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More on LinuxToday Killing the 'Linux Future' Fallacy

Dec 07, 2000, 23:41 (15 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Mark)

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"Recent events in the Linux World, and in open source projects in general, have called into question the value of development of "free" software. With Linux-based for-profit companies having a difficult time making money, and the accelerating consolidation of Linux market share into fewer commercial distributions, it is questionable whether free software can grow beyond geekdom into the mainstream. Whether this proposition is true is irrelevant as it applies to the survival of the concept of open source software. What makes Linux and other open source initiatives necessary is grounded in the nature of free software itself: open source development is the product of scientific inquiry and anti-piracy advocacy."

"The open source model of software development is an excellent example of the scientific method in action. Scientific disciplines rely on the open exchange of ideas to advance a particular idea. To make a positive assertion of any kind, it is the responsibility of the scientist to provide adequate data for their peers to evaluate and attempt verify the conclusions advanced in the hypothesis. Open source software, with its inherent reliance on the publication of source code, fulfills this requirement of peer review by exposing all of the assumptions that support the software model to a public debate of its merits. At no time can it be argued that the best interests of a particular model be defended when a proprietary approach is implemented. Appeals to authority cannot be a proxy for peer testing and verification."

"Open source software has been criticized by the proponents of proprietary software development precisely for this reliance on peer review. Indeed, some of these proponents have attempted to cast doubt on the open source model by linking a community-based review to communism or other socialist ideologies...."

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