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What Vendors Really Mean by 'Open Source'

Dec 19, 2008, 18:04 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Mark Taylor)

"At open-source speaking events, Microsoft representatives generally try to establish a world view sympathetic to their own by talking as if the accepted distinction in the open-source arena is between commercial and non-commercial. That definition is inaccurate and its intent is to damage.

"The true distinction is between proprietary and non-proprietary. The false distinction between commercial and non-commercial is designed to imply that only proprietary software is acceptable commercially -- that is, companies should keep buying the proprietary stuff and leave the non-proprietary to hobbyists.

"It's a clever sleight of hand but, fortunately, invalid. The true distinction is between proprietary and non-proprietary, and here non-proprietary can be just as commercial as proprietary -- in fact, in classical free-market terms, even more so."

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