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Red Herring: Open-source hackers go pro

Dec 09, 1999, 22:13 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Justin Hibbard)

"As 1999 draws to a close, it's clear that open-source software has arrived. Even technology graybeards like IBM...and Hewlett-Packard...and perhaps even Microsoft...have warmed to the idea of releasing the source code for some of their products."

"Users are installing open-source programs like the Linux operating system and the Apache Web server at the same rate at which they're installing best-selling proprietary programs. Red Hat...an open-source startup, went public in August and now has a market capitalization of $6.4 billion."

"But a crucial step is required for open source to keep gaining acceptance. Just as the technology industry needed companies like Red Hat to turn open-source programs into commercial products, it needs companies to turn the process of developing open-source software into a commercial service. Currently, unpaid volunteers develop most open-source programs. But companies that require a specific piece of code can't command these programmers to develop it -- and the volunteers have no incentive to develop software that doesn't benefit them directly."

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