Seminar Paper, 2005, 22 Pages
Critique for the Open Source Development Model
25.02.2005, Winterterm 2004
1 Introduction 2
1.1 Disambiguation 3
1.2 History of Open Source Software 3
2 Strengths of OS 5
2.1 Open Source Definition OSD 5
3 Weaknesses of OS 7
3.1 Problems and Limitations 7
3.2 Conflicts Among Developers 9
3.3 Pseudoproblems 11
3.4 Death of an OS Project 13
4 Legal Questions 14
4.1 Warranty 14
4.2 Announcement of Source Code 14
4.3 Development and Payment 15
4.4 Leasing 15
4.5 Allocation for Download 15
4.6 Patent Right 15
4.7 Licenses 16
5 Examples 17
5.1 Unix 17
5.2 GNU 18
5.3 Linux 18
5.4 Costs Example 19
6 Conclusion 20
This paper will show the problematic aspects of Open Source Software by looking behind the scenes and unveiling its mask of a happy and satisfied world of cooperating hobby-programmers with an enormous creative potential.
You can hardly find another topic moving the software world more than the dispute between Open Source and Commercial Software [End00]. You can simplified describe the following positions.
First Open Source promotes developing software in non-industrial organizations or during a bureaucratic process but through spontaneous cooperation by interested people who don’t have any business relationships. Second, users are said acquiring software not only in form of object but to insist on the source code. Third, Software should be preferably given away. And Fourth, Software should be given away without any protection of copyright or license [End00].
Glass, an American observer of the software scene, wrote that he didn’t understand two facts about the open source movement: programmers lovely read anybody’s code and people work for others without getting paid. But there are more understanding problems with this new cult. When you look behind the mascots and easygoing sayings then questions about the main assumptions of this field of activity come up [End00]. A very famous paper named ”Cathedral and the Bazaar” from 1999 described open source development model as a bazaar. The author Eric Steven Raymond wrote: ”I believed that the most important software (operating systems and really large tools like the Emacs programming editor) needed to be built like cathedrals, carefully crafted by individual wizards or small bands of mages working in splendid isolation, with no beta to be released before its time. Linus Torvalds’s style of development release early and often, delegate everything you can, be open to the point of promiscuity came as a surprise. No quiet, reverent cathedral building here rather, the Linux community seemed to resemble a great babbling bazaar of differing agendas and approaches (aptly symbolized by the Linux archive sites, who’d take submissions from anyone) out of which a coherent and stable system could seemingly emerge only by a succession of miracles. The fact that this bazaar style seemed to work, and work well, came as a distinct shock.” [Ray99] He showed OS as a magic solution [Bez99]:
• Open source is a progressive phenomenon (bright future of mankind) with no problems.
• The best open source projects employ the so-called ”bazaar model”.
• Microsoft should be destroyed.
• All software developers are moving towards the ”gift economy” in a ”post scarcity society”.
• The open source movement consist of ideal cooperative people. Conflicts are few and can be resolved within a community.
• Like a primitive society the movement is (successfully) regulated by unwritten norms and taboos.
That sounds so amazing that I wonder why not every software is developed during an open source software process? Later on this paper will show that reality isn’t that simple.
Open source wasn’t the whole time the title for what this paper is about. The turnaround from free to open source software took place in the already mentioned paper ”The Cathedral and the bazaar”. In his versions until 1998 Raymond uses the expression ”free software”, after it was replaced by ”open source”. The word free is not only ambiguous (like free beer and free speech) but also a little bit dirty. Free Software was formed by Richard Stallman, the founder of GNU movement. Its devotees still keep this term alive. Officially, Open source became the new name during OSI foundation meeting in February 1998. Reason for this meeting gave Netscape’s decision to lay open the source code of their browser. After this historical step the computer and financial press used the new term ”open source”. Devotees of free software still criticise that ”open sourcers” would only focus on pragmatical aspects, usability, features, reliability and the efficiency of software. They would disregard beliefs like freedom, community and other principles. ”In fact, that’s the genuine difference between these similar terms: free software follows a political philosophy and open source software is a development model.” [Gra02] Stallman says the following sentences when he categorises software: [hSI05]
”The term open source software is used by some people to mean more or less the same thing as free software. However, their criteria are somewhat less strict; they have accepted some kinds of license restrictions that we have rejected as unacceptable. We prefer the term free software”
1.2 History of Open Source Software
Let’s have a short look on the short history of OSS. Software was delivered as free adjunct with new computers until middle 60’s. Manufactures made exclusively money of hardware. Source Codes were freely available for all enthusiastic programmers in the whole world. First 1965 IBM finished delivering source code together with operation systems of computers. At the beginning of the 70’s several programmers assert making much money out of their own developed software. With the aid of license contracts narrowing or even restricting dissemination of software from one user to another they protected their sources of income. Source Codes became the best kept secrets of young businessmen.
Almost ten years later Software was developed behind closed doors. In this way manufacturers could retain control of their tools. Non-Disclosure-Agreements bared programmers from free enhancements their products. Richard Stallman from the MIT and the later founder of Free Software Foundation was so unsatisfied with this evolution that he decided in 1984 to reproduce a free software package named GNU. His aim was the recreation of open co-operation among software developers to benefit for all computer users. Moreover Stallman created GNU General Public License (GPL) protecting the freedom of software. The word ”free” let the economy become quietly sceptic. That gave Eric S. Raymond 1998 reason to propose naming software together with open source code in the future Open-Source-Software. The Open Source Definition says nothing about using open source software among commercial software. [Gra02], [Ber05]
2 Strengths of OS
Research paper, 32 Pages
Term Paper (Advanced seminar), 27 Pages
Seminar Paper, 28 Pages
Diploma Thesis, 140 Pages
Diploma Thesis, 137 Pages
Bachelor Thesis, 50 Pages
Research paper, 26 Pages
Diploma Thesis, 99 Pages
Diploma Thesis, 78 Pages
Research paper, 74 Pages
Research paper, 32 Pages
Term Paper (Advanced seminar), 27 Pages
GRIN Publishing, located in Munich, Germany, has specialized since its foundation in 1998 in the publication of academic ebooks and books. The publishing website GRIN.com offer students, graduates and university professors the ideal platform for the presentation of scientific papers, such as research projects, theses, dissertations, and academic essays to a wide audience.
Free Publication of your term paper, essay, interpretation, bachelor's thesis, master's thesis, dissertation or textbook - upload now!