Why Open Source (part 0)

Reasons I like Open Source

1) Historic: Once upon a time there was DARPA, they created the net, the students wrote the code that ran the net. The code was shared in its natural form,its source. Later on mega-corporations started making money out of it and decried the sharing of the gold laying goose, the code. Call me an old dog unable to learn new tricks, but I liked that way of operation and I have tried with great success to maintain it.

2) Personal: I am biased. I am a trained programmer, I can read the code. Code that I like is in the products that I use. Elegant code is almost invariably a hallmark of an excellent project. Not to mention that I feel a great sense of gratification when the code patches that I post back to a project are included by its developers in future releases.

3)Quality: Open source is superior in systems that I call infrastructure and the MBAs call commodity. Such are operating systems, databases, web servers, mail server etc. The people who drive the academic research in such fields are the ones coding the respectful products. You cannot beat this.

4) Support: Often enough I get better, faster more accurate support over the net for open source products rather than for their commercial counterparts, even from their official support channels.

5) Speed of deployment: If after a bit of research I can find an open source product that covers 85%-90% of my needs, I am happy. Contrast this with the amount of time and the resources one needs to allocate to contact vendors and get them to present their solutions….

Contrarian view: Open Source is not a panacea; there are superior closed source – aka commercial – products. I can think of Mathematica, the Veritas products, antivirus systems, ERPs etc. That is software well worth paying for. Not all problems are nails to swing open source as a hammer at them .

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