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Rant Mode Equals One: Shhh--We're Winning

Honesty: Hallmark of the Revolution

  • March 12, 2000
  • By Paul Ferris

The Open Source revolution is in full swing. You need look no further than the inroads that Linux and Apache are making into the big-iron world of the Internet to see the evidence.

I spent some time with some of the people at ApacheCon, looking for new technological directions and for changes, not just in the technological realm. Don't forget, Open Source is about technology, but it's really more of a philosophy. It's about more than computers, chips, compilers, and buzzwords.

It's also about mindshare and the dynamics of a new paradigm of software creation. It's about being able to work together with people you've never met, on projects that are in a constant state of flux, on a time schedule that would cause a hummingbird's head to spin.

The part that's not so obvious: it's about honesty. If I had to condense all defining aspects of the Open Source movement down to just one quality that shone above the rest, it's honesty. Because the Open Source philosophy involves giving everyone access to what is the most important thing--the code itself--there are no clandestine, cloak-and-dagger approaches.

Want to find out what's so special about Apache? Just look for yourself. Want to know why Linux and Apache and Samba are reliable, scalable, and portable across multiple hardware platforms? The answers are a few keystrokes away.

And yet, Redmond refuses to play in the newfound Open Source playground. Microsoft hugs its source code closer and growls about software piracy louder. Microsoft continues to raise its prices in a market where the best things in life are truly becoming free.

Did Microsoft compare its newly released Windows 2000 software to anything in the Open Source arena? No. Microsoft chose to compare Windows 2000 with Windows NT. A product that is by its own admission really unstable.

Microsoft still pushes its proprietary Internet Information Server (IIS). The company continues to spend more marketing dollars on the product, even though today it's only gotten it a lackluster product that is losing the very thing the marketeers cherish: market share.

What a contrast to Apache. No marketing dollars have been spent, and it leads the pack by an almost 3-to-1 margin--and gaining.

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