[NLedu] Researching accessibility of Silverlight-based websites

Karsten Gerloff gerloff at fsfeurope.org
Thu Nov 24 16:42:30 CET 2011

Hi Kees,

On Thu, Nov 24, 2011 at 04:10:31PM +0100, Kees Epema wrote:
> Free software is better quality:
> - Community members want to write better code, because it can be reviewed
> by other community-members
> - There is no pressure  to release software within a given time
> - The first aim is to write software that will solve a problem
> Prop. software is inferior because:
> - There is no community to support a project and to guarantee quality code
> - There is time pressure and more likeliness to non solved bugs
> - First aim is to contribute to business continuity

I'm pretty familiar with these arguments :) 

Sure, there is software out there for which these arguments hold
true -- e.g. Debian is known for prioritising quality over getting
a release out in time. 

But they don't necessarily hold true for every program that's
released under a Free Software license.

My recommendation concerns strategy, not the substance of the
arguments. In the debate we're facing here, we have space for a
limited number of arguments -- attention is scarce. We need to
pick the ones that will be effective. 

If we say "Free Software is always higher quality", we're
essentially giving the other side an easy way to prove us wrong.
They just have to dig up a free program that imitates a
proprietary one, but does so badly -- there are enough of those
out there. Just imagine Microsoft (or one of their front
organisations) going: "Oh yeah? Well, let's compare how well
Outlook and Evolution work on this Exchange server here."

Sure, that wouldn't be a fair test. But expecting fairness in the
sort of debate we're engaging in would be simply naive.

Fortunately, we have other arguments that can't be used to set us
up so easily, and we're already using those. Exchanging them for
arguments that are easily attacked would not be wise.

Best regards,
Karsten Gerloff                      [ ]   <gerloff at fsfeurope.org>
Free Software Foundation Europe   [ ][ ][ ]      [http://fsfe.org]
President                            | |         +49 176 9690 4298
Your donation powers our work!           [http://fsfe.org/donate/]

Free Software Foundation Europe e.V. is a German Verein registered
at the Registergericht Hamburg (VR 17030). 

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