The Evils of All Software

Jeff Anderson jefferya at programmerq.net
Mon Jan 21 18:02:43 MST 2008


Just as long as it doesn't get religious to this point:

http://www.softpanorama.org/People/Stallman/Images/saintignucius.jpg

Stuart Jansen wrote:
> I've tried to stay out of the discussion, but...
>
> Here's my take on the whole Free vs. proprietary debate:
>
> Software is about relationships and a software license is a tool to
> manage that relationship. In every healthy relationship there has to be
> some give and take.
>
> Hopefully we can all agree that not only is it morally wrong for any one
> member of a relationship to behave in an extremely selfish manner, it is
> often harmful to society as a whole. Hopefully, we can also agree that
> the suffering party is sometimes (but not always!) equally responsible
> for enabling selfish and destructive behavior in the relationship.
>
> I choose to avoid proprietary software because I do not want to be
> abused. I've been burned by proprietary software too many times.
>
> Instead of software, lets talk about employees. Would you keep an
> abusive employee because "replacing him would be too expensive"? Would
> you excuse an employee that only "only hits others once in awhile"?
> Would you allow an employee to force you to redesign your entire work
> flow around him instead of integrating himself into your infrastructure?
> Would you allow an employee to hold your data hostage because "he was
> the lowest bidder"?
>
> Of course not!
>
> How is purchased software any different? You're the one paying.
>
> Is it unreasonable for an employee to demand fair compensation for work?
> Of course! The problem is, too many proprietary software vendors act
> like they're in charge of the show, instead of acting like the
> contracted service providers they are.
>
> If a person does not respect me, I will limit my contact with that
> person. If a vendor does not respect me, I will avoid doing business
> with that vendor.
>
> Of course, it cuts both ways. I have no right to demand that anyone do
> anything for me for free. I have no right to demand that anyone be
> prevented from writing proprietary software. I only have a right to
> decide who I will do business with.
>
> As Free Software defenders we must be certain that we're willing to put
> our money where our mouths are. Too often, we demand Free Software, not
> because we feel it is fairer but because we're cheapskates. If you're
> not writing code, providing support, or paying license fees, you're
> being a freeloader. If you're not contributing to a project's creation
> and maintenance, you have no right to make any demands.
>
> Which isn't to say you're not welcome. It's only natural that one must
> free load until learning the skills necessary to contribute. Even
> something as simple a bug reports and feature requests can be a form of
> contribution. But they never convey a right to make demands!
>
> All software sucks. (Well, except for SSH.) The way I see it, if I'm
> using Free Software and I have a problem, I can roll up my sleeves and
> get my hands dirty fixing the problem. Or hire someone else to fix the
> problem. Or I can live with it. Contrast that to proprietary software.
> I'm tired of paying for the right to be treated like an idiot by
> under-payed toadies reading from a script when I try to report a
> problem. I'm tired of wondering if my bug report is being ignored. I'm
> tired of feeling helpless when a business critical problem isn't being
> addressed even though I could probably resolve it quickly if I had
> access to the code.
>
> Some software sucks more than other software. Can there be a healthy
> relationship between proprietary software vendors and customers? Of
> course. Do I condemn such relationships? Of course not! But that doesn't
> change my preference to simply avoid such relationships.
>
> Does the fact that I've grown tired of abusive proprietary software
> licenses make me religious? If so, so be it. I'm religious, and my
> religion gives me control of my own future.
>
>
> /*
> PLUG: http://plug.org, #utah on irc.freenode.net
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> Don't fear the penguin.
> */
>
>   


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