Monday, January 23, 2006
Why is Open-Source Better?
However, I have a few issues:
- As usual, the ugly heads of evangelism and zealotry arise within the architect and development community regarding open-source and commercially-supplied systems. Rather than sticking to the specific technical and architectural-fit issues, which should be driving discussion.
- Some feel that open source = free, and worse, that's what they tell the business. Hate to burst their bubbles, but there isn't anything worthwhile that's completely free and this is no exception. Open-source may cost less to implement because you aren't paying vendors up front for software and code bases, but there are always costs involved in the installation, integration, and production support of any piece of software. Businesses like Red Hat would not exist, much less thrive, if that were not true.
- As certain parts of software integration are commoditized, such as relational database and application servers, the open source alternatives present substantial benefits over commercial products. This is particularly true in the Linux and UNIX spaces where commercial software is much more expensive that open-source as opposed to the Windows market, where there are so many players that the pricing has always been much lower.
- There have been numerous times throughout my career that code hacks and other 'workarounds' in open source code to fix problems wound up costing more than they should in labor and leaves the system vulnerable to other unforseen events as time passes. In retrospect, the fixes probably should have been made at another level of the system, but hey, we got the source code...piece of cake. Really.
And the EA blogosphere thinks? :)