A problem too jumbo-sized for Bill Gates to solve?
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| It will not have escaped your attention that Microsoft is labouring to
| finish the next version of its Windows operating system, Vista. A
| version aimed at the corporate market is supposed to be ready for
| Christmas, with the consumer edition following some time later (missing
| the Christmas market, which has irritated computer manufacturers and
| retailers more than somewhat). Last week, Gartner, a leading IT
| consultancy, predicted that Microsoft would miss those shipping dates.
| ...when it eventually ships - will be just a shadow of the system
| envisaged when it was conceived. And while all this has been going on,
| Apple has released several major upgrades of its OS X operating system,
| and the programmers behind Open Source Linux have significant upgrades
| over the same period.
| The really interesting comparison is with Linux, a product of
| comparable complexity developed by an independent, dispersed community
| of programmers who communicate mainly over the net. How come they
| can outperform a stupendously rich company that can afford to employ
| very smart people and give them all the resources they need?
| Therein may lie the real significance of Open Source. In a perceptive
| book published in 2004, the social scientist, Steve Weber argued that
| it's not Linux per se but the collaborative process by which the software
| was created that is the real innovation. In those terms, Linux is
| probably the first truly networked enterprise in history.