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Bill Gates embraces open source process

Gates and his wife Melinda talked about bringing scientists together around a table and generating ideas about solving problems, without worries about money or who owns the ideas.

Perhaps the most amazing aspect of the Gates-Buffett foundation merger yesterday was hearing Gigadollar Bill praise the open source process.

Gates and his wife Melinda talked about bringing scientists together around a table and generating ideas about solving problems, without worries about money or who owns the ideas.

There in a nutshell is the open source process. Concentrate on the problem, on the solution. Network freely.

This is a process the Gates Foundation has used for some time now. With the Buffett bequest, the budget of that foundation will double. (Buffett wants his money spent as it comes in, not used as an endowment.) The foundation will now be in a position to press its way of doing things on the rest of the philanthropic world.

Open source, in the end, is a process of collaboration aimed at a result. In software, it's collaboration between companies and people aimed at building a common store of code all can benefit from.

But the impact of the process is not limited to business. And now it has a champion, from an unexpected quarter.

The world will change profoundly as a result.