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ZDNet: Evan Leibovitch -- Finding itches to scratch

Mar 29, 2000, 05:37 (9 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Evan Leibovitch)

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"Look at the kind of software that is currently available as open source, especially the stuff of highest quality and most used. It's stuff made by developers for developers: programming languages (such as the gcc compiler, perl, and countless others); environments (debugging tools and IDEs such as gIDE or Zope); and the OS itself, the kernel and related utilities."

"Then there are the programs that are less in the realm of hard core programmers, but still stuff they would use. Graphical environments, word processors, games and scientific software still attract many developers but have been slower to come around and mature than the basic OS. While the Linux world has dozens of window managers, Linux will be almost a decade old before its first two really credible desktops -- KDE 2.0 and the GNOME/Eazel work -- will be in common use. The same could be said of Linux databases. It's taken an awfully long time for PostgreSQL to replace Microsoft database servers on Linux systems the way Samba has done for file services. And while Linux's multimedia capabilities are improving daily, they will remain a few steps behind the Windows and Mac worlds for some time to come."

"Why? To some the answer is obvious, but the point needs repeating as open source spreads its message (or hype, or evangelism) beyond the OS and into other realms. The further away you get from generic OS functions and into industry- or task-specific work, the harder it will be to sustain -- let alone complete -- a good bazaar project."

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