Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 24th Feb 2010 22:23 UTC
GNU, GPL, Open Source The world is slowly and surely going crazy. I'm sure of it now. The US copyright lobby has officially gone totally and utterly nuts. Get this: they are trying to lobby the US government to equate encouraging the use of Free and open source software to undermining intellectual property rights, and to weakening the software industry. I wish I was making this stuff up.
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Comment by Terg
by Terg on Wed 24th Feb 2010 22:41 UTC
Terg
Member since:
2010-02-24

It's actually very simple.

We have these companies that make software that sell it for money. This is how they make money in general and pay their workers.

Suppose that for every paid product, a free product became available with better and more options than the paid version. Nobody would use the paid software anymore and go 100% free.

Result: companies that sell software for money go bankrupt.

Result of that: government doesn't get tax-money from them anymore, plus the employees don't have a source of income anymore.

The workers can't apply to other "paid software" companies, because they're all gone. And if all these companies are gone, they(the companies) can't donate money to free-software organizations anymore, which is how they usually survive if they're kinda big.

And if it's not that, it's donations from the masses. But that'll shrink too, since many people who donate to free-software organizations are programmers themselves.

So those run out of money too.

And the government gets less taxes, so they can spend less on the economy. And all those programmers don't get paid anymore and need to be re-schooled, so they spend less for the time being. And after the reschooling, it's not gonna be much better.


So yeah, free software will destroy the economy. All it takes to realize that is taking a basic economics course.


Your outrage at this article doesn't stem from facts, but from you not liking the idea of your ideals being called bad.

Edited 2010-02-24 22:44 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by Terg
by fretinator on Wed 24th Feb 2010 22:54 in reply to "Comment by Terg"
fretinator Member since:
2005-07-06

The cat is out of the bag, there is no going back.

It reminds me of the electronics industry. At one time, technicians played around with resistors, capacitors, etc. Eventually, things became commoditized, and now you either just buy a new board and pop it in. In fact, hardware is becoming so cheap it is almost disposible!

Well, the same things is happening in the software world. The days of selling $200 boxes of software is almost over. Instead, if you are a developer, get used to swapping components in and out, or maintaining components. We really don't need big warehouses of developers anymore.

So we can whine and moan, point the finger at the commies, or grow up and move with the industry.

Some companies, and some individuals will not be able to make the change. Instead, they will have to plead with the government for "software bailouts".

Sad.

EDIT: Darn, I wish I could mod up the person I responded to. His argument was good, even if I differ. People should not mod that kind of stuff down.

Edited 2010-02-24 22:56 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: Comment by Terg
by DougInKY on Fri 26th Feb 2010 18:13 in reply to "RE: Comment by Terg"
DougInKY Member since:
2006-08-02

There, I did it for you. Like you, I don't agree with him but he did state his opinion and made me think about what he was saying. This is the kind of discussion we need here on OSnews. Without hearing the other side of issues we will get an unbalanced reporting of the news.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Comment by Terg
by kragil on Wed 24th Feb 2010 22:57 in reply to "Comment by Terg"
kragil Member since:
2006-01-04

BS

Tell that to Red Hat, they are likely to have 1 billion in revenue this year.(with 100% open source software)

Sure MS won't be making 6.66 billion a quarter, but who cares?

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE[2]: Comment by Terg
by 4front on Thu 25th Feb 2010 00:37 in reply to "RE: Comment by Terg"
4front Member since:
2005-09-19

There are exactly 3 REAL FOSS companies: Redhat, Ubuntu, Novell. The rest of them have no IP to sell.

Now compared to that how many Windows or Apple software companies are there?


There is some truth that FOSS has erased IP in the software business. There is NO innovation going on in software anymore. The innovation is now in free software integrated into custom hardware that is absolutely impossible to clone/hack.


small linux developers have not struck it big like their windows and mac counterparts.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: Comment by Terg
by jack_perry on Wed 24th Feb 2010 22:57 in reply to "Comment by Terg"
jack_perry Member since:
2005-07-06

FOSS is not necessarily no-cost software. Indeed, the cost of maintaining FOSS is non-negligible.

