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OpenBRR Launches Closed Open-Source Group 63

An anonymous reader writes "eWeek is reporting that SpikeSource co-founder and CTO Murugan Pal and the Open Business Readiness rating have launched a new initiative designed to maximize open-source software knowledge across organizations. While they are targeting corporate and Wall Street CIOs and IT directors as members, the current plan is not to open membership of the new OpenBRR Corporate Community to all, but to offer it on an invitation-only basis 'to ensure that only trusted participants are coming into the system,' Pal said. This would allow members to discuss sensitive issues and share information without having to worry that it would be made widely public, he said."
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OpenBRR Launches Closed Open-Source Group

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  • Non-MS Open Source (Score:4, Insightful)

    by foundme ( 897346 ) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @11:25PM (#15202244) Homepage
    to ensure that only trusted participants are coming into the system

    Is this just a more polite way to say they don't want MS to join?
    • That's exactly what I thought of when I read this. There was a ./ article a while back about how MS was trying to join the ODF alliance, and it was extrapolated that it was just an attempt to slow down ODF certification. Guess these folks saw that and came up with this.
    • Didn't I hear once about Netscape folks showing up at a Microsoft shareholders meeting once? MS wanted to kick them out, but couldn't because Netscape bought a share of MS and were therefore a shareholder. Good thing open source doesn't have shares of stock and shareholder meetings. Brilliant move.
    • Is this just a more polite way to say they don't want MS to join?

      Actually, I'm half expecting that there will be an application to be invited, and the only question will be "Are you affiliated with Microsoft?", and if you answer no, you are always invited, and if you answer yes, you are never invited.
    • Limiting MS could be a motive, but I can't help but recall that SCO was a trusted participant in an open source alliance not all that long ago.
  • I guess the idea sounds kind of cool... "What if we could build ODF without Microsoft hijacking it?"

    But isn't it a bit oxymoronic, and perhaps counter-productive, to do open source work behind closed doors?

    • by El Cubano ( 631386 ) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @11:31PM (#15202273)

      But isn't it a bit oxymoronic, and perhaps counter-productive, to do open source work behind closed doors?

      Not so. This is not too different from the way Debian has a debian-private mailing list, which is open only to those who have been admitted to the project as full Debian Developers. Debian does that for protecting personal info (like vacation notices) and financial information. I am not sure that they are protecting the same type of information. However, sometimes things just have to be done behind closed doors. Hopefully, they will keep it as open as possible.

      • Like you said, that's for protecting personal information. Anyone who wants to follow the Debian development process can do so freely. The ability to post on some of the Debian devel lists may be limited (which is necissary if for no other reason than avoiding spam), but as far as I know, reading them is pretty open.
      • It's not an oxymoron. It's just a bad metaphor. What you have here is a screen door, not an open one. I guess you can call it Screened Source if you want, but it isn't open. Open is IP for the use of all. This is IP for the good of the chosen. That's not exactly proprietary, in the project sense, but it is in the context of the "value" of IP pooled in the source associated with it.

        It's open if anyone can look at it.

        • This would allow members to discuss sensitive issues and share information without having to worry that it would be made widely public, he said.

          And as far as this stated value of such a system goes, it is entirely laughable. How frequently is completely proprietary information leaked to the public--often intentionally--on high profile products and projects? And they think this half-assed...err open system is going to be somehow more robust at keeping sensitive information private? Durrr.

          What you have

  • "Closed" Open Source (Score:3, Informative)

    by moochfish ( 822730 ) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @11:30PM (#15202272)
    So it's only available to the people they want it open to? Isn't that how "proprietary" is also defined?
    • by Kadin2048 ( 468275 ) <slashdot,kadin&xoxy,net> on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @12:23AM (#15202474) Homepage Journal
      "Open source" implies .... wait for it ... open source code! Nothing else. Many OSS organizations -- like Debian -- also have an open and democratic development methodology, but this isn't required.

      I could get ten (or a thousand) of my best friends together, lock ourselves in a garage (warehouse), put a sign on the door that says "Windowz userz keep out!" and produce some piece of software, and then release it under the GPL without telling anyone about HOW we went about making up the code. Any internal documentation, functional specifications, etc., wouldn't need to be open. It's just the code that's protected under "open source." You can develop the software in any way you choose.

