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The Microsoft Killers [FR as "Open Source/Access"?]
Prospect Magazine UK ^ | February 2004 | Azeem Azhar

Posted on 02/14/2004 8:30:59 AM PST by Clint Williams

The recipe for Coca-Cola is one of the most closely guarded secrets in the world. Yet a small Canadian software firm has sold 150,000 cans of a rival fizzy cola, which tastes very like Coke, and has made the recipe public. The firm behind the drink, Opencola, makes software, not drinks. It used the drink (and its open recipe) as a metaphor for the most important trend in software today.

Unlike most traditional software firms, Opencola produces open source technologies. Open source is a philosophy for software licensing designed to encourage the improvement and use of software by anyone who wants to join in. It ensures that the source code, the underlying instructions of the software, can be examined and modified freely.

The open source movement eschews proprietary controls and its software is usually produced not by firms, but by networks of volunteers who look after different pieces of an application. For this reason it has, until recently, been regarded as anti-corporate-associated with hackers' bedrooms and academia, an eccentric corner of the market.

Today, open source has grown up and has an uncontested momentum in several key areas of the software business. Linux, an operating system that competes in Microsoft's dominant market, has gained a beachhead in many companies. Oracle's dominance in databases is coming under threat from MySQL, whose software was downloaded over the internet around 10m times last year. And nearly 70 per cent of the computers that serve web pages run Apache, an open source application. Almost three quarters of large US companies intend to increase their use of open source technologies, according to Forrester Research.

In its February 2003 filing to the securities and exchange commission, which regulates stock markets in the US, Microsoft admitted that open source posed a significant challenge to its business model. And it is starting to fight back. Microsoft's original attack on Linux concerned security. But that has backfired. The growth in internet viruses that hop from Microsoft server to Microsoft server has demonstrated that a product with a single architect, like Windows, is more vulnerable than one, like Linux, with many. The open source philosophy means that although the code is open to malicious actors, it is also accessible to more friendly eyes, which can track down and resolve problems quickly.

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's aggressive chief executive, once called open source a "cancer." But other blue chips have rallied to the Linux flag. Three years ago IBM announced it was investing $1bn in consulting and support services for Linux-based systems. The greatest concern large companies have about software is support: who will fix problems when they arise? IBM's decision to offer support contracts has calmed those fears, and partly for that reason key components of the New York stock exchange now run on Linux.

In a few years, Linux-based computers will handle many of our telephone calls. The new range of telecoms systems from Nokia, the mobile telephone company, will run Linux. And now governments are questioning the need to stretch treasuries to finance proprietary software when free versions are available. When the Munich city government hinted it would dump Microsoft in favour of Linux, Ballmer cut short a holiday to petition the mayor. The intervention was in vain. Last May the city announced that it would install open source software on its 14,000 machines. The Microsoft contract, for licences, training and support, was initially worth $36.7m according to USA Today. The winning bid from IBM and the German Linux group Suse was actually $39.5m, higher than Microsoft's. But Microsoft's strategy of introducing expensive upgrades every few years adds a financial risk for any purchaser. "On strategic issues, it was clearly open source," says Harry Maack, who advised the city.

In November, Sergio Amadeu, Brazil's top technology mandarin, declared his wish to "create a continent" of open source in the federal government. And this January, the Israeli government announced it would stop buying Microsoft software in favour of open source.

In Britain, the offices of government commerce and the e-envoy are now backing trials of Linux-based applications. Last October, Whitehall announced trials of open source applications on civil servants' computers. If successful, Microsoft software on 1.3m government desktops might be replaced with open source alternatives. The savings on licence fees could run into tens of millions.

When a company or government department wishes to use a piece of open source software, all it needs to do is find it on the web and download it for free. This has not changed over the past decade; what has changed is the back-up support and consultancy, which, as the example of Munich shows, is far from free. Big technology companies like IBM and Linux-support specialists like Red Hat provide company IT directors with the expertise to customise open source applications to their needs and the reassurance that when things break down there will be help.

