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Salon: The year the hype died

Dec 26, 2000, 14:00 (4 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Salon Technology)

"...OK -- free software is not dead, or even dying. But we're putting it in the category of biggest non-stories of the year because in 2000 the billowing hype that had been associated with all things open-source and Linux-y suddenly evaporated. In 2000, the free software growth curve flattened out. Progress became incremental and boring, rather than lightning-fast and earth-shattering."

"Just as free software benefited disproportionately in 1999 from the excesses of the dot-com economy, which helped launch Red Hat and VA Linux to the tune of huge IPOs, so also, in 2000, did the collapse of the new economy drag down the valuations of Linux companies and other open-source startups. The career trajectory of hacker Bruce Perens, who went from coordinating the Debian GNU/Linux project to running a venture capital fund devoted to open-source, to becoming a consultant for Hewlett-Packard is just one snapshot of the overall trajectory. Even the heated Microsoft/Linux clashes of 1999 receded into the background in 2000."

"Behind the scenes, however, hackers are still busy, of course, and one could argue that the whole rise of the peer-to-peer movement is just the latest wave of what free software is all about. And ultimately, what difference does it make if the companies attempting to capitalize on open-source rise or fall. Hacker's will hack, regardless."

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