Matt Asay writes "Walk the halls of any open-source conference and you'll see a large percentage of attendees with ironically non-open-source Apple laptops and iPhones. One reason for this seeming contradiction can be found in reading Matthew Thomas' classic 'Why free software usability tends to suck.' Open-source advocates like good design as much as anyone, but the open-source development process is often not the best way to achieve it. Open-source projects have tended to be great commoditizers, but not necessarily the best innovators. Hence, Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst recently stated that Red Hat is "focused on commoditizing important layers in the stack." This is fine, but for those that want open source to push the envelope on innovation, it may be unavoidable to introduce a bit more cathedral into the bazaar. Without an IBM, Red Hat, or Mozilla bringing cash and discipline to an open-source project, including paying people to do the 'dirt work' that no one would otherwise do, can open source hope to thrive?"
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