Friday 15 June 2007

Open Source is the root of all Evil

We don't use open source.

I hear this all the time and is always accompanied with a look of pride and a slight gloat. I can understand I guess. I was young once but more and more of these people are in there 30's, 40's and 50's. So I turn to them and ask "So ahh Bill, how long you been with X?" 10 years + is always the answer. Ahhh... the institutionalized then.

Enterprise Risk

Enterprise Risk is the number one reason given. Do the people that say this even know what that means? I would have thought it meant assessing risks in a pragmatic way to avoid any loss for your company. OK lets take this scenario. Say I'm doing some financial transactions using .Net on Server 2008 with MSSQL. It goes wrong. O CRAP! Who's fault is it? Who do we blame? Where do we point the finger? Microsoft? Even if there is a hidden bug that has been documented it is still the developers fault. No ifs, ands or buts. The first rule in programming is its always the developers fault.

Open Source is the root of all Evil

This is something that I have heard for years and I firmly blame the Microsoft "Sales Pitch" for this. Microsoft has been implying, if not outright saying, that if you use open source you are more likely to get attacked because it is less secure. It's how they sell their products and services and it filters from the boardrooms to the mangers and so on. The biggest and most common misconception is: "Anyone can change the Source".

No. Not just anyone can change the source on the base version that is released to the publicWhile it is true you can download and change whatever your like, that change will not be reflected in the version that is distributed to the public. It boggles my mind how people cannot see the beauty in that...

Lets roll back a moment to our 'O CRAP' financial transaction. Lets pretend the problem was in a MS library. Lets take a real leap and say that it's open source. So as a developer we need to fix the problem to make it go away. So we pull the source down to make a change and submit it to the project administrators. They say thank you. Check and scrutinize what you have done. Test our change and release it to the public. No more problem for me, or anyone else. It doesn't become a piece of obscure documentation that is in a knowledge base that has well over a million articles.

Open Source Tools Libraries
I really believe that a lot of the open source tools/technologies are much better then those that that you have to pay fo, Sourcesafe being the most obvious example. Subversion and GIT(just to name two) are heads above Sourcesafe. Other tools such as TortoiseSVN intergate into windows to help users that perfer UI to commandline.

Nunit, NHibernate, Rhino Mocks and Structure map, to name a few, are awesome open source liabaries that can only aid a developer. There are hundreds of these tools out there that a lot of developers are not able to use due to out dated company policies. Big compaines like microsoft end support for things all the time

What are these strange things? Where did they come from? How long have then been around? How did I function before these? Microsoft has just released competing version of these products. But really how well is V1 going to be? Nunit is on version 2.5 and Nhibernate on 2. Do you really think Microsoft is going to do a better job than the whole open source community working on these products for years?

No Open Source allowed here
Most of the large companies stand by their "No Open Source Rule" usually citing support and maintenance. But big companies like Microsoft end support for things all the time the only difference is with an open source product you can continue to upgrade and update you are not forced onto an entirely different stack/server/library ect. I have to admit though I used to buy into the whole "open source is insecure mumbo jumbo" and stuck strictly to MS libraries. But hey I also used to masturbate a whole lot more before I could find a woman that would sleep with me.... What's my point? If you're refuse to use open source then you're only screwing yourself.

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