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Can Open Source apps compete with commercial ones?

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Ralf Maximus:
I'm still struggling with "better".  Until we pin it down to only one axis, how can you compare?

For instance, if your main criteria for "better" is price, then payware can't compete.   Freeware and open source are suddenly VERY attractive.  Unless you're a corporate user, where price is not as important if you can justify it.

If technical support is critical, you're probably going with payware.  Only a few free alternatives have decent support, and you have to work the system hard to get results.  (I cast no aspersions on the user communities out there that provide help for open source & free software, but would my dad be able to query a forum for help?  And business users: forget about it... the boss won't even understand the concept.)

If quality, performance, overall fit & finish are all that matters... boy, that metric is all over the place in EVERY camp.  Some freeware & open source is incredible, some sucks.  Some payware bargain-bin material at $500 retail.  Microsoft usually sucks, except for those times when they're so wacky from Vista fumes they can't work their lungs.

My point (point... point... yes, I see it over there, scampering under the bushes) is that unless we narrow the the criteria a bit then everyone's definition of "better" will wander aimlessly until we can barely hear each other.

Personally, I think beer is better.

All things considered, we can still hope and expect something "better" from the OpenSource arena.
Who could ever even think that Firefox could ever make it to the big league?

OpenOffice is making nice strides and when you take into consideration the Google baking for SunOffice and Firefox, i'm not ready to say the battle is over.

The following is just my opinion.

FileZilla may be a worthy open source FTP client, but it's no match to the commercial FlashFXP.

KeePass sucks especially after you've tasted the goodness of RoboForm.

In my opinion

http://FileZilla is my choice of ftp client
http://AutoHotkey is my choice of macro language
http://VLC is my choice of video player (but not perfect)
http://Locate32 is my choice of file-search
http://KeePass is my choice of password manager (but not perfect)
http://JkDefrag ismy choice of defragmentation tool
http://Notepad++ is my choice of text-editor

I think I'll keep it to that just now. Definately all are competitive even if its not your favorite. Obviously what is better depends on your needs but they're my best programs in their category.

-justice (October 23, 2007, 06:14 AM)
--- End quote ---

Ralf, think simple: by "better" think, would you use and recommend the open source app over its best commercial counterpart?

Justice brings the list, and oh god, AutoHotkey is the king for me. And XYplorer file manager just took a huge step in that direction with their User Defined Commands and scripting. (XYplorer is not open source.)

Definitely agree with sri on FileZilla. Its 3.0 version was a huge letdown for me after years of using it. But I'm more than willing to enjoy FTPRush now.

Finally, mouser makes a good point on choosing an app over the long-term — how many active programmers are dedicated to the project? I've seen even some great commercial apps abandoned over the years for no reason, among them CompuPic, NetCaptor, and for a long, long time, QuarkXpress. And yes, how the heck are you going to open up someone else's code unless its modularized in some way? Few programmers would ever have enough spare time to make it worth their while. But then, small changes can make huge differences (it's the little stuff that annoys me the most).

Audacity, it's one of the best OS programs, along with Firefox and Thunderbird. It is not a matter of them better (though I think they are) are prop. programs, but that they work as prop would in OS OS such as LInux.


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