Linked by David Adams on Mon 2nd Aug 2010 03:53 UTC, submitted by fsmag
GNU, GPL, Open Source We are heading towards a world where we no longer own the hardware we buy -- and there is no point in having free software if you can't own your hardware.
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RE: Is it good or bad?
by lemur2 on Mon 2nd Aug 2010 11:34 UTC in reply to "Is it good or bad?"
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I'm serious.

As a software developer I'm happy more and more software is free as speech. If also pattens in software could disappear...
But I'm also happy software is less and less free as beer.

Sorry, but it make a lot of sense to share your work with other developers for free, but it makes no sense at all to share it with end users.
I think we (as industry) are getting it right finally.

For say 99.9% of people, software is a cost. Nothing more. It makes sense for these people to seek a means of obtaining the best quality software at the lowest cost.

Even for people who write software, software is a cost. Most of the software they use is software they did not write themselves.

Given this fact, coupled with the simple observation that software has essentially zero marginal cost of production, then the approach of creating software via a consumer's co-operative organisation makes absolutely perfect economic sense.
A consumers' cooperative is a cooperative business owned by its customers for their mutual benefit. It is a form of free enterprise that is oriented toward service rather than pecuniary profit.

The major difference between consumers' cooperatives and other forms of business is that the purpose of a consumers' cooperative association is to provide quality goods and services at the lowest cost to the consumer/owners rather than to sell goods and services at the highest price above cost that the consumer is willing to pay.

In smaller businesses the consumer/owners are often workers as well.

Now consider a group of companies such as these:
or this group:
or this group:

Now, suppose, instead of each paying for development of their own products, or all of them buying someone's expensive software product, they all co-operate on some software project(s) and each pitch in a share of the effort (this still employs programmers, BTW). Pretty soon they all have a much better software product, created at far lower cost to themselves, which they can all use as a tool for their main business lines.

Neat, hey?

There are two ways to increase profits, not just one: one can either increase prices, or reduce costs.

Software made by a consumer's co-operative organisation is an absolutely excellent way for businesses (the vast majority of whom are net software consumers) to reduce their costs.

Edited 2010-08-02 11:49 UTC

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