Friday, July 27, 2007

Open Source doesn't count..... Says Who? Not Microsoft anymore

This is for people who try to argue with me that Open Source software is nothing serious. So read the article, research the Net and save me from the arguments. Of course, anyone else is welcome to read this, too.

This isn't going to be yet another 'Open Source is the best' article, or another 'Microsoft is evil' article (for that matter I'm not Anti-Microsoft, though I don't, can't and won't accept certain aspects of their vision and practices. Let's just say I'm Pro-FOSS). However this is a sort of an answer to Microsoft fanatics (not mere fans), then people who develop allergies when they hear 'Open Source' and people who are ignorant enough to refrain from opening up their minds.

All of them have been saying Open Source doesn't count, Open Source is for hobbyists and Open Source is not for enterprise. They as hard as they, could have been denying the influence the Open Source movement has done to the software, technology and culture. I just wanted to write this since I briefly had the opportunity to be bugged by seeing a couple of know-all tech gurus giving degrading comments about Open Source.

Open Source is a real deal:

Before I go into more things let me answer a few FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Disbelief) facts. Fist there are people who claims Open Source is only for hobbyists. Well, that doesn't explain why Apache is the most deployed web server, when so called industry standard web servers are there. I see no one putting million dollar marketing budget behind Apache. The claim doesn't also explain why Firefox has been downloaded several millions of times. It doesn't explain why operating systems like Linux, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, etc., server software like Postfix, Sendmail, qmail, Spamassasin, Squid, BIND, Snort, etc. and end user software like, VLC, MPlayer, Pidgin (Gaim), Thunderbird, Evolution, Wireshark (Ethereal), Nmap, FrostWire, Azureus, 7-Zip, TrueCrypt, GIMP, Inkscape, etc., programming tools like PHP, Perl, Ruby, Python, CVS, Subversion, gdb, etc., Database management systems like PostgreSQL, MySQL, etc. are so popular either. For people who haven't heard of any single thing in the list, I have to tell one thing. You have to use a computer if you want to see software. :)

And about lack of enterprise applications, well.... what should I say. I'll just give another list of names and leave you to check them out. These are Alfresco, WebGUI, Adempiere, Openbravo, Project Open, Pentaho, Jasper, SugarCRM, vtigerCRM, Scalix, Zimbra, Hyperic, Zenoss, etc., etc.

Open Source means business:

Which impact Open Source had on the software industry anf technology? None?

Wrong again. Although I may suggest that ambitious projects like Wikipedia are results of the inspiration, there are more solid examples that businesses and vendors are realizing what Open Source can do for them.

For example lets see a few projects and software which went Open Source after being closed source/proprietary. It includes Solaris operating system, Ingres database, Java programming language, Hyperic HQ IT asset management system, AOLServer web server, and even Quake (1/2/3) game engines.

The latest news about the battle for software freedom is surprisingly coming from the most unexpected source. It'll be interesting to see what the members of Anti-FOSS camp have to say about this.

Microsoft has launched an Open Source software site at
And they are going to submit their Shared Source License for the approval of OSI (Open Source Initiative).

I hope, after all they have taken one step towards understanding that Open Source is not a rival revolution, but a revolution they can also take part in. I really hope so. Then again, I also hope for peace on Earth. :) Let's see.

Truth Happens:

I'm going to end this post by quoting a little old video from Red Hat (markets leading Linux vendor) which in turn quotes from Mahatma Gandhi.

Despite Ignorance
Despite Ridicule
Despite Opposition

Truth Happens

First they ignore you...
Linux is the Hype du Jour
- Gartner Group [1999]

Then they laugh at you...
We think of Linux as a competitor
in the student and hobbiest market
but I really don't think in the commercial market
we'll see it in any significant way
- Bill Gates [2001]

Then they fight you...
Linux isn't going away
Linux is a serious competitor
We will rise to this challenge
- Steve Ballmer [2003]

Then you win.


  1. Nirmal10:28 AM

    Hail, excellent article.

    "The software movement of, by and for the Free at Heart shall not perish from Earth!!"

    er.. are you done?


  2. Thank you all, for the comments.

    My blogposts usually tend to be long. So glad to see you made through.

    Being in Sri Lanka, I believe people are not so strange to the idea of sharing and collaborating through out the day to day life. :)

  3. This potentially marks the end of all major companies embracing Open Source in one form or another. Microsoft was last in the list but never the less has made a good choice.

    But what M$ needs to realize is they have a lot of wounds that needs to be healed with the Open Source community. I am not aware of any company that is able to embrace Open Source and do it alone with out the community/public image that goes along with it.

    So from now on they need to stick a plaster in monkey boy, Steve Balmer's mouth so he doesn't go off shooting it 360.

    They'll also have to do something significant contributions before we can take any of this seriously.

    I can't help be skeptical for the fact they want to do a new Open Source license (Yet-another-License) when everyone in the Open Source community is trying to simply the whole licensing thing. I am wondering if GPLv3 has anything to do with M$'s sudden announcement.

  4. Given the history between Open Source community and Microsoft, even I can't help being skeptical. I know for one thing some Open Source promoters feel that this is just a ploy to keep users who are lured by the Open Source community. If this idea is wrong, and Microsoft is actually beginning to embrace Open Source, I'll be more than happy to wait and see.

    I also agree to the fact that they have an image to build. As a start they can stop the silly taunting claim that they can sue Linux users. This way they can try to avoid being another fiaSCO. Nobody enjoys a SCOundrel damaging a wonderful community.