Yesterdays news article in Computer Sweden has been a hot topic for Swedish open source-related forums, mailing lists and chatrooms today. Myself I wrote about this news article yesterday, but during the day today I’ve been thinking more about it and read others, and their co-workers and friends, opinions on this topic.
One of the more interesting opinions I read about was that closed source has better quality but they should use open source to strenghten the code base. Since the most commonly used open source license requires that the code will continue to be open source using it in a closed source application will require it to be released as open source. Poor unenlightened people, isn’t that a catch 22?
Closed source applications are produced to gain money for a company and it needs to bring in more money than it costs to develop the application to gain any profit. When a release date is set there is a deadline to keep up to for the sake of the trademark and the profit. As everyone that works with computers know it’s always something that delays everything in a project when you’re almost there and for the sake of the trademark it’s quickfixed, which doesn’t really provide any quality to the code. What’s even more terrible than the quickfixes is that in most cases they’re never fixed since they get the work done.
You may ask yourselves why companies are still using closed source if there’s quickfixes that are never fixed and maybe potentional security risks due to lack of time and/or money to keep within the deadlines and budgets, but how would you know that it could have been done better and more secure if you don’t know how it’s done now? Ofcourse the developers know about it and are able to fix it, but frankly they usually don’t bother since noone complains since the application gets the work done and they don’t use their own application in a large scale environment so they’ll never be affected by it.
Open source on the other hand is mainly developed by people that needs the applications themselves, everyone can correct someone else’s code or rewrite a function completely to fit their need better or just improve performance. Everyone I know, including myself, that contributed to open source or even developed their own applications are feeling honoured that others want to use their code. In open source it’s not about money or profit, it’s all about fast, secure and optimized code, in short good quality code.
There is one simple thing that will give the open source community the strength to defeat closed source, patents and monopoly in the IT-industry, passion!
“Het debat om stängda program” – Computer Sweden 2008-11-13