Origins of open source

Open source can be traced back 20 years, to the time when only a few dozen machines in the US research community were connected to the internet. The scientists managing applications on the network were hackers-not in the sense of cyberspace criminals, but in the sense of programmers who solve software problems.

These people wrote the ancestors to software used today in the internet without much thought to ownership. For the network to work, the computers needed to talk to each other. And the easiest way to do that was to share. So Sendmail, written by Eric Allman in 1979, delivers the bulk of email sent on the net today. Bind, which powers the domain name system, allowing us to use addresses like www.google.com rather than the underlying machine address, was created by a team at Berkeley. (You can bypass Bind: reach Google, for instance, by typing in 216.239.59.99.)

By 1984, things had changed. Companies had begun to bury software under patents and copyrights, keeping the source code secret. Richard Stallman, an MIT computer scientist, believed this was damaging the industry. It stopped the free flow of ideas, because without the source code, programmers could only see what a program did-not how it did it. Stallman developed the idea of distributing free software with its source code and a licence that allowed you to modify the source code as long as the modifications were kept in the public domain. Software needed to be free: "Free as in free speech, not free beer," as Stallman likes to put it. The licence was known as the GNU General Public Licence (GPL).

The most famous software issued under the GPL is Linux, an operating system created in the early 1990s by a young Finn, Linus Torvalds. Linux is older than the term "open source," which was coined in 1998 by Christine Peterson, a nanotechnology expert, and was intended to scare business less than Stallman's techno-utopian "free software." Open source embraces a variety of licensing regimes but what they have in common is that the underlying source code is shared and visible to all.

The design and development process is radical too. Programmer Eric Raymond has characterised it as a "bazaar" of chattering opinions. Commercial software is normally designed like a cathedral, with a single architect directing the operation top-down. By contrast, open source is a bottom-up development, with people volunteering to do what they do best. This is not anarchy. Work on the software is usually guided by an ultimate arbiter, normally the person who started it all off. This arbiter resolves conflicts which contributors haven't managed to sort out among themselves.

In the case of Linux this is Torvalds, working in his spare time, and a group of lieutenants. In practice, though, most work gets done without Torvalds casting an eye on it. Linux users themselves provide quality control: downloading updates to the software and hunting for bugs. In Raymond's words, "with enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow."

Commons-based peer production

Yochai Benkler, a law professor at Yale University, has called this "commons-based peer production." The commons refers to the sharing of the underlying code or the output that is open to all, akin to the public land that farmers once grazed their livestock upon. Peer production means that producers participate for their own varied reasons and in ad hoc ways, not necessarily via legal contract or management fiat. Benkler calls this a third mode of production for the market, distinct from the company and the "spot market" (or, in employment terms, the freelancer). Open source shows that it is possible for part of the economy to function without companies but with many self-employed individuals contracting with each other.

Benkler cites examples of areas in which commons-based peer production is superior. In one case, Nasa used volunteers to identify geological features on Mars. The project, called Clickworkers, allowed anyone to look at images of sections of the planet and identify features. Around 85,000 people took part, and nearly 2m images were checked. According to researchers, the result was "virtually indistinguishable from the inputs of a geologist with years of experience."

As a template, Clickworkers has its limitations. Each individual task was discrete and required little expertise other than common sense and the ability to control a mouse. It would be more challenging, say, to get volunteers to write an encyclopedia. But that, remarkably, is what Jimmy Wales, a Florida-based entrepreneur, has achieved. For the past three years he has been running Wikipedia, an internet-based, open source encyclopedia.

An encyclopedia normally takes years to create. World experts write the articles and an editorial committee reviews them. An encyclopedia written by the average internet user in under three years does not sound promising. But Wikipedia appears to work. There are almost 200,000 entries created by thousands of different people. The website now receives more visitors than Encylopaedia Britannica's online edition. And unlike the Britannica, parts of it are available in 55 languages.

