Open source still looking to shake off concerns

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Although open source software has gained a place in enterprise networks alongside proprietary software, it can't seem to shake doubts about security and intellectual-property issues that have long dogged the movement.

"The advantage of open source is that no single entity has authoritative control over a project," says Mark Driver, an analyst at Gartner. "There's no single choke point." One theory holds that because it's open source, software security problems can be discovered quickly, he says. "But one argument says open source is less secure and people can put bad things in it, and that's true, too," he adds.

Whatever the doubts, the open source movement, now counting in the tens of thousands of "communities" of volunteer software developers, is coding en masse to yield a bounty of operating systems and applications. Open source is not only here to stay, it's transforming traditional commercial software practices.

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