Quality versus principles?

I want to support open source software. I want free software. I want good quality software. Are all three desires always able to be met?

I’ve just been deciding on programs to install on a new computer. In some cases, I’ve gone for free software that isn’t open source because it is of a higher quality. Have I “sold out” in my support of open source, if I choose non-open software when there’s an open source alternative?

Is it always right to stick to the pure ideals of Community Development process, when there might be high quality solutions available from outside the community (e.g. in a top-down model, from the private sector) that result in a better end product?

An example might be choosing someone to produce a community newspaper (from content driven by the community): you could put the effort in to get some people from the community to produce it and live with the spelling mistakes (and how this might undervalue the community and the content they provide), or you could pay an external company to do the production and get a glossy newspaper (and enjoy how the quality makes the community value themselves, their news, and the newspaper).

Or maybe this isn’t so black and white, or the distinction is wrong?


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