October 5, 2007 by

You really can’t kill open source


Categories: musings, Tags: , , ,

I was doing a bit of feed reading after dinner, and came across a couple choice tidbits. The first was from a very young legal blog I haunt, one that specializes on technology and free culture. (Read the author’s “About Me” section for more info on his experience.) Turns out open source is both profitable and accelerating in its profits:

[Gartner] stated that open-source products accounted for a 13 percent share of the $92.7 billion software market in 2006, but should account for 27 percent of the market in 2011 when revenue is expected to be $169.2 billion, according to Gartner research.

Full post here

Those are some pretty impressive statistics, I should think, especially for an industry that’s been repeatedly accused of being the new wave of communism. (Additional coverage of that here.) So open source is profitable, and it’s scaring Microsoft. Both good things!

But there was something that made this news much richer. Let’s keep in mind that Vista is bombing terribly, OK? It’s known for being little more than eye candy, without stability and a decent software ecosystem. Apparently there’s now a new Linux distribution that emulates the Vista interface nearly identically. This is of course especially precious given the precedent set back in the mid 1990s when certain word processors “revamped” their interfaces by stealing ideas liberally. The verdict was ultimately that one can sue over how a program works, but not over how it looks. (Can anyone give me details on this? I googled fruitlessly for links.)

The last point I’ll make on the subject (in this post, that is) is that of evangelism. With sites like Larry the Free Software Guy, Libervis, and of course Free Culture, it’s extremely difficult to defeat the diffusive mentality that wants to create a kind of new world order.

I mean, which do you find more inspiring:

Anyway, last point. The beta of Gutsy Gibbon, the latest iteration of Ubuntu, was just released.

Sorry that there were so few words in this post that weren’t hyperlinked.

2 Responses to You really can’t kill open source

  1. Uncle Paul UNITED STATES Mac OS X Safari 419.3

    Conor, in the late ’90’s the Apple vs. Microsoft decision was reached. My understanding is that since Apple stole some of the design for the Mac OS from XeroxParc, it was already established that appearance cannot be copyrighted. So Apple could not claim damage from Windows copying the appearance of the Mac OS. I’m sure your father knows more about this than I.

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