Linux, Open Source and Control

Opinion: Could a Red Hat or Novell somehow take over Linux and become like Microsoft? The answer is no. NO, with a capital "N" and "O."

Over at Slashdot, theyre debating a statement by Greg Mancusi-Ungaro, Novells Linux and open-source software marketing manager, in a recent LinuxFormat interview, that "Well, if we ever woke up one day and said Wow, Novell is the Microsoft of Linux or Red Hat is the Microsoft of Linux, then the Linux movement would be over."

The point was: Could a Red Hat or Novell somehow take over Linux and become like Microsoft?

Im a little puzzled by the question. The answer is no. NO, with a capital "N" and "O."

Yes, companies and individuals want to control open-source software. Even now, many people have real trouble with the idea that you can make a very successful software business and not own a single line of its code.

This is why I always smile at the idea that Microsoft will someday try to destroy Linux by releasing its own MS-Linux. The current generation of Microsoft leadership will never make that move.

I know these guys. They dont just see Linux as competition. They simply cant wrap their minds around the various open-source business models.

And, even if they did, so what?

The code is open. Its free.

If you want a prime-example of how this could play out, read my story from yesterday about how the "open-source" Mambo CMS (content management system) is continuing to fall apart.

Here, Miro International owns some of Mambos IP and theyve tried to use that control to say who can call the shots with the project.

Bad idea. Last August, most of their developers walked and started a similar CMS project called Joombla!. Recently, as I describe in my most recent tale, they lost some more.

What could Miro do? The answer: nothing.

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