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Wednesday, November 05, 2003

The truth about open source software 

So, why did I bother to write this? Good question. Sometimes I read these rants about how open source automatically obtains magical god-like quality. It's true in a twisted way: The ten open source projects that religious open source advocates will choose to point to probably have better quality than the average non-open-source product. My advice is to look at open source with an open but critical mind, the same way you should look at non-open-source products. Don't get caught up in the religion, because in the end, there's still poison in that kool-aid. Open source can benefit us all -- and I believe that it has benefited and continues to benefit us all. Let's not ruin it by attributing magical religious properties to it. Use it if it works for you. Contribute if you can and you want to. Report back bugs to help it improve. Ask for useful features. Be thankful for it being there. Just don't lie to yourself and others about attributes that open source does not intrinsically have. It still takes a strong vision, continued focus, great engineers, hard work and long-term dedication to make good software. There simply is no silver bullet.

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