Why Open Source Innevitably Prevails

Software companies can’t keep adding useful features to software. Eventually they will run out ideas for useful features. But the pressure to innovate and differentiate themselves from their rivals is immense. Their solution is to continue adding features and tell themselves that those new features are useful when actually they are useless. Those features will become known as bloat; the plague that haunts us all.

FOSS (Free Open Source Software) will eventually catch up to the closed source solution. It’s inevitable because there is a limit to how many useful features software can have.

An analogy: suppose the common ruler is invented for the first time. A company sells it for $100 and makes large sums of money. Another company comes along and figures out how it is produced and then sells it for $0. The original company is then pressured to innovate, so they add a compass to the ruler. It can now tell you which direction north is in. But this is just bloat, it only makes the item harder to use.

We’re finally beginning to see that our desktop computers have enough RAM for the vast majority of software. The number of programs which would improve from the user having more RAM is decreasing rapidly and this is why we’re seeing a decline in desktops. Desktops used to be the only place most programs would run because they were the only things powerful enough. But now the smart phone and laptop have begun to dominate.

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