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Court Guinness//The TradeHouse

Whats the problem with Open Source?

There shouldn’t be a problem with open source tech stuff especially software, surely? There are two problems that I see and the first one isn’t really a bugbear for me. There is a lot of dross out there and it takers time to sort through some of the dross to get to the real nuggets. I have been an enthusiastic open source user and follower for over 15 years. In that time I have seen some real dross and stuff that simply does not work. I have seen some stuff that has fallen by the wayside when it shouldn’t have or needn’t have. Mambo springs to the top of my mind here. It got taken over by Joomla and some issues I had after 1.6 sent me looking elsewhere for a CMS. Mambo could have been great! I first got into open source web applications via a CMS called PHPNuke. There have been some absolute gold nuggets here, Pydio, Owncloud, Egroupware, Roundcube, Vtiger, WordPress, SeoPanel, SuiteCRM, TikiWiki, PHPList, OrangeHRM and WordPress the list and the old install logs on my servers could go on for ever. Now we get to the crux of the issue. With all of these wonderful pieces of kit you have to install plugins to extend functionality. Now this where I get annoyed. You see plugins seem to come at three levels.

  1. The completely free and completely within the spirit of open source
  2. The fully paid plugin. I hate this the original platform is open source, why can’t a plugin be?
  3. The mix up. A lite version is free but you have to pay the stuff you really want. This irks me open source is developed by volunteers in the first place. Whats even worse is when a lite version installs crap that is a nightmare to get rid of unless you buy the pro version 🙁 This tactic is taking the mickey in my opinion. Its supposed to be open source and run by volunteers!

So lets be clear its only points. 2 and 3 I take umbrage at. I am grateful to many open source developers who devote their time to creating cracking pieces of software such as the stuff I listed above (OK, I have gone off Owncloud a bit recently.) I just wish certain other developers would enter into the same spirit. It is after all this spirit that creates wonderful software especially web based stuff I enjoy so much.

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