[K12OSN] OT: Open Source counter-arguments

Rob Owens rowens at ptd.net
Sun Jul 15 01:42:07 UTC 2007

Regarding open source stuff being a copy of commercial software:

In some cases this may be true.  For instance, (in my opinion)
OpenOffice is heavily modeled after MS Word and Excel.  Of course, MS Word was
pretty similar to other word processors--how different can you make
them?  At some point, when people are used to doing things a certain way
and seeing things that look a certain way, those things become a design

Take automobiles, for instance.  Most of them are designed
very similarly:  engine in front, 4 wheels, windows that roll down, the
controls are all in the same place as the last car you drove, etc.  If
you made a car that was too different, people wouldn't like it simply
because it's not what they're used to.

Let's get back to OpenOffice again.  Instead of bashing OpenOffice as a
less-functional rip-off of MS Office, maybe we should take the time to
thank them.  The first time I used MS Word, it was version 5.5 and it
did everything I needed it to do.  How many versions of MS Word have
most people paid for since version 5.5?  What OpenOffice has done for
the world is they've said "OK Microsoft, enough is enough.  How many
times are you going to charge us for the same software?"  The only
most people ever "upgrade" to the next version of Word is because
somebody else did and they needed to maintain compatibility.  OpenOffice
empowers people to break the senseless and eternal upgrade cycle of MS

Sure it might mean that MS is going to sell less copies of
Office.  But if MS was actually selling new stuff instead of the same
software over and over again, they wouldn't have to worry about
OpenOffice.  The original poster seems to be embracing/defending
capitalism, but this is capitalism at its finest:  competition yields
improvement (and survival of the fittest).  MS has stifled commercial competition for so long, that a bunch of
hobbyists in their spare time have produced products which rival what MS
and all its $billions have produced.


On Sat, Jul 14, 2007 at 12:25:27PM -0600, ahodson wrote:
> Hi fellow k12osn - hope you have a few minutes to read and contribute in 
> helping build a counter argument to the post below. I am looking to see
> 1) has anybody seen these arguments before (authenticity)
> 2) are you in a position to share counter-arguments 
> (data/experiences/logic)?
> 3) Do you know of scholarly sources to accomplish #2?
> ========================== post ============================
> "Here is what I have seen from the Open Source Community:
> MOST, not all, of the programs are a generation or two BEHIND their 
> commercial counterparts. That is because the open source community is 
> not so much innovative, rather imitative. They wait and see what the big 
> guys are doing and then imitate it. So, if you want to be a generation 
> behind, then you use open source. So be it. That is not a bad thing. 
> However, I prefer to be on the edge, for the most part.
> IN essence, the OS community uses the software companies as their R&D 
> arms, waiting to see what the next innovation will be that they can 
> write into their software. They then copy the innovation, let it go into 
> the open source world, and say "look how good we are at making something 
> that is ALMOST like the original."
> Sounds fair huh?
> Look at GIMP for instance. Whenever Adobe comes out with the latest 
> Photoshop, THEN the GIMP community comes out with an update that tries 
> to match the feature set. Sometimes they do, sometimes they do not. But, 
> GIMP is NOT Photoshop. That is because Photoshop, like many other 
> commercial programs, have an ecosystem built around them that simply 
> cannot be  matched by the OS community. Plug Ins, peripherals, books, 
> training video, websites, all revolve around the commercial products.
> I can get something that MAY be like the plug in I want to use in 
> Photoshop, but to say a program IS JUST LIKE another program is in fact, 
> a terrible misstatement.
> Is a Steak at Ruths Chris Steakhouse the same as a steak at Golden 
> Corral? No, it is not. Yes, they are both steaks, but they are not the 
> same. The experience is different, the taste is different. Yes, they 
> will both fill you up, but...
> Finally, you cannot be in any conversation with an OS person without 
> these words being uttered: "Why should we pay Microsoft for this or 
> that?" Interesting. Why pay for anything? Why pay Dell for hardware? Why 
> pay AT&T for connectivity? Why pay EXXON for gas? I don't understand the 
> aversion to having to pay for something. The entire economy of the free 
> world is based on this. You pay for goods and services.
> I always go back to the book [], the Cathedral and the Bazaar: A book 
> about how paying for software was so bad...
> Cost of the Book: $18.00.
> It seems paying for something is okay, as long as it is OS stuff..."
> ====================== end of post ===================================
> Thanks for the help
> Alan
> El Paso TX
> -=o=-
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