Pick a Free OS

Book: Open Sources - Voices from the Open Source Revolution

level of CEOs/CTOs/CIOs (not just hackers), promote the Linux

base, target Fortune 500 companies, and win over the trade and

mainstream media, Raymond urges.

Challenges being addressed by open source-based companies include

scalability of the service model, higher profitability, quality

consistency, and investibility.

"We have tremendous improvements to make before Linux is ready

for the average person to use. The graphical user interface is an

obvious deficit," cautions Bruce Perens, former head of the

Debian Project for Linux.

The proliferation of Web-based services in the Internet Age -

such as e-commerce site Amazon.com - represents an entirely new

breed of application called an "information application" or

perhaps "infoware," according to publisher Tim O'Reilly.

"Traditional software embeds small amounts of information in a

lot of software; infoware embeds small amounts of software in a

lot of information," says O'Reilly. Infoware applications are

fundamentally different than software applications and require

different tools.

"The easy cloning of Web sites built with HTML + CGI + Perl

combination meant that for the first time, powerful applications

could be created by non-programmers. As the new killer

applications emerge, the role of software will increasingly be as

an enabler for infoware," O'Reilly predicts.

"Microsoft still doesn't realize - perhaps can't realize and

still be Microsoft - that software, as Microsoft has known it, is

no longer the central driver of value creation in the computer

business," according to O'Reilly.

Numerous useful online resources are highlighted in the book,

such as SlashDot.org, OpenSource.org, Mozilla.org, NetBSD.org,

GNU.org, and FSF.org.

Instead of seeing Open Source as a threat that could erode

intellectual property, software companies need to view it as an

opportunity to bring innovation to that intellectual property,

according to the editors. The computer industry needs the next

generation of ideas that will come from Open Source development.