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View Full Version : Why don't people like Closed Source Software?



AlexC_
August 16th, 2006, 07:50 PM
Hey,

I've seen a lot on this forum recently that people are not using certain software only because it's closed source.

Why does it matter if it's closed source? If it was open-source are you seriously going to sit down and read the entire source code and get ideas from it, some of you might yeh - but a lot of people will not bother.

I remember in the GIMP v PIXEL thread, people were saying 'Oh I'm not using that! It's closed source, use GIMP it's open source! - So if PIXEL was 100 times better than GIMP ( which I don't think it is ) you would not use it, only because it's not FOSS ? That is just stupid, there are some damm good closed-source software out there and people are not using it "just" because it's closed source.

rant over ](*,)

Edit; I like FOSS software and do support it, I just can't understand why people have that attitude towards closed-source software

Yossarian
August 16th, 2006, 07:54 PM
I liked closed source software just fine.

prizrak
August 16th, 2006, 07:57 PM
Closed source is not libre. That is enough of a reason for a lot of people. A good number of people believe that software should be libre (free) and oppose non-free software no matter the quality.

Tomosaur
August 16th, 2006, 07:59 PM
I don't particularly care. If I wanted something that badly, I can just pirate it, but I'd rather go with open-source/free alternatives, even if I had to sacrifice quality.

win_zik
August 16th, 2006, 08:01 PM
*Sigh*
I'm pretty sure this has been discussed on this forum and on any other linux forum out there at least a million times allready.

To sum it up very short, there is a philosophy behind free software that some people subscribe to. An important part of this philosophy is the opinion that software should be free.
If you want to know more about these ideas, take a look here:
http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/

Personally, I really tend to get upset by discussion like this, as I simply can't understand why people can not accept that different people may have different priorities, may take different things as important as themselves.

If functionality is all that matters to you and you don't care if the software that delivers it is free or not, fine. No problem.

However, why should you get upset if someone has different priorities?

RavenOfOdin
August 16th, 2006, 08:07 PM
IMO, the same people who are FLOSS zealots to this degree have no room to whine about why there isn't a port of <insert latest game here> for Linux yet. You aren't going to force a company to change its economic infrastructure.

If it were just about business practices I'd support them when it comes to certain retailers or manufacturers, but I really can't say that this is that big of a deal.

aysiu
August 16th, 2006, 08:10 PM
Disclaimer: I am not one of those people who insist everything must be open source, but I do believe people who take that attitude have a right to do so.

You don't need to look at the source code to appreciate open source software any more than you have to look at all the ingredients to appreciate a homecooked meal. Are there situations where you could be using something closed source that someone tells you is open source? Sure, but it's less likely than situations where you could be eating a TV dinner that someone tells you is a homecooked meal.

There are advantages to the end-user of open source that extend beyond the ability for each user to read source:

1. Open source software is usually free of cost (you don't have to pay money for it)

2. Open source software is usually free of spyware/adware/malware (you don't have to worry as much you'll be infecting your computer with something bad)

3. Open source software's future isn't solely dependent on the company producing it. For example, if Mozilla suddenly stops developing Firefox, someone else or some other company or group of programmers can pick up where Mozilla left off and create a new fork of Firefox. If Opera, however, stopped developing... well, the project would be dead.

Note that none of those three reasons requires the end-user to actually look at the source code, but they are all definitely benefits the end-user can experience first-hand, and they all directly stem from the source code being freely available.

win_zik
August 16th, 2006, 08:13 PM
Ah, I just remembered why I find these threads so annoying.

Usually within 5 minutes someone will jump in and label everyone with different priorities than himself zealots. :-?

AlexC_
August 16th, 2006, 08:21 PM
but I do believe people who take that attitude have a right to do so.
So do I, i'm not saying people shouldn't use FOSS software - like I said, I do support it and when I code most things I release it under GPL.

Think about the bigger companies such as Autodesk, Softimage, Luxology etc. People make a living from working from these companies, but if that software was FOSS many many people would not be able to make a living off it any more. The money from the sales of the products they make help pay for workers wages etc

If all software was FOSS then many people would loose jobs, as there wouldn't be as much funding.

