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Who needs who in open source?

There is no end to what you can accomplish when you don't care who gets the credit.
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Written by Dana Blankenhorn, Inactive on

Not content to leave ill enough alone, in terms of his relationship to the open source movement, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison told a Tokyo audience yesterday that open source depends on big companies for success.

Is he right? He is, in part. A lot of the work needed to push Linux and open source applications on the market is done by big companies. A lot is done by small companies, and medium-sized ones, and individuals, and universities, and governments, and even charitable organizations.

A lot is done by a lot of folks. Open source uses it all, and needs it all.

And look at what all that work has accomplished. Linux managed to unite the Unix world against Microsoft because open source eliminated money from the competitive equation. The Internet did the same thing for data communications -- once the argument over who was getting paid ended, growth followed.

I will even state this as a general rule. There is no end to what you can accomplish when you don't care who gets the credit.

Is this communism, as Ellison suggests? Well, the quote is a minor tweaking of a sign legendary Coca-Cola CEO Robert Woodruff (above) used to keep on his desk. What he meant, as a practical matter, was you focus on the task, not the money.

It's a business lesson Mr. Ellison might like to consider.

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