Carnegie Mellon University, the organisation behind security watchdog the Computer Emergency Response Team, is expected to announce its Sustainable Computing Consortium (SCC) tomorrow.
The aim of the SCC, backed by players such as Microsoft and Nasa, is to develop quality, dependable and secure software, but on a proprietary level. The move has immediately incensed the open source community.
Aside from the front page of the SCC website being plastered with a quote from Bill Gates - "It's time for developers to think and act differently" - the thing that has riled the open sourcers the most is the main point listed in the 'benefits of joining' section.
"Members are entitled to a non-exclusive, internal-use licence for the intellectual property created by the SCC," it reads.
Open source advocacy site Newsforge.com said that the SCC is discouraging open source developers from participating in the organisation, which includes in its remit being an "influence in shaping market practices, legislation and policy related to sustainability".
This argument was echoed by the Free Software Foundation which said that the SCC would be a "stillborn" initiative if there was no incentive for open source developers to get involved.
Under the current proposal, software developers would have to pay a licence fee to incorporate technologies developed under the SCC initiative.
Membership appears to be run in a good old-fashioned proprietary fashion too. Members are expected to pay $25,000 a year to keep the initiative ticking over, while concessions of $5,000 are available for non-profit organisations like open source developers.
Nasa has already sunk $23m into the project, but there is some speculation that involvement in the SCC could spell an end to the space agency's open source development strategies, such as FlightLinux, an open source operating system used in spacecraft.
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