I think I know what Scott Graham from the UK is alluding to with his email to me on open source and the average user:
Who loves open source? Better if – who really needs opens source?
Whilst open source may well be the future of software development, it has emerged that the average Joe, someone who does little more than read their emails and chat with family and friends online, have come to me in the belief that because the software is open source, it is more suited to their needs than software (whilst offering the same features if not more) that is not open source. As unbelievable as it may well seem, they choose software due to its “open source” foundation rather than the software that is right for them and their needs.
Open source software remains free to use (to be modified to reflect the needs of the consumer, potentially). But should open source software be considered when you know that you will not take advantage of the opportunity to modify it? Is it that people do not understand what the term “open source” is and how it will effect them?
I personally could not support open source more, though do agree it is the future of software development. If you are not going to take advantage of the [modification] opportunity that is given to you when you choose open source software that you should stick to commercial software – as, in most cases, the commercial software is more developed than the open source software, and you will generally benefit from it more.
Just wanted to know what you think of this.
By Scott’s logic, the value of anything on SF.net is automatically less valuable than a commercially-available product – even if the open source project is more stable, feature-rich, and widely accepted. I’m not so sure I see this as a black and white issue, as I find extreme value from all kinds of software (licenses notwithstanding). I’m not a developer, but that doesn’t keep me from seeing the worthiness of code that I (in theory) could change.
With software, sometimes you get what you don’t pay for.