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CNET News: Betting the Farm on Open Source?

Oct 30, 2002, 14:30 (14 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Paul Festa)

"So far, open-source advocates have given RealNetworks' plans high marks. And for the most part, analysts have concurred with Glaser's interpretation that the corporate open-source failures of the past have little relevance to his company's release. But questions remain: How long can RealNetworks continue selling a streaming server while Microsoft gives one away for free? To what extent can the company rely on the market for IP devices? And even if RealNetworks is in a fundamentally different position than its superficially similar predecessors, has the company adequately studied those failures and figured out how to avoid its own...?

"Q: What gave you the idea to release this code?

"A: We had been talking for a couple of years with some of our partners because we always ran into this issue of having a partner that wanted to build to and add on to our platform...Nokia came to us at the beginning of the year, and they gave us the road map of the devices they wanted to add Real to. And it was 12 different devices, and in some cases they had different operating systems. You could wind up sucking up a whole development organization in serving one partner. Nokia's a pretty important partner, with 100 million phones a year, but we thought, 'Wow, we have to change the model.' So with Nokia we created a very flexible paradigm of how we would share source code and maintain compatibility..."

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