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Open Source Packs More Financial Potential Than Proprietary Culture

The "read-write" culture of open source will generate greater economic prosperity than the proprietary culture that has dominated the computer industry, free software icon Lawrence Lessig said Tuesday at the LinuxWorld Conference & Expo at San Francisco.

In an opening keynote speech at the event, Lessig — a Stanford law professor and founder of Creative Commons — said Linux and open-source software are critical to the formation of a "read-write" Internet that's free of the control of proprietary application, content and network infrastructure vendors, embodied by Microsoft, Sony and Disney, and AT&T and Comcast.

"The read-write Internet will be massively more valuable to economic growth around the world," Lessig said. "There's huge potential for economic growth."

Free software, a free Internet and a free environment -- that is, devoid of stringent copyright restrictions -- will prevent domination by a few vendors that prefer to write the rules and assign consumers "read-only" access rights, according to Lessig.

"Companies are increasing their capacities to control how people consume culture. That's the read-only [group]," he said. "At the same time, there's a different Internet being built: the read-write Internet."

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