Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
dangsos

How badly does opensource hurt the IT market?

21 posts in this topic

I've been spending a little bit of time at dice.com and every other post on their forums is someone complaining about tech jobs sucking and how there are so few of them etc. etc. Some people go on to blame open source as a huge factor in killing IT jobs. What do you guys think? I'm teaching myself how to program and I'm trying to get into school to get my C.S. bachelor and it's very discouraging seeing everyone bitching on dice.com about how I should give up now and start a new career. I suspect this isn't the case, but I'm still wondering what your opinions are on the subject.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Where I work, OpenSource is creating work for us. I just finished setting up and installing a brand new OpenSolaris server to use as a NAS. We're now using jQuery in our web app and it's taking us a while to convert the IE-only javascript to jQuery. We're switching from a proprietary PDF generation library to an opensource PDF generation library. For us, opensource is creating jobs/work rather than taking them away.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been spending a little bit of time at dice.com and every other post on their forums is someone complaining about tech jobs sucking and how there are so few of them etc. etc. Some people go on to blame open source as a huge factor in killing IT jobs. What do you guys think? I'm teaching myself how to program and I'm trying to get into school to get my C.S. bachelor and it's very discouraging seeing everyone bitching on dice.com about how I should give up now and start a new career. I suspect this isn't the case, but I'm still wondering what your opinions are on the subject.

The only people I've ever seen bitch about open-source taking IT jobs are proponents of close sourced proprietary software solutions and under the table paid SCO group trolls .

Open-source doesn't take jobs, rather its more or less job security(especially if you're a consultant implementing OSS solutions ). What does take tech jobs is companies that adopt the offshoring out sourcing model to cut costs on IT/technology expenses.

If you want to learn to program, by all means do so but also keep in mind that most major companies can hire cheap visa labor or enlist an entire programming sweatshop in India for pennies

on the dollar of what it would cost to pay you a fair livable salary. No IT job is safe from out sourcing / off shoring unless its government work that requires security clearance . If you can get sponsored

in order to earn a security clearance, you're set for life earning ridiculous salaries that have no equivalent in the private sector . I once knew a guy who was paid well over 100k just for doing help desk / basic infrastructure crap in Afghanistan for 6 months on base . Aside from a little experience , his Security clearance pretty much insured such salary figures. Countless other stories like that too and lets not forget that the salaries get just as ridiculous state side . These days in a free market you have to be as competitive as possible in the regions you send your CVs out in , its a real rat race sometimes.

If you do want to make some real $$, work contracts only and rack up overtime where possible. Steady perm positions don't pay nearly as much and you get low balled and limited by what your job description limits you to. And hey one last thing , you don't need a damn degree to work in IT, all you need to do is build up experience starting from the bottom and working your way up. I started my career fixing PCs in retail keeping my advanced tech interests as working hobbies, years later I'm a Sysadmin and consultant making way much more than the average college grad could ever hope to make starting off .

Don't get discouraged and definitely learn as much as you can, but definitely prepare to go through some humbling grunt work putting in your dues while you build your resume and references b/c degrees and certs alone don't guarantee a job.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I definitely wouldn't say that open source is taking away jobs, but I don't know that it's specifically creating much in the way of new work. In my own experience I really haven't seen difficulty finding work within the development line of work. Most people I've seen complain about lack of work either don't network well or don't have the necessary skills. I've found myself out of work many time and it's never taken long to find more freelance work or other opertunities.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's a bit funny that open source gets blamed for the fact that a lot of IT jobs suck. In fact, I'd say that you can easily find IT jobs that suck in the proprietary software world because of the fact that it's proprietary software. You know why? Because the mentality is entirely different. When all you care about is making the most money out of your software, then the first priority becomes profit, and not necessarily the quality of the software itself. Proprietary software often only considers the most common use cases that would interest the largest number of potential customers. Well, there is good logic behind it: why would you invest large amounts of money to please a small amount of your user base? Well, there is no reason to do so, so you're going to put your priorities where the money is and not where the good software would be. Open source software has this general trend of having tons of all sorts of customizations that users made, and it often creates software that is much more enjoyable than their proprietary competitors. Now, mentality in the proprietary software world is not homogeneous. You have worst cases, like patent rolls, and companies with a very narrow-minded view of how software works. Those companies will mostly focus on getting patents and suing other people than making actual usable software. If they're given the choice between a better technical solution and a solution that is obviously less good but could generate new patents, they will not take the best solution for sure.

Now, is open source killing or hurting the IT market? Hell no! It's giving good competition to those big companies making tons of money with poor quality software. If a bunch of geeks can write better software than a huge company with millions of dollars spent on software development, then you might ask yourself some questions about the quality of the software made by that company. I think open source software is actually helping, even if you are writing proprietary software. People don't want to re-invent the wheel every time. It is possible to wisely use open source software to boost your productivity in many ways and save a lot of time and money (given that you also wisely check the licenses involved, there's a reason why big businesses love BSD licenses).