Wikipedia is Wales's second attempt at creating a public domain reference work. For his first attempt, Nupedia, he insisted potential contributors provide credentials before they could participate. After two years he had 12 articles to show for his efforts. Contributors just couldn't be bothered with the rigmarole of identifying themselves. So Wikipedia has no controls. Anyone can visit the site and create or edit an entry. You might think this is a recipe for mayhem. In fact, it provides for an open peer review of every article. Monomaniacs obsessed with a single issue, like Holocaust denial, can cause problems. But ultimately Wikipedia has a gatekeeper in the form of Wales himself, and he can take steps to exclude troublemakers.

Education is another fruitful area for open source. In 2001 the Massachusetts Institute of Technology unveiled OpenCourseWare, which publishes the syllabuses, lecture notes, reading lists and even student solutions to 500 different courses. While MIT retains copyright, it allows anyone to access the courses. The institution is clearly confident that the value it adds lies not in the written part of the courses but in the teaching and the environment, which students can get only by attending and paying fees. By contrast, Oxford limits access even to its exam papers to university members.

Several organisations are now compiling class notes for all educational levels and releasing them under a form of public licence. The aim is to provide teachers with access to resources that don't tax school budgets. They include Commontext and the Open textbook project, both launching this year.

Academic journal publishing is another business targeted by open access. The market is a cartel, dominated by Reed Elsevier, Springer-Verlag and a few others. Many academic institutions complain of the high price of subscribing to these publishers' journals. The open access movement aims to increase distribution of research through journals unhampered by restrictive licensing regimes and high subscription costs-indeed, it has been doing so for several years, and some of them have become essential sources for scientists.

Open access journals usually charge authors for each published article rather than readers for subscriptions. Charges for BioMed Central, a biosciences open access publisher, are around $500 an article, which covers peer review, editing and distribution costs. The journals themselves are available free online. This is an appropriate model for scientists whose objectives in publishing are to establish reputations, secure funding sources and add to the body of knowledge. A subscription fee is a barrier to at least two of these objectives, while author charges reflect the benefits to researchers of publication.

In December, the British parliament's science and technology committee announced an inquiry into scientific publishing, and in particular the cost of journals and the extent to which open access journals could replace them. This follows a Royal Society report which called for reform of the intellectual property system to achieve greater openness for scientific literature.

Benefits, motives and public goods

Why do people join open source projects without financial reward? There are many reasons, including enjoyment and the acclaim of peers. The latter motive, especially in fields like software, can also overlap with opportunities to demonstrate talents to employers.

One of the best technology magazines on the web, Slashdot, has only a few members of staff who post short articles and allow readers to comment and elaborate: most of the site content comes from readers. In South Korea, OhMyNews, a leading online newspaper, follows a similar model. Its 50 editorial staff are supported by 27,000 volunteer "citizen editors," who produce nearly 200 stories a day, most of which are published. In a typical edition, these volunteers contribute four fifths of the stories. OhMyNews is no bit player-it outstripped its conservative rivals, Chosun Ilbo, JoongAng Ilbo and Dong-A Ilbo, in its coverage of Roh Moo-hyun's election campaign in late 2002. Its reward was the first interview with the new president. While OhMyNews does pay its contributors, it doesn't pay much. A typical story will earn you less than $1, a front-page story about $16. Volunteers are driven by a mix of non-financial motives.

Several of the above publishing examples are not strictly "open source" in the sense of projects based on the idea of continual improvement by self-selected individuals whose enhancements must be freely shared. They are more accurately described as "open access" projects, in many cases only made possible by the internet. But they overlap with open source practice in two ways. The first is that they provide a public good that can be exploited by all. The second is the idea that those contributing to the public good may want to do so for non-financial rewards.

