Software users get to choose the best of both worldsPosted by Gary Keorkunian | Saturday, March 26th, 2011
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By Derek Baldwin | Gulf News | March 26, 2011
Dubai: Don’t believe everything you read about tech camps siding only with either proprietary software (PS) or open source software (OSS), says a Harvard Business School professor.
Dr Josh Lerner, co-author of a new book, Comingled Code, said on a growing scale, businesses, governments and educational institutions are mixing both forms of private and free public software to achieve their needs, nixing the notion that it’s one winner takes all in the software industry.
Lerner, who co-authored the book with Mark Schankerman, said: “Standard dichotomy between PS and OSS is exaggerated and misleading”, and that both forms are increasingly being used in an evolving co-existence to get the job done.
“While they are different, each has strengths and weaknesses, but it’s not like it’s oil and vinegar that they are diametrically opposed,” Lerner said.
“We did a survey across 15 countries of 2,000 software developers and 2,000 users comprising non-profit, governments and corporations. We found there was a very striking overlap on the user and producer side.”
After crunching the survey data, Lerner said one of the things which stood out was “co-mingling was taking place here.”
The big reason for the mixing, he said, is that quite often proprietary software that is heavily restricted by large corporate giants such as Microsoft cannot cover all user needs, who could then use free open source software to fill in the gaps.