If you are a fan of the Linux Action Show, then you will most likely be aware of the controversy surrounding the work of Bryan Lunduke.

For those of you not aware of this, let me quickly sum up what that controversy is:

Bryan Lunduke(president of RadicalBreeze) has created some software that is particularly geared towards Linux.
Some of his titles include Illumination Software Creator, Linux Tycoon and BLABA to name a few.

But Bryan decided that he wanted to switch these titles from commercial to OpenSource, something I’m sure everyone likes.
But this is where it get’s interesting.

In order to do this, Lunduke wants to ensure he still keeps a salary and thus set up a plan. If he was to receive donations that counted up to $4000 by Friday 8th June 2012.
The problem here is that firstly, this isn’t a one time donation, it is a monthly donation.
Secondly, although you can donate from $2 per month, a lot of critics are questioning whether Lunduke deserves a $4000 per month salary for the software he has made.
And thirdly, if the $4000 is not reached by the deadline, the people who have already donated will be refunded, BUT, the software remains closed source.

This has received a lot (and I mean a lot) of negative feedback from the Linux community.
His fans haven’t at all questioned this, but the critics are outraged.

This led me to the question, what is is wrong with the current model of open source software?

Richard Stallman (founder of GNU) believes that all software should be free(in the sense that the code should be available and able to be changed).
But unfortunately I don’t believe this works anymore.

When that model of open source was introduces, Linux was the ‘nerdy’ OS, and a hobbyist paradise.
Those who used the operating system weren’t using it as a professional operating system but rather something to tinker with.
From those early days, things have changed a lot.

Linux is now everywhere, from mobile telephones, to car computers, to aircraft entertainment, servers, and desktops.
It’s come a long way thanks to the open source community and is only going to grow with big names chosing the OS.

But the problem here is that open source is not exactly a company’s idea of working.
If you love open source, and want to make applications, but also want to make money, there is this lingering thought in your mind.
By giving the code freely, and someone else alters it, and sells it, then your original product might not sell as well, and if only a single code has been added by the person who changed the code, it feels like you were a little robbed.

But this doesn’t only count for the small guy, but also for big companies.
How will they ever release their code if they have no safety net. And if they don’t, they might not even work with Linux at all. That way, we all lose.

Now, I don’t agree with this model that Lunduke is proposing, since it seems like blackmail.
And I’m not a critic of his, in fact, I love Illumination Software Creator and recommend it to non-programmers all the time.

How about we change the current model just a little bit.
I know that my idea isn’t going to get past Richard Stallman, but I think it’s perhaps a good middle ground.

Commercial software means the code is not available, this means that it cannot be altered but it gives the original authors the ability to make money on it.
Open Source software means the code is available, this means it can be altered freely and redistributed either for free or with payment, but doesn’t provide safety.

What if we combine the two: Allow code to be altered and redistributed, but with a minimum amount of change before it can be passed over and charged for. This way, someone who picks up another man/woman’s work and get money for it.

This is simply an idea and most likely a terrible idea.
But what do you think needs to change in order to be more attractive and be adopted by more than just independent programmers?

Advertisements