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Open Source Software

    • 57 posts
    May 15, 2007 8:57 PM EDT
    On the osCommerce thread there`s been a lot of discussion about open source which I think needs to be addressed.

    The free in open source is about free speech, not the price of the product. It`s about protecting your right to use software the way you want. This is achieved by using a license to make sure you have the right to use to the software in *any* way you want and that no one can take that away from you. The software not costing anything is a side effect (technically you can charge for it).

    A phrase often used to describe this is "free as in free speech, not free as in free beer". The difference is often lost but really important.

    Free Speech: I sell you a bottle of water for $5 and let you use it any way you want.

    Free Beer: I give you a bottle of water at no cost but tell you that you can only drink it between 9.00 and 9.05 on the second blue moon of a year. What if you want to drink it at another time or use it for a different purpose?

    Personally I`m a huge fan of open source. If a proprietary application does 95% of what I need I`m at the mercy of the manufacturer to add the remaining 5%. Of course they`re not going to do that unless it`s commercially viable. With open source I can add the 5% myself (or pay someone to do it).

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    • 57 posts
    May 17, 2007 4:18 AM EDT
    Hi Craig

    You`re right about the move to software being rented. Software companies want this because it provides a regular income stream instead of highs around new releases and lows in between.

    As I want this thread to be about the positives of open source instead of Microsoft bashing I`ll refrain from taking easy swipes at them.

    A related issue is requiring people to register software (especially online) and limiting the number of times it can be used before you do. I noticed a few years ago the maker of my accounting software (not Microsoft) moved to online registration and limiting the number of companies you can use the software for. This raises serious issues like:

    1. What happens if the company collapses?
    2. What if they change name and domains?
    3. What if they are unable to provide me with a registration key?
    4. What if they refuse to provide me with a registration key?

    When I was a Windows user I found myself reinstalling my computer every 6-9 months. This potentially means I could find myself unable to use software I had legally purchased.

    All of this isn`t an issue with Open Source :)

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    • 57 posts
    May 23, 2007 3:15 PM EDT
    I find it interesting that many open source people complain about licensing terms or attempts by software developers to protect their intellectual property. How do most web developers feel when the client doesn`t want to pay for services rendered or suggests an exchange of "free promotion" in exchange for a "free website".

    Clearly you don`t understand how open source works. As an open source developer I`m extremely protective of my IP but I can see the benefit of sharing the source.

    You also need to understand that there is a big difference between protecting your IP and restricting how your software is used. Did you know that recent electronic version of Alice in Wonderland included the restriction that it cannot be read aloud? Read it to your child and you`ve broken the DMCA even though Alice in Wonderland has been out of copyright for years. This is the kind of crazy restriction that is increasingly appearing in proprietary software licenses.

    Everyone deserves a fair wage for their work. Period.

    I develop open source and I earn a fair wage. Do I need to say anything else?

    Please be fair and balanced if you discuss Eric Raymond. Tell the SUN members here that he is regarded as insane by a good sized chunk of the open source movement. This isn`t Fox News.

    I think you`re confusing Eric Raymond with Richard Stallman.


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    • 57 posts
    May 23, 2007 4:01 PM EDT
    I hope you`re not a software developer. The open source method has no advantages over the proprietary method. What is the supposed difference? More eyeballs? Didn`t Microsoft`s much delayed Vista release just prove that more eyeballs don`t necessarily help. How many developers did Microsoft hire to write Vista? Ten or 10,000?

    I`ll use osCommerce as an example. If I`m a web developer needing to build an e-commerce website I could start from scratch and charge the customer $10-20k or I could start with osCommerce and charge them only for my customization. This is a competitive advantage for me. By contributing my changes back to osCommerce (eg. as a new payment gateway) I`ve made money from developing open source.

    There are other advantages:
    • End users can customize software to their requirements
    • End users can use the software any way they want
    • Developers benefit from users and other developers contributing patches and features
    • It`s easier and cheaper to sell the software (i.e. convince customers to use your application)
    • Generally you make more money from services associated with the software than the software itself (this is why IBM has been moving to services).

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    • 57 posts
    May 23, 2007 6:12 PM EDT
    CookieMonster, you`ve made so many mistakes it shows you`ve never actually written a program. Your claims that being able to create patches is a sign of good design are just wrong. If you don`t have the source you can`t fix bugs!! Similarly, many features cannot be added without access to the source.

    As for the rest, I just don`t have enough time to waste on debunking your mistakes.

    Sadly it looks like this thread is going the same direction as the osCommerce one. All the good stuff has already been said on the first page so now is probably a good time to abandon it.

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    • 5 posts
    March 18, 2009 12:38 AM EDT

    We are also a good example about how Open Source can works.

    We have been developing a HR Open Source App for the past 3 years. The results, the way clients and developers join the idea is simply great. Till now, our community have been helping us to translate the app for more them 12 languages and report bugs. We also have been helping small and middle size companies, who has no money to hire (license + implementation + support) expensive software, to improve their production level and become more competitive by using our free application (you pay only for the support, if you want). Just take a look at

    And this is not only about OrangeHRM. A considerable number of other Open Source companies are contributing to this as sugarCRM, OpenBravo, Linux, MySQL etc.

    If the Open Source model will completely substitute the traditional model, I don’t know. But for sure, will radically change the competition bases of the software industry (for better).

    O range HRM Inc.
    +1-914-458-4254 (USA)
    +94-11-550-5500 (Asia)


    538 Teal Plaza
    Secaucus, NJ 07094
    Open Source HR Management

    OrangeHRM Inc.
    +1-914-458-4254 (USA)
    +94-11-550-5500 (Asia)

    538 Teal Plaza
    Secaucus, NJ 07094
    Open Source HR Management

    • 21 posts
    May 24, 2007 6:27 AM EDT
    I think the apples and oranges argument comes in here.

    We have 1 guy that is ecstatic about open-source, because he can edit the source code.  Then we have another that says that software engineering is software engineering and open-source isn`t going to change how software gets made.

    Planning, design, coding, and testing.  That`s going to stay there no matter who releases code when.

    And I agree, being able to write patches, and not needing a new version is a sign of good design, be it open-source or proprietary.

    Open-standards is maybe a bigger issue.  Locking in to proprietary filetypes.  That`s a problem.  That locks you into software.

    Open-source support is not enterprise level support.  You can maybe pay to get some.  But the difference is vast.  Open-source programs have communities, but so do closer-source programs.

    You can get "entry-level" support for almost anything on the internet.

    But enterprise level support you will pay for, doesn`t matter if it`s open or closed.  And chances of getting closed source support are much higher than getting open source support.  Why?  We`re locked into proprietary standards.  This is slowly unfolding, and we`ll see what happens.

    I don`t believe open-source is the end of proprietary software.

    Last note

    (1of2): Most of the folks that are members of startupnation (most) are fine with community level support, because we #1 don`t want to waste money for enterprise level support and #2 our businesses are small enough to have time available to "do everything ourselves".
    (2of2): Sure the source is changeable.  But can every person here code?  Can every person here learn erlang because the program they use isn`t written in java?

    Open-source discussions should be largely left for the development community.  And they don`t have online stores or run community websites to live off of, they code for a living.  So at the end of the day, if you want something added, you are going to have to pay for it.  Be it to a company to write you an addon (which you`ll probably be able to do yourself... good development practice) or to an independent developer.

    I`m done.  Find the holes and fill them.

    My point : You guys are arguing about different things.