Sun: Open source is about self-interest

For open source to prosper, people need to stop thinking of it as "free" and instead think of it as "connected capitalism," delegates at an open-source conference in London were told on Tuesday.

Speaking at the Open Source Business Conference, Sun Microsystems' chief open-source officer, Simon Phipps, said that open source had been focused for too long on sharing code instead of what he called "the enrichment of the commons."

The open-source community needed to look to the lessons of capitalism and capitalists, said Phipps. Referring to the recent announcement that billionaire Warren Buffett was donating much of his wealth to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Phipps pointed out that "Warren Buffett is driving gold--he is creating wealth."

Expanding on his message, Phipps said that the message of open source was that "creating and maintaining a completely independent code base was ultimately self-defeating." Instead, the future was in co-operation and in organizations preserving what was ultimately of value to them. "This is not volunteerism," said Phipps. "It is directed self-interest, synchronized self-interest and there is nothing wrong with self-interest."

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