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Will the Arrogance of Proprietary Code Companies Last Forever? - BrainDump

Why does it take so much longer for bugs to get fixed in proprietary software than in open source software? It isn't just the number of "eyeballs" looking at the source code, or even the quality of those eyeballs; it's a matter of attitude. Keep reading to find out more.

  1. Open Source and Proprientary Approaches To Bugs and Quality
  2. The Costs/Quality Correlation
  3. If There is a Will, There is a Way
  4. Will the Arrogance of Proprietary Code Companies Last Forever?
By: Blue Moon
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October 04, 2005

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The most often quoted and unfortunately not the only example of arrogance in the software industry is Microsoft. If there were no external pressure, they would be happy not to disclose, not to mention fix, a single bug. Probably there are no reasons to believe that Microsoft or any other company that has a monopoly over a given market segment will voluntarily turn into a nice guy overnight.

The arrogant position of commercial companies is easily explainable, when taking into account the amount of money that is at stake.  Billions of dollars are invested in proprietary commercial software and the major concern for such a company is how to make a profit. If customers buy and digest what they are offered, why make additional expenses to improve something that in any case sells well?

I do not want to go into more detail in comparing the quality of open source and proprietary source applications simply because it is not possible to measure them one by one and then draw the line with the grand total. I just mean that the approach of open source towards bug is more progressive than the sometimes cowardly approach of proprietary code companies. And since quality revolves around bugs, which approach to them is accepted does matter.

By no means am I saying that open source software lacks problems with quality. On the contrary, there are enough of them, especially problems related to usability and applications integration. It is a widespread opinion that in general open source applications lag behind in the terms of user-friendliness and usability, and that it can be very tough to make the latest build of your favorite application run with the kernel of your choice, or integrate it painlessly with the other applications on your open source operating system.

Yes, it cannot be denied that usability and integration are also important and that they are also part of quality. But they come after reliability. If the system constantly crashes, who cares about smooth screen lines and the clear instructions in the dialog boxes?

>>> More BrainDump Articles          >>> More By Blue Moon

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