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Open barbarians poised to storm Apple's gate

The Register - Open...and Shut Open source has a tendency to cannibalize and commoditize – and not just surrounding proprietary projects. As described by researcher Dirk Riehle, open source involves a process of continuous innovation and commoditization as communities form to wring inefficiencies from software markets. Interestingly, this same phenomenon happens all the time in the wider software world, and it forecasts diminished importance of closed platforms like Apple's iOS in favor of more open platforms like Android.

Riehle's research plays off the excellent analysis of The 451 Group's Matt Aslett on the rise of permissive licensing in open-source communities. As Aslett points out, GPL licensing has been in relative decline compared to Apache- and MIT-licensed projects.

The reason, as Riehle writes, is clear: "Projects that don't choose a permissive license are at a Darwinian disadvantage over those that do because the later can receive contributions from a broader set of enterprises than the former." Not so surprisingly, this holds true even for source code repositories: GitHub has been beating SourceForge, Google Code, and other source code repositories by being even more open.

Openness matters. Even in the land of open-source software, where openness is the default.