Tuesday, March 22, 2005

How Is Open Source Special?

Mitch Kapor of the Open Source Applications Foundation has written an article entitled "How Is Open Source Special?" in which he espouses his rationale for believing that Open Source is a fundamentally different approach to developing computer software and that the academic world needs to give it special attention. He concludes:
I believe the leverage of open source, being fundamentally a more efficient as well as democratic way of developing software, can offer great advantages. But the academic world needs to get more involved in open source, to get more familiar with its mechanisms—how it works and how it doesn’t work. I think this kind of research will benefit not only the academic world but open source in general.
I (Jack Krupansky) personally believe that Open Source has a very real role in the business of developing computer software, but I also believe that it's a means, not an end. It bothers me a little when someone uses language such as "will benefit not only the academic world but open source in general" since I see no reason to build artificial fences that try to separate "Open Source" from both commercial software and other forms of "free" software (e.g., public domain). I see no need for such a special "brand" of software.

-- Jack Krupansky

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