Does Open Source matter to the local programmers?

13 11 2006

They say that Open Source is now a major force to reckon with. Why so? Some developers love the idea that they can get the software for free, tinker its codes and modify it to their own liking and benefit. But the question is, is the idea of Open Source really attracts Filipinos? There is a thin line of understanding between Filipino developers between Open Source and Free Software. For some of them both ideas are the same, but how do we distinguish both of them? According to wikipedia Free Software is “as defined by the Free Software Foundation, is software which can be used, copied, studied, modified and redistributed without restriction” while Open Source is “Open source describes practices in production and development that promote access to the end product’s source materials—typically, their source code”. Note that in the Open Source definition the idea is to have access to the source code of a program regardless whether you bought the software or not, in short Open Source mostly caters to programmers and if we look closely Free Software caters most to non-tech/tech persons who may or may not have programming skills.

I have asked some programmers regarding the value of Open Source vs Closed Source and some responded that they value more Closed Source because it makes their main asset – source code – much more secure. Their common argument is that if their source code is released in the wild, some programmers might steal it, create their own version of the program and ultimately destroy their careers, while others say that they held high regard to Open Source because they like the idea of modifying a program to suit their need. I quickly countered the Open Source guys asking if they ever had modified any Open Source software’s source code and no one answered me. I was baffled by this because some of the programmers who advocate Open Source do not have the actual experience modifying the source code. So the question now is, why do they advocate Open Source then? The answer is, they advocate Open Source because they equate it with the freedom to use any software they want. If this is the case then they should be advocating Free Software instead right? But no, some programmers tend to avoid the Free Software idea because they believe that Free Software does not benefit their career. The punch line is this “who the hell wants to give his software for free? But I would not mind if I can read someone’s source code for free at the same time I can have the application for free”. So I asked myself again, does Open Source matter to local programmers?

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4 responses

13 11 2006
Anya

Hehe, such emotions.

Oh man, bring that in school, you’ll be up for a battle for sure.

Hi Jan! 🙂

14 11 2006
jan2x

Thanks for the comment anya, it is really hard for some local programmers to distinguished free software and open source.

13 02 2007
deacon frost

pota ‘coz they’re dumb to even read

15 02 2007
jan2x

haha… pinoy kasi they just want to have a free software… ever read the comments made in Wired by Bill Joy the father of BSD? He said, nowadays he doesnt want to read anymore the code of program, just make it bloody work.

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