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Innovations and a bitter truth

posted Dec 24, 2010, 10:27 AM by Jageshwar Tripathi   [ updated Mar 28, 2012, 2:08 PM ]
Aim behind open source initiatives and community was to make standards and develop software on open standards. Benefit in open standard software was portability, re usability and elimination of vendor dependency.

Lot many open source initiatives and projects came in last decade. Most of them were really great initiatives. These projects set an example how community can drive the technology and what are the benefits of open source.

Dark side

Previously maturity of open source tools was a problem. Support, proper documentation and trained workforce were also some issues raised by people but these are non issues now a days with many open source software tools available.
Issues now a days are- it is becoming incompatible, non reusable, non portable, proprietary and most importantly expensive.

Reason

When open source was started large number of vendors were also involved in it and were promoting it, but they were promoting it to fight with another proprietary non open source house (you can easily guess who). At that time these vendors (supporter of open source) were interested in selling hardware. Now when open source became mature, great and worth selling, these vendors are trying to sell open source means they want to earn money from it.

Vendors have made "Java" language itself incompatible on various platforms because every one implemented JVM according to his own wish. Idea behind letting others implement JVM was to promote better quality of JVM but strict implementation of specification was expected so that anything developed on Java can be ported on any platform and JVM.
Now they have made their own JVM and if you have written some application on a specific vendors JVM sometimes you will feel that now it is risky to move to other. Few years back it happened but JVM is not an issue now a days. Issue is what happened next.....

J2EE specification was a great promise to the business community that once an application is written it can be ported to any J2EE compliant application server.
Now every vendor has written J2EE application server according to his proprietary libraries and they only promote those proprietary things.

What is the disadvantage

Most promising thing about open source (Java) is diluted that is "write once run anywhere".

New tools are coming every day and developers have to learn tools every day. Organizations ask them:- "did you work on this (xyz Java Application Server)) server?" How funny about open standards?
So you don't have large number of common work force but have specific folks and then they become costlier not only because they ask for more money but because you don't have sufficient numbers of developers at right time.

Now next dangerous step vendors are moving towards is:- making hit open source software proprietary by imposing worst licensing. Either vendors have acquired these open source organizations or these organizations themselves became money friendly vendors.

Solution

Community should stand firmly to protect work done by community and save open source.

Vendors should realize that things should be on standards not on proprietary specifications. In manufacturing industry manufacturers don't use different specifications or standards and in fact various parts are standardized. You can use same tyres on so many models. Manufacturing or any other industry (either mechanical or electrical) are surviving and making life better by creating difference with quality, real value and benefit.

At least industry should finalize common specifications of core things. There is a huge scope of making the difference so basic things should not be used to make a difference.

If industry and these vendors will not think about it we will never have a mature industry like manufacturing industry and we will be fighting forever for compatibility and other issues.