Where's the Empirical Evidence for Open Source Superiority?

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Eric Raymond, in “The Cathedral and the Bazaar,” proclaims the wonders of open source development. But where is the evidence for its superiority? Where is the empirical evidence? Linux is successful, but closed source Windows and Macintosh are far more successful! Why has closed source software won in these two cases? Because most users don’t want to be developers. When you go to write an English paper, you just want a word-processor that works, not one that forces you to fight through bugs and to add new features. From the developer’s perspective it’s very nice to have your users be your debuggers and co-developers, but most users don’t want those extra jobs. The only users that happily fill that role are in a technically-orientated minority. For that reason open source is not the way of the future, but it survives and thrives in its own niche.

One thought on “Where's the Empirical Evidence for Open Source Superiority?

  1. Update: my opinion on this has changed. Open source is often more technically-oriented, but that’s not a requirement.
    The big difference is closed-Source software usually has a solid business model, whereas open source usually doesn’t and so is developed by volunteers who don’t have as much time or drive to userproof it.
    Open source, with a business model, is the best of both worlds.

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