osOpinion: What AOLs You?Apr 25, 2000, 04:50 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Gareth Barnard)
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"Are you concerned about the Time Warner-AOL merger? My feelings about it are mixed."
"On the one hand, the Internet box they are introducing will run Linux, which warms my Penguinista soul. If you think about it, they didn't have a wide range of choices. Microsoft views AOL as its biggest rival, and surely would not have cut them a deal on WinCE. Epoc is not sufficiently sophisticated and Apple has shown no inclination to port OS-X. And Linux is free, which is a consideration if you are planning on giving away the 'Net boxes for free and then charging for 'Net access. If you also Communicator, the software won't cost you a dime. I expect they chose Linux over *BSD because Linux has achieved greater exposure."
"On the other hand, 55% of 'Net users are already AOL customers and AOL stands over them like a bull elk guarding his cows. There has been a lot of hand wringing over AOL's refusal to open up its instant-messaging software. That does not augur well for its treatment of other entities on the 'Net. But a large part of Corporate America still regards Open Source with fear and loathing. The thinking in the boardroom was probably that if they published the standard, the spammers would have a field day and AOL would lose customers. They could allay some fears (and avoid some lawsuits) by reversing their stand on AIM and making some or the entire source code available under the Gnu Public License."
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