So it seems… “Open Source” has become one of my primary concepts in my personal philosphy (not only applied to software, mind you).
I have been using Blender, GIMP and YafRay for some 5 months now, OpenOffice.org has replaced MS office, I have come to learn to work with Inkscape (if only because FINALLY I can create those professional looking logos companies have ). And let’s not forget about Firefox and Thunderbird.
Not that I’m communistic. Sharing tools and information to a certain extent can only benefit the entire world (what would’ve happened if education were NOT the way it is today? Think we would’ve gotten this far?).
So what are your experiences with open source and which open source apps do you use? What’s your view on the open source community?
I’m curious to know.
I would like to point out that, despite the fact we are using GNU-GLP programs, the work we produce with them many times are not shared under the same principles than their developers are producing them.
i use windows, but most of the software on it is open source.
there are a number of problems that you run into when going into professional work, such as the GIMP being highly underpowered against photoshop…
the largest issue facing ALL open-source software is user interfaces, these are just ignored to a large extent in development, and the GIMP for example is staunchly against improvements to its highly cumbersome interface.
i have a number of friends at university who use linux, and everything else, they use inkscape… but refuse to use the GIMP.
I really love Open Source. But in the end its the functionality that counts. So indeed I use quite a few Open Source (or Freeware) software, like Firefox (because some sites dont support IE on purpose and for compatibility checking), OpenOfficeOrg (because I really just need a good word processor), Inno Setup (The greatest installer tool for windows. It makes installers smaller than a Zip or RAR archive), Blender (because its the only 3D package I used that made me feel I actually was any good at modelling :), FileZilla (because I needed to replace CuteFTP) and probably some other software.
But some software is just not available as Open Source solution. I wish they were, but they aren’t. If you want to make and animate Flash, there’s only one solution, and I’m not talking about Abobe’s LiveMotion.
I would love to use Gimp, but even my old PhotoImpact works more intuitive, doesnt have floating windows and might have a few options I could not find in Gimp.
So bottom line: if there is an (actively maintained!!!) open source alternative I would gladly go there. Not to boycot commercial software but because the software fits my needs.
The best software is Open Source Software, the worst is not actively maintained open source software.
@Wizard & Saxofoner: it seems many Blenderartists rely on open source software… must be the stereotypical image of the poor artist trying to survive when one day he meets a beautiful girl… you know the story
@Alvaro: i think no-one would use open source software if the things produced with them were automatically licensed under the GPL
@Alltaken: I agree, GIMP is not suited for the pro work, but it is good for retoucher photographs.
@kit89: isn’t it wonderful to know you’re 100% freebie while still not doing enything illegal or unethical?
@Postmodern Boy: Hand-coding the HTML and CSS is cleaner and more efficient
@LOGAN: I agree. Open Source gets it’s quality from the amount of people that can work on it. I feel more confident downloading Open Source software than downloading free software (as in free beer) because the latter has a far greater risk of malware.
And indeed, some technologies cannot be brought to open source because they’re licensed (like the Linux folk who can’t use DirectX). I don’t know about flash, though.
Well. I’m not really poor; I do have a stable software developer job. Although I am trying to re-ignite the artistic flame I had in the past. My priorities tend to dictate where my money goes.
I used Windows for a while (its finally gone from my drive) and I basically got sick and tired of it crashing, requiring defrags, cleanups, re-installs and as time progresses, it boots up slower and slower. Linux is a much more stable and faster OS and frankly I can find everything I need in Linux that I would for Windows. Also, I cannot shell out $300 for Windows, $7000 for Maya or $3000 for 3DSMax or $800 for Photoshop CS… the numbers add up. I have better uses for that kind of dough like paying off loans, supporting family, paying for my car which I need for work and saving for the future. If and when I have a lot of money, I wouldn’t mind getting proprietary software but I believe by that time I’d be too used to Blender, Linux, GIMP, etc.
