[svlug] open source mimicking existing software?

Richard Sharpe rsharpe at richardsharpe.com
Tue Mar 1 19:21:31 PST 2005

On Tue, 1 Mar 2005, Sameer Verma wrote:

> Here's a question that came up in one of our MBA courses:
> "Is open source software always something that mimics an existing software?"
> I haven't given it any exhaustive thought...anyone have any examples of
> the contrary?

Most commercial software mimics existing software. Think of Excel, Word,
and most of what Microsoft produced. It was Visicalc or earlier that was
the true innovation as far as Excel or Lotus 123 was concerned, and before
Word was WordPerfect and a string of other pieces of software.

I think that the motivation for much open source software is to provide an
open implementation of existing packages, but they then start to innovate
as well. Both Samba and Ethereal have areas of innovation.

I also think that there is true innovation coming out of Universities that
is open source, but don't know of any.

Richard Sharpe, rsharpe[at]richardsharpe.com, rsharpe[at]samba.org,
sharpe[at]ethereal.com, http://www.richardsharpe.com

More information about the svlug mailing list