Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 14th Dec 2009 15:16 UTC, submitted by chully
Gnome Over the weekend, there has been a bit of a ruffling of the feathers over in the GNOME camp. It started with complaints received about the content on Planet GNOME, and ended with people proposing and organising a vote to split GNOME from the GNU Project.
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what about...
by thebackwash on Mon 14th Dec 2009 16:29 UTC
thebackwash
Member since:
2005-07-06

What I don't understand is the idea that the mere presence of proprietary software in any way diminishes the value of free software. One could claim that the *lack* of a viable free alternative is a hole in the free software quilt, and then the fault lies with the free software community (as a loosely-defined concept,) but some would rather point the finger.

Sure, I could see the issues people have with software patents, the DMCA, etc., but those are completely orthogonal to the existence of proprietary software, i.e. the concepts are well-defined and completely distinct.

Say there are 20 things that software can do, and that all the proprietary software in the world can do 18 of them, and all of the free software can do 18 of them, with the 2 things that each can't do different from the other. Those in the free software community, instead of bitching about how proprietary software is evil, should write the software to do those last two tasks. Then the onus will fall on the end user to decide how *free* he or she wishes to be. Likely, there will be no benefit realized by this freedom, so the choice will be made based on other factors

Sorry for such a pedantic response, but I can't help but feel that these two camps, the pragmatists, and the idealists, talk directly past each other without carefully stating their arguments.

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