Forced industry partnering could kill innovation

27 May 2010

The suggestion from Batt O’Keeffe TD that industry partnerships should be made mandatory for all stages of third-level research has been met with some opposition, with one software industry professional warning that it could kill open source by leading to 100pc proprietary software development here in Ireland.

“Proprietary software takes much longer to bring to market, has a lower cost-to-value ratio due to the need for protection and is increasingly becoming unpopular as it removes freedoms from the end user,” says Lloyd Hardy, owner of Lloyd Hardy IT Consulting.

“Taking innovation from Irish students and locking it into proprietary licences could be disastrous for software innovation in Ireland, at a time where more public and private organisations worldwide are utilising the increased dynamism associated with open source software in a software-as-a-service world of mobile empowerment,” he outlined in an open letter to O’Keeffe.

He said that the danger of vendor lock-in, not just for software implementation but in innovation in general, could lead to a situation where rapid and open innovation would cease to exist.

If required industry collaboration is to be pursued then academic freedom from proprietary restrictions must be observed, advised Hardy.

“In this light, assurance that the researchers themselves will be empowered to choose the licence model, without pressure from their industry partner or that an open source licence policy will be adopted would be welcome news to allay the fears of technology being licensed in a proprietary manner and the cost of acquiring the technology being rocketed for indigenous companies while the value of the vendor-locked software is massively devalued,” he added.

By Marie Boran

Photo: ‘CD’ courtesy of Declan Jewell via Flickr under the Creative Commons license (some rights reserved)