Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The Backlash Against Open Source has Started

I've recently been looking into Open Source Software. Whilst searching for blog entries on the subject, I came across this post.

It's worth a read. The basic gist of the argument made against open source is that open source developers are being exploited by unscrupulous Software Vendors. To stop 'exploitation' the author suggests that the government should step in and 'regulate'.

It may come as no surprise that the author is a Microsoft supporter.

If anyone out there comes across other interesting blogs/articles on Open Source please let me know.


Dave said...

You just rediscovered the #1 reason for the GNU General Public License. It's a "share and share alike" license that forces everyone to give back freely just as they have received. That way, if companies want to add to the program and make it a product, they are free to do so but they must share the source code to their modifications so that it can be included in the main distribution if the original author wants to do so.

Naturally, companies don't like this.

So the choice for open-source programmers has become:

1) work on GPL'd software and it will never be used by most people unless you manage to hit the big time with it (ie: Linux).

2) use the Eclipse Public License, Berkley, MIT, or any of several other licenses that do not require reciprocal sharing, but make money off of the reputation you develop.

In my experience, #2 is much easier.

So the logic of the other blog was flawed in that it said that the programmer in position #2 will never get any money for his work. While strictly, she is never guaranteed to a penny for that one project, in practice, these same big vendors are very quick to hire good open-source developers and pay them to work on their open-source software. Alternatively, if the developer is good enough, they can become a consultant specializing in custom solutions based on the ecosystem that develops around their open-source solution and make some very good money that way.

Dave said...

See also my blog where I elaborate a bit further:

Paul said...

Thanx for the link Dave, very illuminating.