Since Ubuntu 8.04 LTS Hardy Heron came out I've been receiving updates almost daily. No exaggeration. Daily. Not just system updates, but updates for different programs I have installed.
Microsoft does updates once a month, the second Tuesday of each month. And, they only update Microsoft software. Apple isn't much different.
Now, granted, much of the Open Source Software is in the alpha or beta stage, so frequent updates are expected. But Windows XP and Vista aren't really much different. Even after seven years, XP still feels like the beta version, and Vista is barely alpha. Sure, it works, but even after the service pack, there's STILL the file transfer problem.
In a recent article, Windows, OSX, and Ubuntu were compared for system and security update server 'up-time'. This was based on the servers being 'pinged' every 5 minutes. Windows won, with zero downtime. Mac came in second, and Ubuntu came in third with one day, five hours, and 45 minutes of downtime.
I have machines with Window, Mac OSX 10.5, and Ubuntu 8.04(.1). In the time between April 1st and June 30th, I received updates from Microsoft about six times. My install of OSX 10.5 is recent, but I've received two updates from Apple. It would take most of this blog to tell you how many updates I got from Ubuntu in that time. Not just to the system software, but individual program updates. Updates from Ubuntu come in almost daily still.
I'm wondering if Open Source Software is growing faster. I mean exponentially faster. It's quite possible. But, when I listened to the most recent episode of LugRadio (their last episode, evidently), it seems that big projects like OpenOffice.org have organizational problems that hold back progress (not just OO.o -they're an example). It seems the bigger the project, the slower the pace. Still OpenOffice.org is growing fast than MS Office. MS Office is still far ahead in functionality -or so I'm told. I've used only OpenOffice.org for over a year now. I've not experienced any functionality problems. I do admit to the most basic use of Office applications, so I'm not pushing the envelope there.
Maybe it's just my perspective -being that I watch things like this. It may take awhile for Open Source projects to match or best proprietary one, but I think it will happen sooner than most think. As more desktops and servers have Open Source installed on them, the momentum will be unstoppable. Until the asteroid comes, that is. Or Yellowstone blows. Or global warming melts everything. Or we trash everything, and Wall-E has to save us.