Why Microsoft, Wal-mart, and Dell don’t get it … and OSS folks do.

September 12, 2005 | Uncategorized | Comments Off on Why Microsoft, Wal-mart, and Dell don’t get it … and OSS folks do.

In a time of great need, it is interesting to compare the home pages of
several companies to see how their ideologies about how business works
affect their responses to these real world situations. I read slashdot
and digg amoung other tech news websites and there are usually a few
posts a day and plenty of follow-up replies about how Microsoft or Wal-mart are terrible and how FOSS
software and the FOSS community is wonderful.

Here are the home pages of a few large corporations:

Microsoft Homepage
Wal-mart Homepage
Dell Homepage
Starbucks Homepage

All of those companies have links to hurricane Katrina relief
efforts prominently placed on their homepage. Both Microsoft and
Wal-mart (as well as Oracle, Sun, and even SCO) have donated huge amounts of resources, people, and cash to
the victims.

In contrast here are a few sites that the MS-hater crowd loves 😉

Eric S. Raymond Homepage
Eric S. Raymond
(self-proclaimed “Microsoft’s worst nightmare”)
The Register Homepage
The Register

Linux Homepage

Red Hat Homepage
Debian Homepage
Slashdot Homepage

I’m not seeing a whole lot of effort to help those in need. I
realize that its not the goal of these websites or companies to make
enough money to be able to help people with it. They are news sites and non-funded projects. But
it is striking to
see that while something major is going on in the real world, the
leaders in the OSS movement just keep on blasting big
corporations, while those big corporations are the ones actually
helping people. There’s not even a link that says “Hey while we’re busy
demonizing companies with a different business model, let’s take a few
minutes out to consider what’s actually happening and donate a few
bucks to the Red Cross.”

Don’t get me wrong. I hate that the MS
Office format is closed. I wish IE 7 would have come out 2 years
ago. I hate that Wal-mart doesn’t let employees unionize. At the same
time, I love
open source software. I’ve participated in several open source
projects. I run Linux and Open Office in certain situtations. I’m a
“right tool for the job” kind of guy. That’s why I think those who love
to hate these companies should reconsider their claims
that Microsoft, Wal-mart, Google, Starbucks, etc. are the devil. Sure,
they’re not perfect… but
the propriatary software companies come through in the clutch,
something I can’t say for most of the Open Source companies.

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Hi, I'm John Dyer. In my day job, I build websites and create online seminary software for a seminary in Dallas. I also like to release open source tools including a pretty popular HTML5 video player and build tools that help people find best bible commentaries and do bible study. And just for fun, I also wrote a book on the theology of technology and media.

Fork me on GitHub

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