why free?

Simon Morris simon.morris at cmtww.com
Mon Jul 18 08:33:38 UTC 2005

On Mon, 2005-07-18 at 02:09 +0100, Markus wrote:
> But other things has also great influence on our life. For example
> before email and instant messaging, the phone was (and maybe is today
> too)
> the most used way to communicate. But no one has access to the "source
> code"
> of this communication and can change it, copy it and so on. Is the
> phone
> therefor a bad thing?

Hello Markus,

Indeed the phone system was closed in the extreme for many many years
and competition was really stifled.

Mainly for this reason the phone industry didn't really move forward
that much for a long time until Governments deregulated the industry.

When there were more companies competing in the telecoms area people
started to innovate more.

This could be a good argument for Free software. With Free software
providing high quality solutions it drags closed source vendors along
who then have to "raise the bar"

> Basically what i want to say is, maybe software isn't  always that
> important, maybe there are scopes were software is just a tool or just
> entertainment. Is it really bad if this software is not free? Sure you
> can
> argue that's always good to have control over your PC and can change a
> tool
> to do the job you want. But i think this is a argument pro free
> software and
> not again non-free software.
> I think free software has many advantages, in the first place for
> Hacker and
> "computer-freaks",  what i mean is for people who use the computer to
> create
> new things and tweak it the way they like it. But today many people
> uses the
> computer just as a tool or as a toy. They aren't interested how it
> works,
> like they don't want to have the plan for their power drill, TV or
> phone.
> They just want to do their job and thats it.
I agree. Consumers don't really care about how their technology works in
general but they should be concerned about their rights.

For example Microsoft are making big advances in the digital media
market. I suspect they would like nothing more than to be able to
completely control the way you listen to your media or watch your film
online as well as the number of times you watch it and crucially... the
hardware device and protocols you use to watch it on.

As soon as technologies start to close up in this way (be controlled by
a single vendor or group of vendors working to exclude competition) then
consumers start to suffer.

So, yes. In my opinion software and the freedom to use software the way
that I want to is very important to me.

Great discussion though :-)


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