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perspectives on open-source and web services

Monday, November 08, 2004

ESR's 'redeeming' quotes

I've always had an aversion to Eric Raymond, mostly because, as he himself admits, the FSF's "evangelism [has] backfired (associating "free software" with these negative stereotypes in the minds of the trade press and the corporate world)". I proudly include myself in the 'corporate world', as any reader of these postings will not contend against. and the ambiguitiy of the 'free-speech/free-beer' contrast is perhaps just a little too philosophical(?) for I and my business-oriented colleagues to easily accept.

but, I was pleasantly surprised to read some of ESR's writings that at least show his recognition of traditional business practices operating in synchronization with open-source development practices...

"The real conceptual breakthrough, though, was admitting to ourselves that what we needed to mount was in effect a marketing campaign--and that it would require marketing techniques (spin, image-building, and re-branding) to make it work."

"Support operations for commercial customers of open-source operating systems will become big business, both feeding off of and fueling the boom in business use."

I've attributed too much anti-business mentality to ESR, and owe him an internal apology in my mind. while I would still say the venom with which he attacks Microsoft and other proprietary software companies is 'unnecessary roughness,' I can tell he really does appreciate the importance of commercial software.


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