A Topic for Discussion - Open Source Feature-Richness?

by David Lane

Twitter does not generally allow you to have a discussion. At least not me, who can barely say anything in less than a 1000 words, but here is a recent thread:

I'm not a fan of novel writing software--too complicated--but Storybook (free) helps keep my arcs & timeline straight.

My response:

I am actually getting ready to do a review of various writing software package, so thanks for that!

Their response:

Keep in mind that it's free, open source stuff, so less slick and feature-rich than other software.

My response

Hmm, an interesting observation. "Less feature rich" because it is Open Source?

Their response:

Well, really more because it's free.

The person making these comments is a professional writer who I follow, with several books published. So the opinion about the software not being feature rich is a valid issue and being too complicated is something that I too find with writing software in general. But that the author feels it is less feature rich because it is Open Source, or more correctly, because it is free is something that bothers me.

So let me ask the question, realizing that this is as close to a Holy War topic as we can get. Do you feel, in general, that Open Source software is less feature rich when compared to its commercial counter part? I am going to go out on a limb here and say that there certainly are Open Source packages that are lacking features when compared to their commercial equivalent. I also feel that there are Open Source packages that put their commercial peers to shame, both in feature sets as well as usability and support. Those of us who attended LinuxCon in Portland last year and heard Zonker's keynote presentation, heard him talk about how many Open Source packages are only 90% complete. A statement that shook many in the audience. But does that make Open Source packages any less slick? Any less feature-rich? Are we holding our own? Or not?

Flames to /dev/null.

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