Open Source

TL;DR Open Source doesn't magically make anything good. Many open source people are idiots.

Okay guys, this hype has really been getting on my nerves. First of all, releasing source is good. I believe that one of the advantages of Plan 9 is the availability of all source in /sys/src, ready to be studied, modified and recompiled (try changing e.g. libc behaviour on Linux; hell, many Linux distributions don't even include an editor (pico and nano are kid's toys, not editors) or a compiler). I like free (as in beer) software simply for economic reasons. But several things about "open source" are quite annoying (this is more a rant about practice than theory; note that the exception proves the rule).

For one, open source programs are not necessarily good and not necessarily superior to their closed-source equivalents. Compare Open Office and Microsoft Office (anyone who tries to tell me that OO.org is superior to MS Office is seriously deluded). There are many areas where I haven't found even remotely usable open source software yet, e.g. computer algebra (maxima is a joke) or non-linear video editing (I may have simply not stumbled over the right program). While being instable is often a cliché associated with Windows, I consider the stability of many open source programs rather underwhelming (I'm talking to you, KDE 4; anyone answering "You're doing it wrong" is either very lucky with whatever factors this depends on or not seeing that the emperor is naked; I have observed this with various versions on various machines and various distributions). Note that these aren't problems limited to open source, but open source is no magical cure to these problems either, unlike many advocates believe (what the fuck are they smoking?). 99% of all code is crap, open source and closed source are just the same with respect to this.

Open Source people seem to like to annoy the fuck out of potential users, I want working static builds, not half-broken Ubuntu packages which depend on 9001 MB of libraries or a bunch of source which, with all dependencies, takes hours to compile (basically any C++ program). Of course Drepper is working hard to prevent static builds. Fuck you.

The advantages of open source which I perceive as most important depend mostly on the quality, i.e. readability, of the code. There are programs where the code is so outright horrible that you can't do anything but run away screaming in pain (anything using BOOST). Many distributions make it even hard to acquire the exact source your binary was built from. An intricate building scheme is a must, the more configure flags are required to get a working version, the better is your program, right? (Hint: autotools / configure suck an infinite amount)

Open Source people have a fetish for "standards" (rant yet to be written, but it's coming!), "portability" and political correctness (yet another rant, but too easy a target).

Random remarks: