back to article Perens: 'Badgeware' threat to open source's next decade

Bruce Perens doesn't regret the fact that, since officially co-birthing open source with The Cathedral and the Bazaar author and hacker Eric Raymond ten years ago, Linux and open source have moved from the sandal-wearing fringes to acceptance by Wall Street and big, closed-source industry giants. Nor does he feel remorse at …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nothing before Perens

    I'm sure it would spoil the fun to note that BSD (first open source OS) started in the 70s and Project Athena (X11) started in the 80s, in case anyone though open source waited for Perens to exist.

    I'll shut up, then.

  2. amanfromMars Silver badge

    The Paradigm Shift with Gratitude to Pay ITs Way

    "The big deal about Trolltech today is there are so many programmers who know how to program because they use open source software," Perens said. "I think their longevity comes from their open sourceness."

    Amen to that. Man getting SMARTer and not before Time and what we are seeing is open source as the absolute leader in every number of fields.

  3. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Release the doves/balloons/hounds

    Congratulations to amanfromMars on posting his 1000th comment. We never thought we'd see the day!*

    * Yeah we did.

  4. Spleen

    Loose canon?

    Sort of like a Reverend Dirty Harry?

    "You're a good priest, McBalsak, but you play too fast and loose with the Commandments! In this church we do things by the book! The Good Book!"

    "My job is to save souls, Bishop. You can take your Book and shove it where the sun don't shine. Up an altarboy."

    "That's it, McBalsak, I'm taking you off the clergy! Hand in your cassock and crucifix."

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Careful with the shift key, mate

    "We were still making our Windowing systems. We were catching up..."

    I can only assume the guy was actually talking about "windowing systems." According to the most recent findings of cutting-edge computer scientific research the things weren't actually invented in Redmond you know.

  6. Michael

    I was much happier

    when I thought the title said badgerware.

    I thought it could maybe be some sort of allusion to staying underground, and hiding from sight, while spreading virally and slowly killing off big "cash cow" projects.

    Because that would be an excellent excuse for a picture of a badger.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Am I getting SMARTer?

    amanfromMars celebrated his 1000th posting in style: it was short, clear and readily understandable - even to me, and that's a first!


  8. Martin Owens

    And before that?

    I mean as above you have the BSD guys who've been hacking away for years. but the whole open source movement only sprang to life out of the Free Software movement.

    As much as OSS would hate to admit, the FSF has never had a problem with knowing where the line is and what they're trying to do. Better integrity sees the GPL well trusted and the OSI a trademark without a reason.

  9. system

    license ratification

    Wishing to have changed the way licenses are ratified will not really change all that much, unless you assume that everyone releasing open source feels the need to use an officially sanctioned license.

    Some open source actually exists without licenses. I post code nearly every day that effectively becomes public domain, and do so without demanding any restrictions on it.

    From where I'm sitting, accusing badgeware of being the start of restrictiveness while imposing any restrictions on your code just looks silly. The slippery slope of ever more restrictive licenses started with the very first license that laid down any restrictions.

    Besides, most officially sanctioned licenses are bloated to hell with wasted words, and almost indecipherable to non-lawyers. Are they not as restrictive as a clear and consice badgeware license if you always have to play safe because you cannot understand your rights?

  10. T. Harrell

    Linus a loose cannon?? To hell with this yahoo!

    First, the GPLv2 worked. It still works. There is no need to fix things that already work just fine! Pushing for people to use v3 over v2 is just like MS trying to force people to upgrade when the old does the job!

    Second, last I read, there were several valid reasons why Linux is not GPLv3. Putting limits on what people can do with your "Free" software makes it NOT FREE!

    Third, as everyone above has mentioned.. Perens is a totally irrelevant character! He didn't start the idea of Free Software, he just started some irrelevant bureaucracy. He's not even a meaningful contributor to Free Software.. What did he code? Busybox? Hardly crucial or irreplaceable! He's just a journalist and bureaucrat barking nonsense!

  11. Mark

    @T Harrell

    GPL2 does NOT work.

    If Novell produce GPL'd code that contains MS patents in it, the GPL2 is broken unless you can convince the judge that MS's allowance of the code by Novell under GPL2 copyrights mean that they are released under copyright.

    And since the GPL started because a printer manufacturer refuse to fix a problem or give enough information to write a new driver so RMS made a license that would allow Free Software drivers to be produced, isn't the fact that Tivo can give you a GPL'd product that they can change but you can't *in exactly the same way as the printer problem that started it* how can that be seen as "working properly".

    It works properly for Linus. It doesn't work for others. It's not like RMS/EFF are refusing to allow any code to use the old license, is it, so why is GPL3 a problem?

    Because it allows people to lock up code by finessing the law.

    And you lap it up.

  12. Nigel Kneale

    Before OSI and the FSF...

    ...was general public domain which was evolving in that direction anyway as more source code was published and one-off licences were written that basically said "here's the program, here's the code, do what you like, but remember to credit me and publish your version."

    If you believe the hype then Perens invented open source and Stallman wrote the first free-of-charge C compiler. Those who were using public domain code and utilities the decades before they appeared on the scene know that these practices and utilities already existed.

    If the OSI and FSF didn't exist, something very similar to their work would have been formed in their place. They're not visionaries - they're certainly not leaders - they just try to claim the credit for the collective work done by coders like you and me.

