Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 24th Nov 2006 23:05 UTC, submitted by SEJeff
Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu Mark Shuttleworth is trying to entice OpenSUSE developers to join Ubuntu. "Novell's decision to go to great lengths to circumvent the patent framework clearly articulated in the GPL has sent shockwaves through the community. If you are an OpenSUSE developer who is concerned about the long term consequences of this pact, you may be interested in some of the events happening next week as part of the Ubuntu Open Week."
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RE: Why is proprietary bad?
by npang on Sun 26th Nov 2006 11:33 UTC
npang
Member since:
2006-11-26

With non-free (proprietary) software I have to:
* trust that it won't harm any part of my existing system or data
It is a fact that any non-trivial piece of software is very likely to have bugs. We need the freedom to study the software to verify that it will work as intended. If it doesn't work as intended, we need the freedom to improve it and distribute the changes so everyone else can benefit from the improvements.
* trust that it will ONLY what I want it to do
We know that there are software producers around that release very shady software to the public. How do we know that the credit card numbers we type into a piece of software will not be sent over the Internet in plain text? How do we know that the purpose of the software is not to spy on our surfing habits and send the data to a marketer without our permission? How do we know that "enhanced cd" will not open our computer to crackers because it installed a root-kit to "protect intellectual property"? I can only verify that the software will do as intended only if I can study how it works and change it to work as expected.
* trust that it will not conflict with other software
With free software, I can find conflicts and fix problems with all related software so that all software is fine.
* be at the mercy of the software vendor for fixes and improvements
With non-free software, I am at the mercy of the vendor. If they don't want to support the software anymore, I'm out of luck. If the company dies, I'm out of luck. With free software, I will always be able to get someone to support the software if I cannot or do not want to fix it myself.

I have been hurt numerous times with user-subjugating non-free software. I have had issues relating to all of the above points. The sony root-kit fiasco caused me to finally rid myself of all non-free software. The sony root-kit cd broke all trust I had in non-free software as well as Sony's name. I just cannot trust non-free software to work as expected and to work as I wish.

I can trust free software because I can verify that it will work as I expect it to work and if not, I do not have to rely on one vendor to get problems fixed.

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