WHY THE OPEN SOURCE APPROACH WILL LEAD TO LOW COST, QUALITY SOFTWARE.
What is open source software? In a nutshell, software whose source code is made publicly available is termed as open source. This is as opposed to proprietary software, whose sourcfe code is kept a company secret. Proponents argue that open source software is either completely free or sold at very low prices, and at the same time improves quality, giving us the best of both worlds. Why is the open source approach better than the traditional software development model? This paper seeks to address this question. It first explains how the open source approach actually works. It then looks at some key advantages of the open source approach: for customers, for software businesses, and for developing countries. It finally concludes that while there is still work to be done, it is clear that the movement is here to stay.
THE OPEN SOURCE SOFTWARE MOVEMENT.
WHY THE OPEN SOURCE APPROACH WILL.
LEAD TO LOW COST, QUALITY SOFTWARE.
An omelette, promised in two minutes, may appear to be progressing nicely. But when it has not set in two minutes, the customer has two choices - wait or eat it raw. Software customers have had the same choice.
- Frederick P. Brooks, Jr. in The Mythical Man-Month (2000: 21).
MAGINE THAT YOU'RE EATING SUCH AN OMELETTE in a restaurant. You find that it tastes less than savoury and the next thing you know, you're choking. Imagine if you call the waiter and ask him for help, but in reply he says, "Serious error. Fatal exception at sector zero. Abort, retry or ignore?- Your incredulity at the waiter's response is matched only by the utter stupidity of his statement. As you recover from your coughing fit, you wonder why you not only settled for this appalling service, but also paid a huge wad of money for it.
The analogy is exaggerated, but you get the point.
How many of us have faced the problem described so aptly by Brooks (2000) above? Just about everyone with a computer has experienced the joys of poorly written software, and the notorious system crashes' they bring about.