Open Source into the Mainstream …

Obviously, a lot has transpired since the GNU Manifesto, or the beginnings of the Linux project. While Linux and open source software have entered the mainstream, there seem to be those that see this emergence as problematic and detrimental to the movement itself.

For instance, an article at Newsforge today reports that many developers are merely using ‘open source’ as trendy branding to get wider product recognition.

“… just jumping up and down and saying, “We’re open source! Open source, yesiree!” seems to be a hot software sales tactic these days. Apparently paying lip service to open source means you’re good people, worth buying from, at least in some marketers’ minds.”

Additionally, earlier in the month, another Newsforge article reported the splintering of the Linux community into two camps: the political activist and the pragmatic user. This seems to bring tension into the world of Linux between the “old-line, hard-core free software crowd” and users who are just looking to use (and not actively develop) Linux and related free software just because it is actually useful. I think both types of users (and I am sure this polarized model doesn’t accurately represent all of the hybrids) can live happily together with Linux. Yet, I wonder how this perceived animosity will play out. At some point, you would think that the pragmatic users of Linux would outnumber (if not already) the hard core developers. If not, what was the point in the first place?