Monday, 6 September 2010

It Beggars Belief

FOSS means 'Free, Open Source(code) Software.
I've been nibbling at FOSS for about 4 years now, by way of various Linux-based systems.
And what you get for nothing is nothing short of stupendous.
My present Operating System is supported for three years, but can be updated every six months to the next complete version; at any time, several updates may appear. There is no fuss, the process is open and leaves an audit trail with complete control over what and when things are updated.
For nothing, I get Gimp, which is equivalent to Adobe Photoshop. I can edit audio with Audacity to close to studio quality.
I can extract sound from video, I can play with the sound, put it back in and have fun on youtube with WinFF and Kdenlive.
I can produce full-length DVDs. At no cost except the blank DVDs.

Never mind that the market share is small.

The latest Linux distributions are what is driving the prices of Windows 7 down to £60 for Home Premium 7; Microsoft is now having to work its butt off to produce a product anywhere near as good, and it is only habit which is preserving market share, the habits of people who produce software for Microsoft systems, game authors and so on.

I'm now seeing jobs advertised for gaming programmers able to work in Linux; once this takes off, the youngsters will no longer have a reason to use Microsoft, and the price will fall further.

They cannot win. Their technology is, up to now, fundamentally inferior to Linux. I can obtain free Studios for programming which also work on windows.
Microsoft is supposed to be a great example of Capitalism, but it is valid to say it resembles the monolithic State Capitalism(if you take manipulation of capital as the definition) of the Soviet Union, which is dying in the face of People Power.

In ten years, maybe five, the alleged monopoly of Microsoft may well be a memory like the Soviet Union.

The real challenge for the future is how to embrace the FOSS movement in such a way that it is profitable and Capitalistic without anachronistic business restriction, so that it avoids all the pitfalls of politicised sponsorship and subversion.

Oracle is a large corporation; it has absorbed two of the fundamentals of FOSS, Open Office(a completely compatible substitute for Microsoft Office) and MySQL, a FOSS SQL-type server system.

Whether Oracle moves forwards with a new business model, or simply tries to snuff out the Linux market by killing two of its 'killer apps', will determine how soon the model changes, or whether we have to start again with replacements.

What the corporations are going to learn, one way or another, is that they don't own us or our minds.

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