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Dana Dana Blankenhorn has been a business journalist for over 25 years and has covered the online world professionally since 1985. He founded the "Interactive Age Daily" for CMP Media, and has written for the Chicago Tribune, Advertising Age, and dozens of other publications over the years.
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Moore’s Law defines the history of technology. It held that the number of circuits etched on a given piece of silicon could double every 18 months as far as its author, Intel co-founder Gordon Moore, could see. Moore’s Law has spawned constant revolutions since then, not just in computing but in communications, in science, in a host of areas. Moore’s Law applies to radios, and to optical fiber, but there are some areas where it doesn’t apply. In this blog we’ll take a daily look at new implications of Moore’s Law in real time, as it rolls forward to create our future.
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December 27, 2004

What Open Source Outlook Could Mean

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Posted by Dana Blankenhorn

Over the weekend C|Net ran a story indicating the Mozilla Foundation hopes to add calendaring functions to its Thunderbird e-mail client (right), turning an open source Outlook Express clone into something more like Microsoft Outlook.

What follows is pure speculation, but this could make Firefox the big story of 2005, and beyond.

What would it mean to have a version of Outlook that was not only free, but open source?

For one thing, it would mean you could create applications that integrate that calendar functionality with other things, without first asking Microsoft's permission.

For instance, you could integrate calendaring and e-mail functionality into a system you could access with a cell phone. Then you might integrate that calendar with, say, GPS and mapping data.

Suddenly you have an enterprise application that can keep your mobile staff up-to-date, and give them the directions they need to stay on top of business.

And, of course, you can also now build applications on browsers and basic e-mail functions without going "mother may I" with Microsoft. You simply "fork" from Thunderbird or Firefox, maintaining your own copy of the code base and hosting the additions on the same open source basis.

All this unleashes the true power of open source on common applications for the first time. Because open source lets you see the innards of the application, and the open source community can help you with your development questions, we can actually build on these applications for the first time, in many different directions, without waiting for someone else to make a business case to Redmond.

And if basic applications that run under Windows are more powerful and extensible when they're open source, what about the operating system itself?

Thus do monopolies fall.

Comments (2) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Business Models | Copyright | Internet | Linux | Software | computer interfaces


1. Brad Hutchings on December 28, 2004 04:31 PM writes...

Open source is great at copying. It is not good at embrace and extend. It has never been good with inventing new human interface. It is terribly prone to bloat. When you talk about integration, you are suggesting that new value will be created. Those with the skills and vision to create such new value of wide general use are going to monetize it. Plain and simple. Someone who can integrate calendaring with a GPS cell phone in a way my Mom can use ought to be driving the Hummer with 5 DVD screens, wearing the bling, and hitting it off with the ladies. You apparently want him to be admired by his peers .

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2. Jesse Kopelman on January 1, 2005 07:01 AM writes...

Brad, there are plenty of people making big money off of Open Source. There is more to software business than code.

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