Thursday, March 27, 2008
Open Source (Smallish Post 6)
My roommate just asked me when the last time I used Windows Vista on my new laptop was. I thought about it and realized that I hadn't used it since the day I first bought the computer! I wanted to learn and use Linux, and got excited about it pretty quick. I had more features than I could get on Vista, and all for free; anything I need, I can just go get. The "bazaar" approach of open source is working well, I thought. Then I thought of another problem: what happens when Red Hat becomes "old hat"? Since compensation for work on open source is generally nil, it is more of a hobby than a source of income. Developers do love to fix the problems they see and create tools that help everyone, but they also like to eat; if everyone can just get tools for free, will the open source community eventually make it prohibitively difficult to get work as a developer? Even open source companies could be in danger once more advanced tools than their commercial versions are made available for free, and the improvement of forums and help sites could doom their efforts at making money on servicing. I love Linux and open source programs, but I sometimes wonder if I'm not putting myself out of a job.