Many years ago, I remember a time when a whole bunch of open source software reached the elusive 1.0 stable release. This meant that the likes of Mozilla and Open Office now had enough functionality to compete with existing products (or simply do something good on non-MS platforms). These weren’t necessarily better, or even that good in some cases, but were proof that the open source development model can work.
We are again at a similar point which looks like the next step in open source’s evolution. The Mozilla Firefox browser has just hit version 2.0 and Gaim, the open source, multi-protocol instant messenger, is nearing it. This could turn the tide in open source’s favor for good since there are now actual advantages to using these alternatives in place of commercial software.
On a related note, it was also interesting to read about a Firefox user’s week with IE7. It was interesting to read how Microsoft’s push to force everyone to upgrade to their latest versions of Windows (by dropping support for earlier platforms) will prove to be a big plus for free software. Firefox, for example, still supports Windows 98 while IE7 won’t even support Windows 2000. And we haven’t even started comparing the actual softwares yet.