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'Maddog' Hall: How open-source software can dominate the world

Apr 27, 2009, 13:02 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Todd Bishop)

"Hall gave an overview of the open-source movement, including his own early work with Linus Torvalds, before concluding with the theme of his presentation, "How Free and Open Source Software Will have World Domination." Here's an extended excerpt from his remarks.

""The small point of time that we had that closed-source software was useful was the period of 1977 to 1990, because at that time what they were doing was generating more and more computer systems, building up a larger and larger marketplace for computers, and at the same time generating a whole era of people who were used to computers, knowledgeable about computers, and could move computers forward.

""Here's the real problem. Back in the early period of that time, when you had a problem, you could call up the company and get an answer, because you could typically talk to the president of the company on the line, or the chief programmer, and you could get an answer in a day. I did that. The problem is, those companies have grown, and now, even though they have 50 engineers they have 4.5 million customers, or 90 million customers, or a billion customers. And the person who could really solve the problem for you can't solve the problem for you because there's just too many customers, with too diverse needs, and they're not going to solve your problem. End of discussion."

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