It's about free/open-source software. Copyright law still applies to open-source software and protects the developer.

Reply Parent Score: 7

RE: Comment by Terg
by obsidian on Wed 24th Feb 2010 23:00 in reply to "Comment by Terg"
obsidian Member since:
2007-05-12

Umm... so how does "Red Hat" fit into this scenario?

They sell Linux (which is also available for free).
They also sell services (support and development).
They seem to be doing pretty well too.

So, Red Hat would seem to show that your supposition (that free software will "destroy the economy") is nonsense.

Free software also creates *competition*. Without free software, there would be *a lot less competition*.

Oh, and btw, there are those little companies called "Microsoft" and "Apple" that *started* from a free software base. They seem to be doing fine as well.
Apple uses FreeBSD in its OS kernel. Free software harming Apple? I don't think so.

Then there is Google with their "Summer of Code" project. Would they support such a thing if it "destroyed the economy"?

Oh, and what about *IBM*? They make extensive use of free software so that they can sell more hardware.
They also used to release some of their software (OS/360, 370?) as "public domain". Free software doesn't seem to be harming *them*.

So, I've shown conclusively that free software can be *beneficial* to companies, and I haven't even mentioned the lower costs, better robustness, better security and so on.

Edited 2010-02-24 23:17 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 14

RE[2]: Comment by Terg
by sachindaluja on Thu 25th Feb 2010 04:10 in reply to "RE: Comment by Terg"
sachindaluja Member since:
2007-02-15

Oh, and btw, there are those little companies called "Microsoft" and "Apple" that *started* from a free software base. They seem to be doing fine as well. Apple uses FreeBSD in its OS kernel.


The claim that Apple and Microsoft started from free software is rather dubious, if not downright false. For one, FreeBSD itself is based on Unix.

Reply Parent Score: 0

RE[2]: Comment by Terg
by BluenoseJake on Thu 25th Feb 2010 15:22 in reply to "RE: Comment by Terg"
BluenoseJake Member since:
2005-08-11

Neither MS or Apple started from Free Software. MS started by selling Basic Interpreters for computers. Apple started by building the Apple 1 and putting one of MS' interpreters on it.

Later on, both companies borrowed from FreeBSD, MS in it's networking stack for win3.1/Win95, and Apple later with most of the underlying stack for OS X.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: Comment by Terg - competitive product
by jabbotts on Wed 24th Feb 2010 23:43 in reply to "Comment by Terg"
jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

If retail only software companies provide a competitive product then they will survive. If they do not, natural market forces will take effect. Promoting FOSS is also not promoting no cost software. Many FOSS companies derive profits from proprietary addons or services. Based on the information here, it sounds like they let the person with the most brain-damage decide the new political campaign for the year.

Here's the real kicker; FOSS folks tend to be far more respecting of licenses and copyright than most. Copyright is the very basis of many FOSS licenses.

Essentially, FOSS is bad and destroying copyright because Microsoft can't shovel as much software out the door?

Trust me, teh better product will still win even if lobby groups fail at getting rid of the Red(hat) menace.

Now, I'm willing to consider the organizations reasoning behind this. I'll give them a chance to explain there side of it. But, they'd better have something more solid than the information in the article here.

Reply Parent Score: 7

RE: Comment by Terg
by Redeeman on Wed 24th Feb 2010 23:55 in reply to "Comment by Terg"
Redeeman Member since:
2006-03-23

lol... if that is what economics classes tell you, then that certainly explains why all the economics people are so braindead retarded..

paid employees write a great deal of free software, there will ALWAYS be atleast the same need for software to be written, no matter what it costs to acquire the software AFTER its written.. therefore, if everyone suddenly switches to free software, the exact same amount of software will be comissioned, since people wont be working for free obviously.

The only thing that changes is that it will be a 100% consumer demand that drives the action.. companies will need to hire third party developers, or have inhouse developers to write on the software, quite possibly large customization/development companies will open up, since its gonna be cheaper for everyone to pool together to have the software written.

