Chances are that you, during your career, have used a lot of different software packages, running under several operating systems. I did, too. Much of my data needed to survive all infrastructure changes, over the years. I had more than my fair share of data loss, data corruption, vendors going out of business, insane upgrade schemes & costs and the like.
Saving my data from annihilation has always been, in the end, my job. Sometimes, import features assisted me with migrations. Over the years, things kept speeding up, and I learned the meaning of interoperability, that is: how to find the least lossy, daily transformations to carry data from one application to another and back. Meanwhile, even that isn't fast enough anymore.
Open-Source Software (OSS) alone is not sufficient to cure this disease, because many OSS applications suffer from platform lock-in: While you're on a Windows machine, you don't have that handy Linux application available. While you're working on a Mac, that nifty Windows application is unavailable. While you're working under Linux, WINE can't run the very Windows application that you'd need. While you're on the Web, file sizes are too big to work efficiently. And so on, ad nauseam.
That's why I've come to cherish excellent open source software that tears down those walls by simply running under various platforms. Running. Not just «being portable», but actually ported: applications that you can safely install on any of your computers and use it for years to come, whether you're online or not, whether you switch to a new operating system or not, whether you can afford buying a new machine every year or not.
I've decided to coin a new term for that kind of software and explain what it means in this posting. In part two of this mini-series, I'll list some great software packages that meet the criteria.
So, what is Ported Open Source Software (POSS)? »