Sunday, February 20, 2005

Computer: Apache on Playboy

One of my friends raised the question of goodness of open-source, cos someone he knew who is knowledgeable in OSS got frustrated implementing Linux enterprise solutions and downloading Apache from random servers like Playboy. Below are my comments.
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My guess is basically trying to say OSS is not good enough for two reasons. I will disregard PGP comment cos this is a perennial problem evreywhere. There are checksums available, people do not use it. Cannot really fault OSS process for that.

1. It is actually not Enterprise Ready.
2. Source Code is crappier than what people think it is.

I will handle 2 first. Of course, there are thousands of OSS products in various stages of maturity. All of them, surely will not have same level of checking, testing and number of people involved. There are going to be projects which are crappy but thing is because of inherent
nature such projects will get wielded out. It is absolute meritocracy. Or that I would believe.

Enterprise ready is a different beast altogether. It needs to be more formally put together. I do not think there are many truly enterprise OSS applications. Probably some CMS, ERP, Web Admin modules. Most of the enterprise applications are provided by Vendors and they charge for it. If you are not getting what you want, you can let them know and I think the way OSS-based vendors will respond will be similar to closed source vendors. Both are basically business men and will act within their constraints.

I have two points of mine to make which sort of makes me deviate towards OSS

First, the way MS destroyed Netscape which can best be said as questionable practices. After they were done and dusted and had gained the share they have done precious little to improve the browser because it does not bring them anything. That kind of thing would not happen in OSS. Imporvements will keep on coming. And no stoppage of devt. It is for anyone to pick up and develop. Firefox has been the idea of a guy I think 19 year old who has been working with Netscape from the age of 14.

The second thing, is the nature of OSS. It takes the power away from the big corporations and removes the egos, and marketing drivel. It allows companies like Sun, IBM, Novell, Red Hat and John Doe\'s with each other and develop things together and then earn money based upon how good one can sell it. The only competition between companies is
who can submit best code for the product and who can provide best service.

There are few more ideas in my mind, but will it for now.

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