There are lots of market forces pulling towards proprietary. Most people don't care about software freedom - they want shiny toys right now. Jobs, Gates, Ballmer and Ellison cater to them. They build and sell tools to help you lock yourself to their software. And they even use free software for that.
edit: dear downmodder: try harder. I am sure you can articulate a useful argument instead of just downvoting a comment you disagree with. This should be a place for debating ideas.
Big corporations led by big egos have the power to kill products and permanently remove innovations from the market: by [ab]using software patents, buying and killing threatening start-ups, or under-cutting competitors to drive them out of business. One of the most attractive aspects of a Free Software ecosystem unencumbered by patents is that ideas don't have to die while they are still useful to somebody.
Big corporations led by big egos have the power to kill
products and permanently remove innovations from the market
Are you aware of any other freedom I don't know about?
Tell me one freedom that does not involve denying freedoms and I'll give you the point. If, however, the only freedom you want is the one to deny freedoms, then, this argument became circular a couple messages back.
Using the GPL you deny no other freedom to your downstream users that that.
"Freedom" is not black and white. Sometimes you need to deny users one freedom in order to give them another. For example, Spotify is a non-free application and it has DRM and lock-in and nasty things like that (no doubt required by the music industry). However, it's completely changed the way I listen to music and given me freedom to listen to more music than I could have done before. I have essentially traded the freedom to tinker for the freedom to listen to music.
you traded your freedom to tinker
I agree very strongly with Stallman and the points he regularly makes regarding the dangerous of proprietary software, and I am very grateful for the things he has done to push his ideals and to increase awareness of the issues and dangers surrounding copyright abuse and the freedom of software users.
I also create and sell proprietary software, and I disagree with him that it is immoral to do so.
No need to oppose him, I can simply disagree with his conclusions while agreeing with a very large number of the points that he makes.
Agreed. I won't go as far as he does, but I thank him for making a stand. As far as the user makes an informed choice, I am not against selling proprietary software. Still, God kills a kitten every time a proprietary license is sold.
Even if it's your startup selling it?
Seriously, when your user knows and willingly enters what has a good chance of becoming an abusive relation (depending on your upgrades, being unable to migrate their data, forcing you to support ancient versions because they don't have the money to upgrade), I believe it's fine.
But I would prefer another model.
They probably don't feel like they're resigning their fate to an abusive relationship.
Once GPL'ed, any derivative must also preserve the freedoms of its users. This doesn't happen with MIT/BSD and that's one of the reasons there is a vibrant ecosystem around the Linux kernel and the GNU userland and nothing comparable around *BSDs.
So you want the freedom to lose your freedom, for a short term benefit. Make no mistake: you are not as free to stop using that proprietary software as you might think. Most proprietary software strongly encourage you to stick with them, and make switching difficult. The best examples I have in mind are operating systems and office suites.
The same could be said about slavery: you give up all your freedoms for the ultimate short term benefit: staying alive. Fortunately, we try to eliminate this horrible choice, by abolishing slavery.
Likewise, abolishing proprietary software might be a good idea. Until then boycott is all we have.
Most proprietary software strongly encourage you to stick
with them, and make switching difficult. The best examples
I have in mind are operating systems and office suites.
Most people aren't as cautious.
The company I work in currently have to buy and use MS Word 2003 because the government agencies it deals with want .doc, period. The sysadmins are forced to use windows because that's what most people use, and they just won't switch. (And we're a tech company, so imagine the others.)
Inertia is enormous. People tend to stick with whatever they started with (Blender vs 3DsMax is a good example). Proprietary formats and non standard APIs make it worse.
There're also plenty of examples of businesses trying to buy as cheap as possible while at the same time trying to sell as expensive as possible. That just proves that buyers should beware.
Also, proprietary software is not equivalent to high switching costs: in fact, it's a rather subjective calculation. If you don't care about keeping your old emails, switching your E-mail client has nearly no costs, for example. Additionally, "free" software doesn't imply low switching costs: develop a large application using the KDE or GNOME APIs, and you'll find that switching is rather expensive.
In general, your argument is a red herring: Since switching costs may establish a trap, you should warn about software with high switching costs, not about proprietary software.
Actually, most people don't know a thing about the issues around proprietary and free software. If they did, I am confident that most (more than 50%) would rather buy free software.
Now of course those who sell proprietary software happily buy proprietary software: they often don't have a choice. They can't use GPL software. They can however, use BSD licensed software. And I bet they prefer that over proprietary products.