February 22, 2007

My outrage is quite present, I assure you.

Notice: I have to deal with the press a fair amount for my work at the big G so I generally do not try to call out the average reporter or bloggers errors in judgement or lack of fact checking around matters open source. But......sometimes.....

I usually I delete the first draft of things like what you are about to read yay verily, but this one time, I want to get it out there.

Outrage #1: Lazy Open Source Converage.

I was reading this post on Datamation detailing the 'Ten Leading Open Source Innovators" and I couldn't help but think....what kind of crap is this?

First off, the page is almost 80% advertising, which is too much in my opinion and brings down the value of any one ad from a practical standpoint.

Second, they do the page view inflating crap that is the 'top 10 list, 1 per page'. So annoying.

Third: SugarCRM is not flippin' Open Source. If a company requires you to add a badge at the bottom of a page to use their software (which they do), and that badge is a trademarked logo (which it is), and they can and have kept people from using the logo, which prevents the use of the software, then it's not open source. GPL + attribution requirements that include trademarks == total control over use.

I wouldn't mind at all, but SugarCRM continues to bill themselves as "commercial open source". They are not open source, commercial or otherwise. Freeware or Shareware maybe. Professional Service ware, for sure. But Open Source? Nope.

And, yes, I feel like I'm the only one tilting at this particular windmill. The only one.

Fourth: Montevista. I really hope they've turned things around. But a leading open source innovator? There have been no end of hotness embedded linux stories in open source of the last year, and the reporter picked Montevista? Wha?

Fifth: You have this list, in which you've tried to create your elite list of junk, then number 10 is "everyone in large companies from microsoft to EMC to IBM to whomever". What? So all of the article, which now practically includes the entire industry in it is somehow pointing people to the innovators in open source? Lame. Lazy.

Damn kids. Get off my damn lawn.

Well, at least they don't show snap previews. That would have made my head explode.

Outrage #2: ESR Quits Fedora. (no link provided, not gonna do it, nope.)

I'm totally feeding the troll here, but if you were to, oh, I don't know, erase your /lib directory and then your OS died. Whose fault is it? (windows folks, imagine if you deleted windows/system32 and Apple users, imagine if you, uh, dropped a brick on it or whatever)

People feel most outraged when they do something patently stupid, something they know is foolish and which they knew was foolish when they did it. I generally don't jump on the slam ESR bandwagon, he's done some interesting and even important things for Open Source, but this kind of stuff, well, it makes you shake your head.

I had more, but I was feeling all save-to-draft-and-delete if I included them. I also had something happy about puppies and kittens to bring myself up from the gloom that pervades this article.

Okay, I lied about the kittens. Sorry.


Tarus Balog said...

Oh God, thank you for this. You made my day.

As a maintainer of an open source project for over 5 years, I am *amazed* that OpenNMS is almost never mentioned in articles about open source network management.

Seriously, type in

open source network management

into Google and we are the number one hit (and we didn't do anything fancy to get there - just build the community, baby).

But you would be amazed and how often our project is overlooked. When I write the reporters and ask about it, they say "I didn't know about you". Sheesh. If I was doing a paper on, I don't know, "crested geckos," one of the things I'd do is go to Google and type in "crested geckos".

However we spend our money making a better product, not taking reporters out to lunch I guess.

I think yesterday's Dilbert hit it on the head (no link since I think it would go away pretty soon).

When things like this happen I just have to remind myself that the open source marketeers will eventually be exposed. I just hope the term "open source" can survive it.

CraigM said...

Thank you. Your outrage is well shared and valid.

The whole "I'm quitting distro X" is just the same attention-hogging tripe that plagues newsgroups, mailing lists, and any other public forum. "I'm leaving because I'm not happy". If you're going to leave, please leave; I don't need a press release to know you're gone.

Karl said...

Niiiiiiiiice rant!

And informative -- I wasn't aware of that SugarCRM license nonsense. How can they possibly call it "Open Source" with that license? Sheesh. For those who want the details, search for the words

"must be visible to all users"

in this page:


-Karl Fogel

Mateusz Krzeszowiec said...

It's quite strange that ESR's so mad about Fedora, it's not that hard to keep that OS running even not being a hackor.

I can't see why including WMV/WMA is forward-thinking, especially when even such big company as BBC is trying to avoid proprietary software - BBC's own Open Source video codec.
Moreover he can always grab codecs from Livna or FreshRPMs. That's not hard too :)

FYI they really had some problems with dependencies but the key was to... wait for patch, more info here: http://fedoranews.org/cms/node/2678

Shame on ESR. Praise Fedora!

Dossy said...

"Third: SugarCRM is not flippin' Open Source. [...]"

Chris, please share your definition of "Open Source," please. I thought, of all people, you knew what it meant.

Yes, the source is open--or, at least, available. The software is not *free* (as in freedom), sure. I don't think the SugarCRM people are claiming to be free--matter of fact, they very clearly state "Commercial Open Source" to distinguish it from "Free Open Source" (free as in beer OR freedom).

