Financial Times: “Open source should not be a free-for-all”

Today’s Financial Times has a prominent piece titled “Open source should not be a free-for-all”. It’s surprisingly good. At every turn, author John Gapper appears to be about to write something really annoying (about SCO, the word “hacker”, the viability of free software business models, the FSF’s policies on copyright assignment and so on), and then manages to avoid doing so.

The point of the article is basically that SCO has scared Linus into documenting the legal provenance of contributions to the kernel, but that hackers are rebels and mightn’t put up with this. On balance, the article comes down against this conclusion:

“The moral is that hackers will obey the injunctions they respect”.

Gapper praises Linus for a step towards the “kind” of code accountability the FSF can claim. Nicely, he thinks that the overhead will not unduly constrain hacking “in the better sense of the word”. The non-theological treatment of various free software holy wars is quite nice.

Anyway, text of article is available in electronic form, but time-limited free registration is required to view it: (article text)

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