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VNU Net: Capitalism embraces open source

Feb 16, 2001, 14:43 (3 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Ian Stobie)

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"Open source is developed collaboratively without a conventional management structure, as much by unpaid volunteers and users as by paid programmers - and many of those are moonlighting. Nonetheless, the corporate world is clearly smiling on the results of their efforts. Linux now poses the only real challenge to the onward march of Microsoft Windows, and is deployed on a far greater variety of hardware. Key parts of the internet rely on other open-source software, for everything from the fundamentals of the domain name and email systems, to thousands of freely available Perl scripts for user applications."

"The reason this software is so popular with corporates is not that it's cheap - that matters to students but hardly to City institutions. The value it brings is, surprisingly, its quality. Companies prefer Linux and Apache over their commercial equivalents because they crash less often. You can also go in and adapt the code if you have to - you're not reliant on having to persuade the software manufacturer to support you."

"Why is open-source code so good? The answer takes in the motivation of the individual programmers, the way the development projects are organised, and the legal relationship with the customer enshrined in the licences under which open-source software is issued. ... But one factor is key - the relationship with the customer. Because the open-source development method tends to build a customer base quickly and encourages it to report problems, bugs tend to get fixed..."

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