Users say open source quality high

Users say open source quality high

Summary: A new poll by Methods & Tools magazine shows that of people that had an opinion, 82% ranked open source software such as MySQL, Eclipse, PHP, or JBoss superior or identical in quality to their commercial equivalents.

TOPICS: Open Source

A new poll by Methods & Tools magazine shows that of people that had an opinion, 82% ranked open source software such as MySQL, Eclipse, PHP, or JBoss superior or identical in quality to their commercial equivalents. Several possible reasons are given for this perception:

- Developers and users (not customers!) have a higher sense of product's ownership. They feel that they both contribute to something special and it is not "just a job" or "just a product"

- The relationship between users and developers are less confrontational because:

  • money is not the matter
  • expectations are often different
  • open source organisations seems to have a better responsiveness to customers requests/bugs

Out of 524 people who participated in the survey, 30% said there was no simple answer or didn't have experience with both commercial and open source. Out of the rest, approximately 54% said open source was the same quality, 28% said it was superior, and 18% said it was inferior.


Topic: Open Source

Ed Burnette

About Ed Burnette

Ed Burnette is a software industry veteran with more than 25 years of experience as a programmer, author, and speaker. He has written numerous technical articles and books, most recently "Hello, Android: Introducing Google's Mobile Development Platform" from the Pragmatic Programmers.

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  • Now if only it had some features.

    But that of course is where the going gets tough.
    • What features that YOU need?

      What is missing in OpenOffice that YOU need?

      What is missing in FireFox that YOU need?

      What is missing in the GIMP that YOU need?

      What is missing in Ubuntu that YOU need?
      Tsu Dho Nimh
      • Wrong Domain

        The survey was by [i]Methods & Tools[/i] magazine. I think we can assume that the survey was focused on methods and tools, not end-user apps and not operating systems.

        That said, I wonder what "missing" features of MySQL, Eclipse, PHP, or JBoss Axe needs.
        • Missing features of MySQL?

          Security, reliability. It's not so long since they FINALY got some transaction support.

          Luckily PostgreSQL is there to pick up the gauntlet for the Open Source side.

          (and what I think about PHP doesn't bear repeating here)
      • Good Luck

        You are asking too valid a question that can't be answered with a political answer that obfuscates and deflects the answer while "technically" answering the question. People have been trying to nail precise responses from No Axe for a long time all over ZDNet and he just ignores when questions get too specific.

        My question would be "What version of Linux did you last install and explore it's capabilties. How SPECIFICALLY did it not measure up". There won't be an answer, it is easier to fall back on the tried and (a few years ago true) statements such as "Hardware support is a joke, installation of programs is hard, etc".

        DRM or C.R.A.P. content is the only MS advantage that exists today (aside from specialty obscure apps), and specifically, Linux available or not, I don't want it. Crossover and Transgaming for the Quicken/Doom users out there. Course, you could try MoneyDance, GnuCash, Grisby, etc free.

        • No Axe is just a Loverock Clone

          Sometimes I have to do a double take on their name to remember which is which.
          • RE: No Axe is just a Loverock Clone

            Except that when No Axe puts his mind to it he
            can produce a good post. I have NEVER seen a
            post worth reading from Loverock!
      • Let also not forget...

        Although based on a proprietary platform Open Source doesn't only extend to *nix systems.

        Include DotNetNuke in there. An absolutely amazing open source CMS product.
    • That sword cuts both ways.

      Open source software typically is less polished, and if it's not software that programmers find exciting it's often spare and even hostile... because they don't use it, they don't encounter its bugs!

      But in other areas open-source software is far ahead of commercial software. I've had my personal colo provided by a hosted FreeBSD "jail" for years now - it gives me the same order of protection from other people sharing the same physical hardware that a virtual machine does, without the overhead of running multiple copies of an operating system... and traditional UNIX systems like FreeBSD and Linux provide a whole spectrum of mechanisms to run multiple instances of services on a shared computer that Windows and even Apple's UNIX-based Mac OS find it hard to do... from simply using a separate configuration file, through installing in separate trees, chroot, to FreeBSD jails, to user-mode Linux, to virtual machines.

