"IT HAPPENED AGAIN this week. While reading one of the
online open-source news services, I came across an article
containing the prognostications of an industry guru. Among his
statements was the now familiar claim that open source simply
cannot innovate. It takes a focused, well-funded organization to
deliver significant innovation, claimed the IT guru.
At first glance, someone might think this analysis is correct.
After all, a cursory glance at the history of Linux reveals an
extensive effort to create features and interfaces found in other
operating systems. Taken at face value, it appears that open source
is about imitation, not innovation.
Although it is true that much of the history of open-source
development has been marked by the effort to create features found
in other platforms, this has far more to do with the time line than
the Linux community's ability to innovate. As with any new venture
launched into a field with many established competitors, Linux
needed to first reach the baseline established by the competition
before focusing entirely on innovation. In the operating system
market, reaching that baseline is no small task, but as a recent
D.H. Brown report clearly shows, Linux has become quite technically
competitive with other Unix-like operating systems."