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From: sct@moule (Shaun Troedson)
Newsgroups: gnu.misc.discuss
Subject: free software critique
Date: 10 Dec 1993 04:11:30 GMT
Organization: Defence Science and Technology Organisation
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How do programmers who write free software justify to themselves
spending so much of their own unpaid time for this idealism of user
solidarity? Why shouldn't software vendors restrict the availability
of their wares when they have payed people money to write the stuff?

Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against freely distributin small
software as I myself have done it, but my only motive in writing it
was selfish pedagogical reasons, the joy of creation/hacking, the minimal
support of it and the unviability of selling it. I'm being judgemental 
but I don't understand how anyone can write and support something as 
massive as the Gnu entity on a single Marxist ideal.

Another criticism is that doesn't this whole idea recoil back on to the
user, in that creativity, variety, and new ideas get the snuff because
you can't, by definition, compete with the free software? What's the
point in writing and selling a new editor if companies like DEC are now 
distributing Gnu software with their machines, and the user of those
machines wouldn't in general bother looking in the market place now
because they have Emacs?

What is my personal gripe against it (of course I have one)? The
profession of programming can only suffer, as it suffers through
pirating. Software is something that people use their own time to 
manufacture and sell and so should not be free.

Shaun Troedson
Defence Science and Technology Organisation
s...@cd.dsto.gov.au

Disclaimer: These opinions are not the opinions of my employer.

Newsgroups: gnu.misc.discuss
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From: iii...@swan.pyr (Alan Cox)
Subject: Re: free software critique
Message-ID: <1993Dec13.192300.27215@swan.pyr>
Organization: Swansea University College
References: <2e8sti$m8l@fang.dsto.gov.au>
Date: Mon, 13 Dec 1993 19:23:00 GMT
Lines: 58

In article <2e8sti$...@fang.dsto.gov.au> sct@moule (Shaun Troedson) writes:
>How do programmers who write free software justify to themselves
>spending so much of their own unpaid time for this idealism of user
>solidarity? Why shouldn't software vendors restrict the availability
>of their wares when they have payed people money to write the stuff?
I don't see it as some kind of idealism. FOr my current project for example
Linus Torvalds wrote an OS. It didnt do all the networking things I needed
so I could either spend 3000+ on SCO or similar or fix it. SO I fixed it (and
had fun doing so, as well as learning a lot). Since I've fixed it I might as
well let everyone else use and improve on that. This makes Linux as a whole
better and helps me in the long run. The GPL as I see it is just a way of
making sure nobody plays opportunist and steals the communal work. I don't
like some of the GNU attitudes notably a tendancy (as I see it) to do things
'ends justifying the means' (eg GMP) but the heart is in the right place.
Now I also write commercial software and have been for years. I wrote it from
scratch and to make money. They are two different things.
>
>Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against freely distributin small
>software as I myself have done it, but my only motive in writing it
>was selfish pedagogical reasons, the joy of creation/hacking, the minimal
>support of it and the unviability of selling it. I'm being judgemental 
For all that the people who can support it themselves, can turn it into a
real product have gained from your enjoyment at no cost to you. How can
this be bad.
>but I don't understand how anyone can write and support something as 
>massive as the Gnu entity on a single Marxist ideal.
This had me wondering for a long time. Now I understand - In true computing
parlance - because a combination of all the factors out there makes it work
and if it ain't broke don't fix it. There is such a thing as the common good
even if the US corporate world.
>
>Another criticism is that doesn't this whole idea recoil back on to the
>user, in that creativity, variety, and new ideas get the snuff because
>you can't, by definition, compete with the free software? What's the
>point in writing and selling a new editor if companies like DEC are now 
>distributing Gnu software with their machines, and the user of those
>machines wouldn't in general bother looking in the market place now
>because they have Emacs?
How about all the people who improve emacs, and those who want other
things. Emacs even has the soure for anyone who wants to do things, to take
ideas and code..
>
>What is my personal gripe against it (of course I have one)? The
>profession of programming can only suffer, as it suffers through
>pirating. Software is something that people use their own time to 
>manufacture and sell and so should not be free.
An interesting idea. But I'll tell you one thing - if my current contract
let me I could make a small fortune selling Linux support and doing custom
network solutions with it....
>
>Shaun Troedson
>Defence Science and Technology Organisation
>s...@cd.dsto.gov.au
>
Alan Cox, iii...@pyr.swan.ac.uk