Wednesday, December 9, 2009
All software has source code. Open source software grants every user access to that code. Freedom means choice. Choice means power.
That's why we believe open source is inevitable. It returns control to the customer. You can see the code, change it, learn from it. Bugs are found and fixed quickly. And when customers are unhappy with one vendor, they can choose another without overhauling their entire infrastructure. No more technology lock-in. No more monopolies.
We believe open source simply creates better software. Everyone collaborates, the best technology wins. Not just within one company, but among an Internet-connected, worldwide community. New ideas and code travel the world in an instant.
As a result, the open source model often builds higher quality, more secure, more easily integrated software. And it does it at a vastly accelerated pace and often at a lower cost.
In the proprietary model, development occurs within one company. Programmers write code, hide it behind binaries, and charge customers to use the software--then charge them more to fix it when it breaks. The problem worsens when you become tied to a company's architecture, protocols, and file formats. Bruce Perens calls this the addiction model of software procurement. And we think a model that puts customers at such a fundamental disadvantage is conceptually broken.
Open source is not nameless, faceless, and it's not charity. Nor is it solely a community effort. What you see today is a technology revolution driven by market demand.
Imagine if all past knowledge was kept hidden or its use was restricted to only those who are willing to pay for it. Education and research would suffer. Publishing books or sharing information of any sort would become difficult. Yet this is the mentality behind the proprietary software model. In the same way shared knowledge propels the whole of society forward, open technology development can drive innovation for an entire industry.