The Limits of Open Source -
In the Introduction I describe myself as
an open source advocate but see limits as to where it's
applicable. In particular, internally developed custom software
that defines core business processes and products will never be
open sourced. If we understand open source's natural limits,
we'll do a better job promoting open source software where it is
appropriate. The goal of open source should be to build better
software, not to dictate licenses. Open source can declare
victory when open source products are used so widely that no one
company can dominate any important computing area.
In Jet Engine Control Software I
discuss a classic competitive market, where software plays a role
in defining the product, and explain why General Electric would
never relinquish the competitive advantage it maintains in the
jet engine market, through its proprietary control of jet engine
control software and engineering knowledge.
In Impact on Software Industry I discuss
how open source software threatens Microsoft but to a lesser degree
the entire software industry as it exists today. Practical obstacles
prevent open source software from reaching its potential.
For several reasons including its monopoly position,
Government can take effective
advantage of open source software and not suffer some
consequences that private businesses might face.
For most of the same reasons that open source makes sense in
government, Open Source also belongs in
Schools. In addition, it should be a much better teaching
environment, especially when teaching about computers.
To dateVertical Market Software has
generally done a very poor job serving its clients. Some of the
reasons why are discussed.
A large professional association, such as AMA, could play a central
role in bringing
Open Source to Medicine,
by leading a large open source project, to develop high quality
medical office practice management software, for use by all its
members. To recoup lost revenues from vertical market vendors,
who would otherwise be advertising and exhibiting with AMA, the
open source license model would require adjustment, so that only
AMA members could use the newly developed software.
The Conclusion recaps some of the main
points already covered.
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