"The future of the computer software industry was being fought
out last week in the Massachusetts Senate. It was just a skirmish,
but dozens more just like it are happening in legislatures around
the world. And the outcome will go a long way toward determining
the shape of the industry in years to come. Our state's role in the
drama began in September, when a remarkable memo leaked from the
office of Eric Kriss, Massachusetts secretary of finance and
administration. The memo said, or seemed to say, that the entire
state would abandon the use of traditional computer software and
replace them with 'open-source' programs.
"So what? Well, imagine being told that your company was getting
rid of all its Microsoft Corp. software, like Windows and Office,
two of the most widely used programs on Earth. Or that you'd be
losing all your Apple Computer Inc. machines running Macintosh
software, or all of your Oracle Corp. databases. Most of the world
runs on this kind of proprietary, 'closed-source' software, in
which the underlying source code remains the confidential property
of the software vendor..."
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