Economic considerations

Jorge Godoy godoy at ieee.org
Fri Sep 17 18:48:23 CEST 2004


Carlos Ribeiro <carribeiro at gmail.com> writes:

> While true to a certain extent, this is not the problem. As I've
> mentioned in another thread, this is a case where the closed source
> application is simply superior in technical terms. It's not only
> packaging -- it works better, more efficiently, and has better
> algorithms specially when it comes to color mapping between devices,
> and anything that involves perceptual color models and management.

Patents are a problem.  All the rest is not.  There are several good
designers and programmers on free software and that support the idea.

> With all respect, this is not FUD. It's based on fact. In *many* cases
> the OS app is not conveniently packaged. Part of this is that most
> people that use OS apps are used to (and even like) having to glue
> everything together.

In many cases yes, in many other no.  The problem -- and the reason why
I called this FUD -- is the generalization. 

> No we're going completely offtopic, but anyway, why not? :-) I think
> everyone can relate with a joke about cars and people that work with
> cars. Often we see people that work everyday with cars -- specially
> mechanics -- driving cars that, from any reasonably perspective, are a
> complete mess. Doors hanging semi-opened are not unheard of :-). But
> the car works, and his owner actually likes that mess. I think we can
> see some of this in OS apps. Those who know how they are implemented
> derive a certain pleasure from the fact that they can look at the
> inside whenever they can, mess up with settings, and stuff like that.
> Those who want a car -- or an OS, or an application -- only for actual
> use doesn't like this, and prefer something nicely packaged, that
> hides all details, and simply works, and don't embarass them in front
> of friends and family :-).

There are several apps whose only purpose is to provide a nice GUI to
glue those tools together.  If your OS (or Linux distribution) provides
a nice package management system, then you also don't have to worry with
dependencies. 

I don't think of free software as a mess in its code.  There are very
nice examples of very well written software.  On the other hand, I've
seen commercial software with closed source code that is worse than
spaghetti code, and since it is closed, nobody sees it :-)  Also, I've
read terrible workarounds by developers of closed source code in mailing
lists.

Your program will not be different just because it is free software/open
source.  It will be different if you are organized or not.  Open source
software, IMNSHO, makes people write better code because this is how
they will present themselves to the world.  If they can hide their mess,
they won't be too worried with it. 

And, thanks God, there's no "one size fits all" solution.  People like
us will be hired to fix code, to fix problems and to glue things
together. :-)

-- 
Godoy.     <godoy at ieee.org>



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