Friday, October 20, 2006

Open source is not your enemy

The last weeks, I've seen an emerge of Open Source (OS) critical blogs. Those blogs most of the times talk how OS either provides no business opportunity, low quality products, steals our jobs, are expensive, is for communists only or the participators are thiefs.

I don't get it. Why is open source so terrifying? Why is it so hard to understand that some people wants to collaborate on mutual project? Isn't it more fun to do stuff together than doing them yourself?

Most OS projects are developed together with other people, every one has a say. To me that sounds a lot more like Democracy, and definetly not communism. Has nothing changes since the McCarthy era?

Sure, OSS don't have a support hot line which you can call, and it takes time to get used to ask your peers for help through mailing lists, or finding the information youself. But then, companies that charge for their commercial product can have bad support as well. How does it feel when you paid for it and don't get any help at all?

Stealing because they are incompetent?
Well, that was one of the stupidiest comments I've read in a while. Is it a problem if someone else is using your code? Is it a problem that you are no longer the only expert of your code? There is a huge amount of projects that produce tools that I can't imagine how to code. If someone is an expert on something else, why not utilise them; instead of doing it yourself? OSS is the opposite of the "Not invented here" idea.

No business opportunities?
I'm sorry, but isn't MySQL, RedHat, JBoss successful companies? Don't they make money?

Steals our jobs?
Open Source Software (OSS) is not going to make all developers unemployed. You need to see it from the other side, OSS helps us produce better quality products. We no longer need to implement a LinkedList, a String class or a web server every time a new project is started. Building on top of OSS will get us to the goal quickier. Then if I make an adjustment to an OSS, I give something back to the community. I'm tired of re-inventing the wheel every day. But sure, if I'm a crappy developer, then I should be worried.