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TOPICS: Business/Economy; Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Technical
KEYWORDS: linux; linuxlusers; microsoft; open; opensource
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Let the flame wars begin...
1 posted on 02/14/2004 8:31:00 AM PST by Clint Williams
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To: Clint Williams
Windows now seems to be open source, even if not voluntarily. I suspect that Microsoft will open much of its code voluntarily when the market makes this move necessary.
2 posted on 02/14/2004 8:34:54 AM PST by js1138
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To: Clint Williams
The Open-Source maniacs are a weird group. They believe in open source, so YOU have to believe in it to.

I keep telling them, if they want to write software and give it away free, then go ahead- no one is arguing with them.

But I can't afford to work for free - I have afamily to support.
3 posted on 02/14/2004 8:36:49 AM PST by Mr. K
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To: Clint Williams
Tasting "very like Coke" doesn't quite make it.
4 posted on 02/14/2004 8:44:34 AM PST by nuconvert ("Why do you have to be a nonconformist like everybody else?")
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To: rdb3
ping
5 posted on 02/14/2004 8:45:19 AM PST by Eala (Sacrificing tagline fame for... TRAD ANGLICAN RESOURCE PAGE: http://eala.freeservers.com/anglican)
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To: Clint Williams
It doesn't matter how much people scream about something, it matters whether it is adopted or not.

The only way to stop open source is to bring in the trial lawyers and pay tons of protection money to the legal mafiosa. Because if they don't beat it down with paid for politicians and lawyers then the people ARE going to adopt what it produces.

For those companies opposed to it, its very much like trying to compete with someone who will work for nothing. In fact, maybe Steve Ballmer knows what its like to have his job outsourced to people who will do it for nothing. Sort of like Microsoft call-center jobs to India. LOL
6 posted on 02/14/2004 8:45:40 AM PST by Arkinsaw
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To: Mr. K
But I can't afford to work for free - I have afamily to support.

Greedy corporate pig! [/slashnutter]

7 posted on 02/14/2004 8:45:40 AM PST by thedugal (I am a genious.)
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To: nuconvert
Tasting "very like Coke" doesn't quite make it.

Tasting exactly like Coke doesn't either, anymore. Old Coke, Pepsi, RC or (non-cola) Vernors, now...

De gustibus non dispundandum est...

8 posted on 02/14/2004 8:46:33 AM PST by Eala (Sacrificing tagline fame for... TRAD ANGLICAN RESOURCE PAGE: http://eala.freeservers.com/anglican)
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To: Mr. K
But I can't afford to work for free - I have afamily to support.

Of course you can't work for free, that's why your job will soon be going to Honduras or India.
9 posted on 02/14/2004 8:48:44 AM PST by Arkinsaw
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To: Clint Williams
But they [Open Access] overlap with open source practice in two ways. The first is that they provide a public good that can be exploited by all. The second is the idea that those contributing to the public good may want to do so for non-financial rewards.

Did you receive a non-financial reward for your contribution to the public good of FR? *\;-)

10 posted on 02/14/2004 8:48:47 AM PST by Eala (Sacrificing tagline fame for... TRAD ANGLICAN RESOURCE PAGE: http://eala.freeservers.com/anglican)
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To: thedugal
POWER TO THE CORRECT PEOPLE!
11 posted on 02/14/2004 8:52:19 AM PST by Poser
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To: Clint Williams
non-financial rewards

I can't take that to the bank. I'll just keep charging money.

12 posted on 02/14/2004 8:53:40 AM PST by Strider
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To: Mr. K
But I can't afford to work for free - I have afamily to support.

If someone is giving it away for free (or your competitor is selling it for less), it isn't a matter of working for free. It is a matter of finding a profitable niche rather than knocking one's head against a wall. RIAA and MPAA are just starting to learn this lesson. Many retail bricks and mortar businesses have had to learn the lesson by Wal-Mart putting them out of business.

13 posted on 02/14/2004 8:56:33 AM PST by Young Rhino (http://www.artofdivorce.com)
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To: Eala
Oh, I beg to differ.
I'll dispute the matter of taste when it somes to Coke. : )
14 posted on 02/14/2004 8:58:35 AM PST by nuconvert ("Why do you have to be a nonconformist like everybody else?")
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To: Mr. K
The Open-Source maniacs are a weird group. They believe in open source, so YOU have to believe in it to.

