Friday, July 23, 2004

Are you man enough for open-source??

The open source ideology - hated by some and loved by some, but definitely will make its impact felt quite a lot - so much so that even if it vanishes, things will never be the same. Since I am a software developer, I have pondered about effects of open source.  After a lot of thinking and seemingly logical conclusions, I feel that the philosophy of open-source gels well with me. I believe that tools for the developer should be free to use and the money from companies should be used in deveoping specific value-added services for the company's applications, by hiring competent, pragmatic software professionals.
The above setiment is echoed through the Apache foundation, which is one of the reasons why they are a pioneer in the open-source arena. Take a look at the snippet(at the bottom of the page" on "Why apache is free" to get an idea. Of course, they talk mainly about the HTTP server but there's no reason why it shouldnt be applied in general.
So this will no doubt raise a huge furore among the product development companies. Any rebellion should however be considered immature, since a company with a truly good product can achieve a loyal customer base even with an open-source product - the type of customers who would be even willing to pay for additional services like support or any company-specific need. Companies resorting to tactics like vendor lock-in, or non-extendable interfaces, etc will no doubt have their share of customers. And that limitedness of choice is probably good enough for those customers. However for customers like me, opens-source signals a wonderful way to build skills in varied areas. I am learning Perl, PHP, Python and looking to get a lot of experience on java by aiming to contributing to an open-source Java project sometime in the future. And since a lot of companies find more value in multi-skilled, pragmatic programmers  as opposed to highly specific gurus in one or two fields, I think open-source only helps me more in proceeding towards my goal in delivering value-adding, user-friendly software applications on time and within budget.

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