Regarding a recent post found on zdnet
Open-source advocate Michael 'Monty' Widenius, main author of the MySQL database, says changes in the movement over the past few years are threatening the viability of projects.
Company attitudes to contributing finance and manpower to open-source initiatives have been shifting recently, according to Widenius. Ever since his earliest involvement in the mid-1990s immediately preceding the movement's emergence, people have been prepared to pay for software they valued.
"Now the problem is that you have companies that are heavily using open source but refuse to pay anything back because they don't have to," Widenius said.
"The whole problem with not having to is kind of new because the open-source movement doesn't go forward if nobody is prepared to pay. You actually make it harder for new companies to form around open source," he said.
Sounds as if he didn't really see the obvious there. Competitive markets contain competitors who compete and therefore look for ways to gain the most advantage, which includes a lowest cost component. Taking for free. Can't get much lower cost than that.
Widenius' answer to the problem is a form of licensing that he terms 'business source'. He believes it will enable open-source projects to generate as much income as their closed-source counterparts but still remain open.
"The whole idea with business source is actually very trivial. It is a commercial licence that is time-based and which will become open source after a given time, usually three years. But you can get access to all the source. You can use it in any way but the source has a comment that says you can use it freely except in these circumstances when you have to pay," Widenius said....
"Because you have the code, you know that if the vendor does something stupid, somebody else can give you the support for it. So you get all the benefits of open source except that a small portion of users has to pay. As long as you continue to develop the project, each version still gets a new timeline of three years."
Is what he is describing really any different than the source code being in escrow?
About the only thing different (I see) between this and escrow is with this the customer/vendor relationship is componentized. Meaning smaller vendors who can provide a product, that has 75% of a big vendor's bells and whistles (yet contains 100% of the core customer needs), and better customer service lose that advantage by having an open door for the vendor product/service "package" to be broken apart.
What am I missing?