the Hidden Realities of Computer Industry in Japan Japanese

5.4 Freeware

I've written about the development of computers up to here. But programers have changed drastically too. First of all, computers become cheap and anyone can buy them now. Then computers is being used in every field and the number of programmers is increasing rapidly. This explosion has convert the quality and quantity of programming radically.

We had to buy various computer programs from computer manufacturers in the past. But computers are mostly supported by freewares today. It is positive that computers all over the world would deadlock if freewares are unavailable at once.

Some might be surprised at the existance of "Free" softwares. Some institutions,mainly including Euramerican universities, made them for academic use or research and release them for free. You can find even the institutions speciallized for making freewares. Computer manufacturers also make freewares commonly to populize thier own computers.

General readers tend to think "free" means bastard. But most of the freewares utilized worldwide are exellent. It is quite natural because many of them are developed by so-called wizards. Everything about freewares are open and anyone can work on it. Anyhow, "open" is everything. On the contrary, commercial softwares are closed for making money. This difference, "open" or "close", is a decisive factor for software's quality.

Do you know software's quality is directly proportional to the number of users? Quality and famous software has an enormous number of users. The software is tested thoroughly when the users apply it to various purposes. They find and fix errors readily in the situation.

On the other hand, commercial softwares can be survayed only by its developers because they are closed. Freewares are open and any capable man can test throughly on it. In addition to just a test, he or she, who is not the original developer though, can reconstruct it.

Many kinds of computers exist in the world. Test on each of them is impossible. We have to operate each machine on different ways even if it is possible. It is troublesome. We should reasonably let respective exparts work on each computer instead.

Freesoftwares have come to work on every computer like this.

How're a commercial software on the other hand? A small number use it compared wiht a freeware. Errors are sometimes fixed when you point out them since it is a merchandice. The company sometimes tells us if we want to know something.

A commercial software is advantageous on a certain point of view. The seller at least takes care of it. But you had better not think a software is good, still less trust it even if you pay for it.

Good is good. Bad is bad. That's all.

Copyright 1996, 1998 Hirofumi Fujiwara. Translated by M.N.
No reproduction or republication without written permission.

the Hidden Realities of Computer Industry in Japan Japanese