NT: free software and money

Niall Douglas s_fsfeurope2 at nedprod.com
Mon Mar 29 02:15:52 UTC 2004

Hash: SHA1

On 28 Mar 2004 at 15:53, Moritz Sinn wrote:

> 2. i don't doubt that you can earn money with free software, i know
> that quite some ppl are quite successfull with that. 

I think it's safe to say that fewer people can survive through 
programming free software than proprietary. Free software generates 
less wealth for the programmer as it's easier to shop around to find 
the cheapest free software developer to do the enhancements you want. 
It bodes poorly for future programming jobs in the west anyway.

> sharing knowledge would make economic sense, then why is "intellectual
> property" (intellectual monopoly) more important today then ever
> before? why do all companys keep their knowledge secret, why are new
> laws inveted to stop us from sharing our wisdom? 

The reason why is that to leverage power nowadays requires 
information more than tangible things like armies or money. That's a 
result of the modern age - a distillation of how to exercise power 
down to its core essentials. It is why economists call this age the 
information age - we are no longer in the industrial age.

> i really wish it would be so easy like many of you think it is... i
> just doubt it.

Most software programmers tend to be liberal and have rose-tinted 
glasses on. This is neither good nor bad, just how things are.

> i personally think that the free software movement should not only
> hope that free software will one day be discovered by the big economy,
> i think we should criticise the economy for being unable to really
> deal with it.

You should look into the Oekonux project or one of its many cousins 
around the world. I think free software will become the norm for all 
basic toolset stuff like operating systems and office suites because 
the technology there is universally useful to a lot of people and 
interoperability is more important than cutting edge facilities - 
however, there will always be a price premium for the latest edge 
thing, not least because there must be reward for taking leaps into 
the unknown and if it's useful, someone will pay for it.

> i think that this is more important than fighting whether one has to
> say linux or gnu/linux, this is totally irrelevant anyway because ppl
> will always say linux since it sounds better and is shorter. i don't
> doubt that gnu/linux is the more correct name.

Linux is incomplete without GNU stuff, it couldn't be called an OS 
without them (though the missing functionality could be easily 
produced). I moved to FreeBSD recently and am loving it - it's just 
better IMHO somehow in some intangible way not least because it's 
substantially faster on my machine (about 20%) and uses half the RAM 
for the same tasks.


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