Developer Calls Linux a "Failure", Cites "Freeloader" Ecosystem
Monty Manley writing on OS Opinion says that the hype surrounding Linux and the Open Source Movement has masked a harsh reality: thousands of buggy, half-finished software products that are not properly unit tested. This problem is allegedly made worse by the fact that many OpenSource projects are driven by volunteers and that the efforts of these contributors are second guessed by users who do not contribute to the project.
Manley says, "It's an odd fact that many of the most irrational and vociferous OS zealots are
not themselves programmers... Linux, more
than any other OS, suffers from a surfeit of testosterone-poisoned young men
who know little but speak much, and the whole community suffers from it. They
want things free simply because they don't want to pay. Saying that charging
for software is ethically wrong is only a dodge; they just don't want to part with
any dough. They are, in a word, punks. And Linux has far too many of them."
How many more "tragedy of the commons" editorials need to be written before people face facts? Read on if you are interested in our view on this subject.
The OpenSource movement is largely a volunteer effort. People who volunteer do so knowing that there will be people who use their software and don't contribute. Some users will even criticize the efforts of the project developers. Are there any differences between this volunteer organization and any other in America? Probably not.
It's hard to say whether Monty Manley's editorial attempts to cover too much ground, or if it simply rambles. He criticizes Linux users for demanding that commercial software products be GPLed. We are sure that he is not the first person to point this out. Yet, we always ask why the mere demand that something be released under an OpenSource license forces the developer to do so -- especially if the developer is not an individual but a real company?
Regarding the issue of unit testing and system testing, for years our major clients have applied all sorts of corporate viability tests before authorizing the use of an enterprise-grade product. From time to time, this has meant the exclusion of products from relatively large companies like Apple Computer and Sybase. Of course, these exclusions often had nothing to do with the number of bugs in the products. They had everything to do with declining market share or an unfavorable buzz around the companies in question.
So, why shouldn't we develop and apply similar viability tests to the OpenSource projects whose products we adopt? Here are a couple of good metrics: deployed copies of the project and diversity of the development group. Those are two of the reasons that we suggested that one client adopt Slashcode instead of Everything.