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The Commons and Software

Open-source software--and the closely related variant, free software1--is being increasingly used in mainstream computing, meaning in information technology (IT) departments in companies and for consumer websites. Open source is becoming common through the Linux operating system and the Apache web server. In addition, there are open-source databases, compilers, window systems, programming languages, text editors, software development environments, productivity suites, and just about anything you can think of. The Apache web server is currently the one most commonly used for public websites. The use of the Linux operating system in commercial settings is spreading rapidly, poised to one day become predominant.

Many companies beyond the early pioneers are embarking on more and more open-source or open-source-like projects, particularly those that are building platforms and require ubiquity. Moreover, many companies are adopting open source for some of their internal projects, especially those that are working on internal tools and utilities for which sharing across the company makes sense.

1. Free software is software whose source is licensed in such a way to guarantee that the source remains open and to encourage making related software free. The concept of free software comes from Richard Stallman and the Free Software Foundation, and free software licenses include the GPL and LGPL. In this book, the term open source is taken to include free software.

Innovation Happens Elsewhere
Ron Goldman & Richard P. Gabriel
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