March 15, 2004

Linux sets pace for new-look IT boom

The success of the Linux computer operating system has fuelled a rush by venture capitalists to invest in a new wave of open source software
companies, creating the sort of land-grab mentality last seen during the 1990s technology boom.

"Smart, savvy people are begging to put a lot of money into open source - the venture capital spigot is back on," said Mike Olson, chief executive of
Sleepcat, an open source company. Although the company did not need cash, he said it received "multiple solicitations" a week from would-be investors.

Most open source companies do not develop software but rely on volunteer computer programmers. Their software is issued at little or no cost, usually
under open licences that let users modify the code, provided they make their modifications available free of charge to others. Such companies
generally charge a subscription fee to provide upgrades and other follow-on service.



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