[H-GEN] Good news for us unix-heads

Arjen Lentz arjen at mysql.com
Wed Jan 23 04:03:51 EST 2002

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Hi Raymond,

On Fri, 2002-01-18 at 14:56, Raymond Smith wrote:
> Can our community really claim to be different? Even the GPL includes
> clauses like this. I think people could come to 'trust' Microsoft software
> for the same reasons that they 'trust' the Apache Software Foundation:
> because they produce a good product with demonstrable reliability.
> Certainly there are other factors. For us, we can trust Apache more than
> IIS because we have the source and can see how it works. But when it comes
> down to Joe Average Businessman all it takes is for the product to work
> first time, every time and he will be happy. Especially when there is
> already an established culture of software manufactures being
> unaccountable for the crud they produce.

The latter is exactly why GPL and accountability is important.
With closed source, it is indeed a matter of (blind) trust and
(hopefully) the good reputation of the software vendor.

With GPL, the quality is independently verifyable: nothing to hide. I
don't think that that kind of trust is at all comparable with closed
source vendors. The GPL verified quality, and any additional service,
still reflects on the vendor's reputation, which is as it should be. It
bridges the gap that was perhaps only created because closed source
software vendors have pretty much squandered the consumer's confidence
with arrogance and bad attitude. (now there's an interesting subject for
a discussion ;-)

No software is bug free, and everybody knows it. Beyond assuring basic
quality, the most important thing is how a vendor deals with problems.
Denying problems is always bad. And it has been proven time and time
again that security through obscurity (or closed source, proprietary
trickery) is not security at all, but a disaster waiting to happen.

Of course the issue is not yet quite so clear for J.BusinessPerson, but
I can assure you that there is a definite shift there too. Companies are
definitely becoming more educated about the realities of software, and
they are actively looking at any option that will work to their
advantage. I don't think they are any longer as short sighted as you
suggest ;-). It's a long process, and there are always issues with
existing contracts, long established procedures, etc. But it is

Even if you disregard the GPL factor (verifyable code quality), I would
go as far as to suggest that GPL software vendors still have an
advantage now and in the future. It's the culture thing....


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