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

Jeffrey Moss jeff at opendbms.com
Tue Jun 7 12:09:26 MDT 2005


I think intellectual property rights are only headed for an ever more 
certain demise with things coming down the pike other than software. Things 
like artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and genetic engineering really 
throw a cog into the machine. Can you really own the rights to a molecular 
structure? There are things out there that will blur the concept of 
intellectual property even further, and eventually there won't be any 
incentive for people to do any real work because the idea is either not 
patentable or it's already been patented and someone is sitting on the idea. 
I read that the number of patents filed in the United States is growing 
exponentially each year and that the patent office can't keep up. There was 
an article on slashdot the other day about companies patenting video game 
ideas. Who really benefits from that? It seems like these companies are just 
filing these patents to cut off a share of profit from the guy who comes 
along and does all the hard work. If I had the money, I'd just sit around 
all day coming up with new patents. You will often see people buying up an 
old, forgotten patent only to use it to sue the guys who are making money in 
an industry. They didn't come up with the idea, they just bought it to take 
over others who WERE making a successful living selling the idea. The guy or 
corporation who initially came up with the patent probably had so many he 
couldn't follow them all.

I think the whole idea of intellectual property has got to go. You protect 
your source code, not your idea. Seems the internet is moving things in a 
healthy direction, run your apps on the application server, not on your own 
machine. If you sell the software, the users aught to have the right to 
reverse engineer your software. It may sound unjust, but it will happen, it 
already does, and the only way to prevent it is to come up with a new model.

Now I guess the artists are SOL with the internet file sharing and all. I've 
always thought art was overrated anyways... I'd do it for pleasure, or for 
the recognition before I ever did it to make a living, as it really 
contributes nothing at all to the human race. The more artists make, the 
more people die of aids, the slower we explore outer space. People want to 
be rock stars for all the wrong reasons. Pop culture has become a 
disgusting, capitalistic plague IMO and it's because of the way the rights 
to music and film are bought and sold. Support the artists? Give me a break. 
Those artists need to go pick oranges or something.

Ah... that feels better. Now back to work.

-Jeff


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Mac Newbold" <mac at macnewbold.com>
To: "Lonnie Olson" <fungus at aros.net>
Cc: "UPHPU List" <uphpu at uphpu.org>
Sent: Tuesday, June 07, 2005 11:31 AM
Subject: Re: [UPHPU] OT: open source software and freedom (was: Zend Studio)


> 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.*
>
> Mac
>
> * 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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