Richard Stallman's new article: Overcoming Social Inertia

David Picón Álvarez eleuteri at
Tue Nov 6 19:04:14 UTC 2007

> On Tue, 2007-11-06 at 14:00 +0100, Torsten Werner wrote:
>> Hi Sam,
>> > Freedom always comes down to politics.
>> very true. In such situations the argument about saving money /
>> minimizing costs can become the most important one in getting things
>> changed. But such arguments should not be used because that violates
>> our ideology as we could read in the blog of Marcus Rejas.

I disagree very strongly with the argument put forward on that blog. While
some people might have plenty of money to spend on software, there are many
(a majority in the world) who do not. As it happens, in a country like Spain
which supposedly has quite high levels of wealth, a majority of people are
using proprietary software without a licence. This is true both of
individual users, and even SMEs. What this means, in practice, is that many
people make the choice that breaking the law is a better option that paying
for software. I think it is very clear that proprietary software pricing is
abusive. The level of surplus value extracted from a zero-marginal-cost
good, which in a free market would have near zero cost, is obscene. The fact
that Free Software is rationalizing the pricing model of software, tending
towards a zero cost per copy and a non-zero cost for services which actually
require labour inputs, is in my view yet another important thing in its
favour. I admit that the freeness and costlessness conflation is
problematic, and that for psychological reasons people often equate zero 
cost with zero worth, but that's not sufficient to make the no-cost argument 
out of bounds. Freedoms 0 and 2 also tend towards creating a zero cost per 
copy, even if commercial distributors ask for a price, and that is a 
systemic part of the Free Software story.

A great thing about Free Software is the possibilities for democratizing 
access to information technology and goods. When even in the European 
context people often break the law (having then the sword of Damokles over 
their heads) or choose to go without, Free Software gives an opportunity to 
make the best and widest use of computers. In the developing world, this 
needs not be said, I think, but it also holds for Europe to some extent.


---AV & Spam Filtering by M+Guardian - Risk Free Email (TM)---

More information about the Discussion mailing list