Tim O'Reilly Archive

What’s Next for Linux and Open Source?
At a summit of open source leaders convened at the O'Reilly Open Source Convention in July, I asked everyone what they thought was the most significant work of open source development in the past year. None of them came up with the answer I was looking for, yet all of them agreed once I proposed it: The work of James Kent, who wrote the gene assembler that allowed the Human Genome Project to finish its work three days before the private effort by Celera Genomics -- thus ensuring the gene sequence remains in the public domain. Kent wrote the 10,000 line program in a month, "because of his concern that the genome would be locked up by commercial patents if an assembled sequence was not made publicly available for all scientists to work on." (The New York Times, February 13, 2001, http://www.nytimes.com/2001/02/13/health/13HERO.html).