[UPHPU] open source software and freedom (was: Zend Studio)

Lonnie Olson fungus at aros.net
Mon Jun 6 12:32:58 MDT 2005


First I must apologize for not responding to these in a while.  My  
procmailrc was eating some of these messages, and I never got them.

 From Daniel C.:
> I think your argument is faulty here.  You said that you give up these
> three freedoms by purchasing a closed source product.  The flaw in
> your argument is the "give up" part.  In order to give something up
> you need to have it in the first place.  Neither you nor I have the
> freedom to run Zend Studio for any purpose currently.  We don't have
> the freedom to study how Zend Studio works and adapt it to our needs.
> We don't have the freedom to redistribute copies.  Since we don't have
> these freedoms before we buy the license, we're not giving them up by
> buying it.  In fact, we're gaining freedoms by buying the license -
> we're gaining the freedom to legally use a feature rich piece of
> software.

This is just twisting words around.  What I mean is that by  
purchasing Non-Free software you give up your right to use "your  
software" (in a collective sense) anyway you want.  Picking on the  
tiny part of the sentence "give up" is not the important part.  These  
freedoms should be had by all users.  Any choice to limit your  
deserved rights is a bad one.

> The only difference between paying $100 to use a feature rich piece of
> software and paying $0 to use a feature rich piece of software is the
> opportunity cost - what we could have done with the $100 had we not
> spent it on the software license.  If using Zend legally is more
> important to us than the other things we could have spent that money
> on, and the purchaser is aware of the FOSS alternatives, then it's a
> wise purchase.

Here we go again with price.  Free software with a capital F refers  
to Freedom, not price.  Paying for Free software is perfectly  
acceptable.  It is correct that Zend has the legal ability to  
restrict your rights.  This is unfortunate that our legal system  
allows this un-ethical practice.

 From Tyler Gee:
> The BSD-style license is much more Free than the GPL.  The difference
> is that the GPL has an inherent dis-trust of human beings and the BSD
> license does not.  Deciding which is more appropriate for this world
> is left as an excercise for the reader...

Absolutely correct.  Very good point.  The GPL is used to infect the  
world with Freedom, a condition that I suggest everyone catch.  :)   
However BSD licenses are *more* Free.

 From Daniel C.:
> Lonnie, you sound like a religious zealot here.  Your arguments sound
> more like Jehovahs Witness-style proselyting (sp?) than rational
> reasons to choose open source over closed source.  You're also
> ignoring a perfectly logical demonstration of why the things you're
> stating are moot points, choosing instead to repeat your original
> position over and over again.  You don't even practice what you preach
> - you say that everyone should strive to use free software, but you
> don't use it yourself.  Do you honestly expect anyone here to take you
> seriously?

Religious zealot?? maybe.  "All hail RMS".  :)   Anyway, back to the  
discussion.  My points are perfectly logical.  I suggest that  
everyone should choose Freedom over slavery.  It is a perfectly  
logical choice for someone to value their Freedoms above that of  
enticing software.  Closed source software has infiltrated the  
mindset of most Americans.  People have seemed to accept fewer  
Freedoms because "that's just the way it is", and it is legal as  
well.  Long ago people accepted fewer Freedoms for the same reasons  
(slavery).  After people started to learn about their moral rights,  
and began to choose freedom, it started the long, difficult struggle  
to achieving freedom.  Non-Free software is a deeply entrenched state  
of mind currently.  Organizations like the FSF, EFF, and people like  
me are just trying to educate people about their moral rights.

I use very few Non-Free software packages.  Yes I agree this is not  
the best choice, but I have become addicted to OSX.  Sometimes the  
transition to Freedom takes time.  I only initially suggested against  
using Zend Studio, because the original poster was looking at  
alternatives, and has not yet suffered the lock in of Non-Free  
software, and needs to understand the huge drawback of this.

 From Gary Thornock:
> (The other important one, IMO, is my freedom as a
> developer to choose from a variety of licenses.  For many
> projects, I prefer a BSD license, but the freedom to choose
> a closed-source license for specific projects is a freedom I
> certainly have no desire to give up.)

I believe you should have the right to choose from many different  
licenses.  There are many Free Software licenses to choose from.  I  
do *not* believe that it is moral for you to seduce someone into  
choosing to block or restrict their rights via closed source  
licenses, but it is and should be legal for you to do so.


--lonnie
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