04 April 2007

Oh: And I Thought IBM Got It

One of the key moments in the rise of open source was IBM's announcement on 10 January 2000 that it would be supporting GNU/Linux across all its hardware. This seal of approval from Big Blue suddenly made free software respectable.

A the time of writing Rebel Code, I spoke to several people from IBM, all of whom seemed really clued up about the deeper implications of open source, how and why it worked, and how companies could work with it and benefit from it. I was really impressed.

And now I read this:

"At some point you become so shrill and beyond what's required that you lose the audience and the audience moves on to something else," he said.

"We'll have to see what finally evolves through the [GPL] process, it's going through an update and the Free Software Foundation has a particular view of free software. Free software is a wonderful thing but there's also a business model."

"We think there are other licensing techniques, the Apache license and others are somewhat less onerous. We use them ourselves. We don't use the GPL for reasons of its restrictions," Mills said.

That was Steve Mills, as in IBM Software General Manager. Seems like the message hasn't quite got through there, Steve. Pity: I obviously need to revise my view of IBM.


Glyn said...

IBM does use the GPL, so I guess Steve Mills was referring to IBM's habit of not using the GPL for open source projects it initiates.

Glyn Moody said...

Thanks for the clarification.