"I have grown accustomed to talking about breakthroughs,
inflection points, and disruptive technologies as if they, like
Athena, were hatched fully formed from the head of Zeus. But the
so-called breakthrough technologies--like the Internet, Macintosh
user interface, or wireless computing--took years to morph from
research labs into viable, mainstream technologies.
"Linux and other open source software do not represent a
breakthrough technology. Linux is a modernised derivative of Unix,
born in the Bell Telephone Laboratories in 1969. Various
contributors to the Unix family tree have developed important
features, but it's not easy to declare any of them a Nobel
Prize-worthy achievement. At least the creators of Unix, Dennis
Ritchie and Ken Thompson, were awarded the A.M. Turing Award in
1983 for their original work.
"Linux is a breakthrough of another kind, with major
ramifications for the software industry beyond the much publicised
threat to Microsoft. It's more akin to a historic moment like the
fall of the Berlin Wall than a great scientific achievement.
Linux--and the open source movement--is changing not just the
economics of software, but also the way people think about