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MS x Codigo Aberto ...

Achei esta materia interessante ... saiu no "The Economist" ...  imagino
que possa interessar também a mais gente na lista.

Um abraço,

BEWARE of open-source software, those nefarious free computer programs
written online by groups of volunteers. The licence that comes with most
this code could turn a company's intellectual property into a public
More important, it undermines the livelihood of commercial-software
developers, putting a brake on innovation. This, in a nutshell, was the
message that Craig Mundie, Microsoft's chief software strategist, tried
convey on May 3rd in a headline-making speech at New York University.

Open-source disciples were quick to dismiss Mr Mundie's speech as just
another example of Microsoft's trademark strategy: spreading fear,
uncertainty and doubt to undermine rivals. To Mr Mundie, research and
development seem to be driven mainly by intellectual-property rights,
commented Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux, a popular free operating

system, "which is entirely ignoring the fact that pretty much all of
science and technology is founded on very similar ideals to open

Mr Mundie's message played cleverly to the prejudices that are still
by many corporate technology officers. Most open-source software is
"viral"?the licence that comes with Linux, for instance, says all
made to the program must be made freely available. But this does not
that a company using Linux is forced to give away any application it
for the operating system or, worse, its business processes. And while it
true that open-source software competes with commercial programs,
open-source and similar online groups have been at least as innovative
software firms?creating, for example, most of the technology underlying

Yet Mr Mundie's speech and the reaction of the open-sourcers have some
value, because the exchange has sharpened the debate within the software

industry over the relative merits of two rival approaches. One way to
software, the proprietary approach, is best epitomised by Microsoft. The

firm hires the most driven programmers, pays them a lot in share
works them hard?and then sells the product in a form that customers can
use, but not change (because it comes without the "source code", the set
computer instructions underlying a program). The other approach is open
source. Motivated by fame not fortune, volunteers collectively work on
source code for a program, which is freely available. Most of these
projects are overseen by a "benevolent dictator", such as Mr Torvalds.

Although no panacea, open-source software has several advantages over
proprietary programs, besides being free. Most important, it tends to be

more robust and secure, because the source code can be scrutinised by
anyone, which makes it more likely that programming errors and security
holes will be found. In contrast, hardly a week passes without headlines

about a new security hole in a Microsoft program. The day before Mr
Mundie's speech, it was reported that a potentially serious security
had been found in one of Windows 2000's server programs.

Open source is not so much the ideological cause of anti-Microsoft
as a profound effect of the Internet, which means that it is here to
The emergence of free, open-source alternatives to costly proprietary
software will undoubtedly hurt Microsoft?hence Mr Mundie's speech. In a
further swipe at open source, Microsoft this week launched a new range
server software that, it claimed, offers "superior value" to Linux, by
providing "clarity of intellectual ownership" and "predictability of the

development process". In other words, says Microsoft, proprietary
is best because there is no doubt which company owns and maintains
of course, charges for it.

At the same time, Microsoft is also deploying another of its favoured
strategies, called "embrace and extend". It now grants its largest
customers access to the source code of Windows 2000, on condition that
do not modify the program or reuse the code. Microsoft thus wants to
harness what it considers to be the benefits of open source, such as
improved debugging. Mr Mundie said this "balanced" approach would
"the intellectual property needed to support a strong software

To advocates of the open-source approach, this looks very much like
sharing. Customers can look at the source code of Windows, tell
about bugs and suggest improvements, thus saving the firm a lot of
money?but they still have to pay for the next version.

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