Mark Shuttleworth is a really cool guy. Matt Asay has dinner and a conversation with him in London. This and some other insightful comments that should be read.
Core and periphery. Mark said something that I found extremely interesting, and intuitively correct: it’s better to have multiple forks of your project than a single fork. Multiple forks means the community tends to choose between “core” and “periphery.” A single fork means it chooses between two visions of “core,” and you’ll likely lose that battle 50% of the time.
So (and this is my extrapolation, not Mark’s, so blame me if it sounds Sun T’zu-ish), radical openness is in many ways better than semi-openness, because the more you allow your project to be forked, the more value accrues to the core project. This has long benefited Red Hat and SUSE – there are many other Linux distributions, but they’re periphery. What happens, though, if Ubuntu becomes considered “core,” as it gains traction with the development community…?