Anyone curious for a take on the history of antagonism between
proprietary and open source software (predating by a long shot the
invention of the phrase "open source") may be interested in this
piece, which characterizes the differences between the two as
growing out of the cutting-edge adaptability of the small-time
independent developer and the more marketing-oriented money-making
prowess of the proprietary houses:
"Twenty years ago, the personal computer (PC) and
mainframe software market operated like most other larger markets
-- software companies had an R&D department, spent part of
their budget on generating new software products, and devoted the
rest to sales, marketing and operations. This was a pretty standard
model, and it served the software market well for the first 5-6
Then, something unsettling started to happen. Consumers began
noticing that the "established" software manufacturers, like Lotus,
Ashton-Tate, Wordperfect and others, really couldn't produce new
product that was any better than product produced by tiny, small
startup software houses.
The reason for this was simple: the big software companies
stifled the creativity that the really best programmers demand, and
they were quitting and leaving to form small software companies.
This shift triggered a decade of "acquisitions," and very shortly
the model of the software market was set. Small software companies
were the innovators and created the new revolutionary products. Big
companies were the marketing engines and simply modified these new
products in an evolutionary manner."
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