"When the hordes of volunteer programmers who make up the
open-source movement met this week for their annual convention in
San Diego, one constituency was conspicuously absent:
entrepreneurs. Many start-ups that tried to make money from
open-source software have already gone bust, and many of those that
have survived are in a sorry state.
"This is not all that is worrying open-source advocates.
Microsoft is leading an increasingly nasty campaign against
programs such as Linux, the free operating system, and has even
been putting it about that such programs make it easier for
terrorists to hack into computers. Worse, Linus Torvalds, the
inventor of Linux, appears to have reached his limits as a manager.
There is growing frustration among hackers that he is ignoring
their contributions. Is open source doomed?
"In part, the movement is a victim of its own hype. At the
height of the 'new economy' craze, open source was billed as
radical new economics based on sharing. Programmers around the
world contribute their time to write free programs so as to gain
reputation among their peers. For this to work, the source code of
a programâ€"its basic ingredientsâ€"must be
freely available, in contrast to the proprietary software of such
firms as Microsoft..."
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