Comment on "Nine Attitude Problems in Free and Open Source Software"

Anastasios Hatzis ah at
Thu Oct 23 16:04:10 UTC 2008

On Thursday 23 October 2008, Max Moritz Sievers wrote:
> The software doesn't know if she is "free". The question is: Is the user
> free to use the program for any purpose, to share it and to modify it and
> distribute the modified version? The answer to this question influences the
> business model. And it is important to notice, one can have a business
> model either way. I mean, who would be so dumb to pay for proprietary
> software?

For several reasons I feel uncomfortable with that last sentence, though this 
generalization seems to be rather popular. I think it comes true for some 
vendors, developers, and users, but I think this is more a matter of know-how 
and freedom.

I admit, we pay for proprietary software, we actually have to pay. Moreover, 
for the past three years each piece of free or proprietary software has been 
purchased upon a decision made by me, me (!) who prefers Free Software and 
standards over any proprietary stuff.

My congratulations that you already are in the technological and economical 
environment that allows you the sole use of Free Software. Thanks to the many 
communities, this is true for many other computers users. At most part its 
true for me personally, too.

Nevertheless it is a long shot to call everyone to be "dumb" who is paying for 
proprietary software. We should know better, that especially with proprietary 
software and vendor lock-in there is often not enough freedom to choose 
otherwise. Wether we gonna like that or not, there are still industries, that 
heavily depends on proprietary software and formats. For example, it is  an 
easy thing to friendly respond to each winmail.dat sender and provide brief 
instruction how to fix his/her configuration - the other thing is to be 
uncapable of efficiently processing customer's CAD files and dropping out of 

Since we have already seen in many areas, that Free Software on the long run 
beats the *peep* out of any proprietary competitor, I'm sure that sooner or 
later the same will happen with CAD/CAM and other domains that remained 
proprietary. Vendor lock-in is really a matter here. On the one hand, users 
better understand the value of freedom in software, on the other hand 
the "enchained customers" concept makes migration away from the vendor more 
expensive at the beginning. So it will slow down the change, but that change 
is coming for the same reason.

For the meantime, I suggest not to insult the many users that are still not 
really free with such simplified messages. I don't see what good we gain by 
this attitude.

Just my two cents

-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: signature.asc
Type: application/pgp-signature
Size: 307 bytes
Desc: This is a digitally signed message part.
URL: <>

More information about the Discussion mailing list