All it takes to realize this is apparantly not a "simple economics course", but rather a tiny tiny bit of sense, which seemingly economics courses do not provide.

Sure, the days of adobe-like companies that writes zero good software, and just sits like fatcats spewing out garbage for money will end, but that is hardly a bad thing.

Reply Parent Score: 8

RE: Comment by Terg
by loathsome on Wed 24th Feb 2010 23:57 in reply to "Comment by Terg"
loathsome Member since:
2009-11-30

Economics is NOT more important than liberty. The freedom to choose as a consumer or the freedom to choose as a developer. Your arguments that free software will destroy the industry are based on the fear of losing the money train. Its the same arguments that the insurance co's, governments and other large organizations that continue to bleed the population dry use. Its complete crap its a modern day necrophilia. You keep holding on to that dead idea.. Darwin will prove you wrong. There will always be a need for developers and anyone with a brain can see through your fear mongering. Someday if the likes of you keep f*cking with our freedom there will be blood.
I would like to beat you down with more common sense but I have work to do..

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: Comment by Terg
by siride on Thu 25th Feb 2010 00:24 in reply to "RE: Comment by Terg"
siride Member since:
2006-01-02

Economics is more important than liberty. If people can't eat, they won't give a crap about lofty ideals and "freedom". Basic needs come first. Stability comes first. Only after that is all met can the fancy ideas be addressed.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: Comment by Terg
by ozonehole on Thu 25th Feb 2010 00:11 in reply to "Comment by Terg"
ozonehole Member since:
2006-01-07

Terg says:

We have these companies that make software that sell it for money. This is how they make money in general and pay their workers.

Suppose that for every paid product, a free product became available with better and more options than the paid version. Nobody would use the paid software anymore and go 100% free.

Result: companies that sell software for money go bankrupt.


Absolutely correct! That's why Linux enjoys a 98% market share while Microsoft and Apple are bankrupt. Microsoft used to have this great operating system called "Windows" but nowadays young people have not even heard of it. There also used to be this office suite called "Microsoft Office" but nowadays it's a distant memory. Similarly, Apple had this product called a "Macintosh" which ran "OSX" but if you want to see one now, you'll have to look in a museum.

Reply Parent Score: 9

RE: basic economics
by seanpk on Thu 25th Feb 2010 00:25 in reply to "Comment by Terg"
seanpk Member since:
2009-11-17

seriously? a basic economics class?

Actually, the kind of economics demonstrated in your argument may indeed be what is taught in a "basic economics course", but that doesn't mean it approximates reality, even in the slightest.

Lets just start where you start ... the logic is faulty from the beginning so there is no point in going into the later errors ...
"Suppose that for every paid product, a free product became available with better and more options than the paid version. Nobody would use the paid software anymore and go 100% free."

This is a highly improbably scenario, but lets just suppose it happened.

You're conclusion is:
"Result: companies that sell software for money go bankrupt."

This blanket statement is wrong.
Perhaps some of the companies that sold software would go out of business, but many other exiting companies, and new ones that would enter the market, would start producing software that adds value beyond what already exists for free.
Even if, overnight, "for every paid product, a free product became available with better and more options than the paid version", there are still person millennia of new software to be created. Indeed, in the long run, and for all but a select few in the short run, we'd all be better off since the cost of doing business would go down significantly.

OSS doesn't hurt the economy, it makes possible a whole bunch of economic activity that was previously prohibitively costly to start. While some companies, like those in this lobby group, may be hurt by OSS, just as they are hurt by any new competitor, the overall economy benefits from having high quality software freely available.
It is the barriers to trade that are being lobbied for that will hurt the overall economy.

Like all lobbying I have ever heard of, the goal is to extract a little from each member of society and redirect it to those funding the lobby group (with a little commission for the politicians).

I strongly recommend Henry Hazlitt's "Economics in One Lesson":
http://jim.com/econ/

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE: Comment by Terg
by raboof on Thu 25th Feb 2010 00:37 in reply to "Comment by Terg"
raboof Member since:
2005-07-24

Result: companies that sell software for money go bankrupt.


