Software in the future

I’m reading Matt Mower‘s and Don Park’s response to Larry Lessig on the OSAF/Future of Software topic. The apocalyptic question has been raised. Will the free software movement eventually kill off all commercial mass market software? My guess is no, but I don’t have an argument why. Here are a few trends:

  • Free software has a lot of trouble dealing with Intellectual Property
    • Examples
      • RedHat and MP3 patents
      • DVD encryption
      • Software Patents?
    • Mitigating factors:
      • Popularize a free clone
      • Easier to ignore IP altogether
  • Free software hasn’t had enough success at building complex pieces of software (and next to no success at complex software that isn’t cloned from elsewhere)
    • Examples:
      • desktop still isn’t done right
      • Exchange killer?
    • Mitigating Factors:
      • Can do it with enough time and no moving target (office file formats/desktop)
  • Microsoft and other commercial software companies have not adequately made the desktop an attractive place to write software for
    • Examples
      • Web site interfaces instead of rich client interfaces
      • Viruses, Worms, security issues
      • Nats
    • Mitigating Factors:
      • Company Line: Soap and .Net Frameworks
      • Being Offline
      • extensibility, privacy, nickled and dimed to death

Hmm… My perspective skew is showing especially in the last one. I should add “Microsoft sucking all the oxygen from the market” based on the different angry blogs I’ve read, but it’s never felt creditable to me.

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