A senior Microsoft executive told a BBC documentary that people should use
commercial software if they're looking for stability.
"I don't think (open source) is anti-Microsoft in the sense that it's giving
people choices in the technologies that they use," Jonathan Murray, the vice president and chief technology
officer of Microsoft Europe, told BBC World in the first part of the documentary
"The Code Breakers," which aired last week.
"Some people want to use community-based software, and they get value out of
sharing with other people in the community. Other people want the reliability
and the dependability that comes from a commercial software model. And again, at
the end of the day, you make the choice based on what has the highest value to
you," Murray continued.
It isn't clear from Murray's statement which category he believes commercial
open-source companies such as Red Hat and MySQL fit into.
Nicholas Negroponte, the founder of the One Laptop Per Child project, was also
interviewed in the documentary, and he disagreed
with Microsoft's claim that open source is inferior.
"We've chosen free and open software because it's better, and because it
means the children can participate in making the software better over time,"
Kenneth Cukier, a technology correspondent for The Economist,
weighed in halfway between the two by claiming that open source offers similar functionality to proprietary software.
"One can consider open-source software a lot like generic drugs. The analogy
fits," Cukier said in the documentary. "Open-source software...is essentially
the same product--it does the same thing on a computer--but it costs less,"
Cukier told BBC World.
The documentary also included footage of Richard Stallman, the founder
of the Free Software Foundation, giving a speech, and interviews with people
working on open-source projects in developing countries, such as the SchoolNet
Namibia project and the Digital Doorway project in South Africa.
Part 2 of "The Code Breakers" is due to be screened next week on Monday,
Wednesday and Thursday. Program times can be found on the BBC World Web site.
Currently, the documentary is only available on BBC World, which is not
broadcast in the United Kingdom.