The Dangers VC-Backed “Open Source”

Monday 23 September 2013 by Bradley M. Kuhn

I'm thankful for Christopher Allan Webber for pointing me at this interesting post from Guillaume Lesniak, the developer of Focal (a once fully GPL'd camera application for Android/Linux), and how he was (IMO) pressured to give a proprietary license to the new CyanogenMod, Inc.

I mostly think Guillaume's post speaks for itself, and I encourage readers of my blog to read it as well. When I read it, I couldn't help thinking about how this is what Free Software often becomes in the world of “Open Source”. Specifically, VCs, and the companies they back, just absolutely love to say they're doing “Open Source”, but it just goes to show the clear difference between “doing Open Source” and giving users software freedom. These VC-backed companies don't really want to share freedoms with their users: they want to exploit Free Software licenses to market more proprietary software.

Years ago, I helped get the Replicant project started. I haven't been an active contributor to the project, but I hope that folks can see this is an actual, community-oriented, volunteer-run Free Software alternative firmware based on Android/Linux. In my opinion, any project controlled primarily by one company will likely never be all those things. I urge Cyanogenmod users to switch to Replicant today!

Posted on Monday 23 September 2013 at 10:10 by Bradley M. Kuhn.

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#include <std/disclaimer.h>
use Standard::Disclaimer;
from standard import disclaimer
SELECT full_text FROM standard WHERE type = 'disclaimer';

Both previously and presently, I have been employed by and/or done work for various organizations that also have views on Free, Libre, and Open Source Software. As should be blatantly obvious, this is my website, not theirs, so please do not assume views and opinions here belong to any such organization. Since I do co-own ebb.org with my wife, it may not be so obvious that these aren't her views and opinions, either.

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Bradley M. Kuhn <bkuhn@ebb.org>