Perens on a Decade of Open Source and the Problem of Patents

Lora Bentley

As of last week, open source is 10 years old. To commemorate the birthday,'s Sean Michael Kerner interviewed open source evangelist Bruce Perens. Perens is credited with beginning the open source movement when he published the open source definition on Feb. 9, 1998.


The progress open source has made in 10 years surprises even Perens, it seems. He told

Had I known we would have this embarrassment of riches of so many open source licenses, I would have thought more about how to keep that from happening. When you promote something this radical to business you don't really expect that they'll all jump in.

But they have. Even Microsoft, which was once considered one of open source's "big problems," is participating in the movement. The company has OSI-approved software licenses and has forged partnerships with several open source vendors to work toward interoperability.


One big problem that Perens still has with Microsoft's involvement in open source, he says, is patents:

Open source developers write their own software so they don't have a problem with copyright, which only applies to a particular program, not all possible programs. Patents can apply to all possible programs that do a particular thing.

Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Feb 13, 2008 7:16 AM bmora96 bmora96  says:
Thanks Peren for having such a wonderful idea. Our work became many more easy by using the open source project paragent which allows more time to focus on adding value to the business vs. just managing systems.Thanks,Bmora Reply

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