Open Source Evangelism: Whurley first TalkBMC post

William Hurley, who recently joined BMC as Chief Architect of Open Source Strategy, yesterday wrote his first TalkBMC post, explaining clearly what open source is to him.

cureAn odd cure by Mr Jaded

Nestled between Proprietary and Freedomberg, Opensville is a utopia. Everyone who lives in the adjacent cities spends their free time in Opensville. The parks are beautiful, the shopping is amazing, and the nights are pure Vegas. Sounds like a great place, huh? One problem: no one actually wants to live there. No one wants to pay the taxes or put in the effort it takes to keep the city running. Welcome to Opensville, population zero. [..]

Nagios is one of the most popular monitoring projects in open source, and one of the most abused. There are countless projects, products, and services predicated on the Nagios code base—some symbiotic, others non-contributing parasites. What separates legitimate use from outright exploitation? Where would you draw the line? Should violators be black-listed by the community?

To me, open means that everyone can participate on a level playing field. As a community we have to take the good with the bad, but I cringe when I see a project taking more than its fair share of punishment. How will the community address this problem? Should there be a rating system? A sort of mooch-o-meter to rank companies and projects that use open source? Would that subjective hierarchy help or hurt the community? How would it be regulated?

The community has to answer some of these questions if open source is to continue to flourish. Everyone who leads, participates in, or utilizes an open source project should realize they have a personal interest in protecting it from abuse. Keeping the pirates honest will take effort, but the repercussions of apathy will affect us all in the future. Besides, tales of the pirate hunters are often more exciting than the tales of the pirates themselves.

As Matt Asay William seems to think that the best policing mechanism to answer the question is the community, but auto-referentiality might also be dangerous.

Could the cure be worse than the ill, eventually?

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