They think it’s all over – it isnt yet

The vast sums in football have transformed the game and multiplied the stakes involved for clubs. Take the football playoffs – the playoff final in the Championship is considered to be the highest money prize match in the world, because it gets you admittance to the Premiership and £60m of revenues.

Likewise, West Ham’s fine of £5.5m in the Premiership is considered to be one any club would have taken if it meant staying up. Hence, mere grumbles about West Ham fielding ineligible players are set to become a court room battle – were there no money at stake, would clubs be as determined in their bid to undertake expensive legal action? Consequently, the battle to be the best team and assure survival by accumulating sufficient points may not prevail and the final relegated team’s identity may still change.

There’s a famous saying in football which comes from the commentary of the 1966 World Cup Final – “They think it’s all over – it is now”. Well, for this relegation “game” at least, perhaps not quite yet.

So it is with Open Source. Certainly there are principles at stake that are espoused by the founders of the GNU movement, but now it is effectively big business that carry the real weight in the debate, motivated by the sums of money involved. That firms like IBM get added kudos from backing a “moral” position is simply a bonus. Likewise, have all firms that have adopted Open Source been motivated by a) moral position b) access to better software c) money (potential to save on licence fees)?

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