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Wheeler: Why Open Source Software / Free Software (OSS/FS)? Look at the Numbers! [Revised]

Jun 10, 2004, 16:00 (5 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by David A. Wheeler)

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From the author:

My paper "Why Open Source Software / Free Software (OSS/FS)? Look at the Numbers!" has just undergone a major update, after 6 months of quiet development. It gathers, in one place, quantitative data showing that OSS/FS needs to be considered by any software acquirer.

This update includes updates and new references to various studies.

In market share, I've updated the Netcraft and Security Space surveys of web servers (Apache still dominates), and added a new DNS survey showing (in yet another way) OSS/FS's massive dominance in that market.

In security, I noted that SUSE and Red Hat have received Common Criteria evaluations, and noted some of the serious security problems that seem unique to proprietary operating systems (91% of broadband users have spyware; 80% of spam is now sent from infected Windows machines).

For reliability, I've added the May 2004 Netcraft survey of reliable servers (80% of the top ten most reliable hosting providers are OSS/FS based), and an IBM study showing that Linux is quite reliable under continuous high stress for 30 and 60 days.

For scaleability, I added a reference to "Thunder," the fastest computer in North America (it runs on Linux).

I added a lot of text noting that OSS/FS isn't pirated source code (a new claim being heard occasionally, though so far only from people who appear to be paid to say it). I added much more text about SCO and AdTI, including some of Tanenbaum's statements and a Minux/Linux code study refuting AdTI's claims.

In the discussion about forking, I noted the XFree86 vs. fork to show that forking can be about licensing, not just about project speed.

My thanks to the many who sent suggestions.

Complete Paper

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