The meeting's purpose was to facilitate a
high-level discussion of the successes and
challenges facing the developers. While this
type of software has often been called
freeware or free software in the past, the
developers agreed that commercial
development of the software is part of the
picture, and that the terms open source or
sourceware best describe the development
method they support.
Open source software, or sourceware, was
defined at the summit as software whose
source code is available, so that users can
customize or extend it. This is in contrast
to most software, whose source code is not
available to the public. Sourceware may be
available for free or in commercial
Summit attendees also agreed on the most
important aspects of open source software:
Because the source code is freely available, any given program may have hundreds or thousands of developers. Each open source community has tremendous flexibility in modifying the program. Developers can modify the software to suit their needs, or the needs of their companies, customers or communities. Stability and consistency for open source software is typically maintained by the creator or a development team who controls the core release of the software. Commercial entities generally can't afford to spend the resources on niche markets, of which there may be thousands. But
developers working on their own can easily
do so, then make their work available to
others for further modification and
The development model encourages
tremendous innovation. When developers
can see and modify source code, they
receive rapid feedback and a constant flow
of ideas from other developers. Innovation
is also taking place with many companies
creating new approaches to business,
successfully integrating sourceware and
commercial efforts. Many of the companies
present at the summit freely distribute
source code, and earn revenue through
offering services, support, documentation,
customization, or additional software
products to their customers.
With hundreds or thousands of developers
testing, inspecting, and fixing bugs for a
given program, the quality assurance
program for open source software is far
more reliable and efficient than any
commercial effort can afford to be. Massive,
independent peer review, similar to what
takes place in the scientific community but
on a much larger scale thanks to the
Internet, is a major strength.
4. Faster development time.
With so many more testers, development
cycles can go much faster than in typical
The group identified numerous ways that
sourceware is already mission-critical
throughout industry, academia, and
government. The myth is that IT managers
won't rely on free or open source software.
As Tim O'Reilly pointed out at the press
conference following the event, at least two
of the open source programs whose
developers attended the summit, Bind and
Sendmail, form the backbone of the Internet
infrastructure that all Internet-connected
companies rely on. Languages such as Perl,
Tcl and Python are intimately involved in
the operation of virtually all major web
sites, and Apache is the server of choice for
more than half of all web sites.
The attendees agreed that future
collaboration would take place in coming
months, including workshops on open
source business models, project
management and source code licensing
issues, and coordinated public relations
efforts involving open source programs.
There are tens of thousands of developers
worldwide who were not at the summit, but
who are integral to the development of open
source software. Followup meetings will
focus on bringing together larger groups.
Spreading the word about the importance
and value of open source software was seen
as vital to the group's efforts. Tim O'Reilly
noted, Until Netscape announced that they
would release the source code to
Communicator, open source software
received little attention in the press. Now
everyone wants to know about it. It's
important to realize just how successful and
widespread open source development is.
Much of today's most innovative and
important software has been built using this
Tim O'Reilly, CEO of O'Reilly &
Associates, publisher of books on
Linux, Perl, Apache, DNS & Bind,
sendmail, Tcl, PGP, and other open
source software, and presenters of
the Perl Conference.
. Linus Torvalds, creator of the Linux operating system, considered by many to be the only real competitor to Microsoft's hold on the desktop.
. Tom Paquin and Jamie Zawinski of
. Larry Wall, creator of the Perl language, which is used even more widely than Java to create active content and manage web sites.
. Brian Behlendorf, one of the founders of the Apache Group, whose Apache web server runs more than 50% of all Web sites.
. Sameer Parekh, President of C2Net Software, Inc. and member of the Apache Group
. Eric Allman, CTO of Sendmail, Inc.; author of
, the mail
transport agent which routes over
75% of mail on the Internet today.
. Greg Olson, CEO of Sendmail, Inc.
. Paul Vixie, maintainer of the Bind program, which manages the Internet's Domain Naming System
. John Ousterhout, CEO of Scriptics Corporation and creator of the popular Tcl scripting language which is widely used for rapid GUI development, web content generation and extensible applications
. Guido van Rossum, creator of the fast-growing Python language
. Phil Zimmermann, creator of the well-known PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) cryptography program
. John Gilmore, co-founder of Cygnus Solutions, commercial supporters of open sourceware programming tools like the ubiquitous GNU C compiler
. Eric Raymond, independent developer active in the Linux community and author of the influential paper, The Cathedral and the Bazaar.
Learning Perl and CGI focuses on using
Perl to develop web-based Internet and
intranet applications. Topics include Perl
for UNIX, Perl for Win32, CGI standards,
HTML forms, scalar and array variables,
control structures, file I/O, regular
expressions, user-defined functions,
formatted I/O, and running systems
Learning Perl and CGI is available at an
introductory price of US$149. For more
information or to register for the course, go
or send e-
Tel: 01763 273 475
Fax: 01763 273 255
Queries: Ask Here
|Join UKUUG Today!||
PO BOX 37