Articles / Why Open Source Is The Opti…

Why Open Source Is The Optimum Economic Paradigm for Software

Open Source Software has proven itself to be inordinately successful in providing high quality software in a method that, on its face, defies standard business reasoning. This article clarifies OSS in the language of economics such that the true reasons behind its success may be understood by everyone, not just the coders. I've written an extensive piece explaining just how OSS, in an economic sense, is such an effective system for software development, purchasing, and modification. I'm seeking feedback on this piece, but it's now "open to the public" so send an email to if you have any comments regarding it. Hit the details link for a list of the editorials' highlights.
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    • Source Licenses, where businesses pay to receive access to the codebase, are a far different creature than Open Source Software, as they end up placing fewer eyeballs against more bugs--in essence, it devotes less resources to more weaknesses.
    • OSS means outside engineers see your code before it crashes, while it remains in the development cycle--and these engineers are likely to assist in the fixing of your bugs, saving you substantial amounts of money.
    • Closed source code development forces sites that require custom features to choose between software that is too expensive to produce or code that is too unstable to trust, with significant diversion from core competencies unavoidable due to the massive redudant effort that is necessary for any complex project.
    • Closed Source software providers are actually less likely to provide timely code fixes due to their organizational structure, and the "insurance premium" that managers justify paying out large amounts of money to a single supplier with actually ends up creating a support monopoly, in the sense of the supplier knows that it´d be too expensive for you to leave and absolutely impossible to find anyone else who could patch the code. LinuxCare can be founded, MicrosoftCare never can be.
    • OSS merges the advantages of custom code with the advantages of Commercial Off-The-Shelf(COTS) products, essentially creating Modifiable COTS, minimizing the amount of inefficient labor that must be expended to create a product.
    • OSS allows hiring managers to truly understand the skills of an individual who has coded under an Open Source license, thus increasing both his hirability and his salary range--OSS developers, quite frankly, are more bankable, especially since they have the ability to prove themselves worthy of any position, not just one that fits the position they´ve taken at a given company.
    • Specialization, and Ricardo´s Theory of Comparative Advantage provide significant backing behind a free and open code architecture.
    • When one examines the rest of our society, it quickly becomes clear that when stability matters, openness is the only way to achieve it. Stability matters for business. Period.
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