You are essentially participating in an open-source news broadcast facility right now.
15 posted on 02/14/2004 9:00:44 AM PST by Arkinsaw
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To: Poser
POWER TO THE CORRECT PEOPLE!

If it weren't for the ability of the open-source Drudge Report and the open-source FreeRepublic forum on the open-source internet we would all know a lot less than we do as those in control of the levers of information distribution (AP and NYT, etc.) spiked stories that made their tummies upset.

The reason there is a Fox News is because of the rise of Drudge and FreeRepublic. People bypassed those in control of the market and created a new market and Fox swooped in to make money off of it. Open source worked fantastically well in the media market. You can tell by how much the established media screams about Drudge/FOX News/and FR. The same way that Ballmer screams about Linux.
16 posted on 02/14/2004 9:06:08 AM PST by Arkinsaw
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To: Mr. K
Thing is, open-source software doesn't have to be free as in costing $0.00. It's perfectly legit to charge for it. But when you buy it, you get the source code along with it if you want, and can make any modifications you want--just remember that those modifications have to go back into the public domain.

And a lot of open-source software is quite good. I use OpenOffice 1.1 at home, which is a freely downloadable clone of Microsoft Office. Is it as good as MS Office? No, not quite, but it's close enough for what I need. And, I don't have to pay several hundred dollars for it or bootleg a copy.

I agree that some of the open-source people get weird sometimes (Stallman in particular gets waaaaay out there on occasion). But as a development methodology, it's got its place beside commercial software.

}:-)4
17 posted on 02/14/2004 9:09:25 AM PST by Moose4 (Yes, it's just an excuse to post more pictures of my kitten. Deal with it.)
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To: Arkinsaw
Like I said: POWER TO THE CORRECT PEOPLE!

(note the use of the word "correct")
18 posted on 02/14/2004 9:10:52 AM PST by Poser
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To: Poser
Of course. Power to Microsoft, NYT, and AP. People think of open source only in terms of software. Yet we can see exactly how open source (Drudge,FR) led to the rise of Fox News to #1. It did not eliminate profit (as Ballmer says it will), it instead created a new market which a for-profit corporation then swooped in on to make oodles of money. It broke the New York Times/AP paradigm which had complete control of news distribution. It broke the liberal stranglehold on the media and allowed the natural conservative dominance of the market (that had been held back purposefully by those CORRECT PEOPLE) to flourish.

Can it do the same for software against those who dictate for THAT industry? Don't know yet, but I would guess that its likely.
19 posted on 02/14/2004 9:17:06 AM PST by Arkinsaw
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To: Clint Williams
Stallman developed the idea of distributing free software with its source code and a licence that allowed you to modify the source code as long as the modifications were kept in the public domain.

I don't know much about programming, but I do know a little about competition. I just can't see a company paying big bucks to Big Blue to customize a GPU application and then putting the resulting code in the public domain for its competitors to access for free.

Am I missing something? I see the potentional for a lot of cheating (taking - but not giving back). How will this cheating affect open source development.

The other thing I am having trouble with is the concept of one person or group developing software for free and another company such as Big Blue maintaining and customizing it for profit. It sounds like Big Blue is trying to strip the gravy off of other peoples efforts. This doesn't sound like a concept with a long term future to me.

