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Montreal Gazette: Sharing crown jewels; Zero-Knowledge releasing source code for Freedom software

Oct 24, 2000, 17:46 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jan Ravensbergen)

"Source code is the crown jewel - and the most tangible asset - of any software company. But contrary to conventional business thinking, "you can say that by sharing the crown jewels, you make them more valuable," said Eric Raymond of Malvern, Penn., president of Open Source Initiative, or OSI. The not-for-profit group sets, promotes and tries to enforce open-source standards."

"Letting software developers and anybody else explore, fiddle around with, tweak and change copies of the full source code "is actually to their business advantage" at Zero-Knowledge, he said, because it spurs rapid innovation and "increases the total value of their product bundle." ... "These guys" at Zero-Knowledge "understand that logic very well," Raymond said. Austin and Hamnett Hill, the brothers who control and operate the company with their father, Hammie, "didn't do this just to be trendy," he said, adding that "you see this (open-sourcing) particularly in the area of E-commerce these days."

"The company explained the move another way. "The only way for people to absolutely verify" that Freedom software "acts the way we say it does" and provides bulletproof privacy protection "is for it to be completely transparent and open," said company official Craig Silverman. "And so that requires it to be open-source."

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