      Not all open source projects have to be Debian-like. That's just one way of developing; not everything has to be done like that. There's nothing in the OSS licenses themselves -- we can argue philosophy until we're all dead, naturally -- that prevents OSS development from being just as much of a "sausage factory" as proprietary development.
      • Exactly. And to a lesser extend *all* open source projects have to limit access in cetain ways to be able to function at all. Most OS project for example restrict write access to CVS/SVN repositories for the obvious reason.
      • There's nothing in the OSS licenses themselves -- we can argue philosophy until we're all dead, naturally -- that prevents OSS development from being just as much of a "sausage factory" as proprietary development.

        As a recent CS graduate, I can fully verify the validity of this analogy.

      • Debian doesn't have a purely merit based admission process: Check out []:

        Step 5: Recommendation

        When the Applicant has completed the tasks and skills tests, expressed an understanding of the Social Contract, the Debian Free Software Guidelines and Debian Policies and Procedures and been properly identified, it is time for the Application Manager to make a final report to the Front Desk and the Debian Account Manager.

        This report includes statements from the Advocate and
      • I am still a bit confused what open source code means.
        What if the source code is obfuscated, (messed up beyond human-read) but it is still the code that is compiled/interpreted. Is it then still open source? (even though there was active purpose to prevent other people from building on it)

        Should the code be "human-readable"? How to define that?? I say if you want to call it open source (and be a nice guy) you should give internal documentation away too.
        • Well, you can definitely say that (and I might agree with you, personally), but the only thing "open source" requires is the code that's in a known programming language and that's fed into the compiler to produce a binary, as far as I know.

          You can strip the comments out, obfuscate it, do whatever you want -- there's no requirement to document or make anyone else's job easy. Although I don't know of any OSS project that does this, because you're right it's exactly contrary to the goals of OSS, it's allowed.

    • That is mostly how the GPL and most other free software licenses work, actually, and seems to be a rather common misconception. The owner of the software can choose to only release it to certain people, under a license like the GPL. The catch is that then those people can also choose, if they wish, to release the software to others, under the same license (at least in the case of the GPL). While I don't know of any cases where is this actually done outside of a organization, it can be useful for software th

    • i like this markup , closed open source :)

      this sounds like ... austin powers (now which one is it, spit or swallow ? (o)

      ps. democracy in software developement doesn't always pay off, there are quite a bunch of examples where very strongly lead software can make a big hit (i think into the list would fit oracle, skype, and even the very hated and useless windows (if it sells in millions, it is a hit ...))

      as usual, i welcome our new closed open overlords
    • This being Slashdot and all, I think it's easy to understand where decisions to move from a proprietary solution to an open source implementation can generate a great deal of unwanted heat in the political/religious/monetary venue.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @11:32PM (#15202280)
    "Closed Open Source!"

    When what really happens is that a set of industries try to meet up to discuss their common interests and how they can get it throug open source projects.

    An example would be banks getting together to discuss how they would link up to each other's ATM's securely without having to use closed software.

  • I don't know what they're trying to accomplish with this, but here's on statement that explains it:

    Enterprise and corporate CIOs are faced with many product choices and alternatives, as well as with making decisions about new and legacy solutions, so being able to privately share information on these subjects is important, Pace said.

    I do not see how this Pace guy can jump to that conclusion. Wouldn't it make more sense to have as much input as possible about possible software choices? Limiting discussi
    • George Pace, a systems architect at Prudential Financial and a member of the OpenBRR steering committee

      I'm guessing he didn't "jump" to any conclusions.

      As for "closing themselves out to everything else", they obviously haven't finished deciding all the how's of this group.

      Pal responded that nothing was yet set in stone and, if enough potential members wanted the group to be open, or more open, this could be done.

      TFA answers your questions...

    • Maybe they want Japan-style (or other places?) CVs on which the applicants photo is affixed. Maybe they don't want (to use the words of a USMC SSgt/ GSgt I served under many moons ago...) "spaghetti-long Bob Marley hairdos" (the words the SSGT used in dismay when he ordered us Sailors to uncover (remove our caps/head gear) for his personal inspection of us... some dumb-assed boneheads (we were right out of boot camp) were not staying within hair/grooming standards...)

      But, also, as a peer organization, MAYbe
      • "It's hard as hell (I gather) to put on a major mag a face with buckteeth, wild hair, unkempt appearance and so forth."

        Yeah, Lord knows who would want to be associated with someone like this guy [].

        Sorry, but this 'you have to wear a suit to get taken seriously' claptrap is a crock. It's pandering to the very worst anti-intellectual elements of our identity and society.

