Right now open source has no chance of winning this big battle against proprietary software. may the flames begin.
Here are my thoughts on this.
Yes, open source is good and has a lot of potential, but when the average American person does not know what in the world it is then we have a problem. I bring this to you from a recent experience that I had in my computer concepts and applications class (don’t ask). Anyway they were talking about types of software. The teacher mentioned 5 types of software.
<li>Business software that you buy premade</li>
<li>Custom software that is built specifically for an organization or company’s needs</li>
<li>Free domain software</li>
She proceeded to explain each step, but when she talked about free domain software she said that it is completely free you can take the code and edit it free of charge, but I wouldn’t suggest using it because most of it isn’t that great. Immediately bells went off in my head. I asked her if by Free Domain Software she meant Open Source. I swear at the words open source I got one of the blankest “what are you talking about?” faces.
I explained that open source was software that was built in a collaborative environment among people all over the internet and the code was completely free to everyone in accordance to the gnu general public license. After about a 5 minute explanation she said yes that is what I am referring to.
Now I see a problem with this. If a teacher does not know what Open Source is and doesn’t teach it then how is the Open Source world going to live.
Absolutely no one in my class uses Firefox. Most have heard of it, but don’t see the need to use it. They are content with IE, I must say I am too especially since I use IE7. Anyway, I mentioned that openoffice was an option instead of word, powerpoint, and excel. I told them they can get it for free and it was comparable, for the basic day to day use, as Microsofts suite. I got a response back from all the people in my class that they would rather buy Microsoft Office then use something free because they feel that if it is free then it won’t be as good, or close, to something they buy, in most cases MS does make better software. But, on the big programs OSS is getting there.
I have also asked several people that use firefox who made it and most said something along the lines of. “Some company, I think mozilla.” Most people think that it comes from a company that makes it, yes mozilla has a corporation, but it is OSS and not many people realize that. This is a barrier that needs to be broken through before OSS can become even more mainstream.
Also, a while back I asked a business executive what they say to people that call up and preach OSS and linux etc. There response to them is “we are not interested”. When I asked why they said “because money doesn’t really matter. we have a lot better reliability with Windows since the software that we use was built for windows and everything operates on windows. There is no reason to even consider anything else. ” Needless to say I was blown away at this response because a lot of companies that switch say they do it for money reasons. My question is how many more are out there that don’t care about money. Windows works for them so they don’t care to switch.
Just some thoughts and observations to think about.