If I've started a flame war, Sorry and you can close this if you want.

bluntu
August 16th, 2006, 08:22 PM
Reason why I use OpenSource:

I take security and privacy seriously and using OpenSource gives me peace of mind.

1: No backdoor

If TOR/TrueCrypt were closed sources. Would you use it?

I don't mind supporting closed softwares that I like but when it comes to security/privacy softwares I rather go with OpenSource. Different people have different priorities as pointed out by win_zik.

Forgot to say that OpenSource to me means "Honesty". Plain and simple.

.t.
August 16th, 2006, 08:27 PM
I'll point you to my essay, with a thorough description of why closed source software is bad: http://www.tibsplace.co.uk/essays/Free%20Software%20Essay.pdf

win_zik
August 16th, 2006, 08:31 PM
So do I, i'm not saying people shouldn't use FOSS software - like I said, I do support it and when I code most things I release it under GPL.

Then I wasn't very clear about my point. My point was that it is perfectly alright for anyone to hold the opinion the software in general should be free. I don't know why people have such a problem with that opinion. If you don't agree, simply don't agree and be done with it.



Think about the bigger companies such as Autodesk, Softimage, Luxology etc. People make a living from working from these companies, but if that software was FOSS many many people would not be able to make a living off it any more. The money from the sales of the products they make help pay for workers wages etc

This is also an argument that one hears again and again, however, I don't think it makes any sense.

1. There are also a lot of people making a living form free software.

2. Free software doesn't mean the software doesn't cost anything.

3. If free software is able to deliver what people want in a cheaper way, that's a good thing economically. Your argument always reminds me of people whining about, let's make up a stupid example, cheap toasters, because after all people working for companies making expensive toasters make a living from working in these companies.



If all software was FOSS then many people would loose jobs, as there wouldn't be as much funding.

See above, I don't see how that should be the case.

Also I think a very strong argument can be made that FLOSS software in fact holds an economic advantage, as there are large parts of infrastructure that anybody can use, which is efficient.
Take a look at canonical. Can you even imagine that it would have been possible to start something like Ubuntu from scratch?

IYY
August 16th, 2006, 08:40 PM
If all software was FOSS then many people would loose jobs, as there wouldn't be as much funding.

Not really. Some people would lose jobs, and many more would gain jobs. In fact, commercial software is a tiny fraction of the job market for programmers. Most programmers make in-house programs, that are only used inside a company and are never sold to the public. For programmers like these, open source is a blessing since they have a lot more to work with (and the GPL does not force them to release their modifications as long as their product is not for the public).

Brunellus
August 16th, 2006, 08:43 PM
the "job protection" rhetoric is silly, in my opinion. Exactly who benefits if the costs of information and software are kept artificially high?

Like it or not, the cost of software is now in a race to the bottom, and the Free Software development model will deliver better-quality software at lower cost to more users than any other model out there. Remind me again how any of that is bad?

GuitarHero
August 16th, 2006, 08:45 PM
As long as the closed software is free of malware I have no problem with it. Also as long as it is released for linux. We need closed software to keep the game marking existing, and to employ programmers.

.t.
August 16th, 2006, 08:49 PM
We need closed software to keep the game marking existing, and to employ programmers.How, exactly does this any more than free software?

AlexC_
August 16th, 2006, 08:53 PM
Remind me again how any of that is bad?
Did I say Open-Source Software was bad? No. Please stop talking as if I think Open-Source Software is bad.

Like I've said, twice now - I like and Support Open Source software. What I am saying is why do some people not use certain software just because it's Closed Source. I am not saying Closed-Source is better at all.


the "job protection" rhetoric is silly
Think about it, if I set up a company that sells software and I employ people to code it, I have given them paid jobs which they can live off. If I decided to make the programs FOSS what am I suppose to give my workers as wage? A pat on the back? I know Open-Source software does get an imcome sometimes, but to start with it's not as much as selling software ( If it sells )

If Autodesk was to make 3D Studio Max and Maya FOSS their sales would drop, this means less money which means they wouldn't be able to afford as many workers, which means people loose jobs.