I have used more OSS programs over the past five years than I can count. Personally, I believe that trying to sell “Intellectual property” is a completely flawed business model. Digital data can be duplicated infinitely with 100% fidelity at almost zero cost. Infinite supply + Finite demand should mean free software.
Copyright laws turns a large proportion of the population of a modern country into criminals. A law that everyone breaks is a very poor law indeed. Copyright and patents protect software. It should be one or the other at most and certainly not both.
If I write a program I release the code free. The reason is I only write programs to do a job I need to do and not to sell the code. If there is a special piece of hardware in the laboratory I need to write software for then so be it. I will write the code and release it freely because I needed to write the code not to make money from the software but to use the machines for research.
Programmers should sell a service (their coding skills) and not code.
Think about it. This means programmers have to keep writing useful, innovative code to make money. This is called progress as opposed to writing something simple that everybody needs (eg a wordprocessor) once copyrighting it, sitting on it and selling a million copies (and charging for each copy). Copyright is like the goose that lays the golden egg to companies like Microsoft.
Of course a lot of people would go out of a job. Sad but true. That is what happens when you base your life on a flawed business model. Think how the “security” companies like Norton are fighting Microsoft over Vista because they based their business on Microsoft producing shitty software. Vista seems a little more secure so security software has less place. Bad business models shouldn’t be propped up.
This would mean that programmers cater to specialised needs - special hardware, special algorithms and so on. Companies would hire programmers to solve their specific problems. The point is that the code should then be made free so that if another company has a similar problem they can freely use the code. The company that hired the programmer benefit from getting increased productivity first. Currently programmers are constantly reinventing the wheel instead of adding and expanding existing code bases. It is so wasteful. Why are there so many commercial word processors out there? Why not fork the OpenOffice code for different uses?
Face it - a lot of people will need things like a word processor. Enough people that even if a tiny proportion of the user base can code and contribute even a little, there will be enough code to make a decent application. This isn’t about being altruistic - if you need direct pdf export, code it yourself for yourself but make the fruits of your labour free to all.
You don’t even need to be a programmer to help with OSS. Web site design, testing builds, feature suggestions all help. Everyone can contribute. Just spreading the word to people that free software exists helps. Information that isn’t based on any physical media, that could be free for all should be free for all.
Open source is altogether better. Sure sometimes it can be hard to create tight code. But there are standards that can be maintained. Generally, open source has much quicker release cycles and is much more in tune with what people need and want. I trust open source so much more - being able to see the code assures me there are no dirty tricks, no malware, spyware and addware. There may be but it could always be cut out and redistributed.
A progressive, enlightened society uses OSS and still makes money. A corrupt, selfish, greedy one basis itself on closed software and per copy charges then complains and “cracks down” on piracy.
I am afraid we live in the latter.
As there are going to be plenty of open source fans on this thread, I feel like sharing some of the goodness to the uninitiated. I have used all of the following and they are all pretty good at what they do. This also proves the point that you can find an open source solution to virtually everything. Oh and that I am addicted to OSS of course.
So here is a list of the best projects I have encountered:
I’m not militantly open source, but a strongly support it, and would probably break a lot of very valuable things with my bear hands if ever open source went “extinct”.
Unlike RMS, I don’t believe it is an ethical issue. But I do support open source whole-heartedly, and prefer to use it over commercial apps when possible and practical. Partly for the cost, but mostly because open source never locks you in (product lock-in is something that I do think is an ethical issue). Commercial apps have a nasty tendency of trying to do that.
I think the open source movement is probably one of the best things that’s happened to the software industy. But for me the really important issues are open standards and software patents (good and usually bad respectively).
Those two issues are the keys to keeping open source software viable, as well as to keeping the commercial software industry a place of genuine competition based on software quality rather than product lock-in.
The only problem with open source is that sometimes I feel a little bored unless I have some new program/release/feature to play with. It is fun to tinker and there is not much new to tinker with at the moment (that said I am playing around with Makehair right now :)).
Are there there anything killer out there right now?