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Re: Re: How far Open Source has come...

by Anonymous Monk
on Jul 17, 2003 at 07:54 UTC ( [id://275140]=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Re: How far Open Source has come...
in thread How far Open Source has come...

the economic crash is the best thing that could happen to free software

But is free software the best thing to happen to the economy? Something to ponder as software development jobs are cut left, right, and center.

If you were considering posting the "employers will pay to modify free software" argument, you need an economics lesson :)

  • Comment on Re: Re: How far Open Source has come...

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Re^3: How far Open Source has come...
by Aristotle (Chancellor) on Jul 17, 2003 at 07:58 UTC
    For the time being, no. It is to be expected that the economy will swing up again, though. Reaping comes after sowing.

    Makeshifts last the longest.

      I don't know much about the German economy, but based on the U.S. seeming to be the default assumption on non-local message boards, I'll assume your statement refers to their economy as well.

      It is to be expected that the economy will swing up again

      Are you so sure? There are two strong arguments against this:

      1. Current state of the overall american economy. Basically, it sucks (as has been noted) - the question is, will it recover? I'd say not anytime soon, for the following reasons:
        1. Extremely high average consumer debt. If the average consumer gets a major tax break, they're not going to start spending, they're going to pay off their debt. Guess who profits off this (hint: lenders)? Do you think they're really going to reinvest in innovative businesses when they know how little consumers will be spending? Do you really think interest rate cuts (encouraging already debt-burdened consumers to buy that new car, etc) will solve the problem?
        2. Globalization. Ah, the subject of many ill-informed protests. It does however have a real effect - mainly the wealth gets spread around. Personally, I think this is great, but it's not going to help out the U.S. anytime soon (only in the very long run). Protectionist policies will hurt even more though, so I don't want to dwell on this too much.
        3. The current U.S. administration is, to put it in a polite manner, a little misguided. Have you looked closely at these tax cuts? I mean beyond the partisan bitch fights? They're not going to give the economy a boost, if they wanted to do that they'd give all small business cuts, and cuts to the low-medium tax brackets. This is an extremely sad state of affairs when these simple things go unnoticed. Unfortunately the current administration will in all likelihood be elected again, because, damn it, Americans like their wars (note: "standing behind your president" in this so-called wartime is not patriotism, it's sickening how the word is being abused.)
      2. The software industry is heading quickly towards being obselete. The open source model is clearly winning. This has major implications for anyone involved in the industry. High paying programming jobs? Ha! Development will be done in an open environment or will be outsourced to more cost efficient employees in countries with lower standards of living. Hope you enjoyed it while it lasted!

      I admire your optimism, but don't be too surprised when things aren't the same in a few years :)

        The software industry is heading quickly towards being obselete. The open source model is clearly winning
        I don't think that's true. Sure, open source is slowly gaining a small foothold, but I haven't seen any solid figures that even remotely indicate to obsolete the software industry.

        Abigail

        I'm not talking about the short or even mid term - it will certainly take a long while for the economy to turn around. As far as making money is concerned, I'm with ESR: the big money is in making a software completely ubiquitous, then charging for support. While this doesn't benefit the programmers directly, the companies that provide support do have a vital interest in supporting them. High paying positions? They'll be far farther and fewer between. No surprise, after the surreal amounts of money programmers used to earn - just as it's no surprise that the dot com bubble and its surreal amounts of venture capital had to eventually pop.

        The hype is over. Now it's time to return to reality.

        Makeshifts last the longest.

        The software industry is heading quickly towards being obselete. The open source model is clearly winning. This has major implications for anyone involved in the industry. High paying programming jobs? Ha! Development will be done in an open environment or will be outsourced to more cost efficient employees in countries with lower standards of living. Hope you enjoyed it while it lasted!

        I already see contract competion by shops who outsource their development to cheaper labor in third world countries. Although the current quality of their imlpementations is severely lacking, this will change as managers learn to bridge communication gaps and the cheaper talent pools become more experienced. I'm not sure what to expect in the future; hopefully client specific application development will still need on site developers.
Re: Re: Re: How far Open Source has come...
by tilly (Archbishop) on Jul 18, 2003 at 03:15 UTC
    But is free software the best thing to happen to the economy? Something to ponder as software development jobs are cut left, right, and center.

    If you were considering posting the "employers will pay to modify free software" argument, you need an economics lesson :)

    I think I have had the economics lesson. Yet I still think that free software is good for the economy.

    The fact is that proprietary software development has never hired more than a small fraction of the programmers out there. And maneuvering between developers attempting to induce lock-in while customers minimize it costs serious time and money. Cutting out that BS game improves everyone's productivity, and the funny thing is that it is easier in the long run to justify hiring and paying IT workers when IT workers are productive.

    What is good for Microsoft is no more necessarily good for the country than what is good for GM is.

    As for software development jobs being cut, one of the biggest causes of that is the ongoing export of jobs to India, etc. Encouraging Microsoft to make increased profits on work done in Hyderabad isn't any better for US workers than having the Bank Of America outsource jobs to Banglore Place the blame where the blame belongs. It doesn't belong with free software. It belongs with increasing profits being achieved by a dwindling minority through squeezing the vast majority.

    Something to consider. From 1980 to the present the size of the great fortunes of the US have increased tenfold, while their tax rates fell sharply (not as sharply as wealth increased, actual tax dollars rose) while the median family has seen wealth decline and tax rates rise. Strangely enough, in every period of US history where vast fortunes were made, the average person's fortunes stagnated. By contrast the largest expansion of the US middle class (in the 50's) was accompanied by such a sharp contraction in great fortunes that it has been nicknamed "The Great Compression" by economic historians.

    Trickle-down anyone? (Sorry for the digression into politics...)

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