January 23, 1998, Sebastopol, CA--The Internet freeware community is
fired up about yesterday's news that Netscape will be making its new
Communicator Source Code freely available on the Internet.
Noted Internet pioneer Tim O'Reilly, President/CEO of the company most
widely known for championing the cause of freeware, made the following
comments on Netscape's decision:
"Freeware is the lifeblood of the Internet. All of the truly
significant Internet technologies were originally developed by
distributed communities of developers who freely shared their source
code and built on each other's work.
"A few years ago, when the great Internet gold rush started, companies
such as Netscape and Microsoft tried to assert ownership of Internet
standards, only to find vitality and innovation slipping away, as they
lost touch with the developer community that had originally created
"It's no accident that despite all the ink spilled over the war between
Netscape and Microsoft, the dominant web server software is still the
freeware Apache server, and that for all the hype about Java, it is
still the freeware Perl language that activates the majority of web
"Netscape's decision shows that it recognizes the enormous power of
the freeware development model, and that it has the courage to look for
new ways to harness what has quietly become the most successful
software development paradigm. After spending three years trying to
act like Microsoft, Netscape is returning to its roots and starting to
act like a real Internet company again."
Netscape reportedly attributed its decision in part to developer Eric
Raymond's groundbreaking paper on the freeware development model,
The Cathedral and the Bazaar, which was one of the keynote
addresses at O'Reilly's Perl Conference last summer.
More information about O'Reilly & Associates is available at http://www.oreilly.com. Information
about Perl is available at http://www.perl.com.