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Friday, August 12, 2005
Richard Waters writes, Something has happened to the open source software movement. It is losing some of the intellectual purity that first drew in the ponytail crowd. It is being subverted to the interests of bigger technology companies - something that makes the idealists who created the movement angry and perturbed. That, may be the wrong reaction as merging with the corporate mainstream is the logical next step. Open-source is a collection of methods for creating and distributing software that exposes the inefficiency in some parts of the traditional commercial industry. The idealism that has surrounded this movement has always masked some harder-edged economic realities, which explains why it can be absorbed into the mainstream with relative ease. Every software company worth its salt already has some open-source strategy – From IBM to Sun. Most commercial software released this way still comes with strings attached, as the owners try to grab the benefits of open-source – leading to a proliferation of different open-source software licenses - more than 60 at the last count. "shared source" and "community source" labels help to an extent faster absorption by giving users more control should add to the general good - even as it threatens the business models of the weaker developers, forcing a more efficient allocation of software development resources.
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