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What's the future of the open source revolution?

I keep hearing that open source is going to change IT, but I just think that vendors will co-opt it. What's really going to happen with the open source "revolution?"

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There are two revolutions, one on the vendor side, and one on the user side. Open source represents a massive shift of control from vendors to users. Vendors can no longer lock in their users, which is a huge change from the past. Users get much more flexibility and cost-effectiveness from their software, which will help them.

As far as the future of the revolution, I think there will still be businesses associated with open source, which will inevitably change the mix of participants. However, I believe that open source will still be a tremendous boon to the IT community, and will provide a way of sharing software for people who would have formerly been locked out of expressing their creativity. I think that qualifies as an ongoing revolution.

This was first published in June 2005

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