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

Gary Thornock Gary_Thornock at sento.com
Tue Jun 7 10:30:49 MDT 2005

> About your art producing comment:  Before the recent enactment of
> copyright laws (yes is is quite recent 20th Century only), most
> artists were still turning a profit.  Most pieces were made on a
> commission by someone with money.  Example: the Sistine Chapel.
> This is not much different from most consulting jobs done today.
> This is a wonderful way to make money and keep software Free.

Copyright is fairly recent, but not just 20th Century.  Here,
for instance, are a couple of speeches on the subject that were
delivered in Parliament in 1841:


Copyright was around before that.  (You'll note that copyright
in the US in recent years has moved pretty much exactly to where
Macaulay argued that it shouldn't go.  That's a subject for an
entirely different discussion, though.)  I tried to look up a bit
more on copyright history at Wikipedia, but they're down right

On the argument that you should make your money from support:
there are, indeed, several business models where you can make
money doing things related to open source software.  Support
is one, consulting is one, patronage is one, ... However, that
doesn't change the fact that many companies and individual
developers want, for varying reasons, to produce closed source
software, and there is no particular moral reason not to do so.

As long as we're pulling in Ayn Rand, how about a little
Heinlein: "Correct morality can only be derived from what man is
-- not from what do-gooders and well-meaning aunt Nellies would
like him to be."

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