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Re: How far Open Source has come...

by tjh (Curate)
on Jul 17, 2003 at 21:09 UTC ( #275398=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to How far Open Source has come...

It's interesting seeing the many turns the thread took. All very useful things to think about.

My interest in his comments centered around a few of the things he mentioned, as well as his tone and apparant assumptions.

He works at a city government owned cable TV company, that brokered out ISP provision to a former (Big Name, Now Quite Defunct) company that left them and their subscribers in a lurch for Internet service. One of the former (Big Name) company's higher technical execs showed up, convinced them to let him build and operate ISP services in-house, and took over.

He has been relentless and technically excellent, achieving highest throughput ratings nationwide as measured by a couple of testing services.

To me, the excerpt also seems to display that the Open Source disposition isn't all expense based.

  • They are knowingly hesitant to seek commercial solutions for apparantly many things, not just for budget control issues, but "due to the shakiness of the current industry". Will the software providers be around to help them once they start depending on them?

  • Regardless of their civic funding procedures (many company funding procedures are often more onerous), their concern is speed-to-fixes for security holes. They are clearly thinking that not only will they not have to necessarily contend with upgrade fees, patch or engineering costs, they are probably considering that well supported open source ware will fix more quickly. This is a large philosophical leap for years past. Impressive. (And, for the record, I'm not an Open Source Do or Die guy.)

  • Aside from one software alluded to, he says nonchalantly they are "completely open source." The attitude appears certain and well reasoned.

I agree with Abigail-II that Open Source won't soon supplant commercial software. It's clear it is continuing to make inroads in a variety of places, but ubiquity is a long, long way ahead. And, it's possible that that's a good thing, though that debate is for another time.

The software industry becoming obsolete? Nah, it's just moving. A trend dozens of industries have experienced in past decades. Is that good? I can see several poignant arguments why someone would want their work done domestically, by people they know or can go see. Plus, I'm still unclear on the smorgasboard of possible risks if someone scoped some new software product they're betting the farm on, and offshore it for development. Copyright issues? Increased piracy risk? Heightened opportunities for competitive intrigue? Less immediate control?

The role of proprietary software is far from disappearing.

chunlou mentioned "Many Open Source software is often developed by the users themselves. That advantage starts to evaporate when the software are more moving towards Consumer software than Developer software."

That was an intriguing concept to me.

Will (or are) consumer-focused OS initiatives languish in some measure because the contributors are less motivated than they might be on more system-level projects? I'm thinking probably not, but it would interesting to hear about.

One wonders if there are two or more office suite projects, will the developer base thin across more projects?

Is there more panache to tweaking a fix in a key kernal issue than making the next OS Photoshop clone?

Does the somewhat recently discovered value of a resume item connected to a known OS project drive participation more than is guessed? Maybe an increasing number of OS participants are less idealistic than the PR suggests... (I'm certainly not casting a broad net here. There are clearly big-hearted talents in many, many projects.) It's also possible that OS projects are more philosophically commercialized in that contributors exact 'pay' or 'exchange' in the form of the resume item, reputation, etc.

In any case, we certainly continue to live in interesting times.

... just my continuing 0.02


Comment on Re: How far Open Source has come...
Re: Re: How far Open Source has come...
by phydeauxarff (Priest) on Jul 18, 2003 at 02:26 UTC
    We have long faced some of the same concerns and I think I can sum up my position on open-source as a positive as...

    Open-Source doesn't mean we have to develop in-house...we can hire contractors, big companies, whatever to get us a 'commercially viable' system to perform the business functions that we need, but....

    At the end of the day, if the system that we have someone develop or we purchase is based on open-source technologies that gives our company much more flexibility in the long-term, which is especially desirable in an environ where companies seem to be evaporating on a regular basis.

    With open-source based systems if I decide that I am unhappy with a vendor, contractor, or whomever delivered the system to me, I can fire them and hire another contractor, vendor or even move it in-house to my own group of employees if it best fits my business needs.

    This is the ultimate application of the Darwin Principle to business....the companies that serve my need must do so on the merits of their abilities, not because I have become dependant on proprietary technologies they delivered to me and migrating from them would cost me more than staying...

    And that, is my ten cents, my two cents is free.

biology and Open Source
by chanio (Priest) on Jul 18, 2003 at 05:16 UTC
    I think that the good thing of Open Source is that it is changing the not so past monopolical tendencies of building complete and expensive software packs that didn't need anything else. OS are little ideas that are making people look at them to see better ways of doing things. Now, big companies are not so sure of building huge software that might become deprecated in a very little time.

    So the purpose is not so easyly forseen when the main idea is not making money but doing good software. Most of freeware developers use to do OS as a hobby. And that ludic idea is the real power that makes OS so important for the future.

    Is it possible to make a living by OS? Who knows. But people is now understanding that some consumers could also become a new tendency just by trying to code their point of view. And that is the reason why yesterday unspoken LINUX and TRON are now being considered as alternatives to Windows or Mac.

    Like in biology and in the cruel nature, the needs of the users and the ways of surviving of OSs and of consumer companies is going to really determine what is going to dissapear in the future and what is not.

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