Imagine if you will, trying to buy a car, it looks slick, shiny, fast, the salesman wants you to have it as bad as you do. But you're a smart buyer you want to check things out before you lay the money down. But the salesman won't let you see inside! Won't let you look under the hood. You have no idea what the vehicle can actual do or if it can do anything. I feel the very same way with commercial software. It cost half a grand for the Operating System to run a computer, another half grand for some decent graphic design software, and however much for a legitimate HTML editor. From this and, of course from the title, you can tell that I am focusing on software for web development, but many principles discussed here can be applied to all software. So many stores sell on the web, it's a hassle free environment, and so many people buy from the web because they know they can buy anything. So a web page may be something you really want, but you're going to want to get what you paid for, or heaven forbid it being an investment....more out of it than you put into it. Read on!
Why Open Source
The reason Web Development is a such a huge industry is because it is a business that has everything all other businesses don't have. Accessible from millions of locations, in every country that has plumbing, AND....theoretically it can be manufactured, maintained, changed, or destroyed from any internet capable computer (included phones, and hand helds). The biggest upside to anything Open Source is the cost of the software, you cannot compete with free. The cost of a website is pretty high when you go through a company, which takes their cut and then assigns it out to one or two employees that do all the work. But that company has to buy software to run right? Of Course! But what does a company do when an Open Source product is better then the ones it is currently using? Do the people on the inside of the company prefer to use the same software, usually not until they have had that software pounded into their head, and even not then if it costs a lot. So why Open Source, is it the cure all? You still have to work, have hardware to run it on and so on and so forth. But then you can pay just for the time of an employee, you can try different solutions. And since we are speaking about web development, we can look at the amazing content managers that are Open Source such as Joomla, or PHPNuke where anybody can put the content in.
Big Companies and Open Source
So knowing that Open Source is free and it's freelancers and underpaid programmers that work on this with the occasional paid employees and projects that have sponsors, who benefits and who does not from the Open Source movement? I will readily let you know that I benefit extremely from all the free software that is out there in my own freelance web design, like I explained above, the software to edit graphics and HTML code is expensive, I could not imagine also paying for the FTP (File Transfer Protocol, use to upload files to a server) client. Now it is a given that all us little people save tons of money, but now who does it hurt? I was doing a little research and found that a lot of companies that were beginning to embrace Open Source solutions such as IBM and Novell, also any smaller company providing a service and struggling to become larger. The larger companies like IBM don't mind that the programs are free because they are making hardware and if people don't have to spend as much on software they would spend a little more on the hardware. Novell wouldn't mind because they can make the code flawlessly integrate with the Operating Systems that they can see all the code for. The only software company that is hurting (I'm sure I could find more if I looked) is Microsoft, funny to me it seems that Microsoft would put so much money and time into their gaming console when it specializes in its operating system. At first I though it was another piece of the market that Microsoft wanted to dominate, but now knowing how prevalent Open Source is becoming, it was actually a brilliant idea that will give them something to live off of when people eventually switch over to Linux or any other free OS.
The Internet in All We Do
The reason this article focuses on Web Development along with Open Source is that we spend so much of our computer time on the internet, if it were not for music I think I wouldn't need a large hard drive at all, I only have a few gigs of applications at any given time. But if my computer cannot connect to the internet I feel stranded! I mean, I got to check my e-mail (the two different online accounts that I have), edit or just view my website, chat with my family in Canada and friends that still live an hour or so south of Salt Lake City, and make web pages for other people. So the internet is critical for myself, and that is why I need Open Source products, I could never afford to buy high end software and then make a web page for as little as I do.
This Concludes this Broadcast Article
Thanks for reading and please give Open Source a chance, if you are using Google you can type in Linux, Joomla, SourceForge, or Open Source and you can find all that free software for Linux and Windows. Enjoy!