Fragmentation Hurts Open-Source Advocacy efforts
Pogo once said "We have met the enemy and he is us." The same could be said of conflicting Linux and open source initatives.Last week one of my colleagues said, "The technology of Linux seems to be doing a better job of converging, while the support orgs around it are acting more and more like the Unix fragmentation of old." I agree. Too many Linux, open source, and free software advocacy groups seem to act as if they are alone in the universe, or waste time arguing with competing advocates, instead of cooperating with others to achieve their goals. One mini-feud I find especially irksome is between EgovOS and OSSI. These groups both work to increase open source use by government agencies, but they never seem to work together. Look at the online blurb for EgovOSs upcoming Open Source in Government conference. Theres no evidence that OSSI exists, let alone plans to participate. Conversely, EgovOS doesnt exist anywhere on the OSSI Web site (except for a small link on this page pointed out to us by OSSI director John Weathersby shortly after this article was posted).
Youd think that EgovOS and OSSI would cooperate. Their directions and methods are different, but both have the same objective: More government open source use. Are egos getting in the way? Are there personality conflicts between the groups leaders? Whatever their differences, setting them aside and sharing resources would make both groups more effective.