I’m neither looking for a new label (ROSS or ROS, if you go beyond Open Source Software), nor proposing a new model (so far). Just to share some thoughts with you.
New business models and application models are growing (SaaS-based ones, Cloud, Mobility, Internet of Things). According to the UK’s national innovation agency, the future internet is Converged Services “an evolving convergent internet of things and services that is available anywhere, anytime as part of an all-pervasive omnipresent socio-economic fabric, made up of converged services, shared data and an advanced wireless and fixed infrastructure linking people and machines to provide advanced services to business and citizens.”
In this scenario, openness is crucial, software is even more pervasive, knowledge sharing (the ground of open source software) is crucial as well, but open source software is loosing its original motivation. Software will have less and less value per-se, but its value will be even more correlated with services, digital objects, artefacts. Nevertheless, sharing and collaborating in building great software code (i.e.: share of knowledge, experience, solutions) will be even more important.
Free Open Source Software was born in a context of hackers, many of them working at universities, an IT generation interested in technology and ethical values. Open source is currently a wide spread paradigm throughout the software industry, even if its alignment with its foundations has been forgotten.
From end-users’ point of view, the “digital native” generation will probably focus on “service consumption”, rather than caring for ethical values.
From the point of view of the industrial-driven production, enterprises have imposed proprietary-driven models in the open source ecosystem; commercial and company driven business models have prevailed.
From the the point of view of the community-driven production, the Bazaar vs Cathedral paradigm is dead (except for few success stories). The new development strategy could be building of open source malls.
Moreover, people willing to build good open source software are struggling with license compatibilities and revenue incomes, in order to sustain their activities.
What’s Radical OS
Let’s change the rules of the game: all software will become open, simply open.
People will share knowledge, experience, solutions. Have you ever worked in the software arena in a different way?
Software is to provide a result to end-users (industries, governmental/public organizations, people): do they care about software per-se or about the result? Do they need software to be used by a provider to give them the expected result, or a provider using software to give them the expected result ?
Nice, we need good software (the market will choose it) for great providers (the users will chose them) in order to build great results.
If software is really open, radically open, we can achieve this result in a pervasive and quick way!
(Note from the editor: Now, I’m mainly dealing with applicative software “server-side”. I’m not thinking at client-side COTS software packages, but I’d do it as well).
Beyond Free Software
Let’s remove the licensing problem!
Software patents are no-sense (and not admitted in Europe).
Nevertheless, does protection of the freedom of code, “a la FSF style”, still make sense? Is it a way to nurture lawyers and to put more weapons into the game, at the disposal of firms’ conflicts?
Why not a single ROS licensing model, “a la MIT style” (and unavoidably let national regulations and laws solve issues about copyright and intellectual property)?
Ok, back to my day-by-day FOSS and corporate activities, including topics across the boundaries of proprietary, commercial and pure open source software, legal aspects, participation in open source communities and consortia.
Despite this, what about a big change?
As far as I am concerned, I often conclude my presentations with the following – old but still relevant – sentence, quoting Carlota Perez (2002):
“The present generations are living through a period requiring intense social and institutional creativity. There is a growing sense of urgency that leads to many proposals coming forth, of greater or lesser scope, with greater or lesser ambition, going from alternative economic theories to practical measures and policies. There is also ample scope for redirecting business imagination and technological innovation towards the deeper transformation of world society, through developing truly knowledge intensive ways of producing and living.”
Is it now the right time to envisage a Radical Open Source switch?
And if you’d like to go beyond this matter, attend next TEDGlobal 2012 on Radical Openness. They say: “The world is becoming increasingly interconnected and open. Radically open – manifesting itself in open borders, open culture, open-source, open data, open science, open world, open minds. With the loss of privacy that it implies, openness carries its own dangers. But it breeds transparency, authenticity, creativity and collaboration”.
“In this networked world, collaborative ways of creating meaning and things are increasing at fast pace. New ideas need to circulate freely, looking for sharing and collaboration. At the same time, open collaboration on the internet is challenged by new dangers: loss of privacy, security threats, apparent consciousness and freedom. Threats to the internet can also come from companies interfering on services availability or from governments snooping on data exchange. How can we face them? How much will new opportunities coming from open cloud services actually grant user freedom and open collaboration? Will open data change the rules of the internet? At this track speakers will share their vision with the audience and will give a sample of what’s currently happening.”