Is open source a reason for global crisis?
This is a strange thought that I have pulled out of my mind. I was thinking whether this would be a reason for global crisis. Let me start my story from those initial years of software development.
At the time computers arrived, knowing those strange boxes was an added benefit for the employee. As the need for "computing" was increased, there was a requirement for people, who could operate it. Slowly the requirement turned towards those who can develop it. Then the requirement turned into a demand. Companies started paying more salaries to those who used their brains. Companies started "selling" their softwares to other companies. They named themselves as Software vendors. Seeing the increased demand of those intellectual properties, the prices of softwares were increased slowly.
Before I begin the next para, let me remind you the fact that companies can do anything (to extremes) to make out more money from their products with less and logical investments. This thought of business men made the software vendors retain the source code of the program and made them give the machine level code to its customers. These copies were bundled with something called "license". This "license" imposed a couple of restrictions on the installations of softwares, and made the customer buy the same software copies multiple times to get the required "licenses". The "license" also restricted the customer to change or manipulate the working condition of the code.
There was a boom in market and the software industry became the richest among others. It made other companies buy its products as a mandatory need. But the market had a majority of medium and low budget companies. Buying something which is more expensive than their infrastucture was a big trouble to them. Inside the blanket, the techie guys understood the working of the software and started using the copies without paying for it. This was what they called the "piracy". Software vendors got a "jerk" with this, and were not willing to accept it. As a result, the "pirate" companies were sued legally.
Mean while, a curious developer wrote a piece of code and gave the source code to others to see it. Others "liked it" and added their thoughts to it. Their innovative ideas took shape in the hands of programmers and couple of software codes started speading here and there, without any charge. Software developers started using it in their applications. Sometime later the "customer" came to know about this and hired some programmers to develop softwares based on those free ones. The developers, of course, were paid less, because much of the source code was "openly" distributed.
The focus shifted from proprietary software solutions to cheaply available and configurable "open source" softwares. This gave a chance to many companies which emerged as software vendors. To withstand in the battle field of competitions, the companies increased the work force who developed quality softwares. The customer was not happy with the price because they remained the same. A thirst for something cheap and productive started. This gave a competition among software developers and vendors, who started charging less than others. The companies started buying the cheapest available in the market. Their main focus was to get the work done with minimal investment.
The same thought came in the mind of others and the usage of pricy softwares started declining. This reduced the profits for the software vendors and increased the competition. The demand for open source softwares raised in market. To overcome this vendors started training their staff on opensource. The developers took the knowledge and moved to another company, making the investment useless. Then the expenditure for companies started increasing, and the main one was on the man power. This made the companies stop recruiting people and to address the income-expense ratio, slowly started removing its employees.
With the increasing unemployement and lack of job security, the willingness of a human to buy things decreased. The human started reducing his expenditure and stopped buying things unless they are required. This inturn had the impact on companies whose income-expense ratio got affected. Like a chain reaction in all the molecules, all the companies followed the same method. Investment in creating and buying something was stopped. All of a sudden the companies recognised that they were in loss. The loss was also visible in the companies world wide.
I am not saying that open source is the only reason for the loss. But this being one of the reason, followed many others. Especially the income-expense balance. Now you might expect me to put forward a solution for this. But there are many business management administrators out there who have sharper minds than me. They will definetly come forward with some idea to put back the wheel into the cart. Anyway, not to disappoint you, here is my view.
The companies can come forward and invest larger amounts on other products, not on just the softwares. We have a so many other alternatives to software industries which really need attention. The major being the infrastucture innovations. The products that will ease the lifestyle. The infrastructure that would bring fame to the country. Tourism, internal security, improvement in quality of products produced and most importantly the stonger association of government and private companies in improving the quality of "things" produced is needed.
December 21, 08 @ 11:25 am.
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