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SAN FRANCISCO—Experience has shown a
weakening U.S. economy would be good for open source, as a shortage
of cash is usually a major catalyst for innovation, particularly
around open-source applications, Mark Shuttleworth, the founder of Ubuntu
Linux, said at the annual Open Source Business Conference here March 25.

Roger Burkhardt, president and CEO of
open-source database firm Ingres, agreed, noting that as the economy slows,
budgets tighten and people have to do more with less.  Also
concurring was Zak Olaf, vice president of products at MySQL, who said the
lower cost of open source is part of its appeal in an economic climate such
as the current one.

They were all speaking on a panel titled “The Future of Open Source:
Exploring the Investments, Innovations, Applications, Opportunities and
Threats.”  They were also responding to the findings of North Bridge
Venture Partners’ annual “Future of Open Source” survey, which found that 81 percent
of respondents thought economic turbulence is good for open source.

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