[Linux-aus] Open Source Monoculture

Anthony Towns aj at azure.humbug.org.au
Tue Feb 17 01:39:02 UTC 2004

On Mon, Feb 16, 2004 at 10:19:07PM +1100, Jeff Waugh wrote:
> Would an Open Source monoculture...
>   ... be better than a proprietary monoculture?

No more or less than open source is better (or worse) than proprietary
software in general.

>   ... actually be a monoculture at all?

By definition. :) 

The only way you could achieve it is if you've got a particular piece
of software that's so good no one can be bothered rewriting it, and
so complicated that there aren't many people around who can customise
it. gcc somewhat fits this mold.

Hrm. It'd probably be a far more unstable equilibrium though -- egcs got
rid of the gcc monoculture for a while, for example. Which is probably
to say that it's more adaptible, which means that in the event of a large
scale attack or failure, it should become resistant far more quickly.

>   ... create a similar global, zero-innovation playing field in IT as the
>       current proprietary monoculture has?

I can't think of anywhere in IT that I'd say there's zero innovation. I
mean, even if you limit IT to email viruses, there're exciting new
developments every day.


Anthony Towns <aj at humbug.org.au> <http://azure.humbug.org.au/~aj/>
I don't speak for anyone save myself. GPG signed mail preferred.

             Linux.conf.au 2004 -- Because we could.
           http://conf.linux.org.au/ -- Jan 12-17, 2004
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