        • True, but Einstein was more than "da bomb". The way he's popularly portrayed (as a single inventor of da bomb, with few if any assistants) could almost qualify him as proxy unibomber, depending on your perspectives...

          Funny, tho, I was half-expecting images of OTHER well-known Linux/OS advocates. But, in this (aside from estates and heirs) most dead men can't sue, hehehe.....

          Yep, it's sometimes unfortunate that appearance/appearances (and voiced opinions) can doom a product or project just because of herd me
        • You'll notice that in almost every one of those pictures, Mr Einstien is wearing a shirt and tie, if not a full suit. There's a difference between unkempt and wild hair, and unwashed and disorganized.
    • Open source is about sharing source code, which is inherently useful for all sorts of reasons; it means there are more eyes to spot bugs, it reduces duplication of effort, it allows tech-savvy users to customize stuff to meet their needs, etc.

      There's also a kind of ideology of open community that has grown up around open source, and in general I think this has been beneficial. But there's also room for other models, which might be more attractive to certain types of organizations. Free software licensing al
  • by gravyface ( 592485 ) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @11:44PM (#15202327)
    Meanwhile, at the OpenBRR secret lair...

    Stodgy CEO: "Close that door, Johnson!"
    Johnson from Spike: "I'm on it, Sir. Its closed."
    Stodgy CEO: "Now pass me those sandals. Do they have that Grateful Dead tie-dye in XXL?"
  • Closed Open Source (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dcapel ( 913969 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @12:04AM (#15202403) Homepage
    Before people start barking about open source being "closed", lets remember a little book that we all should have read. It was written by a bard named ESR, and is named "The Cathedral and the Bazaar". It tells a story about how many open source projects are, and still are, closed in the development process. These days, many are more transparent, but there is more than one closed one lurking about.
  • Open-source does not imply or require open development. An entity (compant, group, person) can develop a project behind closed doors, without any outside influence, and release the source code under the GPL, and it works. Others can tinker with the code all they want, but the original creator(s) are not required to accept any outside code into their project. If I decided to take the Linux 2.x kernel and start developing it away from the way Torvalds' team goes, not incorporate any future changes crafted by
  • This would allow members to discuss sensitive issues and share information without having to worry that it would be made widely public

    Blah blah blah. Suits make a big deal about keeping secrets when they don't have anything special. People with actual money-making ideas are too busy implementing them to worry about if their "secret" is kept. (Hell, most of them patent it, which is the exact opposite of a secret since the invention is then published in its entirety.)

    Geez... can we go back to the 19th-cen

  • 'to ensure that only trusted participants are coming into the system'

    Sounds like they took a bad clue from the guys of Stanford. There really is no legitimate reason (outside of bragging) - the "trusted participant" part is just a red herring if they intend to be "open". If anything it should advertise to steer clear of this organization and disregard what will be blackbox ratings.

    This would allow members to discuss sensitive issues and share information without having to worry that it would be made widely
  • If the phrase "closed open shop" drift through your mind, you know what immediately came to mind. For those not in the know, "St. Trinian's" was a series of old, extremely dodgy TV movies involving sex, drugs, alcohol, high explosives, hockey sticks and an extremely violent school that would put several unintended meanings on the US phrase "no child left behind".

    In one, where they completely fail to grasp the notion of a union, they end up deciding to form a closed open shop. The parallels between this and

  • Open source is not the same thing as free software, right? Open source software could even be much like any proprietary software. Remember, we want free software!
  • Oooh look the boys are making a public announcement of their secret clubhouse. Are YOU cool enough to be invited?

    Cue the openBBR invitation spoolers and the "oooh if anyone has an invitation hook me up" posts.
  • We welcome many of your comments listing the positives and negatives of the private mailing list to discuss industry vertical issues. At this moment we are open to both options, and in the process of compiling the feedback from CIO and Enterprise Architect type members of the corporate community. Corporate CIOs want a peer level forum to discuss common issues and leverage open source to solve their business problems. Hence, the proposal from OpenBRR's corporate community. If all the participating member
    • I don't see why there should be a fuss about this.

      This isn't a secret discussion for Linux kernel developers, its for users.

      This is like saying its "elitist" for a company to have a closed board meeting that discusses the possibility of using OSS in a particular corporation.

      Heck, I just got out of a meeting with my boss and fellow programmers about our company switching to Linux on our internal systems. We didn't invite Linus Torvalds or Slashdot members to attend. Does that make it wrong somehow?

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