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Economist: Can free source code stop Microsoft

The Economist reports on RealNetwork’s move to open source.

It is trying to encourage the creation of a common multimedia software infrastructure for every kind of file format and device, thus thwarting Microsoft’s ambitions in this promising market. The firm hopes that others in the industry (volunteer programmers, media firms and hardware makers) will take the code, called Helix DNA, improve it and make it run on new devices, such as mobile phones and home stereos, turning RealNetworks’ software into an industry standard. Clever licensing terms are supposed to ensure that this standard does not splinter and that the firm still makes money.

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