press release critique

MJ Ray markj at
Wed May 2 10:07:35 UTC 2001

Stefan Meretz <stefan.meretz at> writes:

> Press release about founding of the FSFE says that free software has
> the goal to make money with it. This is exactly the opposite of the
> spirit of GPL and GNU Manifesto! This is because making money
> presuppose making things scarce. If you have free software which is
> inherently not scarce, you have to make other things around free
> software scarce in order to be able to sell free software or the
> things around.

I don't think this is quite right.  While programs are non-rivalrous
in consumption (and therefore ought to be available for free in a fair
market), programmer time is scare and rivalrous in consumption, so
naturally attracts a price.  So, the act of programming should be
bought while the programs remain free.  I don't see any real
contradiction between making money programming Free software and the
FSF ideals, because the FSF(E) way of making money from it does not
involve in artificial restraint of program Freedom.

> And this is exactly what Eric Raymond in his propaganda says (see
> the magic cauldron:

Open-source's poster boy arguing against making money from Free
software?  Surely not?  Time from me to go reread that one, I guess.


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