"Recent events in the Linux World, and in open source projects
in general, have called into question the value of development of
"free" software. With Linux-based for-profit companies having a
difficult time making money, and the accelerating consolidation of
Linux market share into fewer commercial distributions, it is
questionable whether free software can grow beyond geekdom into the
mainstream. Whether this proposition is true is irrelevant as it
applies to the survival of the concept of open source software.
What makes Linux and other open source initiatives necessary is
grounded in the nature of free software itself: open source
development is the product of scientific inquiry and anti-piracy
"The open source model of software development is an excellent
example of the scientific method in action. Scientific disciplines
rely on the open exchange of ideas to advance a particular idea. To
make a positive assertion of any kind, it is the responsibility of
the scientist to provide adequate data for their peers to evaluate
and attempt verify the conclusions advanced in the hypothesis. Open
source software, with its inherent reliance on the publication of
source code, fulfills this requirement of peer review by exposing
all of the assumptions that support the software model to a public
debate of its merits. At no time can it be argued that the best
interests of a particular model be defended when a proprietary
approach is implemented. Appeals to authority cannot be a proxy for
peer testing and verification."
"Open source software has been criticized by the proponents of
proprietary software development precisely for this reliance on
peer review. Indeed, some of these proponents have attempted to
cast doubt on the open source model by linking a community-based
review to communism or other socialist ideologies...."
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