Beyond Software

You can chart the rise of the modern packaged software industry to an open letter that William ‘Bill’ Gates sent to the Homebrew Computer Club in February 1976 complaining about software piracy. The club was built on a counter-culture ethic of sharing information , knowledge and code. Just as the packaged software industry rose with Microsoft, so the homebrew movement morphed into what we now know to be open source software. Tim O’Reilly has deliberately stirred controversy with a posting about

open source software licences are obsolete, however the more serious point that he makes about how the legal aspects that facilitate open source software need to be adapted to fit the new service orientated web (web 2.0 if you will). Up till now most organisations such as flickr, Yahoo! and Google have been open about their key service IP: their APIs, however what happens if you get a management team with someone like Darl McBride from The SCO Group put in place.

How is a mash-up owned: is it the person who does the mash-up, the people whose content is used in the mash-up or the services that the mash-up has been derived like flickr XML feeds for instance. Web 2.0 is a lawyers wet dream and O’Reilly’s argument is that the situation needs to be fixed BEFORE it breaks.