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Internet Week: This Column is Free

Jul 12, 1999, 09:09 (3 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jason Levitt)

"Give up direct-sale value to capture indirect sale value. That sums up The Magic Cauldron, Eric S. Raymond's essay on open-source business models (www.tuxedo.org/~esr/writings). The paper was published two weeks ago and is already a classic. Raymond, a writer, developer, and open-source evangelist, wrote The Cathedral and the Bazaar, which inspired Netscape to open-source its forthcoming Mozilla browser, a move that has since brought some mainstream acceptability to the open-source concept."

"Nowhere is this acceptance more apparent than with Linux (www.linux.org), the Unix-like open-source operating system. This year is shaping up to be the year that Linux becomes an IT contender. With Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Oracle, SAP, SGI, and other heavyweight vendors offering support in one form or another for Linux, it's never been easier for IT managers to justify deploying open-source software. Linux, of course, is just one of several pop-ular open-source software products that are widely used to build intranets, extranets, and Internet sites. The Apache Web server (www.apache.org), Perl scripting language (www.perl.org), and Sendmail mail-transport agent (www.sendmail.org) are easily the market-share leaders in their categories. Yet all three are available for free and with complete source code."

"The Magic Cauldron is a must-read for Internet entrepreneurs-if only to understand the possibilities of open-source business models. Raymond analyzes the 'economic substrate of the open-source phenomenon,' and his conclusions are compelling."

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