Linux threatened by 'polarisation'

The commercialisation of Linux is posing a threat to the spirit of its creation. That is the message from the vice president of Linux Australia Pia Waugh, who called on developers to ensure that it will not become diluted.

Speaking to a nearly full theatre at Linux.conf, Waugh said she was concerned by an increasing polarisation between code and culture.

"As open source has become increasingly commercialised, free software has become more associated with cost cutting than with the cultural aspects such as equality, freedom and open access to all," she said.

Rather than a polarisation within the community between those that say it is all about the code and those that say it is all about the freedom, Waugh wants to see more unity.

"It should be about code and culture," she said.

Waugh suggests there are five pillars to open source: open standards, licenses, knowledge, community and code/software.

"Without any one of these, it is not open," she said.

"As more and more people join the open source community we all need to play a role (in education and advocacy,) so that in 10 years time we are not outnumbered and open source will not have moved away from the concept of freedom."

Waugh took the opportunity to suggest that people within the Open Source community might like to start down the advocacy track by focusing their attention on the Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

"New legislation to do with patents and copyright will be put into law in the next six months as part of the FTA. (As these changes will increase proprietary rights) we need to be writing letters about this now," she said.

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