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CIO: The End of Idealism

Jul 02, 2003, 11:30 (43 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by John Parkinson)

"The concept of software as a public good wasn't invented by Linus (that honor probably goes to Richard Stallman with the publication of the GNU Manifesto in 1985), nor was Linux the first open-source Unix (that would be Minix, developed by Andrew Tanenbaum in 1987). However, the creation of a practical and effective process by which source code is shared on a noncommercial basis essentially came from his efforts. It's also clear that his willingness to maintain the essence of the open-source process through his active participation has been critical in expanding and maintaining the community.

"Fast-forward to 2001. Linux is in the core strategy of most major vendors (including Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Intel, Oracle and Sun Microsystems) and is increasingly the platform of choice for many server applications. Open-source development products (JBoss, FreeSQL, Tomcat) are widely available and in some cases (such as Apache) widely used. There are at least 30 Linux distributions available. Microsoft is even acting as though it's at least mildly concerned.

"So has open source come of age? Are we beyond the idealist and early adopter stage? Should corporate users be looking seriously at open-source processes and products alongside vendor-owned solutions? First some issues to consider..."

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