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Linux, Technological Innovation and Originality

Like SCO, ADTI--which espouses the ideals of "civil liberty, political equality and economic freedom and opportunity"--offers no hard evidence to support its assertions. The supposed proof, culled from interviews conducted by ADTI president Kenneth Brown with a couple of dozen "leading technologists," will be revealed in later announcements and in a book Brown is writing on open-source software.

Other open-source opponents have taken a similar tack: We know this inflammatory and potentially market-arresting claim to be true, but we can't disclose all the particulars right now; trust us on this one; more to come later.

Oddly enough, Brown claims he's an open-source advocate and is calling for a $5 billion government program to develop such software. What concerns him about Linux, he says, is the "hybrid" nature of the software--allegedly derived from both open-source and proprietary code--which creates a climate for acceptable intellectual property theft. "To this day," Brown says, "we have a serious attribution problem in software development because some programmers have chosen to unscrupulously borrow or imitate Unix."

What Is Original?

So assuming that Brown isn't just a stooge for the Linux FUD campaign, he raises an important point: How much innovation, especially technological innovation, must be wholly original, and how much comes from natural adaptation and evolution?

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