OpenSource is being used to delay competition

Long time ago many big corporations were very hostile towards OpenSource software. To the tune that even a use of OSS was prohibited to their employees. At that time, high rank managers wanted their codebase to remain as obscured as possible. The perceived the code contained some unique recipe for success.

It all has changed now. Every worthy company has a public repository and some decent code is published there.

But a new trend has taken root. Big-name corporations realized they can use OSS as a weapon.

The attack is very simple. Given a problem in the field, a big-name corporation develops some hastily put together solution which appears to be working. It releases the code, gains some positive publicity and goes on to work on a real solution. Which may not even be based on the OSS code they released.

What it achieves, is a manager in a would-be competitor has a decision to make now. She can either task her team of engineers to develop a solution, or she can ask them to adopt the OSS one. When the quality of the code is revealed and engineers revolt, a line like this may be used: "It worked for Google, and we are not Google, it must work for us". Or Netflix. Or LinkedIn. It is not important which big name corporation is mentioned.

The company then wastes way more time and effort trying to fit square peg in a round hole. Missing their chance to challenge the big corporation's domination.

In this scenario poor quality OpenSource code is used as a weapon. Injected into competitor's environment, poisoning it and slowing it down.

When evaluating a technology to be used in your project, please do audit its code. If you do not see any advantages in a technology beyond "Facebook uses it", you may be getting the short end of a stick.

"Talk is cheap. Show me the code." (Linus Torvalds)

Please do look at the code.