I’m starting to notice a trend occurring in different tech circles and online communities. Wolves in sheep clothing. I call this trend Fauxpen, this is an abbreviation for Faux-Open, or even longer, Faux Open Source. Here’s what I mean. Currently the concept of open source is incredibly popular in the world. Everyone wants to be open source. The idea of open source in their mind conveys, honesty and trust, and openness.

The general population values those principles. They are speaking out and showing this through the products they use and the companies they support. Obviously companies se this and are listening to this growing demand for strong ethical principles and they want to appear to be advocates and leaders in this field. The result is an influx of companies claiming to be open source; or just open.

But there’s a problem. These same companies that want to capitalize on this current market demand still want to hold onto their “secrets". I’m not suggesting those secrets are necessarily evil or bad. But there’s a disconnect between being open source and being Fauxpen. These fauxpen companies want to have their cake and eat it too. They want to be open and claim the benefits of this transparency; and yet still hold tightly to everything and share nothing. This paradoxical approach is not truly open and easy to spot. The wolf inside is seen.

Companies thinking of claiming to be open need to be careful and examine themselves internally before going on a marketing spree. By all means, be open. I want far more openness and transparency in business. But don’t think you’re fooling anyone with a fauxpen approach.