I will NOT agree that Free Software is just software

Story: Why the Free Software Movement can succeed.Total Replies: 2
Author Content

Dec 31, 2004
10:11 AM EDT
While otherwise agreeing with the tenor of the article.

Thirty years ago most people didn't even know what software was. Something for specialists, IBM punched cards in boxes to be handed over to white-coated operators in glass rooms.

Now, look around you. When I do that, I see, besides the "official" computer that I am typing this on, a fax machine, a digital phone set, a reasonably smart printer, a teletext enabled (but still analog) TV set, a smart video and a not very smart (and actually defunct) CD player. In the neighboring room two GSM phones.

In the short space of three decades our daily environment has changed: from passive, inert objects that react predictably when acted upon, to active, "smart" objects that may do things behind our backs. When I sit down upon a chair, I assume that it will just carry my weight, unthinkingly, and without taking any special interest in my political opinions or my consumer behavior, or in any little secrets that I'd like to keep to myself. For conventional chairs, this still holds. But for more and more of our daily environment, this is disappearing.

What is different, is: intelligence. The processing, the flow, of information. There is no such thing as "just" software: another few short decades, and pretty much everything will be in software, or pass through software -- which I will want to be able to trust.

- Martin

Dec 31, 2004
12:22 PM EDT
From reading this article, one of the main points that the person tries to make comes from the "authority" of an anonymous posted "kernel developer" that had been contributing for 8 years (supposedly).

The point is this, the author seems to treat this as some kind of authority -- kernel developers points of view are nice ... but the people that actually use the product's view matter (I'd say more) too.

It all goes back to the whole authoritative voice thing -- so some guy did an anonymous post saying that he didn't think this or that -- so what? it's not like it changes the value of a Free license vs a proprietary one.

The value is there -- or we wouldn't be _here_.

Cheers --FeriCyde

Jan 01, 2005
3:30 PM EDT
The example of the Anonymous is a reaction I've noticed more often over the net. It just came in handy as a fresh example. A license alone is not enough to safeguard Freedom.

Freedom is a mindset. If Free Software is written just because the license is fashionable, this Freedom only lives as long as the fashion fad survives. The license doesn't embody Freedom, it's people that do.

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