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The Latest Fad: Open Source?

Posted 07-21-2009 at 04:13 PM by pereb

I知 sure it comes as no surprise that I知 a huge fan of open source development, as I知 sure most of you on here are. I致e never really understood the mindset of, 展e want you to buy and use our software, and you池e able to look at it far more objectively than we can much of the time, but we absolutely do NOT want you to be able to implement your potentially ground-breaking ideas into our software! And we値l fix our own bugs, on our own time, thank you very much!

Offering software development to open source developers pushes the product development further than would be possible if code access were closed. When the general public has access to code, good things happen, and they happen faster. Bugs are discovered faster, and they池e fixed faster. Ideas are shared, discussed, and ultimately implemented (or tossed in the garbage). But most importantly, those who actually use and have a need for the software are able to contribute. Open source has been the backbone of Linux, and it looks like other companies are finally catching on.

This week, three companies have announced that they値l be opening up at least a portion of their code to open development: Canonical, Adobe, and Microsoft. Yes, Microsoft. Yesterday they announced that they would be releasing some 20,000 lines of code, including three Linux drivers, to the public. Believe me; I was as surprised as the next guy. This is the same Microsoft whose own Steve Ballmer called GPL a 田ancer. But they realized that releasing this code will benefit them in the long run; the code they致e released, according to Microsoft痴 on press release, 努ill enhance the performance of the Linux operating system when virtualized on Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V or Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V. Linux isn稚 going away, and Microsoft is realizing that. So now, Microsoft is encouraging us to go ahead and use Linux, just on a Microsoft server.

The list of companies jumping on the open source bandwagon recently is impressive. Keeping the promise they made just over a year ago, Canonical also said today that they値l be releasing the Launchpad code to the public. Just a few weeks ago, Google revealed plans for its new Chrome OS; open source, naturally. And this morning, Adobe announced that they値l be opening up more of Flash to open source developers.

Adding to the list of companies who have been proponents of open source for years, such as Mozilla, Sun, and of course Linux developers, the movement really seems to be gathering some steam. Whether this is a sign of industry change or a temporary response during tough economic times remains to be seen.
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