Open source programs

  octal 22:11 10 Feb 05

I was reading this interesting article:

click here

And noticed this line:-

"But it is also well known that the bugs in free software are fewer, and are fixed much more quickly, than in proprietary software."

Really? Seeing some of the problems in Helproom with some of the proprietary software I'm inclined to agree!

  Dennis Goycoolea 11:33 11 Feb 05

This letter is rather old, but obviously interesting. Full text: click here

The Congressman can't really say "bugs in free software are fewer", because no-one knows. I can look at Mozilla's bugzilla and know there are X number of known bugs in say Firefox or Chatzilla, but I've no way of knowing if this is more or less than in handcuffware equivalents like Internet Explorer or mIRC, _because they are closed-source_. They can't be fully inspected for bugs, so who knows how many there are?

The next few sentences after the one you post are very interesting, the Congressman makes a similar point about security:

"What is impossible to prove is that proprietary software is more secure than free, without the public and open inspection of the scientific community and users in general. This demonstration is impossible because the model of proprietary software itself prevents this analysis, so that any guarantee of security is based only on promises of good intentions (biased, by any reckoning) made by the producer itself, or its contractors."

Quite right.


  Taran 11:39 11 Feb 05

Interestng read but full of very, very bold and, to my mind at least, extremely suspect statements.

  Dennis Goycoolea 11:52 11 Feb 05

Well, such as?


  LastChip 00:05 12 Feb 05

Recent independent analysis has shown open source code to be relatively bug free compared to commercial software. click here for the story.

There may be a number of reasons for this, but the possibility of not having a defined time scale to achieve certain levels of performance may be one. In a commercial environment as we are all be constantly told, time is money, whereas in the open source world where some individuals are coding for fun, time to some degree is irrelevant.

There is also a very big ego factor where programmers don't like to be shown to be inept by their peers and as all open source code can be seen, programmers strive to get it right before publication.

  mbp 10:31 12 Feb 05

I am surprised at the casual use of diction regarding "Open Source Programs". It is NOT the equivalent of Free Software (Freeware). There are lots of Freeware that is NOT Open Source software; but Open Source software is usually free, by the very definition of the term.

It seems to me that Open Source software developers are very sincere, dedicated, knowledgeable, chaps, willing to spend their time and expertise to develop a flawless product. No one is excluded from contributing to develop this product. Because of their dedication, they will work tirelessly to plug any holes they might come across with security. They are usually very security concious as well. They are constantly in a BETA state, i.e. a moving and rather small target for Hijackers, Virus writers, spammers, etc. I beleive Open Source program writers belong to a different breed of animal from those who write spam and viruses and Hijack programs. These IT Spoilers are the pits of society, and I suspect have some respect for Open Source developers. Open Source developers, enjoy pitting their skills against IT problems and are usually not monetarily motivated. I admire these chaps! The Mozilla range, and Open Office, are examples of their work. There are lots more.

  octal 12:08 12 Feb 05

After that rant I'm closing the thread!

This thread is now locked and can not be replied to.

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