17 augustus 2005

Open source: good and bad (The Flemish Beerdrinker)

Firefox is losing market share lately. And the winner of that is...Internet Explorer. It seems that security concerns with Firefox made some users return to IE. When it gets as much attention from hackers as Microsoft, open source software like Firefox does not appear superior anymore. Anyway, a really safe internet is not in the offering right now, if ever. Open source or not. Another such "open source" project is running into trouble. It concerns Google’s online library so that you can browse books. Naturally publishers and content companies are crying "copyright infringment" and are afraid it will hurt sales of books. It’s rather difficult the see why: it’s almost not done to read entire books with Google’s library unless you are a masochist. But maybe by reading some portions of it, it can increase the appetite to buy the book. It could easily lead to more sales, instead of less. All in all, the effect of online libraries should not be that different with the brick and mortar versions of it. For consumers it just is an easier way to browse books. It’s time and energy saving compared to going to a real library. In this way it can attract more people towards reading - and thus ultimately buying - books.

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