Ted Leung on the air
Ted Leung on the air: Open Source, Java, Python, and ...
Mon, 23 Jun 2003
The future is (missing | bright)
Much has been made about Eric Kidd's essay on the future of the software industry. Today Krzysztof Kowalczyk posted a response that takes the opposite point of view.

My thinking lies somewhere in the middle. For all the noise that is being made about open source, we are still at the beginning of understanding what it is all about, how to organize it, and how to make a living off of it. Jon Udell's post about fit and finish can't be ignored. The open source community is still experimenting with different ways to organize itself. The organization of Linux, the FSF, the ASF, and JBoss are all different. It's not clear yet that there's a really good model for this. Just look at the discussions that we at the ASF are having this week regarding membership (which is related to how the ASF is structured). There's a lot more room for experimentation around many aspects of open source.

I'm an open source guy, but I also feel an affinity towards small developers -- must be all those years on the Macintosh, where the best apps were done by the small shops. The entire fabric of the software industry is changing, but that doesn't mean that there's no future. I don't believe that open source means that people doing software don't make a living. I do believe that it means we have to do it differently than we've done it before.

One last thought on this from Cory Doctorow's notes on Tim O'Reilly's Reboot talk (via Sam)

What keeps me up at night?


* Users don't own their data -- who cares about source when your data is locked in?

If you are a hacker (in the Paul Graham sense), then having the source means your data is no longer locked in. But for most people open source doesn't change this. This is one of the reasons I got interested in XML and open source, but I don't think that this problem (which is a user side, fit and finish kind of problem) has been solved yet.
[12:58] | [computers/open_source] | # | TB | F | G | 1 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
An interesting attempt to combine the desire for "fit and finish" with Open Source comes in the form of Proteus, a multi-service IM client for Mac OS X.  The UI, where the need for consistency and polish is paramount, is closed source.  The IM engine (where many eyes is great value) is OS.  The jury is still out on the success of this approach, but its more grist for the mill.
Posted by Wilhelm at Mon Jun 23 15:15:32 2003

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I work at the Open Source Applications Foundation (OSAF).
The opinions expressed here are entirely my own, not those of my employer.

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