Open-Source Guru: Time for ‘Compromises’

Eric Raymond could be both the most moderate of open-source advocates and the most dangerous.

The former president of the Open Source Initiative will suggest partnerships with companies offering proprietary software. But only because he thinks they’ll move the world decisively toward open source. He’s pushed for entrepreneurs and businesses to get involved in open source. But chiefly because he thinks the freedom to share code is more important than freedom from paying for it.

Make no mistake, Mr. Raymond is a true believer. His seminal book, The Cathedral and the Bazaar, lays out an elegant case for open-source software.

Now Mr. Raymond is pushing the most dangerous idea of all: that open source is good for more than geeks. And he’s pushing hard. He argues time is running out to win over the iPod generation. To get there, he says the Linux community will need to make “compromises.” For starters: Linux believers will have to reach out beyond “self-absorbed” geeks who learn Klingon and attend science fiction conventions in their spare time.