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Get competitive - Open source!

The nature of open source products is gradually changing, with open source attracting even more quality software as developers and manufacturers open source, software or technology that was hitherto proprietary.

Granted, quite a few quality software applications were made open source as a last resort when their demise seemed imminent - Xara, StarOffice and Netscape spring to mind. However, there is also a bundle of quality software that cropped up from nowhere to conquer significant market share and give paid-for proprietary software a run for its money - Linux, Apache and MySQL all fall into this category.

Soon, says Dana Blankenhorn in his blog at ZDNet, to remain competitive, software developers might have to open source to benefit from its advantages.

Changes are already underway. Microsoft, for example, has treaded quasi-open source waters with its shared code license, whilst Sun Microsystems is gradually outsourcing software development - OpenSolaris and StarOffice - to the open source community, enabling the company to concentrate on the more lucrative services sector.

HP has also announced that it was seriously considering open source services, and, last but by no means least, IBM has been a fierce advocate of Linux and other open source software.

IBM is behind the Eclipse movement and, although they are the world's largest patent holders, they often release some of these into the public domain. Now, if they could do the same for Smartsuite and OS/2, that would be nice.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.