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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Is it good or bad?
by areks on Mon 2nd Aug 2010 11:11 UTC
areks
Member since:
2008-11-10

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.

Reply Score: 0

RE: Is it good or bad?
by lemur2 on Mon 2nd Aug 2010 11:34 in reply to "Is it good or bad?"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

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.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consumers_cooperative
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:
http://www.patentcommons.org/
or this group:
http://www.openinventionnetwork.com/about_members.php
or this group:
http://www.webmproject.org/about/supporters/

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

Reply Parent Score: 7

RE[2]: Is it good or bad?
by foldingstock on Mon 2nd Aug 2010 12:27 in reply to "RE: Is it good or bad?"
foldingstock Member since:
2008-10-30

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.


The main problem I see with this is that most companies know very little or nothing about software development. This, combined with the general nature of corporate behaviors, can easily make software much more expensive to develop in-house, even if several companies collaborated together.

If a piece of software was developed in-house by three companies working together, it would probably start out strong with clear goals defined. Following corporate trends, it would quickly become so feature-full that it would be impossible to complete on time, once it was completed it wouldn't work right, and even more money would be spent after completion to fix these problems due to over-engineering and bloat. So then they are left with a half-ass piece of bloated software that is costing more money than it generates.

Its not just programmer costs you have to consider, either. Consider how much R&D goes into some of the bigger software projects. Then you have design teams, Q/A teams, managers, etc.

In a Utopian environment, I think this would be an excellent idea. But in reality, I think it would create even more bloated, expensive, garbage software that just got in the way of production and innovation.

Reply Parent Score: 0

RE: Is it good or bad?
by sorpigal on Mon 2nd Aug 2010 14:30 in reply to "Is it good or bad?"
sorpigal Member since:
2005-11-02

End users are developers-in-training. Developers are also end users. If I buy the hardware I own it and should be able to do or not do anything I like with it. This is not negotiable! The user should be handed ultimate power and be left to choose whether or not to use it, because the user is me and I am a developer, and a hacker and one day I may want to do something with my phone that the distributor did not expect or permit.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: Is it good or bad?
by westlake on Mon 2nd Aug 2010 20:24 in reply to "RE: Is it good or bad?"
westlake Member since:
2010-01-07

End users are developers-in-training.

This is lunatic.

The user buys a phone or a tablet.

The developer an SDK and some hardware for testing.

They live in very different worlds, and have very different needs and expectations.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Is it good or bad?
by nt_jerkface on Tue 3rd Aug 2010 02:18 in reply to "RE: Is it good or bad?"
nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26

End users are developers-in-training.


Thanks for the laugh.

99% of the population could care less about having access to the source, and that includes most programmers.

Stallman's vision is unrealistic and deluded. There are economic issues he can't account for like how to create software like Autocad that costs hundreds of millions to develop and doesn't require support. His basic response is "just do it" since he has no real answer.

Most software cannot be sold through support contracts, especially when there is free help online for just about everything.

Ads in GPL software won't work because they can be ripped out.

There is clearly software that needs to remain proprietary. Declaring AutoCad to be immoral is not a viable business model. Stallman like many ideologists before him believe that ideology will create the solutions.

Stallman's unrealistic ideology reminds me of a quote from Putin related to Communism: Like a run-away cart it is moving and you can get on it but it won't take you anywhere.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: Is it good or bad?
by Zifre on Mon 2nd Aug 2010 17:23 in reply to "Is it good or bad?"
Zifre Member since:
2009-10-04

First, whenever I say free software in this post, I mean as in beer.

But I'm also happy software is less and less free as beer.

I don't think this is true. I'm pretty sure that more software is becoming free. Either way, it doesn't really matter how many projects are free, just what amount of software usage is free software. I'm pretty sure that people are getting more software for free now than before. Even on the iPhone, I think that the vast majority of purchases are free apps (and very few purchases are greater than $5).

And if software really is getting more expensive, maybe that explains the increases in piracy?

but it makes no sense at all to share it with end users.

It may not make sense to you, because you want to make money. But the user wants to get as good quality software as possible for as little price as possible. Thus, users prefer free software, unless it is bad quality. And in a world were free software is abundant, selling your software is often (but certainly not always) a great way to make sure that nobody ever uses it.

Also, all of those developers were "just" end users at one point. If they couldn't freely experiment with software development, how many of them do you think would be programmers today?

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Is it good or bad?
by vivainio on Mon 2nd Aug 2010 19:46 in reply to "RE: Is it good or bad?"
vivainio Member since:
2008-12-26

If they couldn't freely experiment with software development, how many of them do you think would be programmers today?


Being able to freely experiment with software development is a new phenomenon, that mostly started in the 90`s (for normal people).

I had to pirate my Turbo Pascal, you insensitive clod ;-).

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Is it good or bad?
by nt_jerkface on Tue 3rd Aug 2010 02:33 in reply to "RE: Is it good or bad?"
nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26

Thus, users prefer free software, unless it is bad quality. And in a world were free software is abundant, selling your software is often (but certainly not always) a great way to make sure that nobody ever uses it.


You're focusing too much on mobile and even on the iphone the best games are 1 or 2 bucks. Only a total lame ass has a problem with coughing up a few bucks for a game. People in NA and Europe have no problem paying 3 bucks for an espresso so I think we need some pricing context here.


Also, all of those developers were "just" end users at one point. If they couldn't freely experiment with software development, how many of them do you think would be programmers today?


Mobile devices can be locked down and desktops can be used for development. Most developers would likely prefer it this way if it meant having proper DRM that eliminated piracy like the PS3. FSF demands are out of alignment with most users and developers. And by FSF I really mean Stallman.
http://www.jfplayhouse.com/2010/07/richard-stallman-answers-your-qu...

Reply Parent Score: 2