- On the heels of Macworld and the Consumer Electronics Show comes the LinuxWorld conference, which starts today in New York, a major networking event for the open-source software movement.
IBM’s big investment in Linux several years ago proved that the open-source software was more than a basement toy for techies. It’s rapidly becoming a major cash cow for the broader technology sector. As News.com reports: “The computing industry has become better adjusted to Linux and the collaborative, sharing, open-source philosophy that underlies the software. While the heart of Linux itself legally must be available for free, nearly every major computing company is trying to find ways to profit from it.”
A slew of corporate executives are slated to speak at the conference, including offices from IBM, AMD, Morgan Stanley and Dell Computer. “Even Microsoft has quietly decided to change its tactics this year. No longer will its executives make speeches against what Microsoft regards as the evils of free software and its inherent agenda of denying intellectual property rights. … Microsoft, it seems, is acknowledging that Linux has become a fixture on the competitive landscape, not something that corporate customers can be persuaded to avoid,” The New York Times wrote in an article about the conference yesterday. “We are not there to so much debate Windows vs. Linux, but more to exchange ideas among both camps about common issues and cool technologies,” Peter Houston, Microsoft’s senior director of Windows Server strategy told InfoWorld.
….Wired offers a unique twist on the Linux craze, saying that the media’s treatment of the open-source movement as an “upstart” challenger to Microsoft gets it all wrong. “Software doesn’t have a long and illustrious history; it simply hasn’t been around that long. But open source was there right from the beginning,” the article says. The article continues with a quote from security consultant Robert Ferrell: “A lot of people think open source is some revolutionary new concept, but the truth is that OS (open source) is the way we’ve always done things on the Internet. … The big companies, with their tightly guarded software empires, are the recent developments, not the open sharing of code,” Ferrell said. “We were exchanging code and debugging each other’s routines in newsgroups before Windows even existed. Microsoft is the breakaway rebel of the software universe, not OS.”
This is philosopically important to remember.