Following up on this, there are now two timely articles from the FSF (Free Software Foundation) that ended up in my RSS reader today. The first one (a bit older already) describes the concept of Antifieatures. An antifeature is a 'feature' of the software that the user doesn't want, which is actually bad for the user, but that the vendor implemented anyway, often with great effort. These antifeatures are usually restrictions of various kinds, so that the simpler, non-restricted versions of the same software can be sold for more money. The user ends up paying for NOT having those features, bizarre as this may sound.
Several examples are listed, such as DRM in media (which you don't want, and which is difficult to develop). Some times you can get the version without DRM if you are willing to pay more, for example. Another case presented in the article is the difference between Windows NT Workstation and NT Server. The latter had an $800 higher price tag, yet the only difference was a setting in a config file, which restricted the number of concurrent TCP connections to 10 in the case of the Workstation 'version'. $800 for a setting in a config file. Nice business if you can get it.
An important point here is that generally, open source software cannot have antifeatures. If there were any antifeatures in the code, someone would just fork, remove the antifeatures and share a version without those 'bugs'. Open source vendors therefore typically rely on service based business models, or on proprietary extensions to a free community version - extensions that actually enable additional functionality. As a consequence, open source business models tend to be more transparent and focused on the customer benefits than proprietary models, which are based on restricting rather than enabling functionality.
The second article then talks about the specific antifeatures in Windows Vista Media Center. All the things that you as the user end up paying for, but that you really, really don't want:
Microsoft ... have compiled an entire system built upon antifeatures. This antifeature platform is integrated into their Windows Media software and forms the basis of their Windows Vista operating system, and they are working hard to convince companies like NBC, that Microsoft can be in control of how and when you get to watch television. As creepy and as ridiculous as it may sound, this is their business strategy, and by getting this control, both the television and movie industry and computer users will be tied to Microsoft software.It is entirely beyond me why anyone would vountarily install software like this, let alone pay for it? The mind boggles...
Don't let anyone take control away from you over what you do with your own computer and data. With proprietary software you will never know what happens. But free software is the antidote to this.
Other related posts:
UK government supports open source
25 open source projects for software development
Dabbling in OpenSolaris
Add a comment
Please note: comments that are inappropriate or promotional in nature will be deleted.
E-mail addresses are not displayed, but you must enter a valid e-mail address to confirm your comments.
Are you a registered Geekzone user? Login to have the fields below automatically filled in for you and to enable links in comments. If you have (or qualify to have) a Geekzone Blog then your comment will be automatically confirmed and placed in the moderation queue for the blog owner's approval.