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

Mac Newbold mac at macnewbold.com
Tue Jun 7 11:31:04 MDT 2005

Today at 11:08am, Lonnie Olson said:

> On Jun 7, 2005, at 10:30 AM, Mac Newbold wrote:
>> Okay, that's about enough of that one. How many people do you know that will 
>> pay for something when they can get exactly the same thing for free? How 
>> much will they pay? Whatever the media and convinience is worth to them. I'd 
>> say in most cases, that's probably not more than $10, especially since there 
>> isn't the Instant Gratification like there is with free
>> downloadable software.
> I am sorry you misunderstand.  Perhaps you didn't read the link I included.
> Free Software is *not* the same as Open-source.
> Selling Free Software doesn't mean you have to distribute it for free to the 
> world.  It just means that person who buys your software will get full source 
> code and the Freedom to do with it that they please.  You don't have to make 
> it open source at all, and it is still Free.
> Note: Open source is a development model.  Free Software is a philosophy.

They are not the same, but they go hand in hand, and open source software 
is by definition free (as in beer at least, if not as in speech). The same 
goes the opposite direction: free (as in speech) software is also open 
source, by definition. If you _must_ buy it, then it isn't Free after all, 
it's just got a license that allows you to do more with it.

The practical differences are even smaller than the technical/ideological 
ones. Debating them doesn't have much useful purpose that I can see.

>> Many places that commission software today aren't too happy if they have to 
>> pay big bucks when you're giving it away to everyone else for free. 
>> Especially in cases where it gives their competition all the same 
>> advanatages you helped them gain, but without the cost of investing in the 
>> software. You really can only pull that trick a few times before people stop 
>> patronizing you altogether.
> If someone commissions you to write software you don't have to distribute it 
> to be free.  Free Software != Open source.  To be Free you just need to 
> provide the source and the Freedoms that go with it.

I don't agree. See above. Free and Open Source are the same in the 
practical sense. If they're not, give some counter examples.

>> Good free software doesn't need much support, so there's not a whole lot of 
>> money to be made in supporting a particular package. Probably the most 
>> profitable way to do it is by providing general end-user support for their 
>> free/open software systems. If you're a programmer, that usually isn't the 
>> most interesting job in the world.
> Um, shall I mention that RedHat has made big bucks in the past off support of 
> Free Software.

Sure they have. If it was all it was cracked up to be, then why did they 
change their model so drastically after RH9?

Not many people/groups have duplicated their (temporary?) success.

> I am trying to keep my mouth shut as everyone seems to hate me.  :)  However, 
> all these misunderstandings and questions make it difficult.

Not at all. We don't hate you. We're just engaged in a conversation about 
these issues. From our perspective, you may seem to have just as many 
misunderstandings as we do from yours...

> Free Software has great value.  It promotes innovation, and provides the 
> opportunities for anyone to do so.  It gives people the freedom to excel in 
> their businesses through customized software.

Sure it does. But non-open, non-free, non-Free, software can do many of 
the same things as well, and sometimes better than current FOSS offerings 
can do. FOSS is great, but it isn't always the right answer.

> I understand that the shift to all software being free will be difficult and 
> take a long time.  Primarily because of ignorance and misunderstandings. 
> During the transition I understand using non-free software for many reasons 
> (no alternative, better than the free alternative, etc).  But we must educate 
> people and work to innovate beyond the non-free world.  Linux/BSD are examples 
> of this progress.

Education is critical. If we try and usher in this new regime using FUD, 
it won't work, and will backfire. We need to educate properly and 
rationally. Irrational ideological/pseudo-religious arguments aren't going 
to make it happen faster, and will most likely slow it down.

The FOSS community deserves a lot of respect, but in order for that 
respect to be granted to it by the general public, the members involved 
with the FOSS community need to act in a way that is worthy of respect. 
FUD has no role in FOSS, IMHO. AIIANUEA, LMK.*


* And If I Am Not Using Enough Acronyms, Let Me Know.

Mac Newbold		MNE - Mac Newbold Enterprises, LLC
mac at macnewbold.com	http://www.macnewbold.com/

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