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考研英语阅读理解文章30-Free thinkers

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发表于 2017-4-11 07:00:01 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
Free thinkers
Can free source-code stop Microsoft?

FOCUS on what you do best. This age-old strategy has worked well for RealNetworks, Microsoft's main competitor in multimedia software for the Internet. Now, the smaller Seattle-based firm is trying a novel way to contain the software giant. On October 29th, it released the underlying recipe, or source-code, of its RealPlayer software and will soon do the same for its other programs--giving away a big chunk of its intellectual property.

This may sound like a desperate echo of 1998, when Netscape, struggling in Microsoft's chokehold, published the source-code of its web browser (an initiative that yielded few real results until this June, when the first serious new version of the open-source browser, Mozilla, was released). Yet RealNetworks is not playing defence. 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.

Individual developers, universities and other non-profit organisations can modify the software as they please, and even redistribute it for free, so long as they also publish the source-code for their changes. This is a sort of payment in kind, for RealNetworks is then allowed to use these contributions. Firms, on the other hand, must pay royalty fees if they distribute more than 1m copies of the code. They also have to make sure that their software works with other Helix DNA products. The software's development community already has 2,000 members. And several hardware makers back the effort. But there are risks. Afraid of piracy, media groups are suspicious of anything that might be related to hackers (although they also do not want to depend on, and pay for, technology controlled by Microsoft). The self-created competition could also hurt RealNetworks if customers decide its commercial products, which will be based on the open source-code but with extra features, are not worth paying extra for.

RealNetworks' move is another sign that the software industry is going hybrid. Mixing elements of proprietary software, where the source-code is tightly controlled, with open-source programs enables firms to expand a market, harvest the ideas of others and, they hope, still make money. Even Microsoft is edging this way: it recently announced that partners can now look at--but not modify or re-use--the source-code for Passport, its controversial digital-identity service.
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Economist; 11/2/2002, Vol. 365 Issue 8297, p64-65, 2p
注(1):本文选自Economist; 11/2/2002, p64-65, 2p;
注(2):本文习题命题模仿对象2004年真题Text 1;

1.What is the RealNetworks’ new way of stopping Microsoft?
[A]By selling its intellectual property.
[B]By doing what it is good at.
[C]By releasing the free source-code.
[D]By severe competition with Microsoft.

2.Which of the following can be a disadvantage of releasing the source-code?
[A]It can bring about self-created competition.
[B]It can defeat Microsoft’s ambitions in this market.
[C]It can use the improved software.
[D]It can get royalty fees from some firms.

3.The expression “a desperate echo”(Line 1, Paragraph 2) most probably means ________.
[A]a useless repetition
[B]a poor resemblance
[C]a shabby product
[D]a dangerous copy

4.What does the move of RealNetworks suggest?
[A]Microsoft fails to control the software market.
[B]Software market is becoming a mixed market.
[C]RealNetworks wants to make more money.
[D]Software market is not fixed and stable.

5.Which of the following is true according to the text?
[A]Netscape had a sheer failure for its publishing the source-code.
[B]RealNetworks wants to occupy the source-code market.
[C]RealNetworks wants to make profits by releasing the free source-code.
[D]Microsoft has to change its managing strategy.

篇章剖析
本文介绍了RealNetworks网络公司如何通过公布RealPlayer
播放器软件秘诀(即源码),试图牵制微软公司的做法。第一段指出RealNetworks试图用一种新方法——公布RealPlayer播放器软件秘诀(即源码)来牵制微软这个软件届巨人;第二段指出RealNetworks网络公司主动出击,想要牵制微软的野心;第三段和第四段详细介绍这一方案如何操作、如何实施、以及如何获利;第五段指出软件业的新迹象,以及对微软的影响。

词汇注释
chokehold n. 掐脖子
thwart vt. 反对; 阻挠, 挫败, 妨碍;成功地抵制, 顶住, 使...希望破灭, 使...企图破产
splinter vt., vi. (使)裂成碎片, (使)分裂,
royalty n. 版税,上演税;特许权使用费,专利权使用费,专利权税
edge vi. 徐徐移动, 侧着移动, 谨慎前进

难句分析
This may sound like a desperate echo of 1998, when Netscape, struggling in Microsoft's chokehold, published the source-code of its web browser (an initiative that yielded few real results until this June, when the first serious new version of the open-source browser, Mozilla, was released).
主体句式:This may sound like a desperate echo of 1998 …
结构分析:本句句形结构并不复杂,关键是理解个别词的含义。“desperate echo”的含义是“危险的仿效”;“when”并列连词,相当于“and just at that time”,意思是“在那时”;“struggling in Microsoft's chokehold”做伴随状语来修饰“Netscape”,其中“chokehold”的意思是“掐脖子”;“web browser”的意思是“网络浏览器”;括号里的句子做进一步的补充说明,其中an initiative之前省去了“which was”;“that”引导定语从句来修饰“an initiative”;定语从句中“when”还是并列连词,“Mozilla”是“open-source browser”的同位语。
句子译文:这听起来似乎像是1998年的一次危险的仿效。那年,因被微软“掐着脖子”而做生死挣扎的Netscape公司发表了其网络浏览器的源码(在今年6月它推出了真正意义上的最新版开放原码浏览器——Mozilla——之前,这种主动出击几乎没有给它带来任何实际效果)。

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