hypothetical(?) GPL problem

OP Mailserver user s96121272 at op.up.ac.za
Wed Jun 20 22:19:24 UTC 2001

Hi David,

On Wed, 20 Jun 2001 David wrote:
> I disagree.  Personally, I strongly suspect that Microsoft are right 
> when they say free software is commercial suicide (in the current 
> economy).  Others say it isn't.  The point is that either position 
> seems based on a lot of tenuous logic, at least so far, and being 
> dragged into that debate when we can talk far more truthfully about 
> the direct human benefits of free software can only dilute the public 
> perception of those truths.  Let the Open Source people spend 
> their time finding statistics in their favour.
You are right to emphasize the human benefits, ecconomic aguments alone miss  the spirit of the freesofware movement.. I don't think staistics can predict  much more than the next twelve months with any useful accuracy. In a developing ecconomy the future will not be like the past.

However companies are motivated by their profits. Since most productive effort in the world today is organized through companies it would be wasteful not to involve them in producing freesoftware. Any contribution from companies would be a useful addition to the work done by individuals and charities. 

Reason can show freesoftware is beter longtem policy for a company. Dependence on proprietary software is a serious risk to the future viability of a business. Proprietary software companies have a monopolistic power over their clients, and prorietary information formats can make it very expensive to change software suppliers. 

In most countries money spent paying for new freesoftware to be written would be a tax deductible donation to charity. 

These are important resaons for companies to use freesftware such as Gnome Office, GNU Enterprise, PostgreSQL....

(It is also important to distinguish between  a freesoftware system which preserves the four freedoms throughout, versus a hybrid system (eg proprietary applications running on GUN/Linux) which leaves the most busiess critical information and functions burried in a proprietary program.)

If you create demand for freesoftware, you also create demand for IT-support companies who can setup, maintain and improve freesoftware. NB a company founded to write freesoftware can be a chartity. This means money that would have gone to dividends and tax can go to writing freesoftware. If you can earn a living writing freesoftware then you don't have to waste time doing another job. This will increase the productivity of freesoftware programmers. ;-))

It is a matter of shaping the ecconomy to serve human benefit. Business exists to serve human needs, not the other way around.

Nick Hockings

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