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Seven essential qualities of open source by Matthew Butterick, an LA attorney.

I'm on board with all 7 of these. Great tidbit:

"The success of an open-source project depends on how well it competes with the proprietary alternative. Time is money. Open-source software that doesn’t get the job done is ultimately no bargain. While some will choose open-source software purely as a political statement, rational software customers will evaluate the options in terms of cost vs. benefit."
Selective editing distorts ideas. Many have heard Stewart Brand's famous observation that “information wants to be free.” This phrase, standing alone, is often cited in support of the argument tha...
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great article that burst my bubble. He needs SEO help though as the title is the same on each page (Typography for lawyers) and permalink is page_id = ... :)
 
Eh, after working on a number of open source and proprietary projects, I have to disagree with 7. "Open sourcing" something that was once proprietary is, in fact, done, and it's the equivalent to a failed project being "put out to pasture".
 
I'm not sure I agree with all of Matthew's thoughts on the subject. In particular his seventh quality seems to attempt to hijack the notion of open source software to some kind of principled culture. My personal opinion is that open source software simply means that the source code is open for all to see. I welcome closed source projects where the source code is opened up later. We can all learn from seeing each other's code, even if the quality is not high.

If the owner of a closed source project opens up their source code for all to see, what should it be called if not open source?
 
I think that's basically what he's saying.
 
I can't really agree with the statement in point #3: "But neither do you get the extras that are standard with proprietary software: ease of installation, support, documentation, and so on".

I am often drawn to open source solutions because the support tends to be better. Of course I am counting email lists, IRC, and forums as support. I may not get a phone number to call, but I am usually able to get in touch with someone who actually knows the product intimately, as opposed to a call center employee who may or may not be able to go beyond the script that they have been given.

I would not say that installation is always harder with open source software. I would not even say that it is usually harder. Most of the time the competing alternative forces some DRM scheme (licence keys to lose, all sorts mechanisms that break your system and bloat the code at best but tend to introduce bugs) so that the proprietary solution is regularly harder to install and maintain than the open alternative.

In spite of this minor criticism, I like the overall point, which is best summed as: "The critical issue is how thoroughly and thoughtfully the open-source model is applied". Amen to that.
 
"While some will choose open-source software purely as a political statement, rational software customers will evaluate the options in terms of cost vs. benefit."

It's not a question of rationality vs. irrationality, it's a question of prioritization of values.
 
This says that "information wants to be free" wasn't supposed to be a slogan by itself. The second half is, "information wants to be expensive". I think that kind of Zen koan is much more interesting. :)
 
Great article. Of course point #7 is exemplified by WebOS. RIP WebOS.
 
+Stephen Oglesby The article makes good points, but seemed overly contentious on a lot of them, e.g. you're right that WebOS is a good example of Point 7, but Blender is an excellent counterexample, as are all of the id Software games.
 
I disagree with almost all the statements... I think they are simply not true and Ill say that they are even a bit far away from true...

You know... there are countries/religion groups/tribes/etc where to collaborate without waiting for a payment is not as rare as it could it be in other places in the world.
 
for people who don't agree, please post facts to back it up. eg. are people on some of the open source projects paid (eg. wordpress, linux, etc), do they get paid by o'reilly or other publishers, IBM, etc.
 
Could Netscape-Mozilla be a counter example to #7?
 
I've been trying to get Mathew to be more open about his motives behind his re-definition of 'opensource'. He sells fonts, and he doesn't like free fonts. Go figure. His ideas are interesting but I think he's way off track, disorientated in the no-osphere, but that's probably because he has little experience of working day-to-day on free software, but instead sees it, day-to-day, as 'the enemy'. People who work with opensource software, paid and unpaid, probably can't work out if his article should be read in the vien of '7 essentials qualities i like in a woman', or '7 arguments against feminism' . I guess it's a bit of both :o)
code.newtypography.co.uk
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