Thursday, June 28, 2001

Open source goes mainstream Here's an article describing an advanced user installing GNU/linux on his computer. Note how incredibly complicated it is. Also note how heavily users can customize their system, if they know exactly what they're doing. There is no way anything this complicated will ever succeed at a desktop level.

But the ideas behind UNIX--small programs talking to each other through plaintext--can be transfered to the desktop creating a better experience for non-technical users and freeing them from monolithic Windows bloat. "UNIX for the front end" is a philosophical transfer that should bring the PC into the networked environment UNIX grew from, it is not a technical transfer that exposes command line horror to the unsuspecting home user.

More on Microsoft Here's an O'Reilly interview where Microsoft employee Dave Sutz talks about how his company is experimenting with some open-source liscensing models in their new .NET initiative. Microsoft's take on open-source is, of course, quite different from the Free Software Foundation's who beleive that code's value comes in secondary markets built around services, not the primary market of selling the code itself. The GPL makes this distinction in industry model absolutely distinct. These two sides are trying to frame the debate between how should code be developed vs. how should the value in code be captured. Free Software and Open-source are united on how code should be developed, but not on how it's value should be captured. Microsoft is definately opposed to FSF on how it's value should be captured (which is what their business is based on), but is opening up in terms of how code should be developed. More on this soon, and in particular, the way the GPL is forcing the debate.


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