    The history of public domain software in the 60s/70s/80s/90s is an interesting one, and well worth looking into if you don't fancy the fawning that follows the cults of Stallman and Perens et al.


  13. James Pickett


    I read it as badgerware, too. I wish it had been - it sounds much more fun.

    Hey, El Reg, when do we get some new icons?

  14. Nigel Kneale

    Re: Busybox

    Busybox is central to the embedded Linux market. However, Perens abandoned the projected several years ago, and Rob Landley et al (no Perens involvement, apart from claiming the credit) rewrote it to make it the tool of choice for embedded devices.

  15. Mike Silver badge


    First off, I agree that software has been shared for a _long_ time. And I, too was pretty annoyed the first time I bought a product, with source code, and found a great wodge of _my_ code, shorn only of my name, email address, and copyright (along with 'feel free to use this but keep my name in the source') notice. But I didn't stay up nights thinking of ways to get even.

    The whole license kerfuffle reminds me of those restrictions that get tacked on to land deeds. Many of them, like the part where I can only have two non-white servants, and only the asians, not the "colored" are allow to actually live at my (under 900 square-foot) house have thankfully been rendered legally moot. Would that these bizarre restrictive successors follow the same route.

  16. This post has been deleted by its author

  17. stizzleswick


    "The history of public domain software in the 60s/70s/80s/90s is an interesting one, and well worth looking into"

    I agree there, though public domain ≠ opensource; much of that PD software was very definitely closed-source with only the binaries in the public domain, thereby missing out on the benefits of a developer community.

    And yes, BSD was there first. The developer community was pretty small though, being restricted by the networking infrastructure of the time. And yes also, I agree that something similar to the OSI would have evolved anyway; the exploding number of computer-savvy people together with the general availability to the public of the internet in the early 1990s practically guaranteed that.

  18. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Loose canon?

    Heh. Thank you, Spleen. If only every cursed typo could be offset by such a skit. Fixed now.

  19. amanfromMars Silver badge

    My Generation XXXX ...People try to put us down.

    Here's the open source peddled by the Neanderthal ......

    MeThinks, El Reg, the Board could leave that light years in ITs Wake and who would dare to cast Aspersions upon ITs Base. Rock IT is and Binary too but it aint Tora Bora Cave dwellers run from Langley, that's for sure.

    Mr Allen*, be a SMARTer Alex and take that Deadhead out into the Sun, IT could do with the AIResearch and Development and if you aint part of the MODern Solution, you is part of the Problem.

    And who wants to be Part of a Fraud, whenever the Fraud is XXXXPosed ..... Been there, done that, won't get fooled again......with Tony's Legacy. What a charlie of a charlatan. One does hope that the Cabinet and Labour Minions are not Part and Parcel of the Conspiracy or should that rather say that one hopes that they are. Their Sub-Prime Performance suggests that it is so ..... for they don't lead with anything original which everyone can agree with.

    Ps Mr Allen is supposed to be Intelligent and one supposes that is what he is paid good public money to be....... a poodle you can pick up for free at the lost and found.

    urs QuITe Disgustedly,

    Monsieur Sarkasm

    And the Moral of this Tale is ....... We have the Technology to Rebuild .....and Pukka IT Wallahs can Rebuild it with IT from the Ground Up with Zeroday Virtual Trades..

    Bank on Running with that rather than inviting a Run on Banking. The great unwashed would not appreciate you shafting them again ......for no good reason other than you can and do.

  20. Mark


    Can you cut down a little bit. Post as much as you like, but make more sense. I'm not even reading *any* of your posts any more because there are too many without any sense to them.

    When they were a little less common, they were read and occasionally funny or interesting.

  21. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Unilateral DisArmament .... NEUKlearer Cold Fusion?

    Mark, Thank you for your opinion, it is perfectly as valid as any of the other 6,650,258,927 ...... 07:41 GMT (EST+5) Feb 13, 2008 .....

    It is not cricket, even whenever richly deserved, to call the Status Quo that are Governments and its Monetary Control Masters, Incompetent to the Point of Self Destructive Madness, and to have an Acquiescent and Complementary Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee and Shady Intelligence Source Forces fostering and fuelling not unreasonable thoughts of an inGlorious Feather Nesting with the Abuse of Power, rather than Challenging Knights, Boldly Going into the Future with AI Beta Use for Power and its Monetary Control Masters, is neither Intelligent, nor in this Day and Age of Instant Electronic Messaging, Acceptable. I Trust in Global Operating Devices that you find that not unreasonable or outlandish/alien?

    Get Used to IT Changing Everything. After All, all that there Really is, is the Future and that is Never Ever expected to be the Same as the Past, and as the Present is only always a Fleeting Moment in Time immediately rendered to the Past, it too, is [Virtually] Unreal and fully expected to be Different/a Better Beta.

    Therefore, Thoughts in the Present of the Future/Thoughts for the Future in a Present, are the True Nature of Reality and that makes Life Virtually Real and Controllable /Steerable with Future Thoughts Shared/Globally Peer Reviewed. These would, by their very Nature, be expected to be Different and/or Original.

    Does that make sense to you? And if not, where not? Identify that Bottleneck and IT Resources will Zero in 42 UNblock the Information Flow...... Ease ITs Passage.

  22. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Hmmm .....???

    Now here's a Novel Coincidence? Microsoft talking of Everything Changing too .....

    Late to the Party again, chaps? Wanna a Run down on what you've been missing?

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