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> I want my freedom to use whatever I choose: […] proprietary, […] whatever, […]

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.
I don't have such experience. There was a time I was juggling Windows and Linux at work using OS X at home. Now I mostly deal with OS X and Linux on servers. Neither did I have a problem with office suites. I am MS Office free, OpenOffice free. If someone sends me some .doc or .xls occasionally I can usually view them on OS X without any problems. How exactly Windows are supposed to make switching to say Linux more difficult than from Linux to OS X? I give away no freedoms by using whatever software I want.


"You" in my parent post wasn't referring to you, Rimantas, specifically. You Rimantas (and I) are a lucky, tiny minority. You give away no freedom because you pay very close attention to not being locked in.

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.


Slave owners universally don't want to be slaves, thus it's immoral. Buyers and sellers of proprietary software don't have no problem buying and selling proprietary software from others, thus it's NOT immoral.


There's plenty of examples of proprietary software vendors doing their best to avoid lock-in from other proprietary software vendors, while doing the same to their own customers. Apple vs Adobe on the iPhone flash issue for example, where Apple proposed open standards and developing directly for iPhone as the two permitted options.


Interesting observation, but it has nothing to do with the question of moral behavior.

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.


You're supposing total information. You're supposing that no one can be screwed unaware.

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.




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