Then I wasn't very clear about my point. My point was that it is perfectly alright for anyone to hold the opinion the software in general should be free. I don't know why people have such a problem with that opinion.
If you had looked at the text I quoted, you'd of seen I was talking to aysiu, not you.

mostwanted
August 16th, 2006, 08:54 PM
Open source essentially provides an assurance that any kind of software can be taken anywhere and WILL ALWAYS BE FREE, even if the original creator relicenses the software later on. There is a reason most multi-platform software is open source.

By using free software rather than closed software, you're not dependant on a vendor of any kind. When developers license their software under an open license, it's like they swear an oath; not for themselves, but for the project itself. This oath is an assurance that the software will always be the owned by the users and not the company/person that created it. The company has no power over the users.

An example: many people are "dependant" on the Flash plugin, but at any time Adobe could cease creating the plugin for those people or, oh I dunno, wait a couple of years before releasing it. The users have no assurance that they will always be able to use the software. Sure the old versions are available, but software is deprecated over time and gradually becomes unusable, UNLESS it is open and people are able to maintain it.

Iandefor
August 16th, 2006, 08:57 PM
The concept of just installing a binary without even the ability to take a peek at the source gives me the willies. It's to do with my paranoia, I suppose :-D, and the fact that it's just a short step from using a proprietary binary to using a proprietary format- and that's when we get to vendor lock-in.

win_zik
August 16th, 2006, 08:58 PM
Think about it, if I set up a company that sells software and I employ people to code it, I have given them paid jobs which they can live off. If I decided to make the programs FOSS what am I suppose to give my workers as wage? A pat on the back? I know Open-Source software does get an imcome sometimes, but to start with it's not as much as selling software ( If it sells )

If Autodesk was to make 3D Studio Max and Maya FOSS their sales would drop, this means less money which means they wouldn't be able to afford as many workers, which means people loose jobs.


Jesus, you really should take some classes in economics.
If prieces go down that's a good and normal thing. Keeping prices artificially high is a bad thing and a defining characteristic of a market failure.

And believe it or not, there are companies out there that produce free software and make a living with it.

.t.
August 16th, 2006, 09:01 PM
It's about protecting your rights. An ethical and moral issue rather than a practical.

GeneralZod
August 16th, 2006, 09:10 PM
My reasons are a mix of the ethical and pragmatic. The ethical probably needs no explanation; for the pragmatic, I don't really like coming to depend on closed source software as development on it may suddenly cease and no further improvements be released - the untimely death of the author of Proxomitron, one of my favourite apps when I used Windows - brought this home to me with a thud. Also, if I don't like the way an app behaves, or if there is a bug that the authors don't seem to want to fix or a feature they refuse to add, then I can add it myself, which is nice :)

John.Michael.Kane
August 16th, 2006, 09:11 PM
AlexC_ ask redhat/linspire/novell,and the countless other distros how they pay their coders. it can,and is being doing even on a FOSS budget.

Mind you who's to say that some of the coders for opensource software do it for a living. who is to say they don't have another job that pays the bill's,and opensource software is something he/she do based on their feelings for said projects.

bluntu
August 16th, 2006, 09:13 PM
Have a look at PROXOMITRON, a great web filtering program for Windows and it's closed source. The developer no longer support it and so he doesn't code/improve proxomitron anymore.

Now people have to rewrite that program from scratch and it's called "PROXIMODO". If Proxomitron is not closed they wouldn't have to go through the trouble.

23meg
August 16th, 2006, 09:13 PM
Ah, I just remembered why I find these threads so annoying.

Usually within 5 minutes someone will jump in and label everyone with different priorities than himself zealots. :-?Well said. Mentioning zealotry in a discourse where everyone is calmly stating their position and not forcing others to change theirs is agitation.

win_zik
August 16th, 2006, 09:18 PM
In regard to open source an business, I just stumbled upon this (http://www.redherring.com/Article.aspx?a=17985&hed=Big+Blue+Sings+Linux&sector=Industries&subsector=Computing) intersting article:


At LinuxWorld, IBM said it plans to launch eight open-source initiatives. The computing giant already has a dedicated army of 600 engineers at its Linux technology center.


