Google Under Fire for Open Source Greed

Thread Title:
Google - we take it all, give nothing back
Thread Description:

Googles Adam Bosworth takes an almightly slap from Krzysztof Kowalczyk and then whilst realing from the blow takes a kick in the nuts from Microsofts Dare Obasanjo as noted in this post at InsideGoogle.

The attacks center around a plea Adam made to the Open Source Community for improvements to relational database projects - the point being that Google take a lot from Open Source and give nothing back in return.

From the original post by Adam:

My message is to the Open Source community that has, so ably, built LAMP (Linux, Apache and Tomcat and MySQL and PHP and PERL and Python). Please finish the job. Do for databases what you did for web servers. Give us dynamism and robustness. Give us systems that scale linearly, are flexible and dynamically reconfigurable and load balanced and easy to use.

From Krzysztofs post:

Let’s estimate how much money did Google save by using open source software that they would otherwise have to purchase. The operating system for tens of thousands of their computers. Web servers they use. All the Unix utilities they use. Editors, compilers and debuggers they use to write their code. E-mail smtp server. E-mail pop servers. Languages like Perl and Python. Databases like MySQL and PostgreSQL. It’s safe to say that if Richard Stallman was never born, the licenses for those kinds of software would cost them tens of millions of dollars.

And what does Google contribute back? Where are their patches to gcc, gdb, python, postgresql, sendmail, emacs?

and from Dare's post:

I doubt that this is the kind of response that Adam Bosworth was expecting when he posted his plea. The fun thing about corporate blogs is that it gives people more places to read between the lines and learn how a company really thinks. I suspect this is why Google doesn't have many authentic bloggers and instead has favored the press release page masquerading as group blog approach at

Is Google Sponging off the Open Source Community?

This isn't a new argument by any means but it has been brought right into the spotlight with the posts quoted above. Google, as many know, makes enormous use of Open Source projects and as Krzysztof points out: If they do contribute back, those contributions are damn hard to find!

Think of the benefits to everyone if Google gave a little of their time and knowledge to the OS projects they use to run their business....


Google Under Fire for Open Source Greed |

Using Open Source Software means more than using the code, especialy if you are a high profile user like Google. It's a relationship. In addition to free code, a Big Co using OSS may gain access to positive publicity, evangelists, early adopters.


Google Googled.

Ok, I had to google this hard out to find the link, I've been wondering what is happening to this for ages.

"Wayne Rosing, speaking to students at a recruiting event, said, "there have been a lot of conversations in the company in the past two months about (how) . . . it's time for us to give something back. So our technical director, Craig Silverstein, has started a project to look at all the Google code and start figuring out what parts of it we want to give back."

Looks like Aaron has already answered your question Nick :)

Thanks webforce

Interestin' stuff!

There's a nice addition to this general topic over at cre8 where the subject of Open Source is on the agenda despite the less specific topic title.. worth a look..


John Battelle adds his voice to the call for Google to share:

As I understand it, when it comes to giving back to the Open Source community, the Microsofties may have a point, at least strictly speaking. But then again, Google took open source and, well, built Google, and it's free for all to use. That's not such a bad thing, is it?

It's very interesting (and rather odd) to see MSFT employees take pole position on nobility and open source goodness. Those in the know tell me that Google has made significant and quite valuable modifications to various open source tools. Perhaps it's time they shared some of that wealth back to the community from whence it originated.

There is a long-standing quip

There is a long-standing quip in SEO:

"The more we make, the quieter we get."

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