Internet Week: This Column is Free

“Give up direct-sale value to capture indirect sale value. That
sums up The Magic Cauldron, Eric S. Raymond’s essay on open-source
business models (www.tuxedo.org/~esr/writings). The paper was
published two weeks ago and is already a classic. Raymond, a
writer, developer, and open-source evangelist, wrote The Cathedral
and the Bazaar, which inspired Netscape to open-source its
forthcoming Mozilla browser, a move that has since brought some
mainstream acceptability to the open-source concept.”

“Nowhere is this acceptance more apparent than with Linux
(www.linux.org), the Unix-like open-source operating system. This
year is shaping up to be the year that Linux becomes an IT
contender. With Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Oracle, SAP, SGI, and other
heavyweight vendors offering support in one form or another for
Linux, it’s never been easier for IT managers to justify deploying
open-source software. Linux, of course, is just one of several
pop-ular open-source software products that are widely used to
build intranets, extranets, and Internet sites. The Apache Web
server (www.apache.org), Perl scripting language (www.perl.org),
and Sendmail mail-transport agent (www.sendmail.org) are easily the
market-share leaders in their categories. Yet all three are
available for free and with complete source code.”

“The Magic Cauldron is a must-read for Internet entrepreneurs-if
only to understand the possibilities of open-source business
models. Raymond analyzes the ‘economic substrate of the open-source
phenomenon,’ and his conclusions are compelling.”