In 2003, IBM said its Linux business contributed about $2 billion to its revenues.

Brunellus
August 16th, 2006, 09:21 PM
Think about it, if I set up a company that sells software and I employ people to code it, I have given them paid jobs which they can live off. If I decided to make the programs FOSS what am I suppose to give my workers as wage? A pat on the back? I know Open-Source software does get an imcome sometimes, but to start with it's not as much as selling software ( If it sells )

If Autodesk was to make 3D Studio Max and Maya FOSS their sales would drop, this means less money which means they wouldn't be able to afford as many workers, which means people loose jobs.


But the calculation you have to make is the degree to which those lost jobs are replaced or made up by the amount of capital freed by the drop in the cost of software acquisition. The spinning jenny and mechanical loom put hand-spinners and hand-weavers out of work. But two things happened: 1) textile production increased, and goods that had previously been prohibitively expensive became available to a much wider class of consumers; and, importantly 2) a richer, more sophisticated economy created employment in other trades.

Note that industrialization and economic development (in the first phase) was not *forced* by anything: Nobody was compelling the early capitalists to industrialize and put the handweavers out of work. But the enormous profits that were had were impetus enough.

As with manufacturing, so with software. The new mode of production brings greater efficiency at lower cost: why shouldn't it be employed? Are devlopers a new and vulnerable class of person whose incomes should be subject to protection?



Then I wasn't very clear about my point. My point was that it is perfectly alright for anyone to hold the opinion the software in general should be free. I don't know why people have such a problem with that opinion.

I'm really rather agnostic about the whether software *should* be one thing or another. I do, however, believe that software will tend towards more freedom over time, rather than less, as the economic advantages of the new mode of production become apparent.


If you had looked at the text I quoted, you'd of seen I was talking to aysiu, not you.

These are public forums. If you have a private discussion with aysiu, please conduct it in a private way. If you post responsive to his post in a public forum, do not be irritated when others respond in turn to your post.

aysiu
August 16th, 2006, 09:22 PM
Mozilla's made millions from Google off of Firefox.

Open source can be very profitable.

crag277
August 16th, 2006, 09:25 PM
Jesus, you really should take some classes in economics.
If prieces go down that's a good and normal thing. Keeping prices artificially high is a bad thing and a defining characteristic of a market failure.

And believe it or not, there are companies out there that produce free software and make a living with it.


I have not taken economics classes and do not pretend to know much about the subject, but just out of curiosity, how could a company make money developing a product that generates no revenue?

This is a genuine question. I'm not saying you are wrong.

aysiu
August 16th, 2006, 09:27 PM
I have not taken economics classes and do not pretend to know much about the subject, but just out of curiosity, how could a company make money developing a product that generates no revenue?

This is a genuine question. I'm not saying you are wrong.
Open source software generates revenue. Maybe it's your assumptions that are wrong?

Brunellus
August 16th, 2006, 09:28 PM
I have not taken economics classes and do not pretend to know much about the subject, but just out of curiosity, how could a company make money developing a product that generates no revenue?

This is a genuine question. I'm not saying you are wrong.
because they're not selling the product--they're selling the service. When you buy from Novell or Redhat or Canonical, you're buying a service guarantee for x years.

Essentially, you're buying their support and getting the software gratis. In a price-structure sense, there's no difference to that and negotiating cheap site or per-seat license with Microsoft and buying a service & support contract....except that, when that support ends, you can choose to receive support from other vendors and keep the software. The latter is not an option, generally, with proprietary software.

win_zik
August 16th, 2006, 09:30 PM
I have not taken economics classes and do not pretend to know much about the subject, but just out of curiosity, how could a company make money developing a product that generates no revenue?

This is a genuine question. I'm not saying you are wrong.

