How to Make CodePlex Sexy for Business

The mission of the CodePlex Foundation – enabling the exchange of code and understanding among software companies and open source communities – could be a roaring success. But in order to  create an open, neutral and business friendly environment first some work has to be done.

Andy Updegrove provided great hints and advices about how to setup properly the legal and governance structure.

Then Stephen Walli stepped into the conversation, giving some feedback on Richard Stallman’s reaction, actually a criticism on CodePlex’s terminology and intentions.

The free software vs open source debate is old and a little anachronistic, but I agree that understanding if and at which extent CodePlex could possibly represent other stakeholders than .NET addicted developers is key.

Few days ago I had a phone call with Sam Ramji – formerly open source strategist at Microsoft and now CodePlex Foundation’s President – and I expressed the opinion that the foundation should help companies to better understand how to profit from open source participation.

Intellectual Property, or whatever you want to call it, is not clearly understood by everyone yet. More important to say, few (open source) companies have learned how to use trademarks and open source licenses to effectively protect their businesses.

Almost two years ago SugarCRM abided the GPL3 taking advantage of the nuances of the Section 7  to insist that its logo be displayed by community users. Matt Asay reported about my findings stressing the importance of brand in open source, something Red Hat was at the forefront before anyone else.

Mark Stone, deputy director at Codeplex, is thinking of patents, but software patents are not the ultimate resource to profit from software, especially when you are using (also) open source code. I would rather like to see the CodePlex foundation spending time and effort to explain companies how to better use all IP tools but patents (an area where the EPL made an excellent job).

Software patents are not legal here in Europe, and Europe uses a lot of open source software.

I really wish CodePlex start to think big, bigger.

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