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australia.internet.com: Science versus Capitalism: The Open Source Debate

May 15, 2001, 17:00 (14 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Niki Scevak)

[ Thanks to Niki Scevak for this link. ]

This column maintains that there's got to be a middle ground between the diametric opposites of Microsoft and open source software: "Mundie sees software in a commercial sense, and Torvalds sees it in the realm of science. Clearly, the two are diametrically opposed. In that sense, Mundie is not right or wrong and the same holds for Torvalds, their opinions are merely misdirected."

A verbal war between Microsoft Senior VP, Craig Mundie and Operating System impresario Linus Torvalds has erupted over the validity of Open Source software. Just how much of the argument has merit?

Something worth exploring further are Mundie's comments on Intellectual Property (IP). The GPL license (the de facto standard of Open Source software) ostensibly drives the cost of software down to zero. This is because the distribution guidelines in the license allow any party to distribute the software at whatever cost they choose.

If we believe that resources are allocated to the greatest opportunity, then commercial incentive is absolutely key to quality software. In theory, if companies are not able to charge for software, then companies will not create as many software products and the industry is worse off.

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