Richard Stallman's new article: Overcoming Social Inertia

Marcus Rejås marcus at
Thu Nov 8 11:07:25 UTC 2007

On 11/06 20:04, David Picón Álvarez wrote:
> >> 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.

What I'm trying to say in my blog post is not to rely solely on the
price and to be careful when it is used. I think that the producers of
non free software know that the pricing model common today will not hold
forever. We got other means to meet them even if they drop the prices
to zero (or below).

You are mentioning freedoms 0 and 2 which makes me think that we
actually agree even though I might be unclear in my blog post. It is
true that these freedoms keeps the price down. I think it is better to
describe the freedoms (in a way that fits the audience) and also mention
that they keeps the pricing down.

Marcus Rejås           jabber:   marcus at       ,= ,-_-. =. 
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