As a matter of fact, I'm actually earning money with the open source project I have founded, FreeRDP. I work about 10 hours a week doing contractual work paid per hour at 30$/hour. Good, eh? Beats most student jobs you'll find, and even internships. I'm studying in software engineering, I live in an appartment with my girlfriend and I'm financially independent from my parents. During the summer I'm doing an internship through my school program which is paid 20$/hour, which is around the best internship salaries students usually get here. Sure, you can easily find jobs that pay in IT for proprietary software, but free software jobs can pay as well, and I find them waaaaaaaay more enjoyable and satisfying.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

thanks for all the replies. The freelance work seems very intimidating. I almost feel that once I'm comfortable coding for cash then I'll be spending another year just struggling to get enough reputation to make bill payments from freelance.

The more I read it seems a 40/hr desk job starting at 40k a year salary right out of college might not be in the future, but whatever. Money will never be a problem for me if I love the work I do.

I'm currently watching MIT opencourse videos.....it's like im getting a 5-6,000$ per class education for free! and learning python has proven way easier than learning C, I still can't do crap with C and I've been studying off and on for 2 months now.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Whoever told you that OSS hurts the IT business? Steve Ballmer?

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Economically, OSS creates more jobs by allowing businesses to save more money. Which in turns allows them to expand their business or increase production.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Economically, OSS creates more jobs by allowing businesses to save more money. Which in turns allows them to expand their business or increase production.

It also creates jobs merely by virtue of existing outside the realm of locked-down, proprietary business models. If all software were proprietary, then the entire industry of computing would be closed to anyone who wasn't able to afford the software, college courses to learn the software, official certifications peddled by the software companies, etc.

Remember, "open source" doesn't just mean OSs like Linux and applications like Firefox, The GIMP, etc.

Many important languages and development technologies like Java, PHP, Perl, Python, JQuery, extJS, etc., are also open source, and open standards have formed most of the technologies used in the computer industry--hardware as well as software--from the early days of computing.

Edited by Colonel Panic
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Economically, OSS creates more jobs by allowing businesses to save more money. Which in turns allows them to expand their business or increase production.

It also creates jobs merely by virtue of existing outside the realm of locked-down, proprietary business models. If all software were proprietary, then the entire industry of computing would be closed to anyone who wasn't able to afford the software, college courses to learn the software, official certifications peddled by the software companies, etc.

Remember, "open source" doesn't just mean OSs like Linux and applications like Firefox, The GIMP, etc.

Many important languages and development technologies like Java, PHP, Perl, Python, JQuery, extJS, etc., are also open source, and open standards have formed most of the technologies used in the computer industry--hardware as well as software--from the early days of computing.

I think most of us IT folks would be lost with all the free open source tools that we use everyday.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been spending a little bit of time at dice.com and every other post on their forums is someone complaining about tech jobs sucking and how there are so few of them etc. etc. Some people go on to blame open source as a huge factor in killing IT jobs.

If you're talking about posters like the O.P. in this thread, they probably don't have a clue what the hell they're talking about.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Economically, OSS creates more jobs by allowing businesses to save more money. Which in turns allows them to expand their business or increase production.

It also creates jobs merely by virtue of existing outside the realm of locked-down, proprietary business models. If all software were proprietary, then the entire industry of computing would be closed to anyone who wasn't able to afford the software, college courses to learn the software, official certifications peddled by the software companies, etc.

Remember, "open source" doesn't just mean OSs like Linux and applications like Firefox, The GIMP, etc.

Many important languages and development technologies like Java, PHP, Perl, Python, JQuery, extJS, etc., are also open source, and open standards have formed most of the technologies used in the computer industry--hardware as well as software--from the early days of computing.

"Open Source" exists at various levels. You mentioned Java. Yeah, it's been open sourced (it used to be proprietary) but did you ever ask yourself why Google chose an alternative virtual machine (dalvik) for their Android operating system? Patents. Also, the Android operating system has the fewer GPL-licensed code it could, with pretty much only the Linux kernel being GPL'ed. The rest is mostly BSD-licensed. Even the Android libc (bionic) is not purely GPL. GPL == scares business people off.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
GPL == scares business people off.

I believe that's largely because of all the FUD that gets disseminated by asshelmets like Ballmer.

Many business types fear that OSS is not as secure, not as reliable, and not as well-supported as comparable proprietary stuff. What it really boils down to, they don't trust something that they're not paying another company for. It's the old big business Randian circle-jerk. If it's not on the Fortune 500 or a significant presence on the stock market, they automatically assume it's crap.

