Pretty decent discussion on Slashdot today about metaphors for software development. One of the more cogent posts:


Frankly, I always hated the whole cathedral vs bazaar metaphor. I don't think it portrays well the virtues and faults of open source and proprietary software. I use proprietary software (MacOS + some closed apps) for the same reason I prefer to "dine out" rather than cook my own meals. I just want to choose something delicious from the restaurant's menu - and I don't care that my choices are limited. Yes, if you cook in your own kitchen, you can customize you meal the way you like it - as it is with open source software. But this will consume you a lot of time and effort, so most people would rather avoid it - unless they really enjoy cooking, have really to much spare time or are really short on cash. It's similar with Free Software - you use it if you really like to 'tinker' with everything or are really short on cash. But if you don't like the former and are not limited by latter, you will rather go to a store with proprietary solutions - where your choices are obviously limited, but you're saving time and effort. So I think restaurant vs kitchen is a better metaphor for proprietary vs free/open.



I'd take it further--sometimes, open-source software is wanting to cook great vegetable soup, realizing you don't have any celery, and then having to GROW YOUR OWN celery before you can enjoy soup. In Open Source Software (OSS), sometimes you have to code something yourself, or fix bugs yourself. Yes, it's cheaper, and you have the knowledge that that piece of code works, but it's hassle, and it goes against your Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).

There's a big push right now towards the commoditization of software--the real money isn't in software, it's in the hardware to run it on and in the services and customizations you sell to people. This is IBM's business model and it made them 40 Billion dollars last year alone

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