New FUD… FLOSS Too Efficient…

It never ceases to amaze me how creative folks who discourage wide usage of FLOSS can be. They are true conmen contorting reality in what appears to be reasonable ways.
“The reason closed source software does not deliver the most value to society seems to be obvious, von Engelhardt elaborates, the lack of code sharing results in a wasteful duplication of effort. That open source software is not welfare-optimal either, is less obvious. Beside the advantage of cost sharing, it also has a disadvantage: open source software helps firms to avoid competition, because shared code can no longer be used to differentiate one firm from another. Since the software is an important determinant for the product quality, code sharing enables firms to avoid quality competition at this level. This has nearly the same effect as an official quality cartel among OSS-using firms would have had: output is reduced while firm profits go up.”
see Open versus closed source: a delicate balance.

Chuckle. High efficiency is good for everyone, software suppliers, distributors, hardware suppliers, end-users. It’s all good. Get it? That competing businesses use the same basic code is not a disadvantage in any way. It levels the playing field and requires competitors to work harder to distinguish themselves with consumers. How can that be bad?

Ghandi was right. When the opposition fights you, you’ve won. Clearly FLOSS has won when such silly arguments are brought forward. They only seem reasonable because they are only considering software and not service as the figure of merit to be proffered on the market. Clearly it is unfair to FLOSS to judge its efficiency a disadvantage. Why is the same argument not put forward to all the “partners” of M$ pushing Wintel solutions? Where’s the ability to distinguish themselves in that?

Bottom line, there’s no room for non-Free software in government, business, organizations or consumers’ computers. It’s less efficient and far more costly than FLOSS. The hypothesis that FLOSS is somehow a single source of supply is crazy. I can take the Linux kernel and change it legally to make my kernel different from anyone else. Since I don’t code in C, I might be able to make changes in error-messages or configurable parameters, but I could do it. Same goes for applications. How many choices of word-processor or spreadsheet does one need to see that monopoly has no place in the world of FLOSS?

While this study is useful in part that it decries the non-FREE-only solution it is not useful in spreading yet more FUD about FLOSS.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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3 Responses to New FUD… FLOSS Too Efficient…

  1. oiaohm says:

    Der Balrog its fairly much FUD does not matter how much you read it.

    Makes a lot of presumes that using FOSS will cause companies not to want to alter there product to be different. In fact from what Samsung and HTC are doing with Android you can fairly much say not the case. Samsung is even giving the alterations back.

    Yes the magical idea you can sit on backside and do nothing. This is more true with closed source than open. Someone cannot look inside closed and find that your code quality is crap like they can with OS.

    Truth, lies and statistics. Is exactly what Engelhardt’s paper is.

    –On the contrary: in the model world the most obvious way to improve welfare were to tax open source firms and to give breaks to closed source firms.–

    Come on how does this make any sense.

    Reality here from a Government security point of view being able to audit the source code for hidden backdoors is a good thing.

    Engelhardt writes from the point of view that Closed source is required. Its not really.

    Lot of competition happens in FOSS vs FOSS. Apache is not the only open source http server. nginx is getting up to matching and passing Microsoft.

    True once a market gets dominated by FOSS closed source does have a hard time. But that is not without good reasons. Mostly that FOSS starts to evolve faster than the closed source entities can.

    Statistics is really simple to draw up a graphic backing any point of view. Yes it possible to draw up a Statistic graphic that says it sane to kill you next door neighbour because of the trouble they can cause you.

    He focuses on the downsides without the upsides.

  2. Der Balrog says:

    Do me a favor, Pogson. Read Engelhardt’s paper, try to understand what he’s saying, then try to formulate a valid counter-argument.

    Because you haven’t read it. You’ve merely taken a single statement out of context. Can you do better?

  3. This is the same Broken Window Fallacy that they trot out again and again:
    http://bastiat.org/en/twisatwins.html#broken_window

    Resources not wasted on trying to keep a broken computer system running will be invested in other, more productive activities. In some cases, the resources will even be invested in activities that will produce a return on investment. Same goes for resources spent on trying to reinvent the wheel.

    The four BSDs also provide a living example of how differentiation can occur even in spite of licensing. While it is true that advances in one area in one distro tend to eventually make it over into the other distros, each has its own set of priorities and thus an area where it advances ahead of the others. There are also lots of businesses that already work FOSS into their business models and also provide counter examples to the disinformation. Even when working off of the same code base, it is easy for businesses to differentiate themselves by specializing in certain activities or domains.

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