Dave Taylor has written a thought provoking article on whether “Open Source is Hindering the Development of Commercial Software?”.
My initial reaction was ofcourse not, if we had to rely on the corporates progress would be slowed significantly. But when you get down to the nitty gritty of Dave’s message you can see that the bureaucracy could indeed be causing problems.
I know that I rely on the Open Source community and cobble together scripts that I then release. I give credit as appropriate and expect others to do the same.
However when can you consider that you have significantly changed the code so that your version is merely inspired or assisted by and no longer actually using the source code?
And when have you added sufficient value to a script that it can be sold, without exploiting the free scripts that have been used?
I haven’t delved too deeply into the vbGallery and PhotoPost conflict which has seen PhotoPost acquire vbGallery but the story appears to be that under the covers vbGallery resembles PhotoPost a little too closely. The other side of the story says that vbGallery was written in PHP when PhotoPost was still in Perl and that the vbGallery owner couldn’t afford the fight and the battle was won on potential legal costs rather than “right and wrong”. Neither script is free but you can bet that the Open Source Community has contributed, one way or another, to the two gallery products.