My Take on the Failure of Open Source

For Christmas this year, we got a new computer which I've been meaning to post about for awhile. I've used several good references for the software it needed to start being usable, including but not limited to the following:

At one point, my wife asked if "Office" was installed on the computer. Being an anti-Microsoft pinko communist leftist revolutionary nutjob frugal like I am, I was leaning towards having almost nothing but open source software on my new computer. Though I could have semi-easily obtained a decently priced copy of Microsoft - Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007, I elected to use for the office productivity route. I've got a copy of Microsoft Outlook that I'll use with my Dell - Dell Axim. I'll probably use Thunderbird for all other email.

I installed the software without testing it and probably would never have noticed anything lacking that would have been a problem. I showed it to my wife and let her use it with the point that she would let me know if anything was out of place. Everything worked fine for over a month.

Then today the hammer fell. Where's the clipart? she asked. Will all of the clipart available from Microsoft's Office Update site be compatible with StarOffice Writer? Of course, the answer to this is no. For those who've never used it, MS has a decently integrated web site where you can quickly browse for clipart and use it in any office product. It's slick and simple and has thousands upon thousands of images.

And for this reason alone, Open Source Failed -- at least for today. Sure, I could search for and find a similar site or project of open source clipart and media. Or I could just point my wife at Creative Commons and the initiatives like it, along with search engines that can find images marked for it. But nothing will match the immediate familiarity of the Microsoft source. Until that day comes...

Anyhow, that's my take on it.

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