This will happen the day nobody can dream up a desirable piece of software/functionality that isn't yet (freely) available.

That day will never come.

There will *always* be more to wish for, and as long as there's things to wish for, there will be companies providing it and making money from that.

Perhaps the model will change. Perhaps instead of paying $200 for the next version of Product X, people will be contributing $200 to make sure their favorite new feature will be built into an open-source project. Perhaps a whole new model will emerge. Who knows. But as long as there's things to wish for, there's money to be made in ICT - and that won't stop.

Sure, some companies will fail to adapt and go bankrupt. But the economy as a whole will not collapse: there will always be demand for faster, better, smarter, shinier, more integrated, more buzzword-compliant software - and where's demand, there will be supply.

So yeah, free software will destroy the economy. All it takes to realize that is taking a basic economics course.


You are underestimating the flexibility of the free market. Your assumption is all softare companies will go bankrupt - and that is simply not true.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: Comment by Terg
by gehersh on Thu 25th Feb 2010 01:50 in reply to "Comment by Terg"
gehersh Member since:
2006-01-03

Free software provides competition to the non-free software, and in fact I came to liking free software and trust free software more.

Just think of the recent story in Infoworld blogger who put the bogus information on memory usage by Windows 7 just to promote his company's software (not free of course). I can't imagine developers of a free software doing anything like that.

In fact in many instances I came to liking free software products more than the non-free counterparts. Free software tends to focus on functionality and fixing the bugs. The non-free software tends to focus on creeping futerism, that is, putting more and more unnecessary but fancy looking features and charging for them. I know it sounds like generalizing a bit too much, but that has been my experience so far.

So the free software gives the run for their money. Well, that's the competition, isn't it? We live in capitalist society after all. And if I develop something better and want to give it away from free, that's competition. My competitors must deserve the right to sell the equivalent product, by making the product substantially better. Cheers.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE: Comment by Terg
by Headrush on Thu 25th Feb 2010 01:58 in reply to "Comment by Terg"
Headrush Member since:
2006-01-03

Finish the pattern..

Less paid programming jobs leads to fewer people entering the software development field.

Fewer developers leads to competition for their services.

Fewer developers means unable to meet all software requirements, which means commercial opportunites for companies.

And the cycle continues.

Is this really that much different than sending manual labour jobs to other countries? The difference is on what level and who is it protecting. Shipping jobs over seas has dramatically altered US ecomonics, but execs are still making money. With open source movements actual execs could end of being affected if they can't compete so we need to legislate protection for big business, typical.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: Comment by Terg
by jaylaa on Thu 25th Feb 2010 02:47 in reply to "Comment by Terg"
jaylaa Member since:
2006-01-17

You'll probably be one of the people that will complain about the robots taking people's jobs away, while what they'll really be doing is making it so that we don't have to work as hard.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE: Comment by Terg
by JAlexoid on Thu 25th Feb 2010 04:09 in reply to "Comment by Terg"
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

All it takes to realize that is taking a basic economics course.


And apparently you missed something called progress. By your same logic we should not have built combine harvesters, because that eliminated a lot of jobs in agriculture - therefore loss in collected taxes.

Future of software is not in proprietary software, it's in services. Custom software development and related services already accounts for more revenue than actual software sales.

There are some sectors that can't just go to service based models. Entertainment and games is a good example, though it's already being proved to be wrong. Bilzzard makes more on the WoW subscriptions(a service) more than on the actual software.

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE: Comment by Terg
by Soulbender on Thu 25th Feb 2010 04:40 in reply to "Comment by Terg"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Funny how many of these commercial companies there are that use a lot of OSS in their products, eh?

Suppose that for every paid product, a free product became available with better and more options than the paid version.


What happen when your competitor makes a better, cheaper product than you? Maybe we should force all companies to have the same pricing so that nothing bad ever happened? Oh right, we tried that. I heard it worked out great in the old USSR.

