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Network Computing: The Open Source Mystique

Oct 28, 1999, 15:24 (7 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Art Wittmann)

"A while back, I wrote about Microsoft flirting with the idea of opening its source code to Windows, and about Netscape throwing open its source code... After all the fuss, it was, for the most part, much ado about nothing. At least I haven't heard of any significant new customers or developers beating on Netscape's door just to get at the source code. Having Microsoft on the Open Source bandwagon hasn't yielded much either..."

"No doubt there is a strong appeal for the fruits of the Open Source movement. So much so that Apple, Netscape, Sun and even Microsoft have felt the need to court its devotees. But what, exactly, is so appealing? For some folks, it's the access to the source code. Others use it as a form of documentation (quite a statement on their impression of the documentation received from vendors), or make changes to the source code to fit their organizations' needs, or just want the source as a last recourse if something goes wrong. I believe, however, these reasons represent a fairly small fraction of those using Open Source products."

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