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Open source benefits only the few

A reader writes that the idea that professional software should be required to accommodate an open-source OS or other such software is ludicrous.


Open source benefits only the few

In response to the April 15 Perspectives column by Bruce Perens, "The Microsoft penalty that isn't":

Perens' article is hypocritical and reeks of "sore loser." No one is denying Perens--or his associates, friends or colleagues--from embracing the open-source movement and employing it to whatever wishes he or they may have. However, the idea that professional software (there is a distinction), which in itself acts as a standard, should be required to accommodate an open-source OS or other such software is ludicrous.

The very concept of open source is at odds with what the predominant mainstream consumer wants--a standard in software design and the reliability of code that has been tested within that standard. They also want code free of alteration, which is of course the open-source concept. While Microsoft products are unlikely to ever be in that domain, to suggest that the company's products (specifically the OS) accommodate open source is not in its best interests, or in that of consumers. It serves only the open-source community, which is not a great benefit to the mainstream.

I suggest it is only an attractive concept to Perens because "that is the boat he has chosen to be in." I doubt seriously that he would write this same article if he were in the business of developing professional software and wanted to protect the intellectual property of his company.

The problem is that open source is not the "panacea" that Perens and others make it out to be. Software that we have come to appreciate today cannot be produced without certain production costs. And software that works across many platforms and works consistently must comprise safe, tested code. Open source works great at what many would consider a "hobby level," but for the business community and private consumers who want tested and reliable products, open source is not the answer.

While Perens tries to suggest that Microsoft is "just protecting its monopoly," the real answer is that Microsoft's property is actually "worth something." Were it Perens' business, he would be doing the same thing.

As it is with so much in life, it really just comes down to which side of the fence you're on. The hypocritical part, however, is choosing to be on one side, but still "wanting to own the other."

Bob Rasmussen
Post Falls, Idaho



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