RE: Open Source (was: Re: the economics of transition to nanotech)

From: Billy Brown (
Date: Thu Jan 13 2000 - 10:56:12 MST

Robert Bradbury wrote:
> Eliezer, while I applaud Eric and Open Source in general, as a
> programmer I must simply tell you that Open Source *does* have
> limitations. If the complexity is too great, or the underlying
> architecture too poor or the number of people trying to
> simultaneously modify the same code too large (requiring someone
> to interpret the spagetti that results), then open-source may not
> be faster, nor work better.

in reply, Rik van Riel wrote:
> Situations like this is _exactly_ where closed source companies
> foul up and where open source succeeds...


Since no one has ever attempted to build anything big using Open Source
methods, you can hardly claim that they have been proven to work better.
Linux is tiny compared to most modern commercial software, both in terms of
LOC and of total functionality. Mozilla was only a mid-sized app by modern
standards, and look what happened to it...

I'm with Robert on this one. Open Source is better than the code-and-fix
swamp that most software companies have mired themselves in, but it is
fundamentally incompatible with any disciplined practice of software
engineering. Since the benifits of a modern software engineering system are
much larger than those of open source (there are ducumented instances of
productivity gains as large as 600-to-1, and sustained improvements of 20% -
50% per year are commonplace), it is pretty obvious which approach should
win out.

Fox anyone who is curious about this topic, I recommend Steve McConnel's
"Rapid Development" and "After the Gold Rush" as a good intruduction to what
software engineering is, why we need it, and what results we can expect from

E. William Brown V, MCSD

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