So yeah, free software will destroy the economy


Nonsense. This is nothing but fear mongering from companies who see diminished sales of their already hilariously overpriced and substandard products.
Both commercial and Open Source software is part of the computing landscape now and neither will go away any time soon. OSS will not make commercial software go away and commercial software will not make OSS go away.
I guess competition is only good when you yourself is not threatened by it. Then all of a sudden it is the governments job to protect you from those bad people who are competing with you.

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE: Comment by Terg
by MamiyaOtaru on Thu 25th Feb 2010 07:05 in reply to "Comment by Terg"
MamiyaOtaru Member since:
2005-11-11

have you ever actually tried to use any of this software? Odds of it taking over are slim indeed.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Comment by Terg
by mkone on Thu 25th Feb 2010 10:14 in reply to "Comment by Terg"
mkone Member since:
2006-03-14

It's actually very simple.

We have these companies that make software that sell it for money. This is how they make money in general and pay their workers.

Suppose that for every paid product, a free product became available with better and more options than the paid version. Nobody would use the paid software anymore and go 100% free.

Result: companies that sell software for money go bankrupt.

Result of that: government doesn't get tax-money from them anymore, plus the employees don't have a source of income anymore.

The workers can't apply to other "paid software" companies, because they're all gone. And if all these companies are gone, they(the companies) can't donate money to free-software organizations anymore, which is how they usually survive if they're kinda big.

And if it's not that, it's donations from the masses. But that'll shrink too, since many people who donate to free-software organizations are programmers themselves.

So those run out of money too.

And the government gets less taxes, so they can spend less on the economy. And all those programmers don't get paid anymore and need to be re-schooled, so they spend less for the time being. And after the reschooling, it's not gonna be much better.


So yeah, free software will destroy the economy. All it takes to realize that is taking a basic economics course.


Your outrage at this article doesn't stem from facts, but from you not liking the idea of your ideals being called bad.


You should read up on the broken window fallacy. It goes something like this.

A boy throws brick through a shopkeeper's window. Shopkeeper then has to pay the window repair guy to fix his window. Window repair guy now has money to buy a pair of shoes. Shoemaker get money to do whatever he wants and so on.

So basically, one might argue that not breaking the window is a bad thing because without the broken window, perhaps all the extra economic activity would not have been undertaken.

The fallacy comes from the fact that the shopkeeper could spend money on other things besides fixing the window, so the argument that the broken window is a good thing is bunk.

In your post, you claim that the falling revenue to the government because of the lower earnings from software is a bad thing. No, it isn't. Companies having to spend less on software have more money to spend on other things, for example, wages, better computers, other investment, and so government revenues should be, by and large, unaffected by the 'demise' of the software industry, just like they were largely unaffected by the demise of the buggy whip manufacturing industry, or the electronic valve manufacture industry.

Falling prices are a good thing. It means buyers are wealthier because their money goes further.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: Comment by Terg
by MORB on Thu 25th Feb 2010 10:26 in reply to "Comment by Terg"
MORB Member since:
2005-07-06

Suppose that for every paid product, a free product became available with better and more options than the paid version. Nobody would use the paid software anymore and go 100% free.


That doesn't make sense.
If a commercial product made by full time employees can't manage to be better than a free product made by hobbyists, then that company doesn't deserve success.

On the other hand, if the free product is made by paid employees working for some companie(s), then it represent an investment for that company. If they manage to still earn money despite pouring resource into the development of a free product, then it means that they have a better business model and the non open-source competitor doesn't deserve to be more successful either.

Edited 2010-02-25 10:27 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE: Comment by Terg
by kolmyo on Thu 25th Feb 2010 10:53 in reply to "Comment by Terg"
kolmyo Member since:
2005-07-11

So where, in your opinion, is the problem? In giving stuff away for free? Or could it be in the underlying system?

It's almost the same effect capitalism had on industrialisation, instead of machines making everyone's life easier, they made some people amazingly rich, and other people die of hunger.

Morality != capitalism, if they don't meet, morality isn't the problem, capitalism is.

Reply Parent Score: 2