In the "continuum of things that matter to me, personally" I value "commercial open source" less than "free open source" but a hell of a lot more than "closed source."

CraigM said...

Dossy, I don't know if you are old enough to remember the fiasco between XFree and other distributions not paying proper homage to the XFree86 group, but there was a time when every Linux distribution had XFree86 as part of it's core graphical distribution. Fast forward to XFree86 4.4, and suddenly there's all sorts of attribution required. See http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=97287&cid=8316591 for an excellent analysis of what the issues were.

Fast forward to SugarCRM and tell me there's no difference? If a simple attribution change caused most of the Linux distributions out there to change their X servers to Xorg (almost overnight, if not extremely rapidly) then can you understand why some of those in the Free Software movement would be just a little ticked at being required to advertise Sugar CRM on every single page (with minimum dimensions, no less). I'll support any product I use with a mention or two on my pages, but I also want the freedom to do such advertising on my own terms, without a license mandate requiring my entire site has some god-awful logo prominently displayed on every user-addressable page.

D.J. Capelis said...

> Chris, please share your
> definition of "Open Source,"
> please. I thought, of all
> people, you knew what it
> meant.

I suggest you click the link he provided on the term linking to the OSI's open-source definition... it's a good codification of the definition most people think of when they think "open-source."

It's also the reason why Microsoft calls their products shared source. Ironically they seem to have more respect for the term than this company.

Anonymous said...

Dude above,

check http://opensource.org

Dossy said...

"I suggest you click the link he provided on the term linking to the OSI's open-source definition... it's a good codification of the definition most people think of when they think "open-source.""

Uh, I did. Trust me, I'm very familiar with the OSI definition.

Hint: SugarCRM conforms to the OSI's definition of "open source." OSI's definition stipulates "free redistribution" (which, I believe is the case with SugarCRM). OSI's definition also prohibits discrimination.

Nowhere in OSI's definition does it stipulate anything about usage restrictions. SugarCRM's "commercial open source" license places usage restrictions on their product and code.

Again, I ask: what's the problem here? The fact that people keep thinking "open source" necessarily means "free and open source." That's what.

Dossy said...

Check this article:


"Asked about this, Roberts told eWEEK that the license is the MPL but, as SugarCRM does not have the right to use the Mozilla trademark, it called it SugarCRM. He also maintained that there are no restrictions on redistributing the code and that all SugarCRM is doing is requiring that anyone wanting to redistribute the code remove its trademarks, as they do not have legal rights to those.

"There is absolutely nothing to stop anyone else from using this code. All we require is that the 'powered by SugarCRM' attribution be left in place. We are simply unwilling to let someone take the code, strip out all the attributions and authorship, and claim it as their own," Roberts said."

I think this is very reasonable: you can use SugarCRM--you can even redistribute it--but if you don't want to comply with the attribution requirement, then you have to remove all references to the "SugarCRM" name, as the requirement to use that trademarked name is to provide the specified attribution.

Again, what's the big deal? Don't like it? Fork the code, remove all references to SugarCRM, and release your own version of the application.

Anonymous said...

it's refreshing not to see the same rehash but who the heck are those companies?!

Chris DiBona said...

Dossy, you are missing one thing about the Sugar License, according the exhibit B II you cannot remove the badge, and that they have ultimate control over thier logo, thus they have control.

This isn't open source.

Russell said...

Dossy, the Open Source Definition makes no sense unless usage of the code is also free. If you'll notice, their license is NOT OSI approved, and cannot carry the OSI-Certified Open Source mark. If they had asked us, we would have told them "No, you can't put ANY restrictions on usage. NONE WHATSOEVER." Everyone who has come to us asking for restrictions on usage has gotten the same story for the last ~9 years. Not gonna change.

Russell said...

Dossy, the article to which you refer makes it clear that you CANNOT "remove all references to SugarCRM." Feel free to try infringing their copyright yourself, but don't think for a moment that any of us are going to do it.

Russell said...

craigm: Sure, Eric could have silently left Fedora, but he wanted everyone to understand why. You can't silently leave AND make your discontent widely known.

Anonymous said...

The irony.. This linux gazette article by Rick Moen lists out some psuedos. Alfresco has now turned into GPL. IMO the OSI needs to host a list of products that claim to be 'open source' but are not. And for a laugh, see Centric CRM's 'free as in speech' edition's license. They also founded this..

Anonymous said...

"save-to-draft-and-delete" has save my ass more than once :)

Anonymous said...

The SugarCRM position is as explained by Roberts is irreconcilable. You either have the right to distribute the code or not. You can either use their trademarks or not. It you use their trademarks, it should not be modified. If you don't use their trademarks then modify away. SugarCRM cannot have it both ways, meaning you can modify it and you must use our trademarks. They should read their own license. It's called the MPL. --- And I'm getting sick of all the stupid FUD associated with it. Even the lawyers have become stupid.