Red Herring Magazine: Freeware Feature Issue

Seven articles on different aspects of Free Software in the
February 1999 issue.


“Open-source development has found an important place in the
commercial software arena. But it won’t radically alter the
competitive landscape, and it will not be the force that drives the
next wave of startups to success.”

“In the following stories, the Red Herring considers the
open-source software movement from many different angles, by
talking with developers, users, software vendors, startups, venture
capitalists, hardware makers, and even the Evil Empire
(headquarters: Redmond) itself.”

“… we’ve come to see open-source development as only the next
in a series of incremental steps toward true open-standards
computing. It’s a trend being propelled by the success of the
Internet, which itself grew out of a vibrant open-source

by Eric S. Raymond

“The Open Source Initiative’s president says open development
means lower prices and better products.”

“A simple and compelling pattern is starting to emerge.
Open-source software goes through rigorous peer review and has
great reliability. Without peer review, software reliability
suffers. This fact in itself may be sufficient to marginalize
closed-source commercial development.”


“The open-source community accuses Microsoft of playing dirty
with Linux.”

“Part of the fascination with the “Halloween” documents stems
from the rhetoric that accompanied the online posting. Mr. Raymond
predicted that “publishing [them] will help realize Microsoft’s
worst nightmares.”


“Performance and price go ahead of politics.”

“An informal survey of managers of information systems who use
Linux reveals that… purchasing decisions are based almost purely
on price and performance.”


“Don’t expect a free PC to come with that service contract.”

“How does the hardware industry fit into the open-source model?
Could hardware specifications be developed in an open manner? And
if so, could any business tied to open hardware succeed?”


“Supporting Linux is good business for software vendors, even if
releasing their source code isn’t.”

“Anything that worries Microsoft — and Linux certainly has —
invariably interests other software companies. Indeed, many in the
software industry have suddenly declared their support of
open-source software…”


“The open-source business model has VCs baffled.”

“… it is not at all clear how a strict open-source strategy
translates into a viable business plan.”