Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Is O.S. self destructive?

Offlate a disturbing thought has started bothering me. What would happen after 20 years from now on ? Is open source going to destroy software businesses? Well right at the start let me clarify that I like open source a lot and as much as possible try to use open source software. But is this open source a "destructive technology "?
A few days back I read a Richard Stallman interview where he said people should not develop software for living !
Imagine thousands of families without a source of income all over India if this ever happens.So in a way I feel that what RMS says is utter crap. I'ts okay that he developed FSF and we use a lot of his code today but his view are skewed and he fails to understand what could be implications of Free software. If we make very software free then there won't be any software business and whatever would be left would be just to maintain code. If all the code is open sourced then what would be the motivation to develop a software ...if you cannot sell it?

Imagine a scenario in future when a lot of code is open source and more then 50 % people use open source model . Then a person x needs a specific program and he asks a particular company to develop this code. Having a firm belief in Open Source he asks the company to GPL the software they developed for him or atleast give him the source code. Like him a lot of people need this software and they demand the same from the company. So now a few individuals on this planet have this software and this code . What happens next is anybody's guess!

These people who have the code start selling it (piracy ) steps in. Not only does the comapny which developed the code is not able to sell it anymore ,somebody else is making money on their work !
think about it
and leave comments ..may be I m not able to see things in right perspective..correct me if I m wrong


Anonymous said...

Well, Piyush...

By "people should not develop software for living", RMS, means that they should not do it "only for living".

This has many positive implications!

First the current picture: Think of current scenario of the software industry in India. The Infosys's, the Wipros, the TCSs have ended up moulding the Indian software market into something far away from the "tech innovation hub" to "tech service hub", and their major business is for the coorporations that are evil in the free software world. (And even the advent of GNU/Linux and other major free unices have not been able to change what they have started, "providing cheap labour" to the coorporate giants.) This comes of the old model of the "commercial software" market.

Now think of the modern "free market theory": Say, I develop some piece of software that does some particular job using (say) "idea 1". You develop some other piece that does almost the similar job using "idea 2". But your idea is better than mine in the sense your piece provides better performance on various scales. You make several benchmarks, show the results, but however good you do with your benchmarking, you can never say that your software will beat mine in every scenario. How would you prove that? You will try to have a comparison of the "idea X" with yours! But you don't know what "idea X" is, unless, you I have published "idea X", or I have released the code of my piece. Now you can prove your things, I can prove mine. And we both have credits to our respective works. That is how CopyLeft works. How do you earn money? If you are to earn money, you have to be good enough to be "a software guy" in the free world, otherwise, do something else! This stops every looney dreaming of being software professional and earning big money without doing enough on his part for that much amount of money. Just for an idea, this is job#1: If you end up becoming good enough, you will end up porting some open sourced code to some other platform, hardware or software. See the point here: If you want to save software industry, "not everyone should become a software professional." If one person is good enough for job A (non-software), why should he move to a software job, where he knows that he would not be able to give as competent product as he would have given in job A. Well, the problem is not that simple. We have giants who can hire lame workforce and make them produce cheap quality product, even end up being successful selling that cheap product, simply because they have resources.

You will understand the thing, for that, try comparing M$ EULA (End User Licence Agreement) and GPL! Let me summarize: M$ says, "we will churn money out of your pockets without ever taking any responsibility of "the product" we have shipped to you. If you break things, you keep all the pieces without the possibility of fixing, and we shall keep all your money." Weith GPL, "if the thing breaks, keep the pieces, fix, if you can, help others fixing those, only if you want, otherwise stay anonymous. We are not charging anything except the credits!"

-- Guess 'WHO'! ;-)

Anonymous said...

who ????????

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