Open Source, the Destroyer of Software?

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puf_the_majic_dragon

The problem with open source software is that it's OPEN; these companies don't have to pay a large developer workforce because their workforce is significantly volunteer.

 Yes the industry is heading towards "free" and yes, that's a bad thing. And you can't tell me that people will buy a commercial program if it's better than its free counterpart - how many of us have bought Photoshop, even though it's leaps and bounds better than The Gimp or any other free option? And even if there's a price barrier that could be broken, where prices are low enough that we would buy the commercial option, I doubt that Adobe could continue existing if it sold Photoshop for $20. The road to profit in software is definitely leading towards service options, and it's going to be a very bumpy road for a lot of commercial software companies.

And ghot: Linux is nothing more than an elitist toy for nerd snobs. Even the distros that are almost as user friendly as Windows are just as bloated (or more so) as Windows, and you still can't run any of your favorite (even open source) software on it. And since 2003 it hasn't even been useful for servers.

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horzo

"And ghot: Linux is nothing more than an elitist toy for nerd snobs.
Even the distros that are almost as user friendly as Windows are just
as bloated (or more so) as Windows, and you still can't run any of your
favorite (even open source) software on it. And since 2003 it hasn't
even been useful for servers."

Ah, ignorance. How charming.

Linux is the standard for a range of server applications. I've been in IT for 10+ years, and the three companies I've worked for over those years have all used Linux for everything that matters - Web, Oracle, DNS, etc. The exception generally being email since most companies still tie themselves to MS Outlook, and an Exchange server often makes most sense.

 

 

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bloodgain

"elitist toy for nerd snobs" -- so THAT'S why Ubuntu is a popular option for consumer netbooks!  Who'd have thunk it?!

I am of the opinion that both Windows and Linux have their place.  However, I dare you to bloat me up a Linux distro that will compare to Windows.  Even Windows experts will admit that Windows is the heavy-weight in that fight (and I know a few who do).  Case in point: Vista requires dual core and lots of memory.  I can run the most feature-heavy version of Linux on an old P3 machine with 256-512MB of RAM (and a 64MB graphics card if I want to run Compiz or the KDE 4.0 "pretty" stuff). 

I have yet to find a distro of Linux that won't let me run my favorite open source software.  In fact, most of my favorite open source software can be run on Windows, too (albeit sometimes with some additional libraries). Any OS that doesn't let you run whatever you damn-well please isn't going to last long.

Where do you get your information that Linux hasn't been useful for servers since 2003? I think that depends largely on your needs. Unless you're running ASP[.NET], Linux is still the primary platform for web servers and data servers.  Hell, a ton of companies still use HP-UX, Irix, Solaris, and AIX -- most servers don't waste resources on GUI support.

And a side note to ghot: If they get rid of that "command-line crap" in Linux, I imagine they'll lose a lot more than they gain.  Assuming you mean GUI and/or automatic configuration, though, agreed -- it's time to stop editing Xorg files to make the GUI work...

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ghot

What's hurting the NON open source companies is the complete CRAP they're selling to consumers, at ridiculous prices.  If Linux ever loses that command line crap, they are going to put MS out of business.

$400 for an OS  that can't outpace an 8 year old OS......and even worse, gets simply eaten alive speed wise)by most Open source software.  Linux for example is the fleetfooted teenager just coming into his stride, whereas Windows is the fat, cigar smoking wheezer that in a 100 yd. dash is 150 yards behind.  

The ONLY reason MS hasn't died yet, is the driver licensing issues.

It isn't just MS either, watch my foxit bytch-slap Adobe and then take its milk money!  Ms Office 2007...puleeeeze.  

Side Note:  (Simply because there hasn't been an article on this website yet)  CLOUD COMPUTING....sure...I want someone else controlling my software and watching everything I do with it, and then selling the results to anyone with a fat enough wallet.  Can I get a George Orwell here?   We already have companies like Comcrap telling people what they can and can't do with the bandwidth they paid for!  What do you think is going to happen when someone else controls not just your' bandwidth but every aspect of what you do on your own PERSONAL computer?  Might as well just stop making Firewalls...they'll be pointless!

Yea I know dev costs are high, yea I know money is tight.....but anyone that tries to CLOUD COMPUTE me is in for a fight, and I don't plan to fight fair either.  I realize I'm ranting, but someone has to, or we'll all be in a situation like:  "Oh you can't play.....Dead Space because they didn't pay us enough money."

 

 

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Keith E. Whisman

Uh I'm not trying to pick on you but every new version of Windows has required more resorces necessitating upgrades and more memory. That's been true for a very long time. I remember Win3.11 was fast on my pc and then I installed Win95 and it took a short time to get it running fast as I had to upgrade. Then when I upgraded to Win98 it required more ram and a fast CPU to get it up to speed and WinXp took the most time to get up to speed. It went from 64megs for a speedy Win98 to 1gig to get some speed out of XP. Now with Vista you double that to 2gigs of ram and a dual core cpu and you have a speedy OS.

