Lost jobs due to open source

Benj. Mako Hill mako at ubuntu.com
Tue Aug 23 21:41:37 CDT 2005

<quote who="Ruben Vermeersch" date="Mon, Aug 22, 2005 at 05:20:03PM +0200">
> Their latest counter-argument is a more economically minded one:
> "You can't live of open source, you can't make money of it" (a
> classic)

Clearly not true. Many of us here do.

> "If we all do open source software, a lot of jobs will get cut, the
> amount of IT staff with a job will decrease dramatically".

Imagine a world where paying people for software licenses is
*illegal*. Take a moment to try and imagine it. Have people stopped
using computers or computer software? Are all programmers unemployed?

I can't help but think that the answer to both questions is "of course
not." Now, my first concern is not the money. First and foremost, I'm
here because I want to spread freedom and because I think that freedom
for software has some real practical benefits.  But the happy fact
remains that people need computer software and people are going to pay
someone to write it. Licensing fees are just one way to extract money
for a service. There are others.

Jeff is right of course and most programmers are paid to do very
custom work that never makes it inside a box. This doesn't change
anything I've said above but it does demonstrate that that the
transition to that world without licensing is hardly going to be a
rough or traumatic one for the vast majority of hackers.


Benjamin Mako Hill
mako at ubuntu.com | mako at canonical.com

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