Big, publicly-traded companies are always making calculated decisions to impress their shareholders. When shareholders see a big corporation teaming up with another huge corporation (like Microsoft), it inspires investor confidence. It may appear totally ass-backwards, but that's the way big business works. The public impression of prosperity can translate into actual prosperity, so PR considerations influence many high-level business decisions.

From a developer perspective, it's one thing if you're making software for public use and you want to sell it. (For the record, I have absolutely no problem with that. There's nothing intrinsically wrong with producing a product with the intent of selling it for a profit.) In that case, using open-source libraries and licensing your product under the GPL is probably not the best way to monetize your time and labor.

But that doesn't mean that using open-source tools in a service industry or development environment is less safe or effective than commercial software. It certainly doesn't mean that the open-source model is devaluing programming talent.

...did you ever ask yourself why Google chose an alternative virtual machine (dalvik) for their Android operating system? Patents. Also, the Android operating system has the fewer GPL-licensed code it could, with pretty much only the Linux kernel being GPL'ed. The rest is mostly BSD-licensed. Even the Android libc (bionic) is not purely GPL.

Didn't Google develop Dalvik themselves? I'd say that special-purpose embedded systems are one market where a proprietary, custom-engineered operating system makes a lot of sense.

Yeah, patents are important assets for companies because they (supposedly) protect innovation in the market. However, many developers feel that software patents are poorly regulated and that leads to abuse by large corporations, to bully smaller companies which can't afford to fight expensive patent lawsuits. But that's another thorny issue.

As for the personal device market, I do like the fact that I can install an alternative OS onto my Nexus One if I so choose. It's my phone, after all. I paid for the damn thing, so I should be able to do with it as I choose.

Edited by Colonel Panic
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

By the way, I'm thinking maybe we should clarify a few terms in this discussion.

(IANAL, so anybody please correct me if you see any errors in the following definitions)

  • Open-source software means software developed in the business or private sector, and published under a license which specifies that it may be used and distributed free of charge as long as the original (high-level language) source code and developer credits are included intact. There are a number of open-source licenses that specify different rights and/or restrictions upon the use and dissemination of the software.
    • The GPL, or GNU Public License(s) is probably the most popular type of open-source license. There are several versions of the GPL, but all of them were authored with the intention of allowing complete freedom of use, distribution and modification, as long as source code and original development credit is retained and no portion of the software is redistributed in a closed, commercial or proprietary way. Most importantly, it specifies that any publicly-released derivative code must also adhere to the GPL and cannot be packaged with other software under a more restrictive license. The GPL is basically intended to provide the maximum freedom while preventing anyone from claiming exclusive rights over any derivative works.
      The Linux operating system, GIMP graphics editor and the Phantom home security/automation system are released under the GPL.
    • The BSD (Berkeley Software Distribution) license(s) is another very popular class of open-source license, originally created by the University of California to cover UNIX and other software developed at their Berkeley campus. So it's not surprising that the BSD license is tailored for use by institutional or corporate entities. Under the BSD, developers are grouped collectively into an organizational entity and all creators' rights are conferred to that organization rather than individual persons. The BSD license specifies that the software may be used, distributed and modified free of charge as long as the source code is included and the developing organization properly credited. The original BSD license stipulated that any mention of the organization in promotional material must require the organization's written permission, but later versions dropped that clause.
      A major difference between the BSD license and the GPL is that the GPL outright forbids the use of any licensed code in commercial projects, whereas the BSD license does not. This sometimes causes legal issues when bundling BSD-licensed software with GPL software.
      The OpenBSD and FreeBSD operating systems are released under versions of the BSD license.
    • There are other licenses which can be classified as open-source (such as the Apache license). The main thing they all have in common is the intent of free distribution and modification, and giving credit to the original developers.

    [*]Commercial software is software developed for business and intended for use only (no reverse-engineering, modification or redistribution allowed). It is typically released to the public only in binary form (no source code) and licensed for use for a specific set of purposes under specific circumstances. Typically (but not always), a single purchase payment allows the user to install the software onto a single computer only. Other restrictions may apply. In corporate or institutional settings where many users run the software on multiple machines, the manufacturer usually establishes a multi-license management agreement that specifies a certain price per license and enforces the contract through auditing and legal action wherever abuse is suspected. The specific terms of commercial licenses are laid out in EULAs, a set of terms which the user must accept before installing the software.

    Some examples of commercial software are the Microsoft Windows operating systems, the Nero CD/DVD burning software and the McAfee AntiVirus security suite.

