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Walker: Open Source vs. Closed--Another Look

Sep 21, 2006, 00:00 (7 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by John Mark Walker)

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"A recent post by Matt Asay got me thinking about the real vs. perceived benefits of open source. In the past, it has been taken for granted by open source supporters (myself included) that the more open the process, the more easily one could build a community, fix bugs, add features, and trample the competition. However, I'm beginning to wonder if software need not necessarily be open source to actually derive the same benefits usually associated with the open source process. I've never been sold on open source as a means to get developers to write code for free. Rather, I always chalked up open source's continued success to a couple of factors: the more open process usually wins because the bar to access is lower and the internet has driven down the price of commodity software, thus creating an environment conducive to open source proliferation (read 'There is no Open Source Community'). Now I'm wondering if software vendors can actually create a community, engage with it in an open process, and derive benefits from an active (and activist) community without actually making any of the software open source..."

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