We are seeing more and more widely-deployed applications change on a frequent basis. Microsoft's Office product changed significantly in 2007 and another big change came out just last year. For most users these changes were completely unnecessary, but in order to remain compatible with new document standards they were forced to upgrade.
Adobe Reader's product line had a similar change and worse still the installer opted you in to have an extra toolbar. Google product updates throw a browser on, so do Apple products.
These application updates frequently leave the user forced between a rock and a hard place; having to choose between 'keeping up' and being shut down due to rushed development bugs, insecure third-party applications and utilities, and a learning curve to find out where common commands were moved to.
Customized application development used to be the luxury of big business and their internal developer teams, or partnerships with the big IT companies out there like Microsoft, Lotus, Adobe and IBM.
Today, thanks to the growing open source movement, we have small development companies all over who are creating custom applications which are sustainable, safe, and deliver exactly what you need. You decide when it updates and how.
Over the life of a product forced upgrades can cost a lot in both hard and soft costs like retraining and lost productivity. In many cases a relationship with your local application developer can save you some real money.
Labels: open source, small business