[This project has been discontinued due to license compliance issues. Thanks everyone who assisted with your ideas and feedback.]


  • What is this? - this was a project dedicated to building an up-to-date collection of great, free portable software for easy installation and use.
  • What's in it? - list of included freeware
  • v. 1.3 beta - note that this release is over a year old and contains very out-of-date software. I haven't worked out how to solve licensing issues. Download


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Thoughts on open source software

In the Kitchen Sink collection and elsewhere, open systems have notable behaviors.  In open software, you can look inside and see how things work.  You might speak the language that a developer can, but someone with expertise can.  We assume that if there's anything ugly inside, someone would notice and say something.

Why the GPL is a big deal

Redistribution.  Many other software licenses will not let you distribute their stuff unless you follow their rules.  The GPL's only rule is that you either include the source code or make a reasonable effort to provide a place of your own to download it.  Its been a big success, but what it really makes it work is that nobody owns it.

I've run into other problems with open licenses that do not enable the user to do what they want with the software.  True, the MIT and BSD licenses are even MORE free, but the tendency is for this software not to grow and evolve the way the GPL license does.  This is because the GPL seems to create a share-and-share-alike approach that stacks the efforts of one person with the efforts of another.  Encouraging everyone to contribute seems to lead to a more substancial result.

The GPL has really great staying power; once its out on GPL, it never seems to go away.  That's not the same for freeware or other licenses and the GPL means no one is going to take it over or force others to quit distributing it.

From an end user perspective of someone who works with 100s of software programs all the time, the GPL seems to spawn programs which are stable and rarely crash, but frequently carry less polish and have the sense of an unfinished product.

No comments: