EU Rep Blasts U.S. Open Source Schemas

AMSTERDAM – U.S. companies are chilling the spirit of the open source movement by directing it through subsidization, a senior representative of the European Commission’s technology infrastructure said.

Jesus Villasante is the head of software technologies at the EC’s Information Society and Media Directorate General. In an unveiled attack uncharacteristic of the EC, Villasante said Monday that companies like Sun, IBM and Hewlett-Packard weren’t allowing the open source community the freedom to develop independent commercial products and that they were using open source developers as glorified subcontracters.

The result, Villasante contends, is not true open source code, but code in the “flavor” of Sun, IBM and Hewlett-Packard.

"Open-source communities need to take themselves seriously and realize they have made a contribution to themselves and society. From the moment they realize they are part of the evolution of society and try to influence it, we will be moving in the right direction," Villasante said, speaking at the Holland Open Software Conference.

James Baty of Sun ONE Consulting disagreed about the specific charge against Sun, but acknowldged Villasante’s point in context.

"There are companies that are takers from the open-source community, other companies are taking the attitude that they have to contribute," Baty said. "Open source should be seen as an opportunity, not as something to capture and abuse."