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NewsForge: How Can Free Software Compete with Commercial Developers?

Nov 07, 2003, 11:30 (11 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Robin Miller)

[ Thanks to Robin 'Roblimo' Miller for this link. ]

"The amazing thing about the free vs. proprietary software race is that free software is in it at all. With all the resources larger proprietary software companies have at their command, you'd think their products would be unfailingly easy to use, virtually bug-free, and priced so low that no one would mind paying for them. But this is not the case. Why isn't it? You'd think a software company full of carefully-selected programmers, project leaders, market researchers, quality control personnel, professional documentation writers, and a technical support staff would have no trouble beating any open source project--with both hands tied behind its corporate back--even if it gave the open source project a 3 km lead in a 5 km race.

"But think back to Netscape's (later AOL's and Sun's) and Microsoft's Web server products. Both have been beaten handily by Apache in both usefulness and in the marketplace. This makes no sense. How could these companies possibly manage to put out products inferior to something built by a loose group of programmers without any formal structure behind them...?"

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