Open-Source Success Roiling Software Field

You probably paid too much for the software you're using — not to mention the software company you've invested in.

That's the growing consensus of analysts watching the rise of open-source software, built on the notion that software should be free for everyone to use, tweak and develop further.

For every multimillion-dollar software program being sold, there's a good chance that at least one free alternative can do the same thing, at a fraction of the cost.

If that's good news for tech buyers, it's downright chilling for tech investors.Few open-source programs claim to be as complex or full featured as their commercial counterparts. But for many customers, they're more than adequate.

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