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Gift culture in cyberspace

The "free software" movement was once considered a hippy relic of the pre-Microsoft era. No longer.

By John Naughton   October 1999

A spectre is haunting the software industry-or at least the part of it controlled by Bill Gates and his fellow moguls. It’s called the Open Source movement; its basic proposition is that proprietary software (the kind created and sold by companies like Microsoft) is a flawed idea. For some Open Source activists this is about technology; they are convinced that proprietary programmes are less reliable, less stable and more bug-ridden than programmes which are communally owned and created through the cooperative efforts of hundreds, even thousands, of dedicated hackers. Other Open Source adherents believe that their software is not only…

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