[OT] free vs. proprietary software simply defined


    Feb 09 2007 | 5:39 pm
    hi everyone,
    I have a meeting coming up very soon with a client, in which they've asked me to explain the difference between free software/formats, e.g., Ogg Vorbis, and proprietary software formats, e.g., RealMedia. They represent a large university that's been using a proprietary platform for their webcasts and is now considering a change. I'm marshalling my arguments and I could use some help. Do you know any really good and simple essays and arguments for using free software and formats rather than proprietary ones? Please include any solely pragmatic arguments, too.
    thanks, dan

    • Feb 09 2007 | 9:06 pm
      Ahem, let me have a crack at this.
      Free software is free, except when it's not free but free, and proprietary means some fat bastard with a cigar will come after you very, very soon.... probably while you're showering.
    • Feb 09 2007 | 11:58 pm
      Quote: Dan wrote on Fri, 09 February 2007 09:39 ---------------------------------------------------- Do you know any > really good and simple essays and arguments for using free software > and formats rather than proprietary ones? Please include any solely > pragmatic arguments, too. ----------------------------------------------------
      You could go to the source:
      You should probably post this to the Pd list. :-)
      mz
    • Feb 10 2007 | 12:52 am
      At my university, I really wish we could get away from vendors of proprietary software (for things like CMS, ePortfolio, etc.), but the reality is that we simply don't have the human resources in our IT department to pull it off. In my opinion, that is a big question. Of course, there are companies that they can pay to implement open source solutions and enter into a service contract with and other things in between. But truly going with an open source platform (especially hosted internally on the campus) demands a big commitment in order to do it well. I think for a campus that has faculty and staff who are interested and capable and could truly be involved as an active part of that open-source community, OSS is a really good thing.
      On things like audio codecs though, there are things like Ogg Vorbis, then there are the licensed "open standard" platforms (the mpeg formats), and then there are the proprietary formats developed and promoted by a single company (WM, Real, etc). Ogg Vorbis is a rough road because of interoperability--many music players (notably iPod) don't support it, but they do support uncompressed and "standard" compression formats like mp3 and AAC, and will do so in the future. And the proprietary formats lock you into certain solutions. I would look to see what formats are commonly used for webcasts, podcasts, streaming media, etc. and stay as well in that mainstream as possible. In this area, I don't see the University as feeling at the mercy of the vendor like they do with services like eCollege where open-source solutions are very competitive.
    • Feb 10 2007 | 10:32 am
      Dan Winckler wrote: > I have a meeting coming up very soon with a client, in which they've > asked me to explain the difference between free software/formats, > e.g., Ogg Vorbis, and proprietary software formats, e.g., RealMedia. > They represent a large university that's been using a proprietary > platform for their webcasts and is now considering a change. I'm > marshalling my arguments and I could use some help. Do you know any > really good and simple essays and arguments for using free software > and formats rather than proprietary ones? Please include any solely > pragmatic arguments, too.
      The open source format would be more future proof, and repairs for security leaks seemed to be fixed faster than on proprietary systems. The crucial thing is ease of use, if an ogg vorbis format is used, make sure the setup is as easy as with other systems. (If a plug-in is missing, it shouldn't need more than a few clicks to install it, like with a realplayer/plugin. Open source will run on all platforms without hassle, (which is not the case for realplayer on Linux for example)
      Last, but not least, the sound quality for ogg vorbis is claimed to be the best for low bitrates, which is what the university will be concerned as well, as they have to pay for traffic...
      On the other hand mp3 is probly the most simple format to use. in conjunction with open source encoders its hard to beat...
      Stefan
      -- Stefan Tiedje------------x------- --_____-----------|-------------- --(_|_ ----|-----|-----()------- -- _|_)----|-----()-------------- ----------()--------www.ccmix.com