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Linux.com: Why Open-Source Software Matters to End Users

May 12, 2000, 01:00 (4 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by D.H. Brown Associates)

"Open-source software (OSS) is important to end-users since it is a critical enabler of the Internet, as much of the code that drives the Internet derives from OSS. In fact, all Internet, intranet, and extranet applications depend on OSS, since many servers on the Internet are built using at least some OSS for operating system, web server, mail, and other Internet infrastructure functions. While it is possible to construct the Internet and web applications completely with proprietary software, OSS counters the proprietary grip of vendors who lock up data and lock in obsolescence. OSS ensures that the web remains open and based on open standards."

"Web computing fundamentally depends upon open access because more contacts lead exponentially to more potential value creation. For example, Bob Metcalfe, inventor of Ethernet technology, asserts the value of any number of interconnections - computers, phones, or even cars - potentially equals the square of the number of connections made. By developing reference implementations, OSS maintains open access to programming interfaces and data formats by accelerating interoperability at the communication, data, and management levels. In the same way, OSS also ensures conformance to standards."

"OSS offers many advantages to customers who require freedom of use and distribution. This applies not only to the technically adept who need to customize software for specific environments, but also to those who desire a choice of vendors for technical support. Another benefit of popular OSS is reliability built on technical excellence due to widespread peer review."

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