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Inside.com: Can Free Software Manage Your Web Site?

Oct 07, 2000, 13:55 (3 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jimmy Guterman)

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"But as attractive as the open-source model is conceptually, the ongoing Mozilla project -- in which the half-forgotten Netscape Web browser is being updated by a dispersed group of unpaid programmers -- shows that development can slow down if no one has any chance of making any money. Similarly, the core Gnutella program hasn't been updated in months. There are some marvelous examples to the contrary -- namely Apache and Perl -- but that's because their creators have found ways to earn money off their work by running conferences, writing books and consulting."

"It's that model that open-source application server Zope is trying to follow. An application what? At the core of many of the large-scale content-management systems is an application server, a program that helps developers separate different parts of the Web site-building process. In particular, it helps integrate the content stored in a central database, and thus automate much of the grunt work that programmers, producers and editors otherwise undertake ''by hand.'' On top of the application server, Zope programmers have written modules that provide particular functionality: ''Squishdot,'' for example, is a module that makes a Zope site look and work much like Slashdot.org."

"Not only are there free programs built on top of Zope, but there's a consulting business, too. Digital Creations, which manages the development of the open-source Zope (its chief technology officer, Jim Fulton, is the man behind Zope), aims to make its money on consulting and training. Commercial software applications may come, but the focus will be on maintaining and supporting the open-source Zope."

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