NewsForge: How Can Free Software Compete with Commercial Developers?
Nov 07, 2003, 11:30 (11 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Robin Miller)
[ Thanks to Robin
'Roblimo' Miller for this link. ]
"The amazing thing about the free vs. proprietary software race
is that free software is in it at all. With all the resources
larger proprietary software companies have at their command, you'd
think their products would be unfailingly easy to use, virtually
bug-free, and priced so low that no one would mind paying for them.
But this is not the case. Why isn't it? You'd think a software
company full of carefully-selected programmers, project leaders,
market researchers, quality control personnel, professional
documentation writers, and a technical support staff would have no
trouble beating any open source project--with both hands tied
behind its corporate back--even if it gave the open source project
a 3 km lead in a 5 km race.
"But think back to Netscape's (later AOL's and Sun's) and
Microsoft's Web server products. Both have been beaten handily by
Apache in both usefulness and in the marketplace. This makes no
sense. How could these companies possibly manage to put out
products inferior to something built by a loose group of
programmers without any formal structure behind them...?"