So your really not being fair with the statement you made in your second paragraph.

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maniacm0nk3y

It just means corporations are not for the customer anymore. The ONLY program that I would really want, and pay for is Photoshop. It's just in my blood. For now it's a combo between GIMP and Paint.net.

 

Corporations need to take a look, and what I think is see the most important aspects of these open-source developers:

1. Free (or very cheap)

2. Built for performance and optimized

3. Good tech support (or at least great forums to get help with.

 

I can't think of anything else right now but it's just obvious. 

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Keith E. Whisman

People have the right to write programs on their own and either sell them or give them away. It's up to the programs authors or producers what they want to do with their products. It shouldn't be a threat to people that sell software that others produce software programs and are made freely available. If you want to sell your software then make it so great a polished that I wont be able to live without it. Sure there is opensource stuff out there but there are programs that you pay for that are better. 

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HeartBurnKid

You might as well complain that people having dinner parties is killing the restaurant industry.

Listen up, software devs: You are NOT entitled to my money.  If you want my money, make something better than the free product.  If you are unable to, or choose not to, do so, then I will gladly use the free product.  And if you want to bitch and moan about how the open-source meanies are killing your business... well, I've got the world's tiniest violin playing a bitter suite just for you.

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habuza

an incoming luser rampage.

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Deanjo

No, that would be the smell of the sheep droppings that windows users left behind.

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FrancesTheMute

"Something that was worth $5K last year is suddenly worth $0 because the free version is just as good as the paid"

Then that should be the motivation you need to create something better so that the paid version is better than the free version.

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kc7wbq

I feel the slashdot reader’s pain. For that last couple of months I've been trying to develop a piece of software for a niche market. But I'll never be able to charge for this software because there is already a powerhouse player who's demo software far out does anything a lone programmer will ever be able to produce. 

However, there is an analogy I once heard. I wish I could remember where I heard it so I could give credit. Think of all the software in the world as a planet. The actual planet of software has been around for every. New software and software ideas are the small atmosphere around the planet. This is the “bleeding edge”, the code that is currently being developed and tons of money is being dropped into it. The core software has been around forever, and everything else is built on it.

Open source software thrives in the core. Proprietary software thrives and makes money in the atmosphere. If it wasn't for open source software you know damn well Microsoft would be charging you for everything from TCP/IP stacks to internet browsers. Microsoft’s hotmail allowed you less than 1 meg of space until Google’s Gmail came out.
If you want to make money you need be building in the atmosphere, or at least the crust. And that's the way it should be.  

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bloodgain

I work in the software industry, and I can tell you that no amount of open source software or even overseas outsourcing will put the domestic software industry down.  The market grows faster than the industry can keep pace with.

Even if all of the domestic developers had to work on government contracts, there would be a stable market.  Most federal and state organizations cannot outsource their needs, and since many of those needs are proprietary, there will always be a successful market in supporting those needs.

There will be Microsofts and Adobes for some time to come, offering well-funded and highly-polished software.  The Open Source movement has a long way to go to beat these behemoths.  In the smaller market, however, where a community of developers can outpace a limited-scale organization, the real money is in custom software and support.  Many users have specific needs, and software needs to be tweaked for their needs to make it as useful as possible while keeping complexity to a minumum.  Often this software runs on a common base with other customers' applications, but has been customized for each customer's business model.  Beyond that is a simple need for fast solutions to support problems -- why pay some IT guy $30/hr or more to search the internet for a solution when you can call the company that built it and pay them considerably less per year? Your IT guy has other stuff to do, or so he tells you.

None of this scares me a bit.  A good developer won't fail just because the open source community one-upped him on one piece of software.  This is all part of the industry, and ignoring open source is your own fault.

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horzo

You don't need to look any further than Red Hat Linux to see the open source business model. It's all about service and support. The problem is, this doesn't really apply to consumer-level software. You can't sell a $35 tech support contract for personal finance software or some such. Well, ok, you probably could, but not nearly enough of them to make up for the revenue lost by giving the software away for free.

True open source militants would have very little sympathy for a company that tried to milk years or decades worth of revenue out of an ancient code base. If free products are able to do it better, then so be it. Survival of the fittest - software style.

Bottom line from a consumer's perspective...who cares? As long as a market exists for software, someone will fill it either for free or at a reasonable price. The actual delivery method doesn't much matter, The quality of software does.

 

 

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ilfipian

The industry is not just those making money from a particular business model. The hobbyist-ware and freebies ARE part of the industry. If one particuarl business model is hurt by free or open software, that doesn't mean the industry as a whole is hurt. The view of the article is too constrained on a limited part of the industry.

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