08 February 2007

Of Continuous Improvement and Open Source

Hal Varian is one of the wisest - and oldest - commentators on Internet economics. he has a nice piece in the New York Times that looks at "continuous improvement":

What’s the difference between Vista and Google? There is no feasible way for Microsoft to experiment with Vista in real time; but it is very easy for Google to conduct controlled experiments and do so more or less continuously.

The same is obviously true for open source software: people can try out all kinds of variants before settling on the main code branch. And things don't need to be co-ordinated: hackers can just release the code and let it compete against other versions.

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