malcolmny_1 at lycos.com (malcolm) writes:
Why you can't get something for nothing
Jack Schofield Jan 22 2004
Having bought the Guardian's Thursday edition (with the "online"
section) a few times, I know they get frequent letters complaining
about Schofield's anti-open source "bias" (which doesn't alter the
correctness of otherwise of what he says, of course).
Another quote from the article:
Finally, a couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that the movement did not
have any way of creating software architectures. A reader disputed
this in Feedback, citing three programs: Perl, Python and
Apache. These are excellent programs, but not what I'd call a software
I guess we have to wait, with bated breath, for Jack to define
"software architecture", then <wink>. STOP PRESS, software industry
revolutionized by IT journalist's definition of software architecture!
Why is there so much empty name-calling in the software industry?
Curiously, also, none of them was developed by the open source
movement, though they have of course been adopted and improved by
it. Larry Wall developed Perl while working at Unisys; both Python and
Apache came out of academia.
More empty name-calling. Academics are barred from being part of the
open source movement, apparently.
"There are also undoubted benefits from running open source software,
though the financial ones can be small or even negative. Companies are
bound to be tempted by the idea of getting something for nothing .."
"The facility to fix bugs yourself and to modify programs also sounds
attractive. However, fixing bugs is not practical for most companies,
and modifications can be positively dangerous.
Perfectly sensible points (as is the point about "TCO", which is of
course crucially important), though he conspicuously fails to draw any
sensible conclusions from them.
If you are really going to do these things, you need to hire several
reliable programmers with kernel-level skills"
Hard to come up with an interpretation of that that makes sense...
"Indeed, the whole progress of commercial computing has been from
expensive hand-written, bug-ridden, company-specific programs to
cheaper but more powerful off-the-shelf packages. From that point of
view, open source is a throwback."
It appears Schofield got employed as a columnist for "ask Jack", in
which people ask questions about why their Windows machine is broken
(no dig at MS here, if linux had achieved world domination, I imagine
they'd still be asking similar questions about that; things would
still be broken, but broken on a higher level).
No great fascination to be had from observing people's "special"
reasoning when rooting for their home side, I guess <wink>.
It's a shame, when there are perfectly good arguments to be made
against open source, that this kind of third-rate excuse for analysis
gets published. Don't give up the day job, Jack!