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Open Source vs Proprietary – From a Retired Microsoft Dev – YouTube

March 14, 2021

TL;DR version of my thoughts: With open source, you own the means of production, which may entail more work but you are NEVER left out in the cold when the company decides you're not profitable anymore.

So I got super annoyed by this dude when he started comparing MSDN to the supposedly nonexistent documentation for Linux distros.

Maybe in retirement he's forgotten that monopolist Microsoft owns all of the development tools and APIs, and since they don't share source code with their users, they have to document the hell out of everything, and having a single format for documents is exactly how corporations operate.

Does documentation have to be written by a pro to be good? In my experience, 90% of "professional documentation" is formatting and boilerplate text with little meat. "This page left intentionally blank" still makes me roll my eyes every time I see it. It gets old, and is irritating when you just want to know the parameters a function takes.

As for Linux content, no, there is not one top-level documentation site for Linux, because we're not a global mega-corporation that wants to lock you into their products. There is, however, official documentation for Ubuntu itself, and the GNOME desktop API documentation, the Linux kernel user and developer documentation... and many, many other sources of good information. Each of these are separate projects run by different groups - in some cases companies, in others, groups of developers with common interests and even single developers.

The biggest advantage though is that when an open source project ends, if an interested developer doesn't want it to end, they can pick right up where the previous developers left off. For instance, if you really liked MS Comic Chat, or Outlook Express, or Windows Media Center, or Visual J#, you're out of luck permanently, but if these had been open source, it would simply be a matter of making a fork and maintaining it yourself.

Ultimately, open source is always better because the product and the means to create that product are really yours.

Categorized as: Linux | Ubuntu

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