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The Mercury News: Linux Creator an Open Source

Jul 07, 2003, 13:00 (10 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Dean Takahashi)

"Linus Torvalds is the creator of the Linux operating system, the open source version of Unix that is sweeping through the software world in a direct challenge to Microsoft. He is a technical leader and an outspoken advocate of open source development, which allows software users to develop and modify their own versions of software for free. He spoke candidly with Mercury News staff writer Dean Takahashi about the lawsuit from SCO Group versus IBM (where Big Blue is accused of illegally putting Unix code into Linux), on Microsoft and open source development. He also shed light on his decision to leave chip maker Transmeta for a Linux corporate software consortium, the Open Source Development Lab. Here is an edited transcript:

"Q: The SCO Group has sued IBM for illegally contributing Unix code to Linux. Do you believe this episode reveals any vulnerabilities in the open source movement?

"A: Not really. Open source software is very visible. That means it's very easy to see if there is something wrong. I think that is a good thing. I think the whole point is that, with the kind of transparency you get with open source, people are a lot less likely to ever have intellectual property issues. I compare it to stealing a car. Do you steal a car in the bright daylight with a lot of people around? Or do you steal a car, go for a joyride at 4 am in the morning when there aren't a lot of people around. With open source, there is a lot of daylight. A lot of people looking at the code. You don't really go around and steal things..."

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