Trusting Open Source – Questions

This is going to be a series of blog posts on trusting open source. I am first introducing some questions that newcomers ask when first trying to understand the nature and model of open source software. These questions are crucial to getting answered adequately so that people can move on to using the software. I will talk about the security and reliability of open source and then alternatives to open source.

When you think about it, how can anyone trust the open source process and the code it produces? You don’t know who is coding what is running on your computer. If you aren’t a coder you aren’t looking at the code. Why does this work so well?

Few technical folks will use something they do not understand and/or trust. For others they need to know they have someone who can answer their questions. Tim O’Reilly calls these people alpha geeks. You may call them your nephews or nieces. Since nobody is born knowing everything about technology and because it changes we all need to learn sometime.

Some people still are trying to spread fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) about open source. These efforts have largely been shown to be specious. While science, technology engineering (somtimes art is included) and mathematics (STEM fields) is now the hot topic for the US education system, the scientific method itself seems to be under attack in some newspapers giving fact based arguments equal or less standing to conjecture.

Is open source right for you? I look forward to seeing your comments.

As a reminder for those in our area, our 4th Sunday meeting at Bobby G’s Pizzeria is going on now.

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