Tripping over dollars to save pennies: Open-source cheapskating

Some people in the open-source community are never happy unless all software is perfect, and perfectly free.

You just can't please everyone. I read this post from an irate Joomla! user who is incensed that he has to pay - drum roll, please! - $25 to $300 for a Joomla! theme. Let's be clear: This theme is not required to use the Joomla! web content management system. It's not even made by Joomla, so far as I can tell.

Instead, he's chafing at having to pay a third-party developer for the software:

...I ran into a very disappointing surprise regarding Joomla. As I searched for themes, (templates) all the ones I came across that looked halfway decent were "Paid" themes that you had to buy ranging from $25 to $300 dollars depending on the site and the subscription. A lot of the modules I was looking at also carried a hefty price tag to use with this "Open Source" software.

In conflating "open" with "free cost," this Joomla! user has completely missed the point of open source. He's also missed the point that $25 is a drop in the bucket compared to the tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars he'd otherwise be paying Vignette, Fatwire, Interwoven, etc.

I'm not suggesting that this person is representative of the Joomla! community. I'm just annoyed that we still have people who feel that open source was divinely ordained to be free of cost. It's not. Get over it.

Tech Culture
About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.


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