It amazes me that open source projects can be so productive and profitable, while many commercial based software companies can’t make software worth using or turn a profit.
Let’s take ASP for example. Only businesses with big bucks use Microsoft’s commercial programming language. Microsoft charges licensing fees and they require you use a Windows server.
Most developers don’t pay licensing fees. They also don’t use Windows servers because they cost to much. Instead most developers prefer free. Free programming languages and free operating systems for their servers.
Why would you pay money to use ASP when you can use PHP, Python, Ruby and others for free?
I was telling a client about WordPress, the content management system we use for our websites. He didn’t like that it was open source. He said, “since it’s open source can’t hackers find vulnerabilities just by looking at the code?” If you had a detailed map of the Pentagon, wouldn’t it be easier to break in? But open source software isn’t like a map to a building. It’s more like a bill that goes to congress. If bills were open source, you and I could pull them up online and read them from front to back. And since most of us want whats best for our country, we could call our congressman and give him feedback on how to fix the bill. If you don’t want what’s best for the country, it doesn’t matter because they don’t have to use your feedback.
Think about it this way. WordPress is free. All that Matt Mullenweg, the founder of WordPress, asks is that you contribute to the project if your are able. There are millions of developers that contribute to the WordPress project. Not only does this mean that WordPress gets better and better. It also means as soon as vulnerabilities are discovered they are patched with automatic updates.
The concept of WordPress is just the like the history of America. We all work together to create this great country so we could use it to make our lives better.
The corny, sappy truth is that open source software is freedom.