(English) The audacity of using open source software

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One of the arguments against Open Source software has traditionally been the question of support. With regular software, after you purchase it you get a phone number or an email that you contact and a paid support staff will sort out whatever issues you’re having. I’ve come to learn that this is a bit of a fallacy.The current episode started with the coma of qTranslate which is no longer being supported. We decided to use WPML because they seem to be respectable and their architecture seems sound, so we contacted them to get a license. They gave it, all’s good.

Then we proceeded to do an import, it froze, so we sent off an email requesting support. Nothing, 6 weeks later, nothing and launch date is closing in, so we decided to look around and found out that someone had forked qtranslate and one of the fork, mqtranslate seems to have an active community around it. We decided to ditch WPML and go with mqtranslate instead.

There was a similar issue several years ago when Autodesk (or was it Alias at the time?) decided to remove patches for their existing software from their website because the support has reached end of life and refuse to under any circumstances send it to their customer. We ended up having to get it off bittorrent.

In light of this experience I find it to be quite brave of an organization to stake their future on a component over which they have almost no control over. Open Source means freedom to control one’s destiny and this should be a serious point of consideration when choosing software.


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