Document Actions

Why We Need Open Source: Three Cautionary Tales

ComputerWorldUK - Open Enterprise mostly writes about "obvious" applications of open source - situations where money can be saved, or control regained, by shifting from proprietary to open code. That battle is more or less won: free software is widely recognised as inherently superior in practically all situations, as its rapid uptake across many markets demonstrates. But there are also some circumstances where it may not be so obvious that open source is the solution, because it's not always clear what the problem is.

For example, in the field of economics, there is a well-known paper by Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff entitled, "Growth in a Time of Debt." The main result is that "median growth rates for countries with public debt over 90 percent of GDP are roughly one percent lower than otherwise; average (mean) growth rates are several percent lower." Needless to say, this has been seized upon and widely cited by those in favour of austerity.

However, as a blog post on the Roosevelt Institute from a few weeks back explained: