Open source has reach, but no influence
Steve Burge has an interesting post on his personal site on why he thinks open source has no reach, but no influence.
Despite the widespread open source, we’re entering a world of closed platforms:
- Today’s iOS9 launch shows what incredible power a single company has over so many independent publishers. Apple would love to push us into reading via the News App (built on open source!) using Webkit (built on open source!).
- Facebook is trying to get publishers to write directly for their Pages platform (built on open source!), rather than on the independent web.
- Android is the world’s largest mobile platform (built on open source!), but have you seen what happens to phone manufacturers who don’t play by Google’s rules?
These companies use open source tools to build closed platforms and walled gardens.
Open source is really popular. But if the majority of the web ends up inside walled gardens, what have we gained?
In the Reddit thread that stemmed from his post, some noted that the GPL provides much more reach than some licenses, due to its Copyleft restrictions.