They're talking about a revolution -- "a long overdue revolution in the software industry," according to über-hacker Eric Raymond. Netscape's adoption of the open-source model, said Raymond, is "absolutely historically important. This is THE break that the open-source culture has been waiting for for 20 years." Judging from the reception Netscape 5.0 has gotten, the battle between Netscape and Microsoft for the soul of the Net -- the battle between Microsoft and every independent-minded developer everywhere -- is far from over.
The call to arms came to Silicon Valley last night. Some 36 hours had elapsed since Netscape Communications Corp. did the unimaginable -- release, for free, its coveted source code -- and throughout the Valley, geeks were celebrating as if crateloads of tea had been dumped into Boston Harbor. Sam Ockman, who was running last night's Silicon Valley Linux Users Group, introduced Marc Andreessen to the developers who thronged in to hear him. "I welcome you to our struggle for world domination, and I crown you General Andreessen," he said. "We will win the war -- because nobody expects open-source software..."