Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 29th Jun 2007 23:09 UTC, submitted by thebluesgnr
GNU, GPL, Open Source The FSF today released version 3 of the GNU GPL, the popular free software license. "Since we founded the free software movement, over 23 years ago, the free software community has developed thousands of useful programs that respect the user's freedom. The programs are in the GNU/Linux operating system, as well as personal computers, telephones, Internet servers, and more. Most of these programs use the GNU GPL to guarantee every user the freedom to run, study, adapt, improve, and redistribute the program," said Richard Stallman, founder and president of the FSF. This article has some interesting replies from the BSD community (right in the middle).
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RE[3]: GNU/Freedom
by npang on Sat 30th Jun 2007 17:16 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: GNU/Freedom"
npang
Member since:
2006-11-26

there is no reason why you can't put a price tag on the software itself; you can sell free software, just don't deprive your users the right to share, modify, and publish modifications of your software.


**Everyone is allowed to sell free software**. However, it is not good to deprive users any one of these rights :
0. The right to use the program
1. The right to learn from and improve the program
2. The right to share/sell copies of the program with other people
3. The right to publish improvements made to the program
Access to the source code is a requirement for freedoms 1 and 3. Any software that deprives the user any one of these rights are non-free for that user.

There are essentially two reasons why software should be free for the user:
1) The user cannot have full control of the own computers if they do not have access to what the software is telling the computer to do. A computer program is a set of instructions designed to perform a task or solve a problem. If the program is not performing to the user's requirements, the user should have the right to demand the program to be improved so it does. Being dependant upon the author of the software is not good for the user as the author can be unwilling or unable (dead, missing, in prison) then the user is SOL. With free software, there are literally millions of computer program authors that can help improve the program for a fee.

2) Society is hindered if users are deprived of the right to share and improve upon the knowledge contained within the software. Remember, ideas, information and knowledge are always built upon the information that existed before. Remember that computer programs are designed to solve a problem. It is useless/less useful to the user if the program does not solve the user's requirements. If you give people the right to share and improve upon the knowledge within software, the software becomes a lot more useful to all users of the software and society is progressed because of better working software.

RMS explains all this in more detail in one of his essays. http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/shouldbefree.html

ps. please don't tell me that users won't understand computer code. This is irrelevant. Users should not be *artificially* dependant upon the author of that program. Artificial dependancy occurs when the user is required to get the author's permission for improvements.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[4]: GNU/Freedom
by trenchsol on Sat 30th Jun 2007 18:06 in reply to "RE[3]: GNU/Freedom"
trenchsol Member since:
2006-12-07

If everything turns out they way you say it should, I would stop writing software. Thanks for feedback.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[5]: GNU/Freedom
by npang on Sat 30th Jun 2007 19:22 in reply to "RE[4]: GNU/Freedom"
npang Member since:
2006-11-26

That is your own prerogative if you choose to stop writing software altogether. Personally, I would encourage you to make money from services that somehow involve free software. Making money with free software is a matter of imagination. The following examples are just a small sample of ways to make money.

One way to do this is to provide a distribution service. Download free software from the internet, burn to a disk then sell the disk for a nice profit. Offer to provide support and customisation services for all the software you distribute. Sell copies of the OpenCD http://www.theopencd.org/. If the OpenCD was commercial and proprietary software, I would estimate it to be $600 worth of software. I bet your customers would love to get $600 worth of very usable and capable software for a fraction of that price (market forces are supposed to kill stupidly high prices). I bet your customers would love to get assurance that they can get the software modified and support for their requirements.

There is a lot of information and knowledge contained in the world of free software. Most users won't have the time/patience to filter out everything. Learn some then charge money for a professional quality consultation service. Every programmer has the potential to be a Firefox expert, a Linux (kernel) expert, a KDE/Gnome expert. The knowledge contained within that software is available for all users. You, as a professional in this field, can provide services to help people make sense of which software to choose and if necessary, get changes happening to fit requirements.

Another service is a documentation service, you could take the Latest release of Ubuntu, compile technical documentation of all the software then publish the results in a book. All of this is very legal and is an ethical way of selling software.

Edited 2007-06-30 19:42

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[6]: GNU/Freedom
by trenchsol on Sun 1st Jul 2007 14:10 in reply to "RE[4]: GNU/Freedom"
trenchsol Member since:
2006-12-07

The problem with that is that someone could copy the OpenCD and sell it for 75% or 50% price.

In general, the best way to make money of open source is sell support for companies that outsource their IT department or to teach and certify OSS users. In real life to goes to sysadmin, network admin and DBA jobs. That is not what I am doing.

If you make it big that business, then you can afford to support developers that provided you the software. That is what IBM does.

Still think that BSD offers better model. A couple of companies can create a foundation and pay the developers and costs together. When the work is done each company can incorporate the code in their own proprietary product. Developers get paid, and still own the code. The downside is that competition, that is not involved, may use the code, but they are not in position to request features.

As I said it does not include software written for specific demands. Customers are sometimes able to formulate their business requirements, but almost never are able to translate them to software specification. It is a painful part and that is what consultants make living from. It is very hard to apply OSS methods and principles to such project. Single customer is liable for all the costs, and, in general, they are not willing to let others to benefit from their investment.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[4]: GNU/Freedom
by cb_osn on Mon 2nd Jul 2007 21:17 in reply to "RE[3]: GNU/Freedom"
cb_osn Member since:
2006-02-26

Society is hindered if users are deprived of the right to share and improve upon the knowledge contained within the software.

Yes, information, knowledge and software should be free, but we live in a society where the economic structure rewards us for keeping those things secret. In reality, software freedom is an extremely small facet of a much, much larger problem-- that each individual's goal is not to improve humanity as a whole, but to acquire material wealth for him/herself. I respect RMS's ideas and I generally agree with his goals, but from my perspective, he is attacking the wrong end of the problem. That combined with the almost religious image that the FSF has acquired over the years will result in the FSF never being generally accepted beyond the fringe of the tech crowd.

The sad truth is that the world is not truly ready for free software, and once it is, we will not need RMS (or the GPL) to enforce it.

Reply Parent Score: 2