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Will open source ever be completely free?

Feb 24, 2010, 11:03 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Matt Asay)


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"In various markets, open source has relentlessly driven prices down while boosting performance and customer value, as detailed by The 451 Group. Even as traditional vendors have struggled with a tight economy, open-source vendors have thrived.

"In the process, has open source conditioned customers to expect more for less? Perhaps as little as $0.00? The Linux market offers some clues.

"Open source for sale...but at what price? IDC reported in 2009 that nonpaid Linux adoption had claimed a significant share of the Linux market, now as much as 50 percent, and counts as Red Hat's biggest competitor, be it unauthorized (i.e., unpaid for) use of Red Hat Enterprise Linux or CentOS, the RHEL clone. Red Hat continues to deliver exceptional quarterly earnings, and Novell's Linux business has also been growing strongly, suggesting "free" (as in freedom) doesn't necessarily mean "free" (as in bankruptcy)."

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