"In 20/20 hindsight, it now seems to have been
inevitable. Open-source development is the human version of
distributed processing, and it boasts many of the same efficiencies
that make grid computing attractive.
The problem is that we tend not to take free stuff seriously. At
about the same time Bill Gates was writing a version of BASIC
destined to seed the world's largest software company, Ward
Christensen, an IBM systems engineer from Dolton, Ill., coded a
little program he called modem, which enabled computers to send
binary code to one another over phone lines. The difference was
that Christensen released his code to the pubic domain, enabling
other programmers to enhance and perfect a system of checksums and
protocols that became the foundation of all computer
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