A question of scale

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Open source allows people to work on an individual basis. Developers can jumpstart their projects by using existing code, creating software that answers their own needs and perhaps the needs of a small group of users that often also contribute improvements. Because the source code is open, people can easily choose the features they want to include or make minor modifications to get existing code to behave the way they want. Open source development promotes personal communication with users, and user requests can go straight to developers without passing through marketing. How is this different from other kinds of user-developer relationships, and is this an advantage open source developers can use?

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