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ABC News: Linux In a Suit

Aug 11, 1999, 22:56 (10 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Michael J. Martinez)

"...Red Hat... went public with a bang today. ... Linux devotees cheered the news as they gathered in San Jose this week for a major trade show devoted to the open-source operating system. VA Linux Systems... will likely follow suit in the near future. Yet the Wall Street success also signals a possible sea change in what's come to be known as 'the Linux community.'

The influx of big dollars, and public shareholders, has some Linux enthusiasts fearful for the unique culture of programmers and hackers that has cobbled the OS together through the years.

'It's a bit scary,' says Rob Malda, editor of Slashdot, a Linux-oriented news and discussion site that was recently bought out by the Andover News Network. 'Companies with obligations to stock holders are a lot different than companies with obligations to a trusting, sharing community.' "

" 'I don't think the rules of the game will change -- to create an inevitable conflict between desire to serve the open-source community and desire to make money -- any time soon, if ever,' says open-source advocate Eric S. Raymond, a member of VA Linux Systems' board of directors. 'Corporate behavior can look altruistic and be motivated by a desire to do the right thing in non-monetary terms, and still be the best route to increasing shareholder value.' "

" 'There has been money and corporations involved for some time now, and it hasn't changed the way development has been done, except for the fact that these corporations are now paying people to develop Linux who would have done it anyway without pay,' Torvalds says."

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