As aysiu already said, open source software generates revenue. Just look at the article I linked to about IBM making 2$ billion in linux related bussiness.

I think one should note though that probably the "normal" bussiness plan for open source software that most companies take is not to make money with selling the software, but to make money with selling support for this software.

magnoliablossom
August 16th, 2006, 09:42 PM
I agree with the poster that said Open Source means honesty. The programmers are kept honest because you can see what is in their programs. The user knows exactly what he's getting and what it's going to do. Since much of Open Source is free, it keeps the users honest too. They don't have to use pirated software if they can't afford a license.

I don't however feel like software should be free. I mean I love it that there are so many programs out there that are. But those who write these programs we all use and like (I'm a huge fan of Open Office) put a lot of work into their product. If they want to put a price tag on their product they're certainly justified. I do believe that some of price tags placed on closed source software is ridiculous though.

My preference is open source. If I can find an equivalent to something I like which is closed source, then I'm definitely going to go with the open source version.

Donshyoku
August 16th, 2006, 10:32 PM
My spin on the free software thing comes from my personal benefit with open source...

Open source software usually has better support for plugins, extensions, and themes. By making the source available, knowledgable users are able to add new features and looks that make it more useful and fun. Imagine Firefox without all the plugins or themes... it is a typical browser... add a few plugins and now I can do so much more than other "typical" browsers. Though other companies can put these in thier closed source projects... I get the support and technology first.

Another good example is MPlayer. With this one player, I can watch DVD, nearly any audio/video format I like, and even stream most any audio/video from the internet. Sure, I could do the same in Windows or MacOS, but I would have to have three or four players installed to have the functionality of this single player. Being open source, more people can work on it, get it done faster, and on my hard disk that much sooner.

I personally benefit from open source.

RavenOfOdin
August 16th, 2006, 11:51 PM
Ah, I just remembered why I find these threads so annoying.

Usually within 5 minutes someone will jump in and label everyone with different priorities than himself zealots. :-?

I haven't attacked you either personally or otherwise for possibly/being one, I haven't stated that zealotry
in and of itself is "bad", I didn't say that having different priorities than I have is "bad", and I most importantly didn't
assume that using a word to describe someone who is highly enthusiastic about their beliefs is "bad."

If you have an issue with wording, that is YOUR problem and not mine.

Let's just drop this right here.

blastus
August 17th, 2006, 01:43 AM
More often than not closed source software uses closed standards and formats to lock users into the product. Even if a vendor claims their closed source software supports an open standard or format, no one but the vendor can verify the claim. Sure they may say they support the standard, but who knows how they have actually implemented it.

Also, open source software is pretty much virus and spyware-free. The reason is is that it would be very difficult, especially the more popular the software is, to hide malware in the source code without someone noticing it. The behaviour of open source software can be verified directly with absolute assurance that it does what it does and doesn't do anything else.

RavenOfOdin
August 17th, 2006, 01:49 AM
Also, open source software is pretty much virus and spyware-free. The reason is is that it would be very difficult, especially the more popular the software is, to hide malware in the source code without someone noticing it. The behaviour of open source software can be verified directly with absolute assurance that it does what it does and doesn't do anything else.

That's one of the greatest things about it, actually.

Iandefor
August 17th, 2006, 03:19 AM
That's one of the greatest things about it, actually. Seconded!

I seem to be agreeing with you more and more often. What fundamental constant of the Universe has changed to allow this?!

Mykewl
August 17th, 2006, 04:16 AM
When I was a Windows user I only downloaded freeware from sites that checked the software first. Its like security, one has to be careful. As far as closed source goes (and freeware) I only downloaded programs refered by reputable sites and newsletters.
Freeware and open source rock because they both fit my budget so well. I agree with the others though that open source can be checked out by those that know how to do such things.

Oh, and I have nothing against closed source as long as they play fair.

Adamant1988
August 17th, 2006, 04:26 AM
I like FOSS software, but I'm not a zealot about it. I think that FOSS software produces a better product in the long run, but I prefer to pay for my programs to get that extra professional 'polish' on top. That's my 2 cents.