The purpose of the post was to share information for those for whom whether a project’s source is open isn’t their only consideration when choosing software. Since you asked, I’ll explain my own point of view.
Different people have different priorities. Mine is getting the job done with as little aggravation and annoyance as possible. If I can do that with FOSS, great. If not, then I pay for commercial software. That’s the short answer. I have a mission mentality. It’s something that was drilled into me when I was in the service and my life depended on it, and it stuck.
From 1998 through 2002, I ran my entire company on FOSS. We made our money supporting Windows, but we ran on Linux and various FOSS applications. The reason wasn’t any commitment on my part to to open-source. It was that Windows was unstable, unusable crap that just kept getting worse.
Remember Windows Me? That made me a lot of money, especially when XP came out. It was a perilous upgrade (if one chose that route, as many clients insisted on) that took several hours at USD $115.00 / hour – and I had more people begging us to do it than I could handle. I had to hire college kids to handle the demand. It was the hottest service we offered. People so loathed WinMe (and rightfully so – it was absolute shit) that they would bribe me to push them up on the list.
In any case, from 1998 through 2002, I used Linux and other FOSS in my own company simply because literally anything was better than Windows. But because I supported Windows, I was keenly aware of developments in that world; and when XP rolled around, I started installing it on a few of my own computers and gradually migrated back.
The reason, again, was because I believed that XP was a better desktop solution than any Linux I’d used. I didn’t have to search for days for software that I could buy in a minute at CompUSA or Micro Center. I didn’t have to build from source, and then possibly spend hours or days debugging code. I didn’t have to recompile kernels every time I bought new hardware. I just had to stick a CD in the drive and keep clinking “Next.”
Time is money, and Windows since XP saved me time. (Obviously, I skipped Vista.)
I’m sure it sounds like I’m some kind of traitor, and maybe I am. But all I cared about then (and all I care about now) was (and remains) getting the job done with the least amount of fuss. I didn’t care whether the solution was FOSS because the only time I bothered looking at the source was when something didn’t work – and I preferred it to just work rather than poring over the source to figure out why it didn’t.
That being said, I still use FOSS when it’s the best solution. I use CentOS on my servers. I use Thunderbird, Firefox, Apache OpenOffice, WinSCP, VLC, and many other open-source applications to which I contribute money – rarely code these days – because I believe that they’re the best solutions and deserve support. I appreciate free speech, but I also know that beer is never really free. At least not good beer, anyway.
But I wouldn’t use those applications nor support them if I didn’t also consider them the best solutions. I support them because they’re good apps, not because they’re FOSS.
I also use hybrid products like Virtualmin Pro, and plan to move a few more servers over once the situation with a CentOS replacement is settled. If I’m going to be reinstalling the OS, I may as well use a better panel, as well. But if I didn’t believe Virtualmin was a better solution (both in terms of the product and the company), then I wouldn’t use it.
In terms of other tech, I use an iPhone as my “daily driver” because all things considered, I think it’s the best phone OS now that BB10 is defunct. I don’t care that it’s mainly closed-source. It works for me.
I also tried a Mac, thought it was quite a good machine, but decided not to buy one because it didn’t offer me any productivity advantages over what I’m using now. But the moment that I can no longer disable Microsoft’s spyware in Windows 10 (or if it becomes unstable, etc.), it’s off to Crossgates Mall to buy me a Mac.
I use an iPhone for my DD, but I also run AOSiP on a phone that I use for my mapping activities (I’m an OpenStreetMap volunteer mapper, surveyor, and editor). None of the apps I use for that mission need Google Play Services, and they run better on a leaner OS. So I installed AOSiP on a OnePlus 7t, stuck a $15.00 / month prepaid TMO SIM card in it for what little data it needs, and use it for anything involving mapping work. Why? Because it’s leaner and it works better. And if I have to, I can even make a phone call.
So there you have it. You’re an open-source enthusiast, and I sincerely thank you for your service. Me, I just want to get the job done. If you come out with something that I like better than the commercial software I use, then I’ll use it and pay you whatever I was paying the commercial vendor in order to contribute to your project so you can buy beer.
But it has to actually be better than what I’m using, in the context of my own workflow, before I’ll use it. The mission is what matters to me in the end.