Montreal Gazette: Sharing crown jewels; Zero-Knowledge releasing source code for Freedom software

“Source code is the crown jewel – and the most tangible
asset – of any software company. But contrary to conventional
business thinking, “you can say that by sharing the crown jewels,
you make them more valuable,” said Eric Raymond
of Malvern,
Penn., president of Open Source Initiative, or OSI. The
not-for-profit group sets, promotes and tries to enforce
open-source standards.”

“Letting software developers and anybody else explore, fiddle
around with, tweak and change copies of the full source code “is
actually to their business advantage” at Zero-Knowledge, he said,
because it spurs rapid innovation and “increases the total value of
their product bundle.” … “These guys” at Zero-Knowledge
“understand that logic very well,” Raymond said.
Austin and
Hamnett Hill, the brothers who control and operate the company with
their father, Hammie, “didn’t do this just to be trendy,” he said,
adding that “you see this (open-sourcing) particularly in the area
of E-commerce these days.”

“The company explained the move another way. “The only way for
people to absolutely verify” that Freedom software “acts the way we
say it does” and provides bulletproof privacy protection “is for it
to be completely transparent and open,” said company official Craig
Silverman. “And so that requires it to be open-source.”

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