3 thoughts on “Free software for all

  1. There’s free (free speech) and free (free beer). With every discussion about the future of open source I think we owe it to our readers to stress this point. Although I’m a generous person with my time (and time equals money) I find that my landlord, my grocery, the gas station, the mall are not similarly generous. It costs money to live. So before creating some utopian society in which we programmers work for free please first craft some means by which programmers get to live for free, eat for free, get clothed for free, etc.

    Imagine if we were to demand free healthcare and yet we didn’t somehow put in place the mechanisms so that hospitals and doctors get paid somehow. There would be lots of complaints, I’m sure. So why are we not hearing the same complaints from programmers, right?

    I’m for opening the source but I’m not for giving away all programming. If it’s business software then charge for it. If it’s software to help starving people then work on that for free. Corporations will just reap bigger profits and steal your labor if you let them. So pick and choose your projects and find the ones which will help society not corporate investors.

    1. When I see that all software should be freely available I mean as in speech not as in beer. I think it would be great to provide it at no cost to those in need, but most people and businesses can afford to pay for what you build.
      Of course charging for your time does not run counter to open source. We could all share our IP despite being paid to build it – if the contracts allowed it and we found a way to value good work and not be afraid of competition!

      1. To this, I would add: if the government has mandated a particular hardware/software (like the TPMS tire pressure system required now on all cars) then it should also mandate that it’s open-sourced. If we’re required to pay for a system like this—and we are—that system should be open so that we may know how it works and even replace those components.

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