I was fortunate enough to be able to go to "OSBC" (Open Source Business Conference) during this past week, I didn't exactly have a badge and I didn't register, I walked right in and snooped around since OSBC was hosted at the Palace Hotel on New Montgomery and Market St (a mere two blocks from Slide offices). It was right there, how could I resist? While at OSBC I met up with my good friend whurley to have lunch, meet some folks, and the usual pointing and laughing at the suits scurrying about. After the meeting a few folks and taking in a lot of what was going on, I couldn't help but thinking:
They know, they know, they know. Not only do they know, they now use it casually the same way they started to talk about "emerging web technologies", the "services oriented architecture", the "power of viral marketing through the blogosphere", etc.
They are now talking about "leveraging open platforms" and "the convergance of open source and their systems". This has become nothing more than a bullet point on a poorly made PowerPoint presentation, nothing more than another tagline in a corporate press release.
It's over now, it was such a fun ride, but it is so over it hurts. Looking at the big companies re-orienting themselves around a more "open source" attitude is almost as painful to watch as last year's State of the Union address. Apple adopted open source out of necessity, Novell adopted open source out of necessity (besides, remember how much Groupware SUCKED?), why are these other companies adopting open source? It's the hip new thing of course!
Overhearing suits talking to one another, blindly curious as to what the others' companies' "open source strategy is" is like nails on the chalkboard of my little open source soul. It is a completely empty thought for them, just as once upon a time they were buzzing about their new "web presence strategy" regardless of whether or not it made sense for "Johnson Toxic Chemicals USA, Inc." to have a web presence, they wanted one so they could checkoff a tally-mark on the "Uninformed Suits Monthly" magazine survey.
If we're lucky they won't corrupt it too much like they did to the internet in the late 90's. whurley's comment "they're here" with regards to the number of lawyers that he came across at OSBC is extra-special scary. It's funny though, just the other week as I was partaking in yet another "GPL vs. MPL vs. BSD" license flamewar, I couldn't help but think: "you know what would make open source better, some more fucking lawyers." The only way I would want lawyers muddling with open source would be if their name was "Johnny Cochran," purely for the entertainment value alone.
Just like everything good that's ever happened, rock music, the Olympics, rap music, hockey, and of course, beer. Open source is about to be commercialized and turned into a commodity by soulless corporations and lawyers.