Apple or Ubuntu

Derek Broughton news at
Mon Sep 17 14:12:17 UTC 2007

M. Fioretti wrote:

> On Mon, Sep 17, 2007 04:21:25 AM +0100, Liam Proven
> (lproven at wrote:
>> Linux does have advantages.
>>  - Getting the source code is purely theoretical for 99.99% of
>> computer users; very few have the skills and knowledge to read C
>> listings and understand them, let alone tweak them. It's nice but it
>> doesn't matter to the *vast* majority.
> Absolutely right (see #6 of A very
> interesting and important corollary of this fact is that it makes no
> sense today to promote Free Software with the "you can study and fix
> the source code yourself!" argument. It's counterproductive, actually:
> you are telling people they can do (or give the feeling they may _need
> to do) something most of them couldn't care less about and would
> probably pay to _not_ do.

Not so.  The majority of computer use is still corporate, and corporations
_do_ see a value in having access to source code, even if the people making
the choice will never personally look at it.  Back in the day when there
were only mainframes, even huge vendors like IBM used to have "source
escrow", where even though the source was closed, it was placed in escrow
so that the customers could access it if the vendor went bankrupt.  I have
no idea if that concept still exists, but companies clearly didn't need to
actually _have_ the source code, but _did_ need to know that there would
always be some way to maintain it.


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