Roy Schestowitz Free Software Credibility Index is somewhat inspiring. It made me realize that rather than to rant at leisure about the shortcomings of various open source companies and their business model, it would be better to do something about it. Here is an idea.
Build an independent organization
- Founded exclusively by non-profit organizations or individuals
- Which finances are accessible publicly at any time (what's the Internet for?)
- Which board members would be elected by open source contributors (w/ a little help from main repositories. Minimum contribution may apply to avoid trolls)
- With as much as possible an equitable election process (e.g. same number of video interviews)
Attributing yearly an Equitable Open Source (EOS) label based on a common charter that would have to be discussed and defined.
Some key issues to take into account:
- Patent policies (how many patents, what's your policy, bonus when using no-patent licenses)
- Open source access effectiveness (how hard is it to find the source, to compile or to run it)
- Open source licenses (no proliferation: bonus points if your licenses are among the top 5)
- Ration between open source and proprietary code (what do you sell?)
- Ratio between paid and non-paid open source in the code
- Recruiting practices (e.g. more than 50% of one project key contributors is not good)
- Level of control of open source projects (trademarks, licenses etc.)
- Relationship with other open source companies and their EOS (e.g. if your business and contractual relationships are mostly with high EOS companies it should reflect on you)
But first we would have to agree on a clear goal: for instance making sure that commercial organizations aren't unfair to open source developers and their communities but at the same time giving companies an opportunity to improve.
Comments, suggestions, offers to fund?
PS: Detailed answer to a long comment from James Dixon (Pentaho)