Blog Post

Dear Proprietary Users,

Aaron Seigo, of KDE fame, was recently filmed while down in Brazil for FISL 8.0. It is a quick 5 minutes, but in those 5 minutes I heard him speak about the differences in proprietary and open source software that I haven’t heard many people hit on. I will say this, he is correct and it is sad. I have never thought about it the way he put it, which was great. I can attest to what he is saying as well. When I helped run a tech company in Chicago years ago, we had used accounting software such as Quickbooks and Peachtree. Well after the years of upgrading our software, we went back to look at previous years accounting information to try and create some custom reports for potential investors. We were shocked that these latest version couldn’t open, or better yet, wouldn’t open the old databases. If I remember correctly, either Peachtree or Quickbooks stated we could purchase another application in order to convert the old data to the new format.

On another note, my father was talking about a database his company uses to provide potential customers a quote on specialized equipment. It is an old Access database, from the 90s. I guess his company just received new laptops with Office 2007 and none of his salesman can access, let alone create, any proposals. So now, they have to downgrade. And to play fairly, they have to get a bunch of new Office 2000 (or 97 can’t remember) licenses for these new machines. So their new upgrade costed them double than what they projected. This is insane.

Anyways, Aaron did a great job bringing it to light and said it very eloquently. Great job Aaron!

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  • orror

    Or, they could export the data out, remake the Access database using 2007 and start using it. They are really very simple, we are in 99% of the cases talking about a work of a day only – which doesn’t cost even as much as one single “extra license”. If it’s more complicated (lots of vbscript and such), you can get someone to do it still for the price of couple licenses. That’s practically not a problem.

    Oh yes, there are really bad applications in this sense out there. I’ve seen a few of them myself as well. But the problem is not caused by the fact that they are proprietary. It’s caused usually by other reasons. You can’t do the fix, that’s true, but most of the people do check nowadays when they purchase software that they can get their data out, ie. that it’s in an accessible database or has good export functions.

    One problem that I see with open source and that you COULD be able to revive the software is that most of the time it stiffles development as the route chosen is the “fixing” one. Many open source applications really seem and feel like their ancestors from the 90s, and have not really developed the way they could have. The best example of this is Gimp, which is basically pos 90s software (especially all of its GUI) and all its developers should be shot at the dawn.

  • The irony. I’ve converted it to Ogg Theora:

  • Fabian,

    hahahah! I was waiting for someone to come by and say something about the “FREE” stuff here and then go “hey wait a minute, YouTube is Flash, and Flash isn’t FREE” :)Thanks for the convert!

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