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The Economist: The world is taking to open source

Apr 13, 2001, 16:51 (11 Talkback[s])

[ Thanks to Will Smith for this link. ]

"The Linux hype has undeniably crested. SuSE is not the only company that has had trouble building a viable business based on the free operating system. VA Linux, for example, a start-up which, in late 1999, enjoyed the most successful flotation ever—with shares gaining almost 700% on their first day of trading—recently said it would cut a quarter of its staff and take nine months longer than planned to achieve profitability. Only the market leader, Red Hat, is doing better than expected."

"But this should not be read as a sign of the imminent demise of open-source software via Linux, its standard-bearer. Most people in the software industry believe that open-source is here to stay. Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's chief executive, recently called Linux 'threat number one'. Steven Milunovich, a leading analyst with Merrill Lynch, an investment bank, argues that open-source is a 'disruptive technology' that could topple such industry heavyweights as Microsoft and Sun."

"In fact, the open-source movement is less about 'world domination', which hackers often joke about, and more about an industry which, thanks to the Internet, is learning that there is value in deep co-operation as well as in hard competition."

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