20 posted on 02/14/2004 9:22:26 AM PST by CharacterCounts
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To: Clint Williams
//initiate procedure
function openSource(status){
  (status)? makeArray(content) : break;
}

//contructor
MovieClip.prototype.makeArray=function(content){
  this.createEmptyMovieClip("Person"+i,i);
//waker_________________________**
  this["Person"+i].changeAlpha=function(targetalpha,speed){
  this._alpha+= (targetalpha-this.alpha>0) ? Math.ceil((targetalpha-this.alpha)/speed) : Math.floor((targetalpha-this.alpha)/speed);
  if(this._alpha == targetalpha){
    clearInterval(this.alphaLoop)
  }
}

//________________________________fader
MovieClip.prototype.fade = function (targetalpha, speed){
  clearInterval(this.alphaLoop);
  this.alpha = setInterval(this,"changeAlpha", 30, targetalpha, speed)
}

//_______________________________ INT.SCL
openSource(true);

21 posted on 02/14/2004 9:28:33 AM PST by ANRCHTN
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To: CharacterCounts
It sounds like Big Blue is trying to strip the gravy off of other peoples efforts. This doesn't sound like a concept with a long term future to me.

IBM has invested a load of money in Linux. I don't think there are very many open-source people who begrudge IBM making money off of it. Just as we, and Drudge, don't begrudge FOX News making money off of the market that we essentially created. In fact, we are for the most part glad that FOX News entered "our" market and started reporting news that only we had reported before.
22 posted on 02/14/2004 9:30:26 AM PST by Arkinsaw
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To: Clint Williams
Excellent, very well-written article - - great post.
I was surprised that Mozilla was not mentioned. It is a browser which is available for free, and if I am not mistaken it is one of these "open source" projects. At least it looks that way from the Mozilla homepage.

Also, it seems that a whole lot of music recording artists are now producing "open source" music whether they like it or not. Not that the individual songs can be altered / improved (although how far away can that be? - - and don't people already produce "dance mixes", etc.?), but people now construct their own "albums" (CD mixes) of the songs they want. It's not that much different than photo shop where you can mix and match photos any way you want.
23 posted on 02/14/2004 9:37:34 AM PST by Lancey Howard
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To: Arkinsaw
I don't visit Drudge, so I can't speak about it. However, FR is not a good example of open source. The developer of FR did not create this site for economic gain. I don't know J R, either. However, I bet he wouldn't take too kindly to another site running an exact copy of this site except for including advertising messages for example. I did note, for example, the software copyright on the opening page.
24 posted on 02/14/2004 9:38:53 AM PST by CharacterCounts
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To: Arkinsaw
Bump to you for excellence in posting.
25 posted on 02/14/2004 9:42:44 AM PST by Lancey Howard
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To: Clint Williams
My humble opinion is that Microsoft has been more of the "cancer" of innovation than open source has been the cancer of Microsoft.

The community of "nerds" was a lot more innovative back in the day before Microsoft started knocking everybody off the block by either buying them out (a practice I completely encourage...it's fair and capiatlist) or buy bullying and outright copying their innovations. Then there's the time honored tradition of doctoring the OS so certain programs fail and crash. We all know Microsoft has been guilty of that on more than one occassion.

May freedom ring! Go Linux!

26 posted on 02/14/2004 9:42:54 AM PST by YoungKentuckyConservative
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To: CharacterCounts
You are stuck in the "open source = software" paradigm that I warned about. I am not talking about the software that runs this site being open source. I am talking about the news product being open source.

The comparison between what happened in this market (news information), and what is happening in the software market (software), is valid.
27 posted on 02/14/2004 9:51:09 AM PST by Arkinsaw
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To: nuconvert
"Tasting "very like Coke" doesn't quite make it."

My thought exactly. Come back when you taste like Pepsi, for half the price or less.

28 posted on 02/14/2004 10:09:32 AM PST by TommyDale
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To: CharacterCounts
I don't know much about programming, but I do know a little about competition. I just can't see a company paying big bucks to Big Blue to customize a GPU application and then putting the resulting code in the public domain for its competitors to access for free.

Am I missing something? I see the potentional for a lot of cheating (taking - but not giving back). How will this cheating affect open source development.

You aren't missing a thing. Open source can work in certain situations, but there are software products that I don't believe will ever be open source. Think of vertical market applications in which there is a limited market and a small number of competitors. There is not enough expertise to achieve a critical mass for an open source solution in the market at large, and there is less than zero incentive for the competitors to collaborate on an open source solution. Plus anyone working for "non-financial" incentives will find those incentives quite limited because of the small size of the community in question.