      I don't use an open source word processor, but I wouldn't want to use Windows Vista or OS X Leopard for an internet server even if I had the source code.

      Because the bottom line is that every product is designed to do a set of things well, and rarely does a good job outside that area. Microsoft and Apple own the desktop, that's fine, they can have it... I'll keep open source in the back room, though, because that's where it works best.
    • You can do better

      You think all those businesses running on the web are feature lacking. I agree, Google, Google Maps, Google Video, Google earth are also rans to the overwhelmingly network dominating and far superior offerings of all "MSN".

      And on the desktop, yes, for 7 years now I have been stuck using a text browser in a single command line just hoping for the day I can get a color screen desktop on my linux box. That will be a good day. None of us can do absolutely anything you do on your computer, and we ENJOY punishing ourselves.

      I expected something along the lines of "Vista will change the world and crush open source" or "Of course they like open source, but there are only 42 people using it".

      Take a live CD for a spin, then take a live MS CD for a spin, compare the two. Or install Ubuntu and thousands of apps, then compare price against Notepad in XP.

      • True Ubuntu in my opinion is the best OS ever

        I get physically sick when I have to boot to Windows.

        Luckly it is only a temperary condition and I can't wait to go back to Ubuntu.
    • It's really commerical software....

      Because many companies have steaked their strategy on the back door (slip in the OS solution as free, then sell support or your other high cost products that build on the OS solution), much open source software is now also commercial software. That's because the people doing the majority of the contributing are being paid to do so as part of their job for a for-profit organization.

      Another category of open source are hand-me-downs ... solutions that didn't make it in the market or are no longer big players, and have developed a second lease on life because of being released open source. Ingres/Postgres/whatever it's calling itself these days is a good example. Also the Java DB open sourced by IBM, Apache Derby. Or Sun's donation to start Open Office.

      Some of these are just commercial back-stabs at the competition. I think one of Sun's aims in releasing Open Office to open source was primarily just to cultivate a means of undermining Microsoft's office platform.

      But, open source primarily just mops up old tech. The new stuff, where the future money is to be made, will in my guess remain securely proprietary or obviously amateurish.
      • Old tech

        [i]But, open source primarily just mops up old tech.[/i]

        You mean like Apache, Sendmail, BIND,, POVray, and all that?
        Yagotta B. Kidding
        • Yes, those are good examples

          All technologies with analogues initially developed for-profit. Not that they aren't still relevant technologies, since obviously they are.

          It has been the role of open source that it provides a lower cost alternative to already well-defined existing needs, usually already being met by for-profit software. I think it's a large part of the motivation for starting an open source project.

          I don't see that changing much.
          • Check your history

            [i]All technologies with analogues initially developed for-profit. [/i]

            Hate to break the news to you, but all of them are examples of technologies where they were the pioneers.

            If you think that any of them are knock-offs, by all means point out the history of the proprietary software that they copied. Dates, please.
            Yagotta B. Kidding
  • It's good enough for 95% of the users

    I have a couple of quibbles with OpenOffice's feature set, but it's suitable for almost all writing needs.

    The GIMP, for the type of photo editing I do, produces results that are indistinguishable from the results produced by Adobe's $$$ software.

    And I continue to push the "good enough" aspect to others.
    Tsu Dho Nimh
    • Sliding off topic.

      The [i]Methods & Tools[/i] survey being discussed said nothing about "good enough" end-user apps. It concluded that the respondents felt that the [i]development tools[/i] being discussed were of [i]identical or superior[/i] quality to their commercial counterparts.

      While I agree with the sentiment regarding these FOSS end-user apps (to the point where I use them almost exclusively), they are not even arguably superior yet, and they're certainly not the apps about which the respondents were polled.

      Just keepin' it real.
    • Open Source is a value of it's own that should be considered

      So a good enough OpenSource + Free + Customisable + can be rid of Microsoft = Much superior to Commercial software.

      Everyone needs to look at the full picture. Because the above formula is a more stable and secure working envirenment.