Does the Open Source Model work better than its commercial alternative? This post comes on the heels of one of my fellow Staff Writer's posting the story, "A Modest Idea: What If Microsoft Open Sourced Windows?" And I'm aiming this commentary at Microsoft too but it applies to any company who seeks profit over what is fundamentally correct behavior in the marketplace. I'm not against anyone making a profit. Profit is good. Forfeiting good business sense and sacrificing employees in the name of profit are bad.
Steve Ballmer announced the other day that Microsoft is joining the host of other companies by laying off thousands of workers. In his company-wide email, he blamed the poor economy for the layoffs.
"But it is also clear that we are not immune to the effects of the economy. Consumers and businesses have reined in spending, which is affecting PC shipments and IT expenditures."
Yes, it's true that the economy is not great right now but I don't suppose their layoffs have anything to do with the dismal performance of Microsoft's flagship desktop operating system, Vista, does it? Nor does it have anything to do with the fact that many are turning away from Microsoft in record numbers because of his poor performance as well.
Could an Open Source business model prevent the Microsoft layoffs?
If Microsoft's operating systems were open source, as Ron Miller suggests, would it save jobs? I believe that it would and here's why: Development would not only take place at Microsoft but all around the world by volunteers who, by the way, generally do the work free of charge. Popular enhancements would be made to the code to make it more stable, friendly, and perhaps less expensive.
Piracy would also be less of an issue for Microsoft--where they spend millions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of man-hours each year to quell.
And Steve Ballmer's role would also become less of a business driver and more of that of a spokesman for the company.
To the question: Linux and the Open Source Model: Does It Work?
You know my answer. I want to hear yours. Use the Comments area below to let me know what you think.