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

Max Moritz Sievers mms at fsfe.org
Fri Oct 24 11:47:54 UTC 2008


Anastasios Hatzis wrote:
> 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.

You *think* you have to pay and use proprietary software. One doesn't need 
software to survive at all. And if the CAD community had insisted in free 
software from the beginning, there would be functional free CAD software.

The last sentence is provocative and that's a good thing. It should get you to 
contemplate about why and what for you are paying vendors of proprietary 
software. I know there a forces to use proprietary software but they are 
consequences of wrong choices in the past (not necessarily made by you).

> 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.

If one values freedom one wouldn't get locked-in to a vendor. And also simple 
business considerations come to the conclusion it is better to use free 
software.

> 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.

It should wake up those people who think they serve the good cause. I'm active 
in one of these NGOs and see all those drawbacks which proprietary software 
brings along. But they don't exchange there IT infrastructure and demand me 
to change. For those who understand German a reading tip:

Matthias Kirschner: Warum Organisationen, die mit Entwicklungsländern 
kommunizieren, Freie Software einsetzen m√ľssen
<http://fsfe.org/en/content/download/16743/119314/file/kulturtechnik_software-1.5.pdf>

-- 
regards
Max Moritz Sievers



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