James Governor's Monkchips

Friday Game of Tag: Name Your Five Fave Open Source Thought Leaders

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When Luis responded to Lauren Cooney, and very kindly named RedMonk’s Stephen O’Grady as a thought leader (who should be listened to more) he gave me an idea which might be fun. Borrowing the technique from the recent 5 Things About me game, I am going to name my five open source thought leaders, and then nominate five people to name theirs. In no particular order:

Mark Shuttleworth– for driving so hard towards truly free software, and yet focusing so manically on making Linux more usable (Ubuntu: Linux for Human Beings). Its a very unusual combination. I think Mark is the most important man in Linux. Yes, I know…

Lawrence Lessig– for storming the gates of Big Media, DRM and copyright, by creating Creative Commons licensing, which puts the creator of a work in control of how it is used. He is doing as much as anyone to get people to understand the awesome power of the commons and the limitations of proprietary business models.

Linus- enough said.

Martin Mickos – anyone that can put Oracle on the back foot as he has deserves attention. The news that MySQL is going to IPO should be welcome: there is money in commercial open source beyond Red Hat. MySQL powers Google, Yahoo, YouTube, Flickr, Second Life, Wikipedia, Craigslist, Slashdot, Facebook, LiveJournal, Digg, and Del.icio.us.

Jonathan Schwartz– another controversial choice perhaps, but Jonathan has turned Sun around and embracing open source aggressively was a key defibrillator. The firm’s contributions are legion, and Sun doesn’t have the legacy proprietary code base revenues to ringfence that IBM, for example, does.

    Wow. That was hard. I can think of any number of honourable mentions, Microsoft’s Bill Hilf for example, for driving OSS thinking and more importantly understanding, into the corporation through Port25.
    Who do I nominate to find out their favourites? Dave Shields, Patrick Mueller, Tim Bray, Bob Sutor and Stephen.

    gorgeous tag picture (there are more!) courtesy of AM Drake.

    I was going to give this a standard tag so I could track whether this spreads or not but i am having some issues with WordPress. if you do play the game please tag your blog entry as 5tagsOSS.


  1. Ah, I almost put Bob on my own list. Thanks for getting this kickstarted while I was in class 😉

  2. How could you forget Stallman? His thoughts embody the perfection of Open Source ideals. Utopia is a place where everything is GPL’d. 🙂

  3. didnt forget Stallman. just chose others. You should check out Luis list, which is quite comprehensive. certainly not just five!

    cheers Luis.

  4. Hi James,

    Purely out of interest given your nomination of Lawrence Lessig, did you gain permission from flickr user amdrake for what appears to be an All Rights Reserved picture?

  5. […] IBM’s Laura Cooney asked who the top thought leaders in open source might be, Luis jumped off from there (and very kindly included RedMonk and yours truly in his list – thank you sir), and James not only turned it into a game of tag, but tagged me in the process. So now I’m supposed to tag my five open source thought leaders. Wow. Need to think about that one. I may a.) cheat by disqualifying anyone previously named, and b.) being a little liberal with my numbers. […]

  6. FYI, the link to Stephen is borked.

  7. Tim O’Reilly, and his team, who are really very good at analysing what is up and coming putting it in an good context. Not “analysis context” but “this is how you use it” context.

  8. (leaving a comment b/c my trackbacks aren’t working)

    […]I know that the original question was “Who are the top 5 OSS thought leaders”, and that’s been covered by several folks already. I’m going to ask a similar, but different question.

    Who are the top 5 entities that have brought OSS into everyday (enterprise & commercial) use? This is less a list of Thought Leaders than it is a list of Action Leaders. More here […]

  9. actually no adrian i did not. but i used the flickr creativecommons search engine to find it, and AM Drake explicitly invites people to use the tag outlines. i thought sending some traffic that way probaby counted as fair use, but if its all rights reserved i should definitely ask. my bad. thanks.

  10. AM Drake kindly gave me permission now, so we’re all good. thanks Adrian.

  11. Top 5 OSS Action Leaders…

    I know that the original question was “Who are the top 5 OSS thought leaders”, and that’s been covered by several folks already. I’m going to ask a similar, but different question.
    Who are the top 5 entities that have brought OSS in…

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