Again water cooler talk - revolving around free (and open source) software vs. commercial non-free software.
I am not a software engineer by any standards, but have had a small amount of exposure to the process of software development (particularly for scientific applications). yet I have always wondered how (or why) people agree to make software open source or free for that matter (with or without the source). The company I work for used a set of open source libraries called FOX for developing the GUI and design environment for their scientific software, and I used to wonder what we gain from using freeware or giving software we make for free or making i open source. Also, there are hundreds of and freewares and public domain open source softwares that are distributed under various public licensing methods - prominent examples include the Linux OS, GNUplot, Python etc. Similarly, for scientific applications, there are hundreds of numerical recipes, toolkits etc.
while there is great demand for free software, there is even more demand for open source software - and yet what I think is worse is that there seems to be a growing number of people who probably despise those who make and sell commercial software. I look at software in the same light as any other intellectual property, and if someone decides its worth making money out of - so be it. I am still trying to understand the mindset which decides that even very intricate and elaborate software should be made freeware. I myself use a lot of freeware tools and utilities for all kinds of small (but important) tasks, and I wonder where I would be if the developer had not made them free. But I sometimes try and put myself in the developer's shoes, and I am not entirely convinced that I would have offered those same utilities for free! perhaps if I develop software long enough, some things seem trivial enough that I would not think twice about giving them away for free!
look to see more posts on this topic ... I hope to read and understand more on this issue, and perhaps, my views at the end of it might have totally changed.
I have changed this entry since the first time I posted it, since I had mixed up open-source/freeware a bit. Here are two principal questions I had:
a) developers make their software freely available (this is often not open source, only free) - what is their motivation behind this?
b) motivation behind the opposition to those not providing open source software [IS THIS PREDOMINANTLY AN ANTI-MICROSOFT STANCE?].