[svlug] Open Source Criticism Questions

Richard Sharpe rsharpe at richardsharpe.com
Wed Aug 20 12:33:22 PDT 2003

On Wed, 20 Aug 2003, M Wendall wrote:

> Daniel Howard wrote:
> >Let us suppose that I intended to work for a major
> >publication as a software columnist, doing reviews of
> >software.  This is not true but I hope that people
> >will provide their opinions in this context.
> >
> >Is it fair to harshly criticize free, open source
> >software that lacks competitive features, a polished
> >interface and/or troublefree operation in the same way
> >that one would criticize a commercial, closed source
> >product?  (Or, since it is free and open source, does
> >it deserve more respectful and softer criticism since
> >open source programmers are volunteers?)
> >
> I respect a fully balanced review that explains both the good points as 
> well as bad, but I'm tired of hearing how "bad" open source is because 
> of teensy faults. Has anyone checked out how just plain *bad* MS stuff 
> has been lately?
> >Is it fair to compare a free, open source with a $499
> >commercial, closed source product?  What about a
> >$150,000 product?  (Or, is it only fair to compare two
> >open source projects?)
> >
> It's probably more fair to compare two or more open source projects, but 
> in the real world, users need to know how well they stack up to 
> expensive closed source software. (How much bang do you get for your bucks?)

I know of at least one large NAS company that is very unhappy with their 
very expensive to maintain packet capture and analysis program give that 
Ethereal, which is developed by a 'horde of mongrels' (according to sales 
staff of the company that develops said program), beats the pants off of 
it in almost every department.

The fact that it is open source is an added advantage, as it allows staff 
to correct defects or add features that Large software companies can't 
seem to do in any timely fashion.

However, it really is horses for courses ...

Richard Sharpe, rsharpe[at]ns.aus.com, rsharpe[at]samba.org, 
sharpe[at]ethereal.com, http://www.richardsharpe.com

More information about the svlug mailing list