The word “proprietary” has dark connotations in the world of business, and especially computing. It suggests the concepts of being “locked in” and the sacrifice of freedom, evoking emotions of financial indignity and political rebellion.
Something that is “open”, however, is regarded as honest and clean of sin. Proprietary products are often very clever but competitive open products are invariably simpler and cheaper. Compare the Segway scooter (proprietary) to the bicycle (open) – it all makes sense, right? Well, it depends on how much pedalling you are prepared to do, and how much money you have to spare.
The theory of open-source software is that everyone gets a fair crack at producing their own solution without being beholden to a corporate licensor that charges high fees for their technology.
Unfortunately, behind the lofty ideals lies a vast grubby wasteland occupied by users and buyers who often appreciate open source for one thing only: many of the products appear to be free or at least very cheap.
Full Post .