Saturday, October 31, 2009

Open Source in the News is publicly using open source tools.

See Boing Boing blog entry. Plus Huffington Post blog entry.

Most importantly, read this from O'Reilly.

Many places are using open source in stealth mode. Some even deny it. Ask your CIO what the policy on open source is, then check to see if you're using Apache. Often, this is an oops -- policy says "no", practice says "yes".

For a weird perspective on open source, read Binstock's Integration Watch piece in SD Times: From Open Source to Commercial Quality. "rigor is the quality often missing from OSS projects". "Often" missing? I guess Binstock travels in wider circles and sees more bad open source software than I do. The stuff I work with is very, very high quality. Python, Django, Sphinx, the LaTeX stack, PIL, Docutils -- all seem to be outstandingly good.

I guess "rigor" isn't an obvious tangible feature of the software. Indeed, I'm not sure what "commercial quality" means if open source lacks this, also.

All of the commercial software I've seen has been in-house developed stuff. Because there's so much of it, it must have these elusive "rigor" and "commercial quality" features that Binstock values so highly. Yet, the software is really bad: it barely works and they can't maintain it.

My experience is different from Binstock's. Also, most of the key points in his article are process points, not software quality issues. My experience is that the open source product exceeds commercial quality. Since there's no money to support a help desk or marketing or product ownership, the open source process doesn't offer all the features of a commercial operation.