Skip to main content

Would you contribute to an open-source project dominated by employees of a single company?

Yes
54% (242 votes)
No
23% (103 votes)
It depends (please explain)
22% (100 votes)
Total votes: 445

Comments

All projects have an owner

All projects have an owner. Any owner can really do what they want in the end. Does anyone who also develops for Windows remember Sysinternals? They were just two guys and got bought by MS. What about JBoss? That was really just Fluery right (the actual owner)? Bought by RedHat. Many other projects ran by a single person or multiple switch and become commercial and it is always hard to deal with. Seems they started the project, it got popular, and they had a way to make some money. The same could happen with the Linux Kernel couldn't it? I mean, the main project, obviously any forked project can continue to live on with most OSS licenses. Non-profits are not immune either. They can always just change the project itself to commercial and sell it. They could even give it away...to some of their own employees...the real owners. Then what are you going to do? So, sure, no project is safe from things which can happen. There is always someone or some entity who is in charge and that entity can really do what they need to do. Any can go bankrupt, have internal fights, need money and get hungry (individual). So, it really doesn't matter does it?

All projects have an owner

All projects have an owner. Any owner can really do what they want in the end. Does anyone who also develops for Windows remember Sysinternals? They were just two guys and got bought by MS. What about JBoss? That was really just Fluery right (the actual owner)? Bought by RedHat. Many other projects ran by a single person or multiple switch and become commercial and it is always hard to deal with. Seems they started the project, it got popular, and they had a way to make some money. The same could happen with the Linux Kernel couldn't it? I mean, the main project, obviously any forked project can continue to live on with most OSS licenses. Non-profits are not immune either. They can always just change the project itself to commercial and sell it. They could even give it away...to some of their own employees...the real owners. Then what are you going to do? So, sure, no project is safe from things which can happen. There is always someone or some entity who is in charge and that entity can really do what they need to do. Any can go bankrupt, have internal fights, need money and get hungry (individual). So, it really doesn't matter does it?

All projects have an owner

Had a double post...hmm...sorry.

I Would if it was truly an FLOSS project

But i wouldnt be part of any 'Dual-licensing' scheme or sign any contract that would give the company full copyright over my work, like MySQL or SUN et. al. I would contribute code under exactly the same terms as the code of the company is licensed to myself.

Get real

Geez, how many projects do you guys contribute to? Supportive employers, perhaps? Independently wealthy?

When you consider the sort of sharks who patrol software development waters, cozying up to Sun or IBM a little doesn't seem so bad.

I'd want to be careful about the nature of the project as well as its licensing model, and the condition of its code base - some projects with their origins in private development look like they'll need a lot of refactoring before they become survivors.

You mean Sun?

You certainly didn't disquise your intent very well...so why not just change the question: Would you contribute to the open source Java project even though it will be dominated by employees of Sun?

Re: You mean Sun?

Wrong. See my reply to your blog.

Re: You mean Sun?

Got it. Thanks for the clarification, and I'll clarify my blog as well.

Selfishness?

I've thought about contributing to projects like JBoss and Shiira which are tied strongly to one company.

In the case of JBoss I don't like their strong arm tactics, which seem to boil down to "only we are allowed to make money from this". So if they are going to be pricks about it, why should I help them make money?*

In the case of Shiira it was 'open source' in that the source code is available for 1.2.2, but 2.0 is in beta and there doesn't seem to be a way to get at the source for 2.0 and play around with it. So there is a kind of 'lag' factor, which discourages getting involved. I mean I could look at 1.2.2 and do bug fixes or extensions, but who is to say that those bugs won't be fixed in the next version anyway? So why bother? Whereas if the source for the beta was available, then I could look at it and figure out if someone was going to 'scratch the same itch' as me.

*This is I guess a selfish approach. A true OS fanatic would say that by making JBoss better for me (and everyone else) I improve my own situation, and everyone else benefitting is just the cool side effect of OS. But in this case to borrow a concept from economics, there are 'goods' that are perfect 'substitutes' for JBoss. In which case, if JBoss doesn't do what I want, then I just use something different to solve my immediate problem.

Which raises a question of why then do we have competing projects (eg Netbeans vs Eclipse) where they spend a significant chunk of time duplicating each other's feature set. I think the key to that is in the word 'competing' and that it is an ego thing (complete with chest thumping and yodeling).

Now to show how this ties back to the topic, perhaps there are levels of involvement in OS. On the first level I might be 'scratching an itch', where my level of commitment might not be that deep. On the second level I might move beyond that, to the point of getting emotionally involved in the success of the project, into a more committed approach to improving the product in general (the ego has become the itch that needs scratching).

I think it is harder to be 'egotistically' involved with a project where a single company is making a lot of money off your efforts, because it is easy to perhaps feel that you are missing out. Whereas for a low level of commitment it might not such an issue.

Depends on several things

  • License involved
  • Company involved
  • Transparency of the source code
  • Is the software easy to build for yourself
  • Is all source code and documentation easy to obtain
  • How dead is the open source when the company involved decides to continue the software as a closed source project

Depends (a default answer, BTW)

I would (probably) join if they asked me :)

Depends on what project/company

If it is a company with a high commitment with Open Systems (not neccesary open source), and the project is really an open one and not a way of obtaining cheap programmers, of course.

Depends on the license

It is highly dependant on the license used. Can the codebase be forked? Say any of the unlikely events took place: * Sun goes out of business. * Sun is purchased by Microsoft. * Sun decides to change its business focus and abandons meaningful Java development. * Sun decides that XML belongs directly in the Java language :-). If any of these events took place, Java would be sunk. That sucks for me as a Java developer who depends on this platform for the software I produce. I would be much more comfortable with a truly open-sourced Java platform that would exist regardless if Sun lives or dies. If something really bad happend to the primary steward of an open-source project, you just fork the code and keep on keeping on (X.org anyone?). Right now Java doesn't have this assurance that other open-source languages/projects have. And yes, I'm assuming this poll question is directly related to the open sourcing of Java. -Bryan

Eclipse isn't dominated by IBM

Eclipse isn't dominated by IBM. It is made up of a consortium of corporations with a corporate agenda. Still, i as an individual user feel we can make a positive impact to Mustang or Eclipse, however small.

Single-corporation open source

Yes, it would most assuredly depend on what corporation we're talking about. Think of specific corporations, and think about their management culture, with the assumption the hearts of their developers are pure.

Depends on the company and the intent

As long as the sponsor is not a high handed secret society like Google, participation is on.

well, whats the motive.

it depends on the licensing and the team atmosphere, but nothing about it being mostly one company bothers me. if i see it as a valuable offering to the os community, sure.