Federal, state and local governments around the world are catching “open source” fever, purchasing software that lets them view and modify source code as opposed to proprietary software such as that made by Microsoft. But whether the global trend will continue may depend upon new and old factors that could hinder the increased spread of the open-source movement. Barriers to growth include continued flaws in the ever-improving open-source technologies—which is being used more for computer servers than applications—and opposition by Microsoft, the world’s dominant software player and thus the one with the most at stake if governments turn to open-source products. The leading open-source product is Linux, and the recent LinuxWorld in California conference focused heavily on product improvements. In addition, large software makers have been busy obtaining patents on the ideas underlying open-source software, making a more difficult path ahead. And lawsuits are on the rise, even among those firms that espouse open-source thinking. Full Story
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