The Simple Economics of Open Source

Terry Reedy tjreedy at
Thu Apr 27 23:16:58 EDT 2000

"Gordon McMillan" <gmcm at> wrote in message news:1255272357-

> One of those open source delusions is that being open source
> somehow makes a difference to the end consumer. Bunk.

Whether most consumers yet know it or not, there is all the difference in
the world.
The closed source model gives us spyware (Trojon-horse ware) like
RealJukebox and many others
(and, if rumor were true, Windows -- the possibility is always there).
 On ad-related spy engine has apparently been used in hundreds of 'free'
(closed source) programs
(I believe is URL with info on this).
Fom a privacy/security viewpoint, putting closed-source software on a
networked computer with anything inportant on it is a bit insane.
 I predict that in a few years, more consumers will understand this.

> End  users don't read code, and never will.

Does not matter for privacy/security checking see above and below.

> Opening the source
> benefits other developers, who in turn will almost certainly
> benefit you by making the code better, or integrating with
> other software - thus indirectly benefitting users.

The other benefit is that responsible people can check for funny business.
This is much easier with open source than with having to reverse engineer
the behavior of closed-source stuff.

Terry J. Reedy

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