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Open source is more closed

 
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jabailo



Joined: 20 Mar 2006
Posts: 1273
Location: Kent (East Hill), WA

PostPosted: Sat Apr 08, 2006 11:19 am    Post subject: Open source is more closed Reply with quote

Open source offers a base of code libraries in source (readable) format. These libraries are typically licensed under the GPL, or Gnu Public license. This license says that you can freely use the code, so long as you distribute your changes to the code when you distribute it.

Therefore, use of GPL code, makes your code GPL'd, virally.

The key is distribution. If, for example, you don't distribute it, then you can use and modify the code freely and internally. Take a large corporation like Boeing with tens of thousands of people. Boeing could ingest blocks of source code, modify it for internal use and never have to update the public with their modifications. At some point, their code might evolve so far from the source tree that it becomes indistinguishable.

A second example might be using the code for a server based service, accessible by interface. If the code is not "distributed", but used, to perform a service behind a web interface, or RMI interface, then the individual need not broadcast those changes to the public source tree.

With closed source code, the distributor acts as leveler Each user can be assured that their base copy is the same as all other users. The reason for purchasing the code is a type of mutual assured destruction...no person can gain a competitive advantage because all have the same functionality and no one can enhance that advantage because the code is closed, hence fixed.

With open source, companies can develop in diverse ways, enhancing the code to competitive advantages that do not need to be shared with other companies. They have always had this ability with "add-ons" to core css code, but with Open source, they can modify it at every level from the hardware on up. We may see real competitive advantages, that can't be matched, arising in companies information systems because of this.
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