Letter To Samsung w/r Their Use of The Term ‘Open Source’

Adrian J Cotterill, Editor-in-Chief

Below is the full text of a letter that we sent Wednesday 22nd May 2013 to Samsung with regard their continual incorrect use of the term ‘Open Source‘ with regard their Smart Signage Platform…

Your Smart Signage Platform is not ‘Open Source’

I am asking you to please refrain from using the term ‘Open Source’ when referring to your Samsung Smart Signage Platform.

I refer in particular to your recent notification to your partners about an upcoming Webcast but note that you have incorrectly described your solution / platform as being open source in the past, and routinely use the term at trade shows and in day to day talking points.

I quote “Samsung Smart Signage is an integrated, open-source platform that saves time and money for integrators and businesses alike” – simply having a derivative Linux kernel and an SDK does NOT make what you offer ‘Open Source’ in any way.

The truth actually is that NOT one of your partners can run their core product on your Smart Signage Platform – they must conform to the methods and limitations of your environment (which is presumably a derivative of your consumer platform for delivering apps on a TV). Smart Signage is in itself NOT an application. It is simply an environment for deployment of tightly restricted applications.

Unless you are freely distributing the source code to your platform you cannot legitimately claim to be open source and you are deceiving both your partners and the industry.

I certainly understand the marketing advantages of claiming to be ‘open’ or ‘open source’ however what you are doing is both inaccurate and misleading. Personally, I believe that it is an offence to the open source community, certainly unethical and very likely would be seen dimly by those responsible for enforcing the standard open source licensing agreements.

I therefore implore you to use terms appropriately and not mislead potential buyers and your partners.

Adrian J Cotterill
Chairman, OpenSplash Steering Group
editor in chief, DailyDOOH

I won’t hold my breath for a reply but perhaps all of the North American industry consultants who are on Samsung’s payroll might also like to point out the error of Samsung’s way (but then again I won’t hold my breath for that either).

7 Responses to “Letter To Samsung w/r Their Use of The Term ‘Open Source’”

  1. Marketing Maven Says:

    Nicely said.

  2. Eric Says:

    Maybe they mean they give out the blueprints to their TV’s…

  3. Jo Fritzl Says:

    As long as they sell panels every day meeting their production target, the tactics to achieve the result are absolutely immaterial. Honesty or integrity never enters into this equation.

  4. Richard Lebovitz Says:

    I won’t comment on the Samsung claim but will say that this industry is rife with spurious claims. There’s not a company in the industry that isn’t the “leading” something or other. Equally misleading are the claims to be “first” in doing something that’s been done who knows how many times before. A little honesty and truth in marketing would go a long way toward helping the industry grow rather than creating confusion, distrust and hesitation.

  5. Wet rag Says:

    Another prime example of online gratification from this industry’s most highly regarded time waster! Go forth and be empowered Samsung and all the other companies this site randomly chooses to bully. Ignore it, believe in you and trust what you can do!

  6. Richard Hertz Says:

    The guess here is that Wet Rag enjoyed some offline gratification, courtesy of five anonymous digits. Talk about a time waster, that likely 15 seconds you will never get back. The observations of the Editor-In-Chief may rub you the wrong way, but are valid and worthy of discussion. Now, back to your cubicle, Rag.

  7. Todd Fender Says:

    I agree with Mr. Lebovitz regarding “A little honesty and truth in marketing would go a long way toward helping the industry grow rather than creating confusion, distrust and hesitation.”

    However, I must have missed all the outrage when companies started marketing LCD displays with LED backlights as LED Displays.

    That isn’t misleading or confusing to the digital signage industry at all, is it?

    Blame it on the TV companies…they did it first…right?

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