April 11, 2005
News & Opinion: The World is Flat
Tom Friedman, who has won three Pulitzer Prizes, has written what he calls "A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century. It is not only about globalization but it is about how we got here. I am 100 pages into it and truly cant put it down. I have called Todd to read him paragraphs. Now I want to share a paragraph with all of you. Talking about open sourcewhich I have always wondered about, being a non geekand how it is a challenge for Microsoft. He says: "Why would so many people be ready to write software that would be given away for free? Partly it is out of the purely scientific challenge, which should never be underestimated. Partly it is because they all hate Microsoft for the way it has dominated the market and, in the view of many techies, bullied everyone else. Partly it is because they believe that open-source software can be kept more fresh and bugfree than any commercial software, because of the way it is constantly updated by an army of unpaid programmers. And partly it is because some big tech companies are paying engineers to work on Linux and other software, hoping it will cut into Microsofts market share and make it a weaker competitor all around. There are a lot of motives at work here, and not all of them altruistic. When you pet them all together, though, they make for a very powerful movement that will continue to present a major challenge to the whole commercial software model of buying a program and then downloading its fixes and buying its updates."