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Linus Explains Why Open Source Works

Aug 13, 2007, 15:00 (4 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Bruce Byfield)

"Linus Torvalds is often described as an open source champion, interested in licensing only insofar as it affects his ability to share code and improve software more quickly. However, his real position is more complicated--and to some, perhaps surprising.

"Asked point-blank which is more important, sharing code or empowering users--the declared goal of the free software champions whom Torvalds is routinely depicted as being in opposition with--and his first response in what he calls 'the usual Linus polite words' is 'That's a really stupid question. Why do you put it as an 'either or' kind of concept?' He then goes on to explain that, because open source operates in the same manner as scientific query, and is a matter of enlightened self-interest, sharing code and empowering users 'are not at odds at all'--a view that, in the end, places him closer to the free software position than either free software or open source followers might care to admit..."

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