No Respect for Windows Open Source
November 2, 2005 Leave a comment
I've been meaning to blog about this one for a while now, but I've been putting a good deal of time into the upcoming LQ code update so haven't been blogging much at all. In a recent post, Shaun Walker laments that Windows Open Source apps/programmers get no respect. Let me start out by saying that I am not all that familiar with DotNetNuke, which is the main app in question here. It looks like a nice app and is certainly 100% Open Sourced as it's using a BSD license. It looks like they have created a nice community there, which is always something to applaud. A few zealots aside though, I don't think the problem people have is with Open Source code that runs on Windows. The fact is, Windows has a huge market share and anyone that is dedicating their time to writing an Open Source App should be applauded. Now, writing an Open Source App that only supports Windows seems silly to me, but it's certainly someone's prerogative. What you lose there is choice. Also, one thing you'll notice about Open Source software is that it's often extremely portable. MySQL, Firefox, OpenOffice.org, PHP, etc all run on Windows – but they also run on Linux, OSX, Solaris and a variety of other platforms. Choice is good. The thing I'd guess that DotNetNuke is taking a beating about is that it requires .NET which brings you right back to the vendor lockin that Open Source tries to get you away from. Mono will hopefully change this, but that's not a reality yet. Right now, if you are a PHP developer and Zend and the php.net developers go crazy and do something you don't like you are free to pick up the last Open Source licensed version and go on your merry way. If Microsoft does the same thing with .NET, you as a DotNetNuke developer will be robbed of all your hard work and your entire community of users will be left searching for alternatives. The PHP developer also has a choice of OS and web server, instead of being locked into Windows and IIS. All that being said, in the true spirit of Open Source (as I've said many times now, but will reiterate) choice is good. If you choose to use an encumbered language that locks you and your users into a single company, that is your choice. For what you want to do, it may not even be a bad choice. What matters is if it's a choice you and your users are happy with. Your choice will of course have repercussions and may impact how others choose, but I hope that doesn't translate to a lack of respect. In the end, I'd say ignore the zealots and do what you like to do – write quality Open Source code. If I were one of your users though, MONO support couldn't come fast enough though.
Open Source, DotNetNuke, Windows