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OPEN DREAMS BUT CLOSED FUTURE

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I have been a huge follower and supporter of the free and open source software movement. Since college, the world of Linux and software like OpenOffice, GIMP etc were of my prime interest. Open source was the thing for me. It motivated me to advertise its use to others and so I co-started a Drive for Open Source Software (DOSS). It was great but somehow, deep within me there was this lack of confidence. 

If you closely study the plethora of proprietary and open source software available in the market, the licensed counterparts provided limited but error-free user experience. They had a different feel to them which only their user could understand. To be a hardcore open source follower you had to sometimes accept that things might go wrong and crashes would be a common affair. Incompatibility issues were just the tip of the iceberg.

I feel the problem with open source is not the quality of the software they provide, but the lack of foresight when it comes to user experience. For instance, forget playing youtube flash videos, finding flash player for some linux distributions was such a pain. Only a geeky user would have the patience to type-in a list of commands, and then consider himself lucky to have done the right thing. 

Microsoft and Apple won the battle by a long margin due to this very reason. They concentrated on user friendly behavior, user satisfaction and most of all they had one controlling body. In the case of linux, the sheer number of distributions available scared the novice users away. The complication of a simple task to choose an everyday Operating System is so difficult for a linux user.

The linux community must understand that for their business model to be successful, they must compete with proprietary operating systems in terms of user satisfaction and experience. Sometimes spending time to fix a few minor issues is more important than implementing new network stacks which the novie user doesn’t know or care about. 

A regulating body is required to control the growth and provide direction to the Free software ideology. Its a simple motto for such organizations, SETTLE ONLY FOR THE BEST……..

 

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