Eye on Oracle

Jul 20 2007   9:25AM GMT

Are open source companies hypocritical?

Beth Pariseau Beth Pariseau Profile: Beth Pariseau

There’s some interesting discussion going on this week over at Lewis Cunningham’s blog, as well as various other blogs and forums, asking whether open source companies are dabbling in hypocrisy — are they OK with taking business away from the big boys like Oracle, but not OK with other open source vendors treading on their own territory? — and if they’re really just monopolies waiting to happen.

Lewis C points to a discussion over the competition, as it were, between PostgreSQL and EnterpriseDB — specifically, a press release in which EnterpriseDB claimed ability to deliver better performance than PostgreSQL. A post on the PGSQL Advocacy forum denounced this claim as “cow dung.” Lewis finds this a little funny/baffling, or in his words, “hypocritical crap”:

The funny part to me is that this is not a new message. It only becomes a problem when the purity of PostgreSQL is called into question. Say what you want about the evil proprietary vendors (or even that evil OTHER open source database that must not be named! HINT: MySQL. Oh my gosh did I say that out loud?) but don’t diss THE POSTGRESQL!

CNET’s Matt Asay and Roy Russo at LoopFuse are musing about whether the open source business model is inherently monopolistic: “OSS companies focusing on the proprietary competition win out in the end, but if history is a guide, they also manage to squash their own OSS competitors by doing so,” writes Russo. Does “any market ultimately [have] room for only one purveyor of free software”? “So much for peace, love and open source,” says Asay. Asay goes on to say, however, that he thinks this is an oversimplification of the open source model. “There may not be room for Yet Another Open-Source Business Intelligence Vendor (YAOSBIY for short) ;-), but surely, there’s room for plenty more in this space who drive greater performance, superior ease of use, etc.? Open source becomes a facet of how such companies compete — an important one but not the outcome-determinative one.”

Do you think there’s truth to either of these claims? Are open sourcers ultimately as greedy and territorial as their proprietary counterparts? Do they have the right to take the moral high ground? Are there room for multiple open source vendors in the market?

Have a good weekend,

 Comment on this Post

There was an error processing your information. Please try again later.
Thanks. We'll let you know when a new response is added.
Send me notifications when other members comment.

Forgot Password

No problem! Submit your e-mail address below. We'll send you an e-mail containing your password.

Your password has been sent to:

Share this item with your network: