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Micah Yoder: Our Open Source Future: It's Just a Matter of Time

Jul 22, 2001, 12:00 (40 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Micah Yoder)

[ Thanks to Micah Yoder for this link. ]

The average eschatological prediction is kept vague so as to keep the prognosticator looking o.k. past any inconveniently missed dates. In this case, though, Microsoft's Ragnarok (Twilight of the Bobs?) has been set a little more firmly: possibly the beginning of 2005:

"Don't think it's possible? Remember that every industry occasionally has a major shift. The computer industry has certainly had shifts. Companies switched from mainframes to networked PCs when they become more cost effective. They switched from DOS to Windows applications when they discovered advantages in the Windows platform. When the Internet became widespread, many processes changed. These shifts involved changing the software people used and the way they thought about their needs.

The other major reason this change can and will occur is the power of openness. In the consumer electronics world, VHS triumphed over Beta tapes because VHS was an open standard and could be used by anyone. Beta, even though better, required licenses to be payed to Sony. In the PC world, remember IBM's Micro Channel Archetecture (MCA)? It was IBM's attempt to regain advantages over and control of the PC clone makers. It was certainly technically superior to the ISA bus of the day, but it failed because no one wanted to pay IBM the license for every computer that was produced. Well, Microsoft currently has control over the de-facto operating system, which gives it much power. Companies are increasingly worried about this control, based on Microsoft's experiments with software rentals, proprietary document formats, and restrictive licenses for OEMs and the public.

Plus, current Open Source platforms have an advantage that VHS tapes and the ISA architecture did not: They are in many ways technically superior to Windows, the proprietary system."

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