Monday, October 08, 2007

The major advantage Open Source has...

Open source software has been around a long time and it has traditionally played second fiddle to closed source software. The differentiation here is betweeen software that is free where you get the source and can make modifications to it and software that is not free, you have to buy it and you don't have access to the source.

Because open source software is freely available and thus does not require money being spent to acquire, what tends to happen in a development shop is that developers recognise a need they have and immediately go trawling around looking for an open source solution to meet that need. If they find one, even if it does not do all of what they want, the download it and use it. the key issue here is that there is no need for approval for the use of this kind of software because the software is free. Clearly it is fulfilling a need otherwise it would not have been sought in the first place.

It empowers the developers to find and use the tools they require.

If a tool is closed source, then you always have to weigh up the value it might add over the cost to purchase. It also needs to go through an approval process which might be fairly onerous, and then the final decision is often made by a non developer. Does it add enough value to warrant the cost. Personally, companies need to be a lot more eager to spend money on closed source tools because they've probably saved money because they're using some open source tools, Eclipse and NetBeans for example. What is more, as someone here pointed out, getting $20 cleared is just as difficult as getting $1000 cleared. So the cost is really not the issue. It is the _fact_ the money is required.

So come on open source, build us developers, more tools so we can use them.


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