juridical Question on software and GPL

João Miguel Neves joao at silvaneves.org
Sat Mar 27 12:45:47 UTC 2004

A Sáb, 2004-03-27 às 11:49, Moritz Sinn escreveu: 
> "João Miguel Neves" <joao at silvaneves.org> writes:
> a free software programmer wants to earn as much as a proprietary
> software programmer ==> free software cannot be cheaper than proprietary
> software. if it is, the programmer gets less paid or the company
> accumulates less capital. less capital means a worse position in the
> competition against the proprietary company. the free software company
> will not be able to invest as much in e.g. marketing, advertisement so
> on. if the programmer earns less he'll change to another comapny were he
> gets more.
Wrong. The market has nothing to do with what programmers want. They are
only one side of the equation. Second, you're assuming that the market
will keep itself as it is now. The market is changing, and the software
market is not going to be the same in a couple of years.

> the reason why red hat is so successfull is that they don't pay for
> the capital on base of which they earn money: software. you can say they exploit the free software
> programmers. so they get software for free out of which they can win
> surplus value. but this is based on a very small idealistic community of
> free software programmers who also have to live and earn money and thus
> will never be able to really overthrow the big business.

No, there's another issue in here. Clients have discovered that they can
improve and develop software in a cheaper way than paying for it. That
idea was confirmed when Microsoft published their finantials and
admitted to a margin of 80% in their Windows and Office divisions.

> microsoft didn't loose any significant share of market in the last years
> and i don't see why it should.

They've never fought Free Software head-on so far. OpenOffice.org is
doing that fight now and we'll see how well MS handles it. You can't say
the same thing for supercomputers and embedded systems. The companies
behind products like QNX and VxWorks have lost most of their market
share. Beowulfs are, at the moment, a huge part of the supercomputing
TOP500 list and they reduced the cost people are able to charge for
supercomputers. That's not bad.

> that ppl don't care about quality and that they only see the outer
> appearance was already mentioned in this discussion. they don't care
> about their freedom to change the software, to read the source code or
> what so ever. they just want to use it. if it would be diffrent linux
> would be on every computer and not windows.
That a judgement on a discussion that's still ongoing. Should "normal"
people be computer literate? I don't know the answer yet, but the global
market evolution makes me believe that's one of the ways to move
forward. And in that case, yes, proprietary software is slowing us down.

> regards,
>  moritz

						João Miguel Neves

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