Yes, we DO care!

Jeff Atwood writes a brilliant blog over at coding horror. My only gripe is that he's a .NET kinda guy - which is fine, most of the time. However, his recent post, entitled "Why Doesn't Anyone Give a Crap About Freedom Zero?" seems a little short sighted. For those of you who have never heard of freedom 0, It's one of the four freedoms that the free software foundation have set out to protect. The FSF define it as:

The freedom to run the program, for any purpose.

I don't have a problem with Jeff's love of .NET and microsoft in general, but when you post a blog with a title like that, it sidelines and marginalises everyone who does care.

Jeff - there are many of us who do care about Freedom 0 - and the other three. Take some time out of your busy schedule to investigate Linux and the BSDs. You'll find a community full of bright, innovative developers who all want to make a better computing platform.

This brings me to my second point. Okay, so this is probably really obvious to the rest of you, but I had a sudden realization the other day. It went something like this:

The reason why there are so many technically brilliant innovations found only in open source platforms (Yes, I genuinely believe that to be true) is that the pressures of software development aren't there. Commercial software vendors are always struggling to maintain a balance between allocating time to develop new features, maintain existing features, test / QA the product, and get it out the door. I don't believe that there's a single software product that was 100% complete when it was shipped. That's the nature of commercial software development. Too often the "right" way of doing things is sacrificed for a cheaper, faster way of doing things.

On the one hand this means that deadlines and schedules are met (everyone gets paid), but on the other hand the software quality is lacking. In an open source project however, there are no commercial pressures at all. Developers are left to their own devices to code what they want. Package maintainers are allowed to choose their own schedule - and who better to choose that balance between release frequency and code quality than the programmers who know the product best?

The more I look into the KDE project the more I realize that I'm right. There are some truly brilliant bits of code in there; It's a pity that they're never appreciated by the general public.