Open Source Commitment

We believe that open source developers deserve respect and most importantly compensation for their work.

open source software and commercial exploitation

There is no such thing as free leveraging of open source software in commercial solutions long term without real win-win partnerships. Real material costs exist for the production of the software that powers most of the world. It takes the development time of actual humans, computer wear and tear, electricity, bandwidth, food and shelter to produce "free" open source software. It's just like that free lunch economists like to talk about.

We encourage you to use our open source offerings in your products, just be cool about it and don't be a Leprechaun and delete all our info out of the code and say you wrote it and came up with the idea. Free software is free to use, not free to take credit for.

ramen diet for the developers while the spinoffs eat sushiFree software was designed to remain free, when companies rebrand open source, call it their own, and do not help the original creators, it hurts us all.

We don't believe in stealing anyones ideas or software, we like to embrace all projects, allowing people to do what they do best and leverage the skillsets a complete team brings.

We wish more places would at least give credit to the original software and not brag about how many millions they make off it when they have not even paypal donated 20 bucks. Open source is about sharing, not taking.

Most open source users are awesome, certain organizations and gov groups are simply amazing to work with, we just need to educate certain organizations as to the fact that sometimes you need to clean the hamster cage and give them food, not just keep them in a dark corner and break them out when you want something from them. Also when you take something from a small organization, call it your own, and shut them out from selling their own product, you cut yourself off from future upgrades and hurt the open source goal of enabling people to be able to share their work with others, yet still profit off it if they can.

There's no such thing as a free lunch (or source code). Even if you got it for free, it's cost was picked up somewhere..

This fact, however, is conveniently overlooked in the project and budget planning of unscrupulous companies when "developing" their commercial software solutions. In reality this is mass appropriation of any available free solution to raise the profit margin for the product. It's such a widespread practice that the proponents of it have coined an expression to describe open source software as "the GPL virus". The very notion of contributing code back to the project and making available their copy of the source is so distasteful to these companies that they compare their legal obligation to a disease. If you go looking for the sources of the changes of some GPL code used in a commercial software product you will probably only find a copy of the license and a reference to the upstream project buried deep in the documentation.

We're offended by that behavior, and not just personally because we are open source developers ourselves who've been exposed to it. No, our offense comes from an awareness of what that exploitation really does to the open source community. It hurts the development. Volunteer developers are demoralized towards contribution when they see the hard work put into their project ransacked for a commercial product spin-off. To make matters worse, the commercial implementation of the open source software is often of questionable quality in terms of reliability and performance. Since the developers of an upstream project don't want to fix the bugs in a commercial product that someone else is getting paid for downstream the bugs don't get fixed. The open source developers take their attention elsewhere. They fork the code or start a similar parallel project diluting the talent left to the original one, or just do something else with their time.

What does an exploiting company do? Sometimes they buy the project, trying to make progress with it led by a second-string developer or even by bringing someone over from a different project. The endeavor rarely thrives, instead often stagnating under a corporate banner of hyped up openness. Customers still buy it and some development gets in, but the quality suffers.

So what's the right thing for a company to do when commercially leveraging open source software?

  • Acknowledge that just just because the source code is freely available the development wasn't. If it is worth downloading is is worth supporting! It does not have to be financial, a simple thanks or telling a friend will help the project
  • Since the development wasn't free, engage with the developers of the project regarding what they might need to KEEP developing. Do they need equipment or some hosting, or new laptops for programmers, or a cash infusion to sponsor new development?
  • Contribute to the project itself! Put employee time towards writing patches, developing features, or QA testing and documentation. Even if you think your not good enough to contribute back, do it, you might be amaze how sometimes just a few extra hands doing the simplest of things really helps.
  • Stop absorbing open source software into corporate special sauce and then denying it as an ingredient, violating the license. Don't be afraid that the inclusion of open source software makes a sauce less special. It doesn't. It probably makes it more so, otherwise why is it being used at all? Our software can be closed license for your product if needed, and most places have this option too, so you can still help the project by buying a closed source license for yourself.
  • Respect. Open source developers aren't foolish golden geese laying eggs for any entrepreneur or corporate troll to freely pick up. They are usually either self-motivated for personal needs and are willing to share or are simply altruistic in nature. These motives are good for the open source software ecosystem and need not be discouraged. It is nice to hear people like your stuff, and a little creepy when you see thousands of downloads and don't hear anything from anyone.

  • Giving back
    We love to give back to the open source software community. We contribute code, currency, and technology resources to all the open source projects we make use of.
  • Keeping it open
    Over 80% of all Infiscale software is free to use open source. We do maintain some proprietary special sauce, but our open components are fully open and available.
  • Full disclosure
    100% of Infiscale sources (including the hardware drivers) are available to .gov and .mil customers for audit and review under contract. No other petascale provider can provide this level of transparency.


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