When a rock band, after years of struggling, finally makes the big time with its songs played on mainstream radio and national tours in luxury buses, it risks alienating some of its earliest followers. Disgruntled fans tend to consider this type of transition as selling out. The same thing is starting to happen to Linux, which has grown dramatically in use and popularity as it makes its way into mainstream products like the Android smartphone. Some users have started to believe that the long shadow of Linux hurts other open source software projects and eschews people’s conception of how it should work. But these fears are generally unfounded as Linux has come to open people’s eyes to new ways of programming and computing.
Generating a lot of concerns regarding Linux is the giant software companies that become involved and have used the Linux code. In turn, these companies have built software and products powered by Linux and have gone on to make large sums of money. To some Linux users, this is consider a malicious act as if they are ripping off the entire Linux project. In fact, these users have more disdain for companies like this than those that create closed proprietary systems. But plenty of smaller companies engage in this as well, along with plenty of individuals. That is what open source is for. You can’t simply disbar someone or an organization upon perceptions. No one is trying to seize control of the Linux community–although some might secretly want to–and many companies put a lot of investment in its development.
Additionally, people have come to blame Linux for others misconceptions in how communities should work. Contributors and users have come under the impression that all open source software should follow the path of Linux. But that isn’t the software’s fault, it’s just plain ignorance. Open source software communities can dictate how each project is run and can choose to ignore anyone that believes otherwise. The world of open source software is much bigger than one system and it reflects that.