Skype telephone giveaway- but not for Linux users

Andrew Jarrett jarrett.andrew at gmail.com
Wed Jun 13 22:32:02 BST 2007


On 6/13/07, Bruce Marshall <bmarsh at bmarsh.com> wrote:
> On Wednesday 13 June 2007, manchicken wrote:
> > Paying for things is not wrong. I still do pay for GNU/Linux in many
> > situations to this day. My objection isn't to cost, it is to restriction
> > of freedom. When you pay for the toll road, you are free to choose any
> > exit. When you pay for a train you are free to get on and off at any stop
> > the train stops on within the range of your ticket. You've completely
> > missed the point.
>
> And when you pay for a video card, you've paid for the priviledge of using
> that card for as long as you want, and discarding it or giving it away to
> someone else when you're done with it.
>
> Where's the restriction?
>
> When you're on a train, are you free to go up to the engine cab and make it go
> faster?  or slower?   You're allowed to ride, just like you are allowed to
> use the video card.
>
> I don't think YOU get it.

In the case of certain arguments, I believe that certain metaphors
should be avoided and sometimes all metaphors should be avoided.  If
we are insistent on comparing everyday situations encountered in real
life (like buying a train ticket) to the completely different world of
business (in relation to software and hardware) then I believe that we
are only confusing things.  For example, when we buy a video card, we
are free to overclock it (make it "go faster").  Does this mean that
we should be able to get on a train and walk up to the engine and mess
with gears and levers?  When we buy a video card are we buying a train
ticket or the actual train?  You see my point?  By coming up with
these metaphors we are only confusing the situation.  The only way to
clearly understand the argument is by talking about *software* and
leaving hardware, trains, toll roads, music, and books in their
respective places.

I believe in using the software which offers the greatest amount of
freedom available.  I avoid nonfree software at all costs - even if it
means using a program that is more complicated or doesn't offer as
many features (as long as I can still get the job done).  It seems as
if the mention of free software only sparks fear.  Why does everyone
here think that a company that releases "free software" will go
bankrupt?  "Free software" doesn't mean "no potential for profit."
Sure, maybe certain companies that have a monopoly in certain fields
of the technology market will lose some profits, but isn't that the
best thing for the people?  A capitalist market is often described as
a "free market."  It is not described as a "closed" or "proprietary"
market.  A free market works best when it is easy to enter the market.
 This is certainly not the case with the current American technology
market.  Powerful companies like Microsoft, Adobe, Dell, HP, etc. are
crippling the economy.  There is no competition in the economy.  An
inactive economy is a dead economy - a competitive market that is
reasonably easy to enter always is better than a dead market.  So what
if John Doe spent a lot of time writing UselessProgram and wants
$29.99 for it?  Do you really think that he has a chance to make a
living with the few companies that dominate the market and all of the
other pawns (shareware programmers) writing the same program?  If a
piece of free (open source) software is developed then there is a
chance to restore balance to the market.  Open source software grants
a small company the programming power of a company many times its
actual size.

FLOSS is not the problem that you think it is -- it is the answer.  It
is the answer to a healthier market.  It is the answer to a more
competitive market that brings more goodies back to the consumer (i.e.
more secure software, new technological improvements).  I can't
understand why anyone would want to support such a large, bloated, and
lethargic company like Microsoft (or insert the monopolistic company
that you love to hate here).

Bottom line: Free software is a tool to power and a better economy.
Proprietary software is useless (unless you are the big hitter in your
certain area of business - the dominator).  And don't make a confusing
argument even more confusing by using confusing metaphors (or
basically any metaphor besides one that really hits the nail on the
head).

Andrew

P.S. I am a university student studying Computer Science and I am
still a free software idealist.

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