Linked by Linux Review on Tue 20th Mar 2012 17:07 UTC
GNU, GPL, Open Source It's been a while since we caught up with Stallman. But a couple months ago we took a look around at what's happening with law, politics and technology and realized that he maybe perhaps his extremism and paranoia were warranted all along. So when we were contacted by an Iranian Linux publication and asked if we would like to publish an English translation of a recent interview they had done with Stallman, I thought that it was a particularly rich opportunity.
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RE[2]: One big hole
by Moochman on Sat 24th Mar 2012 16:59 UTC in reply to "RE: One big hole"
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You would sell services on top of the software - in an ideal world in other words you would have hardware vendors like Dell developing and supporting their own version of Linux, selling extended support contracts etc. In other words the existing model would be replaced and there would be a period of transition where not all businesses make it but in the end consumers will realise that software is more than just DVD/CDs and that they're paying for someones specialised skills in much the same way that one pays for a qualified plumber or electrician.

Hmm. This answer doesn't satisfy me at all. First of all, Dell would probably suck at developing their own version of Linux, and honestly I'd rather have one Linux distribution (such as Ubuntu) that has a cohesive vision, is well-supported for the long term, and runs on multiple platforms, than have every hardware manufacturer developing some custom thing and thereby fragmenting and ultimately (in all likelihood) making crappier the Linux that they put on their machines. That's what's happening to Android right now after all, isn't it, and look how that turned out...

Second, the point about treating software developers like people with specialized skills such as plumbers or electricians... Developing software is nothing like being an electrician or plumber. When you release a piece of software, especially if you make it open-source, there is no mechanism in place to ensure that you will be financially compensated for your work -- copying is, after all, free. Whereas, an electrician or plumber is doing something in a physical location in the physical world where their efforts cannot be replicated free of cost. Can you imagine the equivalent of an "open-source" plumber? Of course not, because he deals in physical services that cannot be replicated for free.

The only way to ensure that you get compensated for your work as a software developer is by either A) Asking for donations and trusting people to give them B) employing some kind of artificial mechanism to prevent customers from attaining your product without paying, or C) to have a middle-man (such as Red Hat or Dell) paying you because of the fact that your work enables some kind of commerce in the physical world. But then the question is, what will happen to all the innovative "apps" if there is no middle-man company out there willing to pay for them to be developed? What will happen to the independent software developer who has that cool, unique new idea and wants to devote his life to bringing it to life?

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