"A piece of software is often promoted with the line "it's open
source of course", and I often hear people saying that "I would use
it, but it's not open source"."
"But are these valid positions to take?"
"According to the open source movement [this article is
concerned with open source, not free software (although free
software certainly shares some of the funding problems), to clear
up any ambiguity], considering a piece of software someone has
written, one should not use it unless one has the source code. The
reasoning is that if one has a problem with it, one cannot resolve
the issue without outside help. As far as I can see, although this
is certainly a distinct advantage for say Google, who with a staff
of highly trained engineers could easily tweak the Linux or BSD
kernel to suit their requirements, its advantages in ensuring
quality and reliability are far from assured. For example, in
propounding the open source solution in John Goerzen's paper on the
ethics of free [open source] software he says that the famous case
of the USS Yorktown, that the 'problem behind all this is
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