Giving away software isn't your typical path for a venture-capital-backed startup. But the open-source movement is making another big thrust forward. Entrepreneurs, investors, and many analysts say they're confident that all of a company's business software -- representing hundreds of millions in sales -- will soon be available as open source.
Software that companies once paid millions for is now available for free via the Internet.
The Linux operating system, which burst on the scene in 1991, led the first big wave of open-source software. The program, developed and maintained by thousands of volunteers, already represents a $4.2 billion slice of the $49 billion server market, and is set to grow at least 15% a year for the next five years.