I'm a high school student and I'm trying to get some extra credit. I came up with a solution to satisfy both my english teacher and my computing teacher (I think they've got the hots for each other, which is a good thing cause I get to hit two birds with one stone
We all agreed upon a debate script on Proprietary Software vs Open Software.
Just to let you know I don't use either linux or windows, but have tried both and do use open source software like gimp/audacity quite often because of my computing teacher who basically introduced our class to open software.
Anyway I have some questions if someone would be kind enough to answer:
1a) How would a programmer make money from open source software? Lets say I was a programmer and then I created some useful software. Would it be better for me to close the source or open it? If I close the source and patent it, I could strike it rich. So what would be the advantages for the individual who created it (other than the good feeling of giving something to the masses) of distributing software with the source open?
1b) I've heard that open source software is to be marketed as a service and that a company who choses to open their source make this their business model? Could someone give me an idea of how this is done in real life and it's advantages over traditional methods used to sell software.
2) How do software patents come into this battle between open and closed?
Thanks for those who answer and join the discussion. I may have some more questions and I encourage anyone interested to ask their own questions and also anyone who may like to shed some light on the topic from a historical/psychological/'industrial competitiveness' POV to join too. (Industrial competitiveness because I've read about the halloween memo and also read some things about how Bill Gates used to quarrel with the rather small (compared to today) computing community of the past over a version of the programming language basic he created - if some one can give me some links to find info about these events it would be helpful).
In case you're wondering what I really think about all of this then here it is (my POV is concerned mostly with your average day to day users of software):
The masses don't care how their software is made, who made it might influence them with huge advertising campaigns by big companies like Microsoft, Google, Apple and when someone brings up something no ones heard of the average consumers natural instinct would be to look down upon the product until they try it at least. Most of the users who try it forget about it because for starters they are used to whatever they are used to and, IMO, they believe that it is in some way inferior to proprietary software because they don't get the traditional support and if they can't get it to work they believe it's too hard or that its not for them. They can't remember names like aptitude for installing/updating - it should be easily identifiable as a program used for installing and updating their computer. These days most linux distributions like ubuntu are just as easy to use as proprietary OS's, but then again the masses are used to like I said, what they are used to and there lies the problem. What opensource needs is to get communities like ubuntu to further standardize their services so that they have interfaces for programs, like they have for aptitude. Then some huge advertising campaigns. Also some people need to start some companies to provide closed drivers for hardware that is closed so that all open OS's may use them at least for a price. Centralization IMO would be the key. If there is some way to centralize all open source projects to work together, then there would be no stopping open source software.
I hope one day be able to buy things labeled Linux Capable or #INSERT YOUR DISTRIBUTION# Capable. Thats a right a consumer should have and a market that isn't properly catered for, I can only wonder why it isn't.
p.s: At the end this has sort of turned into an windows vs linux debate but software whether open or closed runs on a platform OS.