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AlwaysOn: How Far Can Open Source Go?

Mar 07, 2003, 10:00 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Marten Mickos)

"Let's start with the basics. Open Source is a new method for producing and deploying software. The production piece has been called 'commons-based peer production' by scholars and is seen as the third global mode of production. (The first two were described by Nobel laureate Ronald Coase many years ago as (i) employees following directions of managers, and (ii) individuals in markets following price signals.). Linux and Apache, to name just two, are great examples of superior software being created by voluntary peers. Consider the huge R&D investments of the market-leading software vendors in regards to their product quality, and you see the stark contrast.

"But Open Source is also a method for deploying software. Through the mechanisms that the software developer community built for its own development purposes, the software spreads all over the world at minimal cost. At the same time, licensing schemes such as the GPL (GNU General Public License) make it easy for a manager to decide to use the software. On top of this, feverishly active mailing lists ensure that basic product support is available to anyone at anytime. Compare this, again, to the legacy of software vendors and their costly sales channels, and you can see where the gains come from..."

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