That’s true for all software

Today’s Inside Higher Ed has an article about Matterhorn, which is open source lecture capture software. It includes the following, seemingly obligatory whenever free or open source software is discussed:

As with any open-source project, adopting Matterhorn is not actually free; the labor and expertise required to put the platform in place costs money, as do the video cameras, microphones, and other hardware that does not come with the package. And it takes vigilance and expertise to monitor the system for hiccups.

What’s being said here is true of all software. Let’s edit this to be generic:

As with any software, paying for __________ licenses isn’t the only expense; the labor and expertise required for installation costs money, as do the infrastructure that does not come with the package. And good support requires vigilance and expertise, which are also expensive.

And why not say for closed-source software what need not be said about open source? For example:

Money spent on licensing can’t be invested in good geeks who listen to end users–still the best investment any CIO can make. Because “try before you buy” is either impossible or heavily sandboxed, gaps will emerge between what vendors promise and what they deliver, creating additional support costs. Adoption of new technology will slow, given the long version cycles of proprietary software. Avoiding vendor lock-in will be nearly impossible. Even when moving between products by the same vendor, data migration will be slow and labor-intensive. At worst, it will be impossible or so cumbersome that end users will simply give up.

Technology writers, kindly include this graf, or one based upon it, in your articles about proprietary software. Thanks!

This entry was posted in Nerdliness. Bookmark the permalink.