RE: Why Aren't Open Source Tools Being Considered?

Subject: RE: Why Aren't Open Source Tools Being Considered?
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axion -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 20 Aug 2005 11:18:11 -0700

On Sat, 2005-08-20 at 20:41 -0400, Bonnie Granat wrote:

> >From what I have learned (finally found a site that explained it
> intelligibly, but it took far too long to find a single site that explained
> this most critical point, IMO)

Did you try Wikipedia? There's a lot of accurate material on free and
open source software (FOSS) on it.

> about the philosophy of OS by doing some
> research over the past couple of days, the idea is to purchase software from
> a company that sells OS software it has put its own stamp on PLUS support --
> *not* to download a "free tool" and use it with only your own company's
> support.

No, this is not the general philosophy of FOSS. FOSS is an end in

The open source community is friendlier to business than the free
software community is, but business isn't all that it's about. In fact,
where it interacts with business, it is openly trying to transform how
business is done.

What you describe is what a few companies have tried to do - not all.
And even those companies often donate time and energy to the
downloadable versions, because they benefit along with everyone else.

I can't repeat this point too many times: If you look at open source
expecting a profit motive, you will only have a very murky idea of
what's going on.

> Now, if by OS people mean assuming all support oneself, then of course it's
> doomed, but from what I can gather, that's not what's meant.

In my experience, community support from FOSS is usually better than
support you pay for. It's usually quicker, and more informed. Moreover,
instead of talking to some minimum wage call center worker who is
half-stoned, you often get replies from people who helped to write the

Needless to say, this is quite a bit different from the lack of support
that many people claim.

As for the idea that anything could doom FOSS right now, forget about
it. You may not know it, but FOSS is already a major influence in your
life. For one thing, the Internet wouldn't exist without it.

Bruce Byfield 604-421-7177

"Navigator, navigator, rise up and be strong,
The morning is here and there's work to be done,
With your pick and your shovel and your old dynamite,
To shift a few tons of this earthly delight."
- The Pogues


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