Imagination is more important than knowledge.

18th February 2018

Understanding Anti-Open Source Sentiment

Ever since the likes of Bill Gates took a strong stance on the proprietary he believed should be tied to software in the same way it is to pretty much everything else of a creative nature, there has been a constant war between the open source development community and proprietary developers. I’m personally all for open source and go open source in as many of my own personal and professional projects as possible, but I reckon the existence of the proprietary world is every bit as necessary.

Two worlds pushing each other to develop and get better and better is something which only results in one thing, which is the kind of competition which benefits the consumer or user. I believe this benefits the open source side of the battle field a little bit more than the proprietary development companies because it’s an ongoing matter of each of these worlds “borrowing” from each other.

You only have to look at a comparison of the open source PHP server side scripting language and environment with Microsoft’s ASP.net to see the point clearly. Look at the syntax of each of these languages and tell me it’s not one in the same thing? I mean with ASP you pretty much just have to declare the variables you use as per the Microsoft Visual Studio development environment language, otherwise the computer science principles remain the same, but it goes further with the actual syntax pretty much resembling the exact same thing.

So what I’m getting at by way of the open source side having an advantage is that pretty much any developer can contribute and there are plenty of developers who are willing to contribute to make the language or software better, while on the proprietary side only the developers employed by the proprietary developer can suggest contributions to be considered as additions to better the language or software. In any case, often if an improvement is made on the one side then the other side also makes similar improvements.

I explicitly stated that I’m on the open source side, to the extent that I use the Linux Ubuntu OS on my primary machine, along with open source software and utilities such as Open Office instead of Microsoft’s Office Suite, so by no means am I advocating for proprietary developers. All I’m doing is trying to see things from their point of view and also pointing out just how much of a need for them there actually is in the market.

After all, it’s your choice as a consumer (except in the case of those who don’t even know they have a choice) to buy a proprietary version of the software which is available via the open source channel, so there are definitely some reasons as to why people choose to exercise this choice.

Additionally, quite a lot of hours of hard work go into the development of software solutions, so proprietary developers perhaps rightfully feel that they should be fairly compensated for all the hard work they put into the creation of those solutions.

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