Tuesday, April 23, 2013

8 reasons to choose commercial library instead of open-source one

This article has been written with security in mind and is about security of your business and of software development in general. 

Open-source software (i.e. software offered under free licenses with freely accessible source code) gains popularity day by day. The reason is obvious – price drops for the end-user software make it harder to invest cash into software development beforehand. And in case of in-house activities stiffer IT budgets make programmers choose code snippets of unidentified quality.

However while open-source libraries and code snippets seem to have zero initial cost of use, they start to consume resources later, during life cycle of your software. And commercial libraries can offer more than you can think of.

I will focus on professionally developed commercial solutions: putting a price tag on your code piece doesn't magically turns the code into the industry-level commercial product. Commercial library must be evaluated thoroughly to answer the question of how professional it is. Not everything with a price tag is good, that's obvious. But if it's commercial, chances are great that you will get the things missing in open-source offerings.
Let's review what exactly commercial software (and specifically component and class libraries for software developers) can offer, and then discuss objections and counter-objections.

Read more on CodeProject.com

And as promised, my reason #8:

Investment in future 

The “save tomorrow for tomorrow, think about today instead” mantra has brought humanity to the edge of ecological catastrophe. Apple's bias towards end-users (which is just a cloak for desire to sell more hardware) has hut the whole software industry badly. People are used to pay 0 to 1 dollar for software and then ask “what? Do I have to pay another $0.99 for a new version of the software title that I've been using for 3 years? Are you insane?”. That attitude poisons the industry and slows down innovation. For some time the race for the first places in the AppStore and Play Store will make developers invest their time and resources into software titles, but calculations and studies show, that this race is more of a lottery with a little chance for small developers to succeed.

Paying for software and motivating the users to pay as well is a culture of consuming the software which will let the ISV industry, and especially small vendors, continue to innovate in future and do this with satisfactory budgets.

Finally, if you don't pay for books you read, writers will stop writing and there will be no new literature to steal to read. If nobody pays for software now, there will be no skilled vendors in 5-10 years and no good and sophisticated software. Unlike music records, software vendors can't give software away for free and do something else for living – that's not a viable business model. So they will simply go out of business, and the world will become full of open-source stuff, unsupported and of unknown quality.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Advertising and sanity

While not directly related to IT security or crypto, this topic also applies to all businesses working in IT security business. 

I was looking to place advertisement of our security-related product for developers on certain well-known site for developers. Target market, you know (well, kind of). However, the approach to business used by this site has shocked me. In year 2013 they still offer only banner advertisement on pay-per-view basis (and they are not alone in this mistake, BTW).

We all know well, that banners don't work as they are being blocked by ad blockers, which nowadays are built into browsers. CTR of 0,01% (yes, one click per 10K views) is a common result due to multiple reasons.  So pay-per-view banner advertising just doesn't pay to advertisers. $3000 per sale generated by such advertising is far beyond the common sense.

As ads don't work, this site seems to not get many advertisers. And what do they do? Instead of exploring other possibilities in site monetizing, instead of providing context-based or audience-based ads (including text and video ads) they .. sky-rocket prices and set minimum spending limits, trying to squeeze the income from those lonely advertisers.

And I could understand if they were a site for paying audience, that really generates good sales. In opposite, this is the site devoted and biased towards lovers of free lunch and open-source.

One would say that instead of writing this I would need to go and find some other place to advertise at and stop complaining. Well, yes, and that's what I am doing. But I want to turn everyone's attention to inadequate business decisions made by some web sites, and how those design decisions lead to lose-lose situation.