    • Shareware is commercial software which offers a free, limited usage period to end-users for evaluation purposes. Most shareware offers full or partial functionality for a specific time period, after which the software deactivates itself and demands the user to purchase the full-featured version. Some shareware provides bare-bones functionality for free with no time limits, and offers extra features if users pay for it.
      Examples of shareware would be WinRAR, Apple Quicktime Player, and any "demo" or "trial" version of a commercial application.
    • Freeware is closed-source, commercial software which is licensed free of charge for end use only. The software is distributed in binary form and any reverse-engineering, altering or repurposing is usually forbidden. Most freeware programs are small, limited-purpose applications. It's not uncommon for companies to license certain programs free of charge to private users, but require licensing fees from commercial businesses. Some freeware is offered as an enticement to foster brand awareness and boost sales of the producer's other commercial products. In some cases the freeware is designed to interface with consumer devices or paid online services (like Apple iTunes or Skype). Sometimes a company will offer its networking client free to users, but will charge for its server application (like Bulletproof FTP or RealPlayer).
      Other popular examples of freeware would be Adobe Acrobat Reader, Spybot S & D and ĀµTorrent.
    • Adware or "advertising-supported software," is a type of freeware which earns revenue for the manufacturer through the display of targeted ads within the application. Adware is closed-source, is distributed as binaries, and the license typically restricts any reverse-engineering, alteration or circumvention of the advertising mechanism. Adware is often bundled with spyware that monitors and tracks users' Internet usage for marketing purposes. Many ad-supported programs are also offered in an advertising-free form, for a fee.
      AOL Instant Messenger, WeatherBug and DaemonTools are adware programs.

    [*]Proprietary software is noncommercial, specially-developed software created for exclusive use on a particular company's commercial hardware devices, or within a specific company's environment to suit business needs. Proprietary software is generally not released to the public, but retained by its owner for exclusive use. Sometimes commercial software (such as Microsoft Windows or Internet Explorer) might be commissioned from the manufacturer or modified in-house into a proprietary form for internal use.

    Examples of proprietary software would include Apple's Mac OSX and iPhone OS, the various ATM software systems used by banks, and a specially-developed system that controls machinery in a factory.

Edited by Colonel Panic
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Economically, OSS creates more jobs by allowing businesses to save more money. Which in turns allows them to expand their business or increase production.

That's how it works at our company.

We now utilize open-source CVS, CMS, compilers, virtual machines, etc. Traditionally we would of had to pay for all of this... a few hundred here, a few thousand there... The money they've saved is spent on other necessities, helping the business.

Colonel Panic, I like your definitions. Perhaps a little tweak: there can be commercial open-source software. Qt is one example.

Edited by Seal
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Isn't Qt's licensing similar to how Java is handled nowadays?

Ie: dual licensing on the same technology for different use cases?

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just added a few more definitions.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know this post is a bit older, but I had to add my 2 cents.

My company is solely open source based, we offer support for it, training, and we replace high cost proprietary systems with open source ones. I agree with previous posts that open source only hurts those who are too stupid, lazy, or proprietary to get involved in open source.

Several of my past employers have told me "Its a microsoft world". If this was true, I'd be out of work already.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I really can't see how opensource or free (meaning no fees charged for it's use, not free as in modify and redistribute) could hurt the IT industry too severely, or at all. A lot of the free software I've used at work requires a more specialized skill-set. Pretty much anyone can point and click their way around IIS and WinNT's DNS services. With something like Bind and Apache you'd need a person that knows Unix well (assuming it would be used on one of the BSD variants, Solaris, or Linux), might need to know about programming if a situation calls for the software to be recompiled, and would probably need a better understanding of the core protocols too.

From an economic point of view, it's just software. The hardware costs money, as does even the bandwidth to download it, and again: the person to operate it. Also, there are situations where paid software makes a lot more sense than anything that is free to use, redistribute, or modify. It would be ridiculous for a large accounting firm to make a CPA use Linux. Peachtree and Quickbooks are pretty good at what they're designed for, as are a lot of paid high-end apps for industries from medical to graphic design.

Edited by tekio
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

open source hurts companies not the market, as a whole it makes the market better because of increased competition. but.. if you work at an opposing company they lose revenue, e.g. if you were to set up a tire changing shop right across the street from say a tiresplus, offering free tire changing if they allready have the tires. as a result tiresplus would have to lower prices, offer better warranties, and better services at lower prices than ever before, all whilst the cost of living is rising as is inflation, i.e. they would have to lower prices while the cost for supplies and work is rising. as a result im sure countless small companies have been forced out of business. as a whole the quality of software, ratio to the cost of software improves where opensource is available, but any one of those companies is hurting more because its creating stiff competition.

edits:

i mean its business what do you expect, competition kills of businesses and peoples livelyhoods, even if you have good intent your still harming everything else. thats how it works, if 1 million people used linux instead of windows that takes like $50-100,000,000 away from microsoft(assuming 1/2 of the cost of the software is profit of course) it happens anytime you give something away that some one profits off.

Edited by dinscurge
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0