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InfoWorld: If the Glass Slipper Fits

May 20, 2003, 11:30 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Chad Dickerson)


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"After two years of writing this column, one theme in the feedback I receive from readers stands out. Regardless of what I write, I get at least a few e-mails saying, 'You're short-changing open source.' In my day-to-day IT reality, open source technologies play a central role: infoworld.com runs Linux/Apache, I use MySQL inside and outside of work for fun, and I keep up with less-hyped but mature technologies such as FreeBSD and PostgresSQL. I've been a Linux user since 1994. All that aside, what really interests me about these e-mails is the notion that the open source community continues to see itself as the Cinderella held back by an assortment of wicked stepmothers, principally Microsoft. From my vantage point, the opposite is true. Open source is the belle of the ball. The open source pumpkin has changed into a carriage and Cinderella is dancing with Prince Charming--but the night is still young.

"The real issue for open source is adjusting from being remarkable to being important. There's a real distinction between the two. Remember when cell phones were new? Your first call was probably to a friend to say, 'Hey, guess what! I'm on a cell phone.' If you called your friend today with the same message, chances are your friend would ask, 'Are you feeling OK...?'"

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