After users reminded IBM of its open source commitment, the company suddenly seems to have back peddled on its promises.
That is at least what happened with the company's Cgidev2 tool, a development tool for its iSeries server line that allows developers to web-enable applications that are written in COBOL or RPG.
Although IBM's website claims that the software is open source, the company now seems to be a saying that it really isn't.
Users actually are never presented with any licence agreement. The IBM website certainly doesn't say which open source licence governs the code, and users who download the free tools don't get to see one either.
So when Giovanni Perotti asked IBM if he could host the Cigdev2 application on his website, the answer was simple: "No way!"
But Big Blue never realised that Perotti retired from IBM only months ago, or that he was the last developer to work on the application. Following its flat out denial, the next logical step was that Cgidev2 would be mothballed, frozen in time.
Users cried foul, IBM was embarrassed, emails clogged IBM inboxes, and before you knew it, IBM decided to assign developers to keep the project up and running. But be that inside IBM's website.
The continuing support for the software is great for Cgidev2 users, but the larger issue is still that IBM abused open source. The software vendor attracted users and developers by claiming that the code was open source, and now gets away with back peddling on a legal technicality: there is no open source licence to back up the claim.
The whole thing leaves a large dent in IBM's reputation as open source advocate.
But at least the company knows how to cut its losses. IBM now is considering releasing the source code after all, a company spokeswoman told vnunet.com. Better late than never.
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