When we woke up this morning our email contained, amongst other things, a series of messages from a mailing list complaining about a particular multinational vendor that seems to have forgotten the southern hemisphere of the world since ceasing operations in Australia.
We’ve also seen or heard comments more than once that it would be good if a large company bought out Ultibo and put their resources behind developing the features that are missing like WiFi, Bluetooth and graphics acceleration.
That got me thinking, isn’t it kind of strange to wish that a big corporate would take over your favorite open source product and make it part of their ever expanding line up. If everything followed the normal course you should also expect to soon find yourself complaining bitterly about the poor quality support offered and the ever increasing cost not only for the product but also for their so called annual maintenance subscription.
So why do we wish for something that in reality we might not want, for that matter why do we keep paying the exorbitant costs demanded by some vendors while we often seem to give no thought at all to the notion of paying an open source developer for their time and effort, even if that payment would be a fraction of the fee demanded by the corporate heavyweight.
Some might argue that there is no escaping the need for the resources of global companies in order to develop and support complex applications and that open source is really just a bit player in the process, others could suggest much more sinister intentions that are part of a greater conspiracy. What if the real reason is much simpler than that, what if we just feel a little bit awkward about open source and how to behave around it, a bit like a teenager who doesn’t quite know what to say when meeting someone’s parents for the first time?
Most of us have grown up in a world where there is automatic skepticism about anything that seems too good to be true and open source software is almost the ultimate expression of that concept, why would a developer who is passionate, motivated and knowledgeable put time and effort into a product and then give it away for free and yet the creation of open source continues to grow every year while the world struggles to fully understand.
Next time you look at an open source project remember your inner teenager, stand up straight, smile and try not to mumble.