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ZDNet Australia: Proprietary vs Open Source

Aug 25, 2003, 22:00 (5 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Dan Farber)

[ Thanks to Jason Greenwood for this link. ]

"I have grown accustomed to talking about breakthroughs, inflection points, and disruptive technologies as if they, like Athena, were hatched fully formed from the head of Zeus. But the so-called breakthrough technologies--like the Internet, Macintosh user interface, or wireless computing--took years to morph from research labs into viable, mainstream technologies.

"Linux and other open source software do not represent a breakthrough technology. Linux is a modernised derivative of Unix, born in the Bell Telephone Laboratories in 1969. Various contributors to the Unix family tree have developed important features, but it's not easy to declare any of them a Nobel Prize-worthy achievement. At least the creators of Unix, Dennis Ritchie and Ken Thompson, were awarded the A.M. Turing Award in 1983 for their original work.

"Linux is a breakthrough of another kind, with major ramifications for the software industry beyond the much publicised threat to Microsoft. It's more akin to a historic moment like the fall of the Berlin Wall than a great scientific achievement. Linux--and the open source movement--is changing not just the economics of software, but also the way people think about software..."

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