This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
See Cramer's multi-million dollar portfolio for FREE and get his new book Get Rich Carefully! Learn More

The Fourth Dimension of Open Source

Digg, a relative start-up, writes at its company blog that it is now looking to create a program compatible with the old Reader, and it seems natural to expect the Mozilla Foundation, which produces Firefox, to do the same. This brings us back to the second rule, the development incline, the idea that where the code lives matters.

The important business point is that this can work both ways. Investors may see cutting off open source as a sign of strength, even though a walled garden is as unstable as any other closed ecosystem. But what should investors think when a company goes the other way, when it opens access to code that was previously closed, when it explicitly invites outsiders in?

That's what Microsoft (MSFT) has done with its Kinect interface, as Fast Company writes,, making code supporting the interface open source under the Apache License.

Is this a sign of strength or weakness? Most would say weakness. But is this better or worse for open source developers? Obviously it's better.

I think this brings me to some closure on open source policy matters. I first saw the whole thing as euclidean, as a right triangle you could adjust to suit yourself. But it turns out that this is more like quantum mechanics, that there are at least four dimensions under which the rules of open source can be tweaked by companies hoping to seize its value and get some coder love for themselves.

At the time of publication, the author was long AAPL and GOOG.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

Stock quotes in this article: RAX, ORCL, GOOG, FB, MSFT, AAPL 

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
DOW 16,408.54 -16.31 -0.10%
S&P 500 1,864.85 +2.54 0.14%
NASDAQ 4,095.5160 +9.2910 0.23%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto
Advertising Partners

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs