Commercial Open Source Software

I meet a lot of people using the term “commercial software” as the opposite of open source or free software, and that’s why I titled my blog Commercial Open Source Software. I was amazed today when I happened to read Wheeler’s essay Commercial is not the opposite of Free-Libre / Open Source Software.
David A. Wheeler, who has written a number of articles as the famous “Why OSS/FS? Look at the Numbers!” paper or the list of the most important software innovations, about himself and his approach to open source said:

I’m not a Linux advocate. I’m an advocate for considering the use of open source software / free software (OSS/FS). As I clearly state in my “Why OSS/FS? Look at the Numbers!” paper, I think it’s a serious problem that many people fail to even consider OSS/FS products.

I always recommended his paper to have a in depth look into the TCO thing, and from now on I will suggest people getting wrong thinking that FLOSS and commercial software are opposites to read his last work.

I found interesting his walk through the U.S. regulation to show that FLOSS programs are commercial items for purposes of the U.S. government, and I hope it applies to other countries.

I liked very much his conclusion, a good advice for CIO busy choosing good consultants:

A speaker who uses the term “commercial” as an antonym for FLOSS is probably someone who doesn’t understand FLOSS yet. And someone doesn’t understand the fundamentals of how software is governed will be constantly confused about what controls every device on the planet. Be wary of people who have such a basic lack of understanding; they are far less likely to give good software advice or to make good software-related decisions.

Thanks David for your job!

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