Official Anarchist Browser Update

Mozilla has just announced the release of the latest update to their no-frills browser, and its somewhat confusing name change to Firefox (from Firebird). This should be of interest to libertarians, as this browser is open-source and, in this Catallarchist's opinion, vastly superior to Internet Explorer. This should assuage some doubts about the open source movement's ability to compete with their proprietary source counterparts. (WinXP users: how many error messages have you been asked to send to Microsoft? Instead of letting you do all the work, why don't they release an OS that isn't full of holes! No wasting time. Go open source, and let users patch what they want, or release a full product to a public that pays for it.)

In the digital age, computer adeptness does not require an education or standardized training. Granted, employers can rest assured knowing that the job candidates coming out of computer science programs have been exposed to rigorous challenges and have proven their mettle. These are the candidates you would want writing software for special programs to be used in hospitals, science labs, and other things, because these programs often require very specialized knowledge that you wouldn't find (or want to find) out in the general public, and also you can fire a fall guy if things go awry. But by now everyone should also be familiar with the worldwide phenomenon whereby people of all ages, in almost all localities, can get a simple computer, a modem or better, and overnight turn into clich?s. There's a worldwide network of hackers (what the media call "hackers" these types call "crackers") who code for no other reasons than fun, curiosity, reputation, or the knowledge that they can. These guys produce applications for general use.

Surely the efforts of a distributed worldwide network of hobbyist hackers, many of whom are as good as the college-educated variety (and are aided and abetted by them), should be able to produce something of value. The ever-increasing open source movement is a testament to this very assertion.

What about the future? Open source has a rather technical feel to it at present, and many people are intimidated by it. But as it gains adherents, more and more of whom are everyday users rather than hackers and enthusiasts, I suspect that eventually the business model exemplified by the various Linux distributors could outcompete Microsoft. In Round 1, Mozilla beats IE by a knockout.

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although I think the Open

although I think the Open Source phenomenon is a little over-hyped, it definitely can't be ignored. Perhaps IBM's Linux commercial during the Superbowl made the subtle point that private companies are benefiting from the goodwill of developers from all over the world. Of course, IBM added a lot of nice stuff to the Eclipse IDE but how long do you think that is going to be free? A lot of other companies are also sponsoring Open Source projects as well.

Considering the future, I will be interested in seeing how Open Source vs. Outsourcing plays out. The biggest myth about Open Source is that it is free to those who use it. The cost of ownership is never considered when talking about Open Source. In the coming years, companies will have difficult choices on whether to pursue Open Source options for their needs or Outsourcing it India, Russia or Israel. All the options have their pros and cons.

The cost of ownership is

The cost of ownership is never considered when talking about Open Source.

I don't think that is so. I'm sure we've all heard about the little things that go into "TCO" from open source advocates:
- no forced upgrades
- fewer viral opportunities/better security
- no vendor lock-in on data formats
- more support option
- quicker bug fix turnaround
- less expensive feature addition

The "TCO" figures Microsoft is advertising comes from studies where the conditions are very limited and not realistic for most businesses.

Another factor in TCO for

Another factor in TCO for non-Free software is the possibility of an audit. If Microsoft decides to audit a large organization for Windows licenses, even if that organization is 100% compliant, it is still hugely expensive, difficult, and time-consuming to prove it. Such an audit cost the taxpayers of Virginia Beach $129K in 2000.

Downloaded last night before

Downloaded last night before bed & installed on the home computer. Will probably do the same at work today.

I've never used Mozilla, so

I've never used Mozilla, so I can't say anything about it (and I don't intend to download and try), but I thought the issue over superiority over IE was already settled, in favour of Opera.