I’m a Windows guy, I must admit. I realize that Microsoft is a flawed company, and in some very big ways in certain criteria. Likewise, Windows has some serious flaws. But Without Microsoft, and Windows, the personal computer industry, if it survived at all, would be a two-player game, IBM and Apple. Where would open source be now if that had held true?
Now, having said that, there’s some good reasoning behind the Crusade of Open vs Closed source. Some of it even shows up in this editorial at Ziff-Davis. Like when Dana Blankenhorn states:
In many open source companies, especially early stage open source companies, programmers have enormous power. Getting a project committer onto your team is a real coup for an open source company trying to monetize that project with support contracts.
Some of the best open source companies out there are led by project leaders. And some programmers do drink Jolt Cola.
But just because salesmen wear alligator shoes and some programmers wear Crocs does not mean that open source is being run by hippies. Mario Batali likes Crocs and he’s as serious a businessman as you’ll find.
OK, fair ‘nuff. There’s some stereotyping in play among the analyst press. But, wait, are we really going to complain about straw men when this very same editorial tries to tell us:
It costs nothing to try open source, so instead of selling you’re converting users into buyers of service.
Open source is also a big enemy of Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD), which often defined success in the 1980s. It’s hard to talk about what you might offer when everyone can see what you do offer and add to it if they want.
It costs nothing? Wrong. It takes time, effort, learning, training, and sometimes, as with the Vyatta open source router I’m trying to implement, it takes searching through informal user forums and waiting 24+ hours for email responses to make progress.
There’s a cost, alright. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but don’t tell me it doesn’t exist. And try not to complain about straw men while positioning a few of your own.
And so the Jihad continues.