thinking about can I depend on this stuff? Will it be there in the future, will it be backwards compatible and be able to support everything I have now.


 


In the long term we need to improve infrastructure and hire a few full time systems administrators and we need to have more machines for the community.


 


 


Evolution? What’s next Desktop software? New protocol library and systems? Long term initiatives? Well it is all based on the developers. We will be following the developers to see where they want to go both for Apache and for Eclipse.


Beyond Software Apache wants to get into the European Union software patents issue. And it’s impact on open source what it means and how it will hamper Apache, Eclipse or others. Open standards? Outreach? Talk to other foundations and communities. Standards that have patents in them will cause problems for open source so moving forward we will have to talk to people and teach them about community and how to keep it open.  So there is a lot of paralleling of Apache and Eclipse.


 


Apache and Eclipse are very unique, they concentrate a lot on community. “Community First, Code Second. Code will follow community.” So with all the other open source models there isn’t as much impact on Community where as with Apache and Eclipse there is a big push to create the right kind of community.


 


With the move to service and assistance based software and how to follow the model to Open Source system, “… it will go to open source eventually so plan for it now!” With that impactful like Greg ended the keynote.


 


So is this the idea of saying building all of these platforms and IDEs is bigger than any company can handle and we need to have everyone submit and work together to grow? It’s got me. But the funny thing is most of the big Open Source projects at some point had a big organization backing them up. Eclipse was started and is still supported by IBM. Apache is being supported I believe by Google. So should Microsoft look into starting a Open Source project? Is this a wave of open Source trend that we are riding out or is it where we are headed in the future?

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