posted by David Adams on Mon 16th Aug 2004 17:44 UTC

"Section 8"
So let's look at that quote again:

I guess free software foundations are going to employ people from now on. Its the same evil mega corporations that employ hundreds of thousands of people and make the world economy function. Make them "smaller, weaker, and easier to keep in their place" and raise the unemployment rate to double digits not to mention lowering the standard of living world wide I suggest voting NO for RMS Democracy.

Is it "free software foundations" that pay the paychecks of most of the people developing open source software? No, for the most part it's for-profit enterprises (and some schools) who have a self-interest in producing the software. And who is it who's using all this software? Long-haired hippies running servers for anti-capitalistic websites? Nope, it's everyday IT folks doing everyday work for regular companies.

Open source software has been a tremendous boon for the thousands of small and medium sized businesses that have been mostly shut out of the enterprise software markets, both as producers and consumers. A few small companies like Red Hat and SuSE have been very successful in producing and supporting open source software, and countless small consulting firms have found open source to be a revelation.

Let's have an example: A small consulting firm is hired to solve a problem. The client has a budget of $5000. They could solve that problem in 50 hours by coding it from scratch (earning $100 per hour), or in 20 hours using pre-existing open source software (earning $250/hr). In many cases like this, even if there is commercial software, it would cost more than $5000 just for the license. So this small firm rolls out the open source software, with modifications, makes its $5000, then turns around and sells a similar system to its next client, making another $5000. And the clients get the additional peace of mind knowing that even if this small consulting firm goes away, since their system is built on a known platform, someone else should be able to pick up the pieces. In this case, everybody wins. In fact, the commercial software firm doesn't even lose, because they wouldn't have been interested in this business anyway.

Table of contents
  1. "Section 1"
  2. "Section 2"
  3. "Section 3"
  4. "Section 4"
  5. "Section 5"
  6. "Section 6"
  7. "Section 7"
  8. "Section 8"
  9. "Section 9"
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