Comments on quality and comparing Free Software with proprietary

In an aricle (Swedish only!) in a swedish computer mag a lawyer (refered to as an expert) says that proprietary programs are better in quality than free ones.

Let’s analyse the article a bit.

– Det krävs en morot för att man ska anstränga sig ordentligt. Om den stora inkomstkällan står och faller med kvaliteten på koden tror jag att man anstränger sig mer, säger hon.

In English the important thing would be something like.

… If the main income is depending on the quality of the code I think one strains more.

Is money the only incentive? A happy customer sure is an incentive for me. Well, well, let’s pretend it is. OK, what does this have to do with the type of license? She explains:

Öppna program brukar nämligen ofta vara gratis och de företag som utvecklar sådana satsar i stället på att dra in pengar på kringtjänster som support, utbildning och anpassning. Det leder bort fokus från själva mjukvaran.

Which would translate into (stripped down):

.. foss companies usually get their money from support, education and adaptions. This leads focus away from the software itself.

First of all, I would say that most companies make money from support, education and adaptions. Regardless of the license of their product. But let’s look at her argument for a while. Why would this lead away focus? There’s no answer to that.If I have a crappy product out there (under GPL and publically available) will notice some one will notice and they will either fix the crappy code and patch the product or they will provide an updated and forked product. If the product was proprietary no one would have known about the crappy code. If that’s her argument, that no customer will notice about the crappy code, she’s right in advising people to close their products. But looking at it from an end user point of view, I sure like to see the source code and have the four freedoms. But she speaks about code quality. No, I don’t understand from what she draws her conclusion.

…. well well well, time to go to work.

But before I leave I must say it’s kind of funny that the journalist points out that the second person in the article is working for an “Open Source” company. A bit like saying he is biased. In the article it doesn’t say that the lawyer used to work for Microsoft or that she’s also a member of Svenska föreningen för upphovsrätt (SFU) as is MIcrosoft.

btw, she never says hoe she measures code quality, but I guess she is backed up by a research 😉 Perhaps by one of them Swiss reasearch institutes that research in shampoos.

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