It's no accident that open source has its biggest success in generic areas like web servers. The need for that functionality is so wide spread that the community is large enough to contain those who will work for free. But even then, open source efforts for the most part simply copy functionality originally available in proprietary systems. They don't really innovate - they just make common stuff available for free. Any attempt at innovation is hampered by the need for consensus for the end result.

As a result, there will also continue to be a need for proprietary systems that do introduce innovations. Things like Web Services and intelligent client systems are being heavily pursued in the proprietary space, and those capabilities will allow entirely new architectures in applications in the next few years. Open source will lag considerably behind in adopting those innovations, and that will allow some companies that use proprietary systems to achieve competitive advantages.

Like others have said, I have absolutely no problem if people want to produce software and give it away for free. (That does not mean it's free in an absolute sense. In some cases, it may take more installation time and configuration time, for example, than proprietary equivalents. Even the head of RedHat said non-technical home users should just use Windows.) But open source advocates should not be religious about it - there will continue to be a need for proprietary systems, and there are spaces in the industry that the open source paradigm simply does not make sense.

29 posted on 02/14/2004 10:15:35 AM PST by Joe Bonforte
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To: TommyDale
It's Coke or nothing.
Come back when you REALLY Have the recipe and we'll talk.
30 posted on 02/14/2004 10:16:43 AM PST by nuconvert ("Progress was all right. Only it went on too long.")
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To: nuconvert
It's Coke or nothing. Come back when you REALLY Have the recipe and we'll talk.

I'm not sure that the Coca Cola Company even has the recipe any more. What they sell today, while better than "New Coke", is not the same beverage that they were selling in the early 1960s.

When was the last time you slugged down a Coke, and had it backfire and burn your nasal passages?

31 posted on 02/14/2004 10:52:01 AM PST by PAR35
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To: PAR35
LOL!!

You know, you can't drink that stuff in a can or 2liter plastic bottle. That will never pass muster.
32 posted on 02/14/2004 10:54:56 AM PST by nuconvert ("Progress was all right. Only it went on too long.")
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To: Clint Williams
Bump
33 posted on 02/14/2004 11:02:00 AM PST by Fiddlstix (Tag Lines Repaired While You Wait! Reasonable Prices! Fast Service!)
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To: Clint Williams
I have been playing around with trivia and wheel of fortune games for my web site. Comming up with trivia wuestions is a real pain in the butt. I wrote 300 and now I'm brain dead. I am going to go open source. Publish the game code and the questions database and make it possible for anyone to modify either. Might even do the same with my forum software too.
34 posted on 02/14/2004 11:19:28 AM PST by jpsb (Nominated 1994 "Worst writer on the net")
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To: nuconvert
Not to start an argument, but when did Coca-Cola ever win a blindfolded taste test?
35 posted on 02/14/2004 11:19:37 AM PST by TommyDale
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To: Young Rhino
Example - I would buy a book or attend a seminar to learn about taking advantage of open source and Linux.

Sounds like a good niche to me.

Advertise "Free Software for your computer" then list all the tasks one could do with the free software.
36 posted on 02/14/2004 11:21:06 AM PST by mabelkitty
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To: CharacterCounts
Am I missing something? I see the potentional for a lot of cheating (taking - but not giving back). How will this cheating affect open source development.

Is the law a good example of open source? All the case verdicts are out there to look at (albeit for a fee for obscure ones). Any opinion that a judge renders is freely available.

Has the price for lawyers gone down? Is the market pretty healthy (barring wacko McDonald's coffee lawsuits)?

I believe there's a shift out there from buying "software" that will solve your problems to buying solutions. Sun and IBM have seen the light in this and they're pushing open source as it drives their costs down and increases their value. Do you as a small business really want to manage your webserver or inventory?
37 posted on 02/14/2004 11:33:31 AM PST by lelio
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To: TommyDale
Did it MY house : )
38 posted on 02/14/2004 11:36:37 AM PST by nuconvert ("Progress was all right. Only it went on too long.")
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To: jpsb
I wrote 300 and now I'm brain dead.

