Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Too many cooks? Open Source vs Commercial Part 1

Is open source software better than commercial software?
This is a topic that interests me for several reasons.

  • I use many tools in my job...many are open source, many are commercial
  • I find the politics of it very interesting
  • It's easy to argue both sides
  • Silicon Valley's general leanings toward open source is surprising
First, some perspective. I grew up on the East Coast and used computers as a hobby. I never studied computer science or engineering. In fact, my degree is in Communications (Television/Film production to be precise).

In the early '90's, when the Internet started really becoming mainstream, I decided to make computers my career. The TV industry was just not as fun as I had expected, nor as glamorous as it sounds.

So in 1996, me and my then fiancée Kris moved out to California when 3Com offered me a position as their intranet webmaster. This was exciting and scary because I felt like I was going to go play with the big boys of the computer industry in Silicon Valley! And I was totally a self-taught hobbyist surrounded by not very tech savvy people in South Florida.

My whole idea about what California was all about was way off. First, it's not all like LA. Second, Northern California was very diverse and buzzing with techies looking for that next big thing. And finally, everyone I met hated Microsoft!

WHAT??? Am I in the right place? Isn't this supposed to be the technology center of the country, if not the world, and all I hear is disdain for Microsoft? How can that be? I loved MS. Hmmm...maybe these techies know something I don't.

..........TO BE CONTINUED...........

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