When do you drop your closed source vendor?

Summary:Many people won't use anything but open source software, but for the rest of us it's a gradual weaning away process.

Wilber, the gimp, reading the manual
Many people won't use anything but open source software, but for the rest of us it's a gradual weaning away process.

Personally, I just switched over to Thunderbird, the e-mail client from Mozilla. A few months before I switched to Gimp, the picture editor. (That's Wilber, the Gimp mascot, reading the manual to the left.)

I had these programs on my drive for months before making the move. What I mean in this case is I started using these open source tools exclusively, and stopped using the closed source alternatives.

In fact, my main use of Internet Explorer these days is for writing this blog. About 90% of my time is spent with Firefox instead.

In all these cases, I decided that the open source programs were better, or that my old closed source programs were just not worth the trouble anymore.

But will people go through the same process with device software? Will they, for instance, all use Rockstar to run their iPods?

Even though Rockstar has some nifty features, including support for the FLAC codec, I doubt many people will really shut down their iPod for Rockstar any time soon.

The reason is the continual support Apple gives the product. The regular updates are much like the daily updates your anti-viral gives you. They continually remind you of the product's value, and the vendor's care for you.

There is a lesson here for proprietary vendors, a lesson wise vendors have learned.

Topics: Open Source


Dana Blankenhorn has been a business journalist since 1978, and has covered technology since 1982. He launched the Interactive Age Daily, the first daily coverage of the Internet to launch with a magazine, in September 1994.

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