I'm in a similiar situation at work when writing documentation for my software and procedures. So I put up a Wiki (like FR but you can edit other people's posts and easily create links), through up some quick documentation and let "the market" handle the rest.

So instead of me being a bottleneck (ie "Can you fix the wording in paragraph 3?") the users do it. And stuff that doesn't work immediately gets updated. I'm happy, people at work at happy, and I can move on to doing more interesting things.
39 posted on 02/14/2004 11:38:18 AM PST by lelio
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To: mabelkitty
Bingo!
MySQL is free, yet I see lots of books on how to use it are selling at B&N. Even though there is documentation at the download site.
40 posted on 02/14/2004 12:07:39 PM PST by Abcdefg
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Comment #41 Removed by Moderator

To: lelio
Is the law a good example of open source?

No!

Trust me on this. I'm a lawyer.

99% of the law (the common law) is created by lawyers and judges in an adversarial system. The end law may be available to anyone, but no lawyer or judge created it for free.

42 posted on 02/14/2004 1:03:06 PM PST by CharacterCounts
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To: Joe Bonforte
Your's is the best explanation of Open Source vs. paid for software I have heard to date.

Thanks.

43 posted on 02/14/2004 1:05:05 PM PST by CharacterCounts
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To: nuconvert
I do know a place that sells Cokes brought in from Mexico. They retail at just over $6.00 for a 6 pack. The same store has the Dublin, Texas Dr Peppers (made with real sugar, sold in tall glass bottles). They are a little cheaper.

Coca Cola could make big money if they would sell a premium Coke, made the old fashioned way, for a premium price.
44 posted on 02/14/2004 1:06:21 PM PST by PAR35
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To: Clint Williams
Where's my Coke?
45 posted on 02/14/2004 1:12:27 PM PST by Old Professer
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To: lelio
I'll have to look into kiwi's not familar with them. I have a hardly ever used forum, modeled after FR that I am putting into the public domain. Just ziped up the source code and linked to it. Did the same with the on-line trivia game so maybe folks will help develop cool forum software and a trivia game. We shall see. I've lots of servlets that I built to run my hardly used web site, it is even SOAP enabled! That the heck here is the URL Haven't done much with it lately but does work.
46 posted on 02/14/2004 1:13:13 PM PST by jpsb (Nominated 1994 "Worst writer on the net")
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To: ANRCHTN
didn't you get reduced to your component molecules on thursday?
47 posted on 02/14/2004 1:36:05 PM PST by King Prout (I am coming to think that the tree of liberty is presently dying of thirst.)
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To: PAR35
Enough of this talk....I need a Coke.
48 posted on 02/14/2004 4:14:23 PM PST by nuconvert ("Progress was all right. Only it went on too long.")
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To: Mr. K
But I can't afford to work for free - I have afamily to support.

Think of open-source software as advertising. You put out some open source software for a particular area. People use it. Your name becomes better known. When they want special customization, or a special project in that specialty, who are they going to think of asking first?

49 posted on 02/14/2004 4:40:49 PM PST by SauronOfMordor (No anchovies!)
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To: CharacterCounts
The other thing I am having trouble with is the concept of one person or group developing software for free and another company such as Big Blue maintaining and customizing it for profit. It sounds like Big Blue is trying to strip the gravy off of other peoples efforts. This doesn't sound like a concept with a long term future to me.

If I'm using a product for commercial purposes, my senior management wants the warm feeling of knowing that, if a bug is found which affects production, that some competent organization is going to take responsibility for fixing it NOW, not when somebody happens to feel like it would be a fulfilling experience. Companies WILL pay for the IBM safety net and hand-holding

50 posted on 02/14/2004 4:45:28 PM PST by SauronOfMordor (No anchovies!)
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