What's the big deal with open source? - Techist - Tech Forum

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Old 01-29-2008, 11:42 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default What's the big deal with open source?

Yah thats right, i asked it.

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Old 01-29-2008, 11:49 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: What's the big deal with open source?

It's free?

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Old 01-29-2008, 11:51 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: What's the big deal with open source?

it's generally free, and that's about it

some believe it's better than commercial software...but only if it's objectively sound...

ie., flaws can theoretically be patched quicker
and that's the only REAL thing that can be said about it...all others are purely subjective

some people see it as a standards issue, closed vs open, but that is more semantics. Like file formats...why use X commercial format when you can use X open source format.

just use this as a guide...read when you have time and see which side of the equation you fall on:
Live Search: benefits of opensource vs commercial

it doesn't matter to me if something is commercial or open source, so long as it fits what I am looking for for the current time being. Namely if I have no cash and need software...I use freeware open source as opposed to pirating.
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Old 01-29-2008, 12:39 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: What's the big deal with open source?

-It makes things available to everyone without a hindering pricetag.
-Open source could be used as a great learning tool- since the source code is viewable, you could lookover someone else's coding and see the approaches they took, etc.
-Since the code is available to be recompiled, you can tailor the coding to fit you, changing what you see fit. Linux is a good example...
-sharing the coding online, you can get help from other programmers

But this only extends so far. Certain programs just aren't as good on the open source side. If I was a pro audio techie, I wouldn't be using the open source fruity loops equivalent. I'd be using the $1500 pro tools. It just depends on what kind of program you are using.

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Old 01-29-2008, 01:00 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: What's the big deal with open source?

In windows the advantage of open source software is not very obvious because compiling code from source takes ages.

In linux you can compile most applications' source codes with 1-3 commands. This means if the application has a problem, error, bug, or if you just don't like something about it, you can go and fix it.

It also means you can compile it for your specific machine to increase efficiency.
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Old 01-29-2008, 01:07 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: What's the big deal with open source?

More choices and not supporting a company (or companies) you don't want to support.

Firefox is a great example of what open source can be. If FF didn't have the multitudes behind it that it does it wouldn't be much of nothing... just another limp brwser alternative. Thankfully, people took up the FF banner and worked to make it into something better.

Many distros of Linux are the same way, as well as a select group of other programs. But not all open source is equal, and some of it, quite frankly, sucks. Slapping "open source" on a pig doesn't change it into something any different than what it was to begin with.

Microsoft and many other companies would do well to take a page from the open source playbook and learn how to make products that are more open and customizable, as well as smaller and more nimble.

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Old 01-29-2008, 02:05 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: What's the big deal with open source?

Aside from the benefits of not having to pay for it,

A lot of closed source freeware has adware and spyware built into it, and you can't tell unless it's obvious. With open source, there is accountability because anyone can look at the code and see what it is doing. If you are including this type of thing or doing something malicious, it would be stupid to make it open source unless you are up front about what the program is doing.

Have you ever used a commercial program and found things you wish that program could do or wouldn't do? Usually commercial software developers don't give a crap about your ideas. But in the open source world, it's all about everyone working together to make a project the best it possibly can be. With thousands of open source programmers out there wanting to help out the community, things get done faster and you're not limited to one or two viewpoints of how things should be done.

There are a lot of benefits to open source. But I'm not one of those guys that thinks that open source is the right way all of the time, and that proprietary software is evil.
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Old 01-29-2008, 02:52 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: What's the big deal with open source?

For me it's principle, Bill Gates has enough cash... why not donate it to other people?

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