Comment on "Nine Attitude Problems in Free and Open SourceSoftware"

hwe hwe at
Sat Oct 25 00:53:08 UTC 2008

>> You really have to be in a
>> special position to tell your boss: "No. I won't. Use free stuff.
>> then I will/can" The default answer will be: Then you can't stay
>> in our company/team. sorry. Next one, please!
> And how do we judge an executive who prefers to use proprietary
> software?

Unfortunately, there exist people for whom appropriate judgement of
their executives proves insufficient to ensure employment irrespective
of working on the job given.

Of course, income is mere convenience.

On the other hand, if you really offer to people the equivalent of
their lifetime income, I find it hard to believe they would not be
willing to use gNS in exchange for that.

The only-black-and-white attitude, if applied consistently, by
construction leads to funny extremes.  So let me take the
advocatus-diaboli role to clarify if you would never apply double
standards yourself:

I take it as given that you are willing to dispense with WLAN, and
(though that was never stated clearly) forego all jobs requiring
anything but free-by-your-definition software.

- If it was not your, but a friend's job that you could save by using,
just once, a proprietary program -- would you abstain?

- Would you decline medical care in an otherwise lethal emergency if
the ambulance was equipped with proprietary software?

- Would you let a family member die if your only way of saving them
involved using proprietary software?

Naturally, you could answer "yes" to all questions, and stay clean of
double standards; but if you insist that *everybody* must act so, you
will render your opinion irrelevant to almost everyone.

If you say these are extreme cases, you are right.  But if you act
differently there, you are already weighing different shades of grey.
 And you can never convincingly argue that only and exactly your
boundary shade of 97.29783692384% must be compulsory for all people.

The point is: If somebody compromises because he cares about his
family, his job, or his wireless internet connection, this is *not*
enough to judge him; other things matter.

The only thing that matters for software freedom is, did he bring to
the maximum number of people the maximum amount of additional freedom?

And, with all due respect, although you act as a role model as far as
free software usage is concerned, I seriously doubt that you could not
bring /more freedom/ to more people if you'd re-evaluate how you
expect others to make the transition and how you communicate it.


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