Tag: innovation

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Open Source: Constructive or Harmful to Competition?

When we look at the success of businesses and projects – both from the standpoint of those with interest in a business and the consumers that buy and use their products – competition is one of the most important components in any market.  Working in retail, competition is what forces me to offer my prospective customers fair prices because I know that if I don’t I’ll lose business to my competitor down the street.  But competition between businesses in the same industry doesn’t stop there.  Competition is what allowed the small business I work for to get off the ground instead of fall victim to monopolies within the industry.  And perhaps most importantly competition is what drives innovation, forcing engineers and product developers to not only produce more feature-rich goods, but products that are priced reasonably for consumers as well.

Even as much as I like competition, though, I realize that there are always going to be situations where working together produces better end results for everyone involved because if people are willing to work together instead of against one another the combined resources and efforts can go so much further.  It’s for this reason that I have always liked the concept of open source software.  After all, when people with different skill sets and experiences make their work available for others to use and improve upon their work becomes exponentially more valuable.  Not only do others get to make use of the work of others, but through sub-projects, branches, and development groups what would have otherwise been nothing can become something invaluable to millions of users.

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