Pragmatism : The Actual Reason Why We're Using Open Source

:: Several days ago, somebody questioned my decision to use MariaDB on several servers, and subtly implied that the decision was "political"; related to the rivalries between Oracle (MySQL) versus SkySQL (MariaDB).

I was having a headache, and didn't took it very well 🙂 I ended up emailing him pages of detailed explanations for that decision 🙂
Later I sobered up, created a much shorter email, basically summarized that it was for technical reason. 

Then I found the following comment by a Reddit user, which was very similar to my own experiences, and my main reason to utilize open source software :  http://www.reddit.com/r/linux/comments/1okbdb/oracle_attacks_open_source/ccsuvu0

Basically, contrary to popular opinion, actual support for proprietary software really sucks in a lot of cases. 

As a system implementator, sometimes your manager / client demanded that you deliver the (massive) project on time; while having your hands tied.

An example; they may have enormous budget available for said project, however, that budget must go through the internal procurement bureaucracies, before you can spend it on external consultants / the support that you needed.

That takes time, which means the project will be running without support & encounter a lot of problems, while speedily getting closer to the deadline.   

Even after you acquired the external support, your hands are still tied. 

Sometimes you need to make quick changes due to an emergency, and the next morning, the consultant found it out & commented, "oh we can't support that, it wasn't done by us". 
A reasonable comment by and on itself, but when considering the context, it's actually a really lazy response.

So, sounds familiar to you ? I've had these unpleasant experience several times, and indeed it was painful & stressful. 

With Open Source Software, pretty much everything is within your control.

I've modified LibreOffice installer when it didn't work, with zero previous experience, all done in about 20 minutes. 
When I encountered problems on an open source software, I just googled it, and the solutions came in less than a second. This is because the user base is so big, chances are pretty excellent that someone else had already encountered the problem and solved it.

Compared to the tied-hands situations before, it's heaven. 

Yes, the original reason I used F/OSS is pragmatism. 
It help me making the situation much better for me 🙂

Only much later did I begun to appreciate its various concepts & philosophies.

========
So, back to my reasons to use MariaDB, here it is :

# Installed on NON-critical servers

# Installed on those servers because the queries running there need the better multi-core scalabilities of MariaDB

# MariaDB will be installed on another (again, non-critical) server to utilize its multi-master replication feature.

========
Oracle versus MariaDB

Make NO mistake, feature-wise, there is NO way MariaDB can compete with Oracle.

Anyone stating otherwise is just pronouncing his/her ignorance to everyone. 

However, it's unwise to judge a software just by its features. 
You'll need to also consider a lot of other factors : the project's actual requirements, documentation, internal support, external support, license cost, implementation cost, infrastructure support, exit cost, etc.

Considering all these, in many cases, open source software is the right answer. 

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Let me preface this by stating that I have nothing inherently against commercial or closed software. It’s a different business model. I prefer Open So…

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20 thoughts on “Pragmatism : The Actual Reason Why We're Using Open Source

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