OSCON 2008 - where is Open Source going?

Few years ago, at our local Croatian Linux User Conference I said: "we won, it's over". However, since then I have been noticing that all interesting problems are already solved.

There are few strange people (like me) who like to do stuff which is needed (and for which people are willing to pay money regardless if it's open source or not) but aside from that it seems that there is more interest it writing third twitter or one hundred twenty fourth wiki than solving some of open problem with open source software.

Having said that, OSCON 2008 is near end, and I just left keynote speech in which Microsoft announced donation to Apache foundation. It really seems that new leadership in Microsoft will change this company in same way that IBM changed and embraced Open Source. I should have anticipated that when we got lecture about open standards from Microsoft on our last CLUC conference, but it didn't occurred to me that this is a global thrend in Microsoft.

That brings us, Open Source community, into interesting position: we no longer have clear external enemy (and comming from former Yugoslavia let me tell you how important external enemy is :-)

This situation puts me in interesting position: I could ask myself do I want to work for Microsoft (that question until now was easily answered with big bold NO). I don't have such clear answer any more (no, I'm not leaving for Microsoft any time soon :-)

It seems that people don't care any more about freedom (in FSF sense of free software) and any "open" license is just good enough. That model worked well for BSD folks for quite some time, but I do believe that critical component of Linux success was GPL license.

All in all, OSCON 2008 was good, but traveling half way around the world doesn't give me same pleasure as it once was. It might be that podcasts from lectures turned out to be good enough for me to consume conference materials or that OSCON is not right conference for me (I loved YAPC last year, and I'm not going this year which is a bit shame).