Why is Open Source software so powerful? Theories abound. Here are a few:
a) Small business, the biggest and most important future market for software services, can afford open source and thus helps drive its development trajectory. MySQL, an open source database, is in many instances faster than Oracle and runs on a simple $1000 PC.
b) Businesses that adopt open source sidestep the chief risk associated with traditional software -- that their vendor fails and leaves them stranded in unsupported code.
c) Open source has far more potential contributors and advocates, since only a tiny minority of the global pool of programmers can afford to use incumbent players' expensive tools (and only a fraction of these join in each tool’s development.)
d) For the same reason, open source often addresses obscure low/no-margin, network-ennabling, mass-market market needs long before they come to the attention of big developers. This gives OS the first mover advantage as demand for these technologies catches fire; this may explain why variations of open source software like the Apache web server and the Linux operating system now power a majority of the world’s web sites.
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