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Red Herring Magazine: Freeware Feature Issue

Jan 30, 1999, 00:44 (2 Talkback[s])

Seven articles on different aspects of Free Software in the February 1999 issue.


"Open-source development has found an important place in the commercial software arena. But it won't radically alter the competitive landscape, and it will not be the force that drives the next wave of startups to success."

"In the following stories, the Red Herring considers the open-source software movement from many different angles, by talking with developers, users, software vendors, startups, venture capitalists, hardware makers, and even the Evil Empire (headquarters: Redmond) itself."

"... we've come to see open-source development as only the next in a series of incremental steps toward true open-standards computing. It's a trend being propelled by the success of the Internet, which itself grew out of a vibrant open-source tradition."

The evangelists by Eric S. Raymond

"The Open Source Initiative's president says open development means lower prices and better products."

"A simple and compelling pattern is starting to emerge. Open-source software goes through rigorous peer review and has great reliability. Without peer review, software reliability suffers. This fact in itself may be sufficient to marginalize closed-source commercial development."


"The open-source community accuses Microsoft of playing dirty with Linux."

"Part of the fascination with the "Halloween" documents stems from the rhetoric that accompanied the online posting. Mr. Raymond predicted that "publishing [them] will help realize Microsoft's worst nightmares."

MIS buyers

"Performance and price go ahead of politics."

"An informal survey of managers of information systems who use Linux reveals that... purchasing decisions are based almost purely on price and performance."

Hardware makers

"Don't expect a free PC to come with that service contract."

"How does the hardware industry fit into the open-source model? Could hardware specifications be developed in an open manner? And if so, could any business tied to open hardware succeed?"

Software giants

"Supporting Linux is good business for software vendors, even if releasing their source code isn't."

"Anything that worries Microsoft -- and Linux certainly has -- invariably interests other software companies. Indeed, many in the software industry have suddenly declared their support of open-source software..."


"The open-source business model has VCs baffled."

"... it is not at all clear how a strict open-source strategy translates into a viable business plan."