On the way back from Chicago this evening I thought a lot about openness. I was asked recently what my ultimate goal is. I think the answer is that I’d like for institutions with which I or my friends and family are affiliated don’t waste money on proprietary software. Proprietary software can be good, even great software, but all software has bugs and security flaws. Why not have the ability to fix them yourself? As was recently ask at BarCampMilwaukee3 by another participant, “why pay for buggy software?” Well, the answer may be that it’s the best, but I urge you to think about the total cost of ownership, and I don’t just mean for Windows Vista or Windows XP, but for staying in the Window paradigm. I’m 25. In 40 years, how much money will companies I work for spend on Microsoft? If you gradually phase in FOSS alternatives, how much money can be saved? How much more control will we have of our software, leading to increased productivity? Switching is difficulty, but the switch is better done now than later. To make that transition easier, I think Linux needs Photoshop and iTunes. I don’t think either of these companies has anything to fear from Linux, but they both have something to fear from FOSS. Legitimizing FOSS is putting one foot in the grave for these companies, at least on a software level. However, even if Adobe did release Photoshop for Linux, it would be a long time before GIMP overtakes Photoshop. In fact, moving to Linux could free up software dollars in budgets for more people to buy Adobe products. Dreamweaver, Photoshop and Acrobat are industry standard software and are going nowhere soon. It’s hard to say what exactly would happen to Apple if it put iTunes on Linux. In the short term, they could expect more iTunes sales. Despite all the closed things Apple does, basing OS X off of BSD seems to have made a lot of folks in the FOSS community happy. Apple also does some great things for FOSS with their support of Apache, MySQL and PHP. And, of course, there’s the mutual enemy. While I don’t see either happening any time soon, I do think that more software needs to make it to Linux for Linux to make the next step.
As for me, I’ve recently gotten an Ubuntu machine on our domain. The next step is to be able to access domain resources. That way, I’ll be able to be more productive while saving my employer some money on Microsoft licensing.
The point of all this rambling is, I changed the site name to better reflect the things I feel I should be talking about.