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Author Topic: All else being equal... do you prefer an Open Source app?  (Read 2700 times)
zridling
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« on: May 22, 2005, 01:53:38 AM »

All else being equal, do you prefer to use an Open Source application?
*(Please note the difference between an Open Source application and a freeware one.)

Some non-Microsoft OS vs. Closed:
__Firefox —— Opera
__OpenOffice —— WordPerfect
__MySQL —— Oracle
__GIMP —— Photoshop
__7-zip —— WinRAR
__KeyNote —— TexNotes
__Thunderbird —— TheBat
..............................................and so on.
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tenseiken
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« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2005, 03:08:32 AM »

The problem is, how often are you going to find two programs that are exactly identical, only one is open source and the other isn't?  Personally, I like OpenOffice more than MS Office--but it's almost entirely because OO is free for me to use.  Same goes for Gimp vs. Photoshop, but I'm not exactly a graphic designer, so I use the more basic features.  7-Zip lacks many of the features that WinRAR has, so I use WinRAR.  If they were features I didn't care about, I might use 7-Zip.

So, the main thing is features.  After that is price.  If the features are the same, I'll take whatever costs less.  If they have the same features and both cost the same, my brain will go into an infinite recursion, causing my head to explode in a fine mist of neural tissue and blood with the occasional skull fragment.
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-John
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« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2005, 03:56:25 AM »

I feel much the same way .. although perhaps slightly less gorily lol.
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« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2005, 05:02:09 AM »

if all things were equal i would *much* rather have the Open Source.

an open source program is one i can modify and customize if I want to - and it's one that i know i can fix if at some point it turns out to have a bug.

if you code and use commercial libraries/components you end up commonly in such scenarios, where the library has a bug of some sort or turns out to be missing some feature you need, and by the time you discover it you've invested a lot of effort into using the library, so it's not easy to just stop using it and use another.  Open Source means not having to worry about this.

I also like to support open source software because I think it's important that we encourage the development of software that everyone can afford.  give a dollar to a man who sells fish and you've bought yourself a fish.  give a dollar to a man who gives away fish and asks for donations and you've helped keep a free fish machine working and available to everyone.

On the other hand i have to agree that it's (too me) surprisingly rare to find an open source program that is better than the best commercial counterpart program.  It's almost a sure thing that you'll find open source programs better than some commercial program in their class, but to find an open source program that is the best-in-class is, from my experience, very rare.

I think i've discussed this before - and i think a lot of it comes down to motivation to work on the non-fun parts of making software.  A super high premium is placed on the enjoyment of coding open source software.  that's why it's so common to find open source programs lacking documentation.. it's just not very fun to write documentation..

and to be the best program in its class requires a lot of polishing and fine tuning, and documentation writing, etc.  things that just aren't very fun.
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