Richard Stallman's new article: Overcoming Social Inertia

Alessandro Rubini rubini at
Fri Nov 9 08:03:02 UTC 2007

>> I also don't believe that free software is always cheaper; I can point
>> to many examples where it is more expensive. 
> I would be interested in these examples, and the time period of the
> measurement.

I am interested in Alex' examples too.

My experience is with a data-acquisition application in my university.
They asked me to write it because the commercial[1] ones were too costly.
Over time, they asked me to add a lot of features, as they were seeing
how to improve its usefulness while using it. It quickly became more
expensive than the alternatives, for them.  Sure the second
computer they set up did cost nothing (application-wise) but since
each specimen requires a very expensive camera and a microscope, they
won't make many copies anyways.

Now, after 10 years or so, it grew up to be a complete pile of crap,
and I would like to rewrite it from scratch, but that's another story.

[1] commercial like "paid per-copy".

I begin to have problems with "proprietary", as everyone in the
industrial world uses "proprietary" to mean "the one we build
ourselves and which we can change as we please without any lock-in
from vendors".  So it's often difficult, in those contexts, to pass
the idea of lack of freedom using "proprietary" as the defining word.


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