It is hardware, not software, stupid

Is PostGreSQL set to join OpenOffice and Linux? Join it in what? I’ll suggest to you that together they will become a cyber version of the Three Musketeers who selflessly will eventually bring Oracle databases, Microsoft operating...

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Is PostGreSQL set to join OpenOffice and Linux?

Join it in what?

I’ll suggest to you that together they will become a cyber version of the Three Musketeers who selflessly will eventually bring Oracle databases, Microsoft operating systems and MS Office software to heel. Well OK, not to heel exactly, but sabred-down to a price that properly befits mere overpriced software.

These heroes are of course among the most famous of the free, open source community’s progeny. Open Source power ... “all for one and one for all” ...showed once and for ever that proprietary closed-source software, although pretty clever and powerfully backed by incomprehensibly rich corporations, was not so clever or so powerful that it could stop...

... a bunch of geeks acting together to make something just as good, often better, and give it away along with how it works and a license that stops it being snuffed out by predators!

That achievement is awesome enough but if that were not enough, the free, open source community also showed just how quickly software can be created and developed. So gone for ever too is the awe once felt when it was mentioned that Microsoft Office Pro 1997 (I think) had over a million lines of code

(...thinks...”how could anyone ever aspire to recreate such an edifice?”)

Now, with modern software tools and libraries of open code, a competent undergraduate could knock up a useable word processor to rival Word 2 over the weekend

It’s not that software is not fiendishly clever, often it is, but there are lots of fiendishly clever folk in the world and it does not require massively expensive resources to allow them to write, share and create vast libraries of code.

Proprietary software has got a bit more status than it deserves ... maybe.

Historically, we were simply very grateful to have something to justify our expensive PC purchase and we breathed a collective sigh of relief when SuperCalc and Word Perfect came along, “you see, this is why PCs are so important and not actually a waste of money, dear...” No one initially cared about closed vs. open code we just hoped we could afford the magic packages.

We now however merely argue endlessly over the merits of one (flawed) package over another (flawed) package with ever diminishing differences in their functionality. The beige box is now a smaller coloured box but the PC revolution is done and most of the software is in “give away” territory.

The Open Source revolution put consumer software back in its box. We know it for what it is and awesome it is no longer. Closed code software lock-ins are accepted throughout our Public Sector as inescapable and indeed that is what they are, ask Bristol Council.

Proprietary Office suites lock in the desktops and proprietary databases lock in the server rooms. In twenty years time it will be exactly the same. If you don’t believe me have a look at London Underground’s software on its computer systems, they were both cutting edge 30 years ago; that’s a lock-in.

The point that I am making at the end of this first section of this post is that open source software has slashed the clothes off the bloated and ageing king who now stands before us barely harmed but deeply unlovely to behold. We may be stuck with him but we are no longer enthralled.

We need new tech, new hardware. New tech will create new possibilities as yet unknown and new code will arise spontaneously to articulate that purpose.


To be continued....

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