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CNET: IBM said what? ("IBM is the antithesis of open source.")

Aug 03, 2001, 23:00 (28 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Bill O'Brien)

A columnist finds something to question in IBM's enthusiasm for open source software, reaching back to IBM's attempt to push MCA on the computing world to make his case. Where both Microsoft and IBM are concerned, "both companies have missed the boat entirely":

"The spirit of open source isn't that all software must be free. It's not an entitlement program for the economically challenged or the disgruntled. Nor is the spirit of open source a mandate that everyone should be able to modify source code to suit personal needs. Not everyone can write code--in fact, programming is a skill shared by relatively few.

The spirit of open source is that a product--be it hardware or software--should be designed to accommodate the user, not the other way around. IBM came to grips with the open source spirit when its MCA systems failed to infiltrate the industry; other vendors stepped in and accommodated computer buyers and, therefore, dominated.

Microsoft has already encountered the spirit of open source by modifying certain aspects of XP to accommodate the federal court system. It will most certainly continue to accommodate its customers when the majority of them are faced with mandatory registration, dual 52-character code keys, and the somewhat disheartening prospect of needing to reregister XP after a CPU upgrade. (And that's only the tip of the iceberg.) Microsoft may think of itself as the only OS game in town, but it still needs to sell products to continue being profitable."

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