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osOpinion: Software's Glass Ceiling: Breaking the Tail-Lights

Oct 03, 2000, 07:39 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Leon Brooks)

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"Much ado is made of applications, and in particular Free and Open Source Software "chasing tail-lights," or limiting itself to tracking the designs of others. This is all fine and dandy, since at some point the chasing ends and a bit of leading happens. As they say, "Even if you're on the right track, don't stop, or you'll be run over."

"The other effect which kicks in and keeps things interesting is that managing programmers is akin to herding cats (anyone who doesn't understand the metaphor is invited to collect a dozen cats and walk them for a kilometer without leashes). Programmers would rather do "fun things" than boring old mainline stuff, which leads, naturally, to interesting features."

"This can be seen in a plethora of smaller projects, and for larger examples consider GIMP and the soon-to-be-Open StarOffice, which in many ways is the office suite that Microsoft wished for, even though in some details it is indeed still chasing tail-lights. The desktop integration is coming along very well, and StarWriter invariably produces cleaner and more standard HTML than Word ever will. GIMP, meanwhile, has nearly completed its first lap around PhotoShop."

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