Bad economy's good for open source
By John Taschek, eWEEK
March 25, 2001 9:00 PM PT
Original Article Appeared at: http://www.zdnet.com/enterprise/stories/linux/0,12249,2700121,00.html
Now that the economy has encouraged computer
technologists to re-enter reality, it's time to take a look
at how open source will weather the downturn. A prolonged
bad economy will be bad for everyone, including open-source
programmers. It will be especially bad for those who work at
companies whose business models are based on Linux.
Although Linux deployments will continue to grow, many
companies that are simply resellers of the operating system
will fade away, leaving their programmers to find other
There's good news, though. For one thing, this change
will give the dogmatic Linux fanatics a dose of
reality. It's flat-out wrong to get hyped up over an
operating system. Those who have found religion with their
pet operating system should seriously rethink their values.
The only people who are interested in operating systems
are Linux bigots and Mac nuts, who think OS X is the second
coming. Yet, these people don't do real work. They write
scathing but baseless diatribes on the news forums and
produce no quantifiable work. (Yes, I understand the deep
Take SuSE, for example, which Contributing Editor Roger
Hartje reviews in this week's issue. It's a fine operating
system. It works, for the most part, and it includes a good
bundle of software. But it doesn't do anything else.
Open source, however, is much more than Linux. The
melding of the open-source development model and a
capitalist economy will bring the most exciting changes to
computing that we've ever witnessed.
The first change we'll see is investment in open-source
technology that's based on solutions and not an operating
system. Digital Creations, for example, has developed an
open-source language called Python and built an open-source
application server out of it called Zope.
Do you think Digital Creations is going to make money off
either of them? Neither does the company. That's why it has
built a content management system based on Zope. It's
faster, it's cheaper, it's not Vignette, but it does the
same thing, and the code comes with it. Digital Creations,
however, charges for the integration. That's the future.
Still an operating system bigot? Flame me as usual at