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Book: Open Sources - Voices from the Open Source Revolution

"Linux has succeeded because it was based on good design

principles and a good development model," Torvalds says.

And commercial ventures based on sales of open source software

and services will become successful provided they master the art

of brand management and market positioning as well, according to

Robert Young, head of Red Hat Software, which sells branded Linux

CDs for $50.

In 1997 and 1998, the Open Source model began to attract

attention from industry analysts, executives and investors who

wanted to seriously understand if there was a repeatable and

commercially viable methodology for computer companies. Open

Source is now viewed not just as a culture but a new economic

model, based on thinking beyond conventional norms of work and


For newly emerging markets, with the right software development

support roles, and framed using the appropriate software license,

the open source model is indeed a reliable model for conducting

software development for commercial purposes, according to Brian

Behlendorf, co-founder of the Apache Group. Apache is the open

source Web server that runs on 53 per cent of the Web servers on

the public Internet.

"There is a compelling argument for taking advantage of whatever

momentum an existing open-source package has in a category that

overlaps with your potential offering, by contributing your

additional code or enhancements to the project and then aiming

for a return in the form of higher-quality code overall,

marketing lead generation, or common platform establishment,"

advises Behlendorf.

Eric Raymond, as "software culture anthropologist" for the open

source movement, helped articulate the position that open source

software could be made freely available while also providing for

lucrative commercial revenue streams in non-standard ways.

As a consultant, Eric Raymond helped browser leader Netscape -

under a withering attack from Microsoft - develop a license to

give away their browser and server as free software in January

1998, an unprecedented move for a maker of proprietary software.

Raymond refers to this historic development as the "shot heard

around the world of the open-source revolution." Linux is now

receiving support from Corel, IBM, Intel, Oracle, and Informix,

and is capturing the ISP and business data center markets.

The open-source movement needs to evangelize its triumphs at the