Does someone think Open Source Software is just a plaything?

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I know this has nothing to do with Scribus but if you have friends or colleagues who think open source software is just for "playing around with", point them to this video:

Once they have picked their chins up off the floor, ask them if they still think open source is just a toy.

I have no idea how they guy who made this did it in just four days but it's totally amazing. And it was just done as a "test"!


As long as "every even version number is stable, odd numbers are dev" or the other way, yes, it is a play-thing. If making things "different" is so important, do it. But who gets applause for writing an "s", where the whole word is using an "f"?


I've never had the idea that Open Source Software was just a play thing. Look at Apache, Android, Firefox. Are those just toys?

I can think of a few reasons that people think Open Source is just a play thing though:

1. Open Source Software is a wide spectrum, which means it includes software ranging from very mature to hardly usable. People tend to just remember those "hardly usable", and forgetting about the very mature ones (because they don't think of them as Open Source).

2. Open Source means there are a lot of minor releases. With proprietary you never see those releases because they are not released to public.

3. Much Open Source software is developed by volunteers, which means development is slow (because it depends on the developers' spare time). This means features might take a long time to become included because they are boring and time consuming to develop. A paid developer works on both fun and boring features, but a non-paid developer won't work on the boring parts.

But number 3 is not a law of nature, there are paid developers working on Open Source Software. But not on all Open Source Software.


Nermander, could I add this to your list of reasons why people might be put off from using open source software:

4. A lot of open source software is just discarded and left to rot without anyone clearing up the mess. This means that people can come across a website that tells everyone how good some software is without also telling them that it hasn't been worked on for six years, and wasn't really "finished" in the first place. (Not that any piece of software is really "finished", but I think you know what I mean.)

Commercial software that isn't ready for public use, and in some kind of "finished" state, simply doesn't see the light of day and most people aren't even aware that it ever existed. Open Source, by its nature, is different. There's an ethos of "get it out there as soon as possible and see what people think" which is nice but there's no housekeeping done if it all falls down.


euh... there is lot of rotting non free software both on the shelves *and* in the business area!

simply think of what the state of internet explorer for so many years (things have changed...).
... or look at what the state of one of the two big DTP products have been during long periods over the last decade... (i don't want to judge on its current state... but i've heard so many complaints...).

and with the beta culture, we see lot of non free software that is published in a not finished state (just look at google!)

the difference might be, that rotting free software is much more visible than the proprietary pendant.

but i don't think it's my task to compare scribus with other tools... i just use it, help other people use it and try to make it better and better!


Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that "Commercial = Good" and "Open Source = Bad". I wouldn't put so much time and effort into this forum and other open-sourcey things if I thought that. And I've seen plenty of terrible commercial products.

All I'm saying is that, because Open Source projects - generally - have no "owner" (as such) there's no-one actively going round disposing of evidence in the same way that commercial product owners tend to try and sweep bad things under the carpet. Stuff just gets dumped where everyone can find it.

With the barrier - mainly cost, or lack of it - to using open source being so low compared to commercial software it's no wonder that people are more likely to use more bad open source software than bad commercial software. If you can try hundreds of open source products for nothing while trying one commercial application may cost $100, it's simply more likely that you'll try more bad open source products than commercial ones. It's just a matter of scale and not a criticism of the open source movement. It's how it is and it's no-one's fault.


Maybe a bit late to resurrect this old thread , but here's my twopenn'orth.

I worked with commercial, proprietary software written for only one purpose - making money. That's ok as long as the customers understand that they have a purely business relationship and that the software supplier will do everything it can to bleed them dry. Every enhancement, and customisation must be preceded by a financial negotiation, or must be looked on by the supplier as something they must provide in order to remain competitive.

I've also been a user of freeware and open source software and, generally, found it to be written by people who (as far as I can tell) appear to want to write software because they want it to do the very best it can with the hardware an operating systems available.

Given the choice I'd almost certainly choose open source over commercial. Even if I was running a business I'd gravitate towards open source - but I'd want to be sure my choice, if it is mission critical, is from an established and reputable author/team, has a sensible development plan that will keep it growing in the right direction for my business, and that priority support is also available should I run into a serious problem.

There's always exceptions to the general rules. There is masses of rubbish written by wannabe software developers of both types. Care in selection should weed that out. When you're choosing software - especially if you're going to need to communicate with the developers to request customisation or enhancements - you may be entering into a long term relationship. If you're taking on open source software, of course, you could choose to modify it yourself if you have the skills. Strictly, though, you would probably have to make your own work available as open source software so building your own propriety or trade secrets into it may be inadvisable.