“Free” software

I was reading this : “Why “Open Source” misses the point of Free Software” by Richard Stallman (Link here).

I never gave serious thoughts to the difference between “open source” and “free software”. For that matter, I never realized the real meaning intended by GNU people, for the term “free software”. In that sense, this article made an interesting read, though I have my reservations on a few points.

Firstly, “This is a matter of freedom, not price, so think of “free speech,” not “free beer.”” – This in essence tells you the “ethics” of free software.

Somewhere towards the end of the article, here are some comments on the “DRM” software.

“This malicious feature is known as DRM, or Digital Restrictions Management (see DefectiveByDesign.org), and it is the antithesis in spirit of the freedom that free software aims to provide. And not just in spirit: since the goal of DRM is to trample your freedom, DRM developers try to make it hard, impossible, or even illegal for you to change the software that implements the DRM.

Yet some open source supporters have proposed “open source DRM” software. Their idea is that by publishing the source code of programs designed to restrict your access to encrypted media, and allowing others to change it, they will produce more powerful and reliable software for restricting users like you. Then it will be delivered to you in devices that do not allow you to change it.

This software might be “open source,” and use the open source development model; but it won’t be free software, since it won’t respect the freedom of the users that actually run it. If the open source development model succeeds in making this software more powerful and reliable for restricting you, that will make it even worse.”
-This pretty much conveyed to me the actual meaning of “free” in “free software”.

Finally, I was wondering – whats so wrong in earning money by software development? all the time… its also a profession like others. I keep questioning- Software can be open source but not “free” as in “free beer” too. But one doubt- if the software is “free” as in “free speech” – what will hackers have fun in? 😉

Published in: on August 11, 2009 at 11:09 am  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. There is nothing wrong in earning money by developing software. But, to make a point, lemme give you an example….

    We use length, breadth, area etc., as measurements right? Also mass. Gravitational force… Imagine all these units of measurements being patented. Imagine someone gets paid every time you use these measurements/concepts! Such a situation is worse than Amway.

    The Opensource guys are up against such idiocy, not against geeting paid for the efforts an individual or an organization puts in.

  2. i agree that there is no wrong in earning money from software 🙂

  3. Good post!!

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