Off-late there has been a new kind of buzz about the open source and free software taking up the proprietary software structure. Each side has their own story to say. Who’s right? What works better for us?
What the OPEN SOURCE GUYS have to say?
The free software movement guys seem to be inspired by the notion that software must be free and available to all for free as well. It relies on Open source to enable them to provide the community with the best possible software. The guys who represent them are the GNU for example. Richard Stallman who happens to be the founder for FSF (free Software Foundation) believed in the idea that open source was a technically superior way of developing software.
Now there’s a difference between these open source guys and the FSF guys. They differ in the context of distribution of this open source software. Now looking at the example of APACHE, a popular open source web Server program that was developed by a community, which entitled anyone to use their software, build upon it and sell it provided they acknowledge the contribution of APACHE community in the process. The basic aim of the community was that each individual wanted to show his technical prowess in the community by trying to write a superior code.
Coming to FSF, they hold an opinion that Open Source will enable large amount of people to benefit by the use of free software and free people from the clutches of big corporations who are bullish and want every last penny from the person who is using the software. Moreover they feel sharing of knowledge through code is going to enable almost anyone to understand the code and learn the intricacies of high level code design, in one word spreading of knowledge, which would otherwise not be possible if the individual is working in Microsoft and wanted to know how windows was designed.
To enable all this they have come out of something called the GNU GPL (General Public License). Unlike the licenses which come along with the proprietary software this enables people to use the software, make unlimited copies of it and pass it on. (The complete opposite of what proprietary software does and as if we give a damn about it!!! 😉
What Microsoft and Closed Source Guys have to say?
Microsoft has a lot to worry about it? In fact it has drawn some of these open source folks behind closed doors of the courtroom as well. (More on this later). MS believes that for quality software to be produced you require the best people to be working on it. It says that to consistently and rapidly innovate one has to pump in huge amount of revenues to keep up the good work by remunerating the people who spend days and nights developing the software.
Besides they feel that software development is not the only thing, one has to provide product support to the customers who are going to buy it. It takes a dig at the Open source guys saying that the open source movement is run by this huge force of volunteers around the globe who work ,share their knowledge and code through the internet. Moreover, it ridicules the fact that there are guys who are working through the day say selling pizzas and writing code in the night to sustain themselves. Now say something goes wrong with your software you are searching for the guy who sells pizzas. They also feel that in this ever demanding economic scenario this kind of a system is going to fail. They also just seem to find it really tough to understand how open source is going to fetch revenues and sustain further innovation.
What Is Actually Happening and what I have to say?
In the recent years we have seen more and more companies are coming forward to promote open source. The companies are hiring geeks and also some non-geeks 😉 to develop open source software. This is really pushing this movement to gain momentum.
1. The main aim being cheaper to develop because according to GNU GPL anyone can make use of previous work and develop upon it without reinventing the wheel.
2. Literally wiping out Piracy.
3. Because some are against Microsoft’s Monopoly and want to make the playing fields leveled. They are really fuelling this movement.
1. Now the point that companies have started investing in open source software the movement has become more organized in the sense that it has caught the attention of the industry and given it a sense of direction. The work which was done voluntarily is being done in a more organized way.
2. Let us touch upon one more point LINUX, the entity which is so much associated with open source, has been developing rapidly to take on MS proprietary OS’s. More companies are investing in Linux.
a. Some for tailor making it for their own requirements, Linux provides better safety has to be seen technically in number of ways, by no of ports it leaves open, the robust file system,
b. The huge pool of team whose working almost anywhere around the world can come up with solution for any problem in no time unlike MS windows where the design is known to only a selected few and if there’s a problem then only those guys can come up with a patch.
c. Linux comes cheaper. Say I buy MS windows I buy ten different packages. E.g. MS Office. Now this can weigh heavy on my pocket. Linux comes with all these features inbuilt and at a cost one-fourth. (some distributions even come for free).
d. With rapid development, Linux OS is no longer for the Geeks but with Desktop Environments like the Windows or the Mac, it’s certainly a force to reckon for the Apples and the MS’s.
3. Off-late the companies like Intel, AMD, Nvidia have come out to support these open source community so that they can develop the device drivers and software to be run on their architectures. Moreover Linux consumes lesser power and makes use of lesser system resources unlike Microsoft’s OS’s which come with a tag that one must have a minimum of the maximum that’s available in the market!!. Thus Linux making better use of available resources.
4. Moreover Linux companies have started Commercial distribution of Linux OS. These companies do not charge for these licenses, but charge money only for support and services they would be providing. Thus helping in penetration of Open Source Movement.
Well a lot has been said and done about open source… I feel that with this movement one thing that truly comes out is spreading of knowledge. Now say with Linux a guy anywhere around the world with a computer of minimal resource can learn and develop software. The Open source Movement suppresses monopoly so ultimately prices come down, user is benefitted and so are different other people get to do work on interesting stuff even though they are not in MS and employment is generated in some way and improves technical innovation due to competition. The Linux OS does have to improve with respect to windows but so windows as well. Looking at one more aspect is that a site called sourceforge.net has almost 80,000 open source software’s available for download. Now that counts, Open source Movement has come of age.
Life on Earth Is Beautiful… and so is Earth.
LINUX consumes lesser Power.. Go GREEN.. GO LINUX
SAVE THE PLANET.