[svlug] open source mimicking existing software?

Joe Buck Joe.Buck at synopsys.COM
Wed Mar 2 16:54:52 PST 2005


On Tue, Mar 01, 2005 at 05:03:24PM -0800, 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?"

No (and I'm surprised that there haven't been better answers by now).

Programming languages are a particularly rich area where either the first
implementation, or the only available implementation is  free software /
open source (pick the term you prefer).  Perl is the best known; others
in wide use include Python and Tcl (it is common for very expensive
proprietary electronic design automation programs to embed a Tcl
interpreter, which is open source, to provide a scripting language).

The same is true of basic networking software.  Most proprietary software
vendors, including Microsoft, developed their basic networking software
by building on open source software released by the University of
California, Berkeley (BSD == "Berkeley Software Distribution").  Apple OSX
is, of course, built on top of a BSD base.

The original web server (HTTP server, to be precise), from CERN, is open
source, as was its rival from NCSA, which became Apache, the web server
that dominates today.  Microsoft's IIS came later.

The infrastructure of the Internet consists almost entirely of open source
software.

It is true that the free software world has been playing catch-up in GUI
development, and in that area it's been mainly copying the proprietary
world.






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