This report set out to find out about open source and how it impacts the software market
What is open source?
According to the Wikipedia encyclopaedia found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_source last accessed 10/01/06
“Open source describes the general practises in production and development which promote access to the end product's sources, the term open source has become widely adopted since the internet’s early years”.
Since the 1960s software was developed as open source products, but they had to stop as the software became less standardisd so software could not talk to one another and now open source is beginning to enjoy a new lest of life
Paul B. de Laat writing on the De Montfort university’s Centre for computer and social responsibility (ccsr) website:- Open Source Software: A Case of Swift Trust?
http://www.ccsr.cse.dmu.ac.uk/conferences/ethicomp/ethicomp2004/abstracts/45.htmllast accessed 10/01/06 this is what the author says this about the subject of freedom and open source software
“The so-called `open source software movement' enjoyed a huge increase in popularity over the last decade. The movement has multiplied in scale. This holds for both `output' - software in source code form to be used freely by anyone, and `process' - networks of thousands of volunteer hackers working together. Famous examples include hackers developing Linux, Apache, and OpenOffice. This development is, of course, mainly the result of the creation of the Internet; participants now have immediate access to each other, and downloading code is a matter of minutes only.”
Open source also in many peoples view promotes freedom to use and change the software as they will because as already mentioned when you get open source software you also get the source code, people can also redistribute the software as they like without infringing conventional software licences.
Andrzej Kocikowski writing on the De Montfort university’s Centre for computer and social responsibility (ccsr) website:- Operation "Open Source" -- A Challenge for Governments and Citizens of the Information Society http://www.ccsr.cse.dmu.ac.uk/conferences/ethicomp/ethicomp2004/abstracts/90.html last accessed 10/01/06 this is what the author says this about the subject of freedom and open source software
“Control over the global information infrastructure should not rest with any monopoly. Open source software is the only reasonable alternative to any software source that -- with the help of trade secrets or intellectual property ownership -- tries to dominate the global market (and also our PCs!) thereby threatening freedom and democracy.”
But they is some confusion in many people eyes about what open source software really is and culture has risen that can not see the benefits of open source software the Global Information and Communication Technologies Department has done lots of work on the subject and say this on its website http://www.infodev.org last accessed 10/01/06
“Largely because a confusion is often made between OSS and ‘free software’, the debate about the respective merits of existing commercial solutions (proprietary software and operating systems) on one hand and those of OSS on the other has often been clouded by controversy. For developing countries and their enterprises, such confusion and controversy have been less than helpful. Today’s reality is that users have a choice between many possible solutions to best satisfy their computing and networking needs. The more they know about the relative merits and possible limitations of such solutions, the likelier they will be to make the choices best adapted to their respective situations.”
And is seen by many people as a better system as the software evolves by people changing, fixing bugs and adapting the software for the job in hand and not just buying software with parts you may not use in the lifetime of the software which is seen by many people as a waste of money, also as many people are looking at the software besides the authors it can speed up the development of the software.
It can also according to the Open Source Initiative (OSI) a non-profit organization promoting open source as the way to go, “produce better software”.
The market War
Open source software can be seen as a treat to the conventional software market as some of the software that is seen as open source such as open office can be found free on the internet and do the same job as Microsoft office and even read files from this package with no problem
Paul B. de Laat writing on the De Montfort university’s Centre for computer and social responsibility (ccsr) website:- Open Source Networks In Industry http://www.ccsr.cse.dmu.ac.uk/conferences/ethicomp/ethicomp2002/abstracts/37.html last accessed 10/01/06 this is what the author says this about the open source market
“The open source software movement has grown into a threat for corporate software development.”
And then goes on to say
“It is argued that they have opened up several new kinds of networks that apply open source principles. Unavoidably, these developments touch upon ethical questions. On the one hand, the clash of corporate and hacker work (open source) cultures does not turn out to be necessarily counterproductive. On the other, the principles of open source as a movement can be seen to come under severe strain”
But as author says “the clash of corporate and hacker work (open source) cultures does not turn out to be necessarily counterproductive” the author still sees the need for both kinds of software, as open source is voluntary, but authors can still make money from their software if they wish and corporate is paid we need corporate software to pay for open source as the same programmers can work on both.
Another champion of open source Open Source Initiative (OSI) in its rules for open source says this on its web site http://www.opensource.org/ last access 10/01/06
“The open source license must not place restrictions on other software that is distributed along with the licensed software. For example, the license must not insist that all other programs distributed on the same medium must be open-source software.”
So it to can see the need for both corporate or open source in only difference is what they do with knowledge, in the terms of Nonaka theory of knowledge, open source choose to share their knowledge to make the software better, but with the help of trade secrets or intellectual property ownership corporate choose to hold on to their knowledge in the long run its better for software houses to do both as we will have better software out of them.
Open source believe their assets and knowledge, source code in this case as freely available and they don’t mind passing it on because as said before freely available source code can produce better software, on the other hand corporate assets are hold tight and are not aloud to be freely available, even the software you buy still belongs to the software house you only buy the right to use the software not the software it self, so software seems the only goods you buy the right to use the product not the product itself which to a lot of people seems very odd, just think if car companies did the same by saying you are not buying the car you are only buying the right to use the car, I think people would soon complain so it seems odd that people don’t complain about software, it also makes the software market hard to break into.
Also different is the way they market the software corporate go for expensive adverts in magazines and on television while open source software choose to market their software in a less expensive way by having their software put on cover mounted discs and put it on the internet so people can down loaded on use
But it is very hard to push big firms like Microsoft off its pedestal unless you use drastic measures and other firms have tried and failed because Microsoft has the monopoly as to What goes on the personal computer most computers come with windows.
While there is companies like Microsoft who have an monopoly on the software market, there will always be open source software trying to stop them as open source stands for the freedom to choose what software you have on your computer and what you can do with it.
We will always have the big firms like Microsoft and I don’t think we can do any thing with them while they continue to put Windows on to every computer built so the answers seems to be if you want a choice build the computer yourself or put linux on your machine
open source is a good thing its cheap or free and works the same as expensive models
Reference and Further reading
Last access 10/01/06
Open Source Initiative (OSI)
Last accessed 10/01/06
De Montfort University Centre for Computer and social responsibility
Last accessed 10/01/06
Global Information and Communication Technologies Department
Last accessed 10/01/06
Innovation Management and new product development (Third Edition)
By Paul Trott
Published by Prentice hall 2005
Open Source Software Development: An Overview
By Ming-Wei Wu and Ying-Dar Lin
Published by National Chiao Tung University, Taiwan 2001
Innovation Management (2nd Ed)
By A Afuah, Published by Oxford 2003