This week I am giving a keynote address at the Red Hat Summit in New Orleans. When giving keynotes or other talks these days, I often make a point of explaining what I feel is, quite simply, the key to open source initiatives and why open source is an integral part of IBM's strategy. I do this because there is quite a bit of FUD surrounding the issue.
Some say the primary value of open source is to provide access to the source code of previously proprietary software, source code that had been available only in binary form. Others spend a lot of time talking about open source software licenses to bemused audiences, and in particular railing against the GPL, which is the license used by Linux. Open source licenses are an important topic for those involved in reading, modifying or re-distributing open source software. But to the vast majority of programmers, let alone the vast majority of people who simply use computers at work or home, open source licensing is a pretty arcane subject, more of a red-herring brought up by competing IT vendors than anything they really need to obsess over.