The reason is, you probably use a lot of FOSS software that were made possible only because a lot of people dedicated time and effort to it.
Your servers probably run Linux, if not, the services that you use everyday probably do. Your compiler/language is probably FOSS too, if not, the software that was used to make it was probably. Your OS probably contain some FOSS software or was made using some. Even this blog post was only possible because of free software (medium rely on NGinx, NodeJS, Redis, ...).
Today, it is almost impossible to work without at some point relying on a free software or using software that relies on free software.
We wouldn't be were we at right now if it was not for FOSS. Hell, a lot of us may not have ever been developers if it was not for FOSS. I know I only learned programming because of FOSS like Ruby, Linux, GCC, ...
So I understand that we don't live in a world where everything is simple and where we can all live making free software. But criticizing the people who made your job possible doesn't seem like a good thing.
The idea that software can sell my information isn't just a "perceived" evil anymore.
Back in the 1990s, the closed-source advocates had more of a point: Internet access wasn't omnipresent, and wasn't assumed to be, and it was legitimately more difficult to monetize whatever information you could collect, if only because hard drives to store it were more expensive.
These days, well, Microsoft is adding advertisements to its email application. What else is it doing? Anyone who knows has signed an NDA. European governments might be able to GDPR some of it out of them, but I doubt they'll be able to get all of it. Code is law, after all, and steganography is a very old field.
The trust has been poisoned. The innocence is lost.
I took it as a complaint about FOSS fundamentalists. There has always been tension between FLOSS and proprietary, and I didn't feel you added anything of value to that discussion.
I get that you want to create a buzz around your proprietary software on Linux, but stop acting like you are not late to the party.
Sorry, but it seems you don't know the landscape at all if this is truly your honest opinion. Open source companies making a profit and not being forked to death is not a new thing.
I can name almost every profit-making OSS project/organization ever to counter this. <project x> is open source, why are they still going strong, making money? Why has their project not been forked and sold for less?
It's not that simple in practice. As projects grow in size they require paid manpower to be competitive in terms of features, security, bugs fixed, etc, and implementation speed. While in theory projects can be, and in practice are forked all the time, they are rarely forked and undersold in the manner you fear, and if attempted, they will quickly lag behind your project if they don't have the necessary man hours and expertise. Most forks are hobby/personal, some form a small community, rarely do we see what you seem to think is a huge risk.
Another factor is the brand, the name and reputation you have built, customer relations, support deals, you can't just fork these things.
Microsoft could open source the entirety of their software today without financial risk.
I'm very much interested to know about these profit-making OSS projects.
How many of them are profitable enough that they are able to pay their developers $80K/year, which is the median salary for software developers in the US?
From what I can tell, the majority of them are "profitable" in the sense that someone else pays for developer costs. For example, when Guido van Rossum was at Google, Google paid for him to work 50% on Python development. The other core developers seems to be in similar situations. How many of them are paid by the Python Software Foundation?
The Django Software Foundation is profitable. It doesn't pay for any developers.
The Sage project didn't get a full time developer until 2016, and then only because of an EU grant.
Project Jupyter funds their developers. Their Form 990 schedule O for 2016 says they had $665,619 in contract labor. They could do this because they had $2M in grants.
These are for widely used projects.
Then there are the profitable OSS organizations like the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, which has operational control over Kubernetes. It charges high membership fees. I think it's best to interpret this as a way for Google, Amazon, and others to reduce their costs and prevent competition by commoditizing hosting. (See https://changelog.com/podcast/300 ).
MySQL made money from shaking the big scary GPL at people who didn't want to pay for Oracle. Some of the companies who dual-license under the AGPL use a similar tactic.
So, which profit-making OSS projects are you thinking of?
How many of them have the ability to pay 3 full-time developers (that seems to be the number of people at Hiri)?
How big was their developer/user community before it was able to pay for 3 developers?
I can research the last two questions - I just want names.
But if you don't know the answers, then perhaps your views of how projects with 100K+ users work might not scale down to projects with only 5K users. Yet 5K users willing to pay $100/year is enough to fund three developers full-time.
See also https://caddy.community/t/the-realities-of-being-a-foss-main... , which talks about some of the 'bad' and 'ugly' realities of being a F/OSS maintainer. And yes, I face some of those problem (like entitlement) in running my F/OSS project.
Note that that link is an example where the F/OSS project development was not sustainable as-is.
So, in other words, about 75% did not know what FOSS means or have no clue what software they're using.
I was about to say that, you know, it's probably not necessary to know what FOSS means in order to just do your job, but no, it actually is necessary. If you want to use a library, you need to have at least a basic idea of what its license means.
Anyway, sometimes I really wish I could upvote a comment twice of three times, etc. I mean, I know there's a way to do it but it actually feels like doing a disservice to the poster (and I'm pretty sure accounts get shadow-banned for that sort of thing anyway).
I'm digressing. Dude (I assume?). That's a good comment. Thanks.
I'm not sure there is a monetization strategy that actually aligns with what should be the goals of FLOSS.
I couldn't really find the point to this guys blog other than he doesn't like people with extreme views because they conflict with his own. He like the world created by those people though.
There was this gem:
>> The main challenge remains getting the word out. Unfortunately, the fundamentalist FOSS mentality we encountered on Reddit is still alive and well. Some Linux blogs and Podcasts simply won’t give us the time of day. This is not a problem with the mainstream tech blogs and is a problem unique to Linux.
I'm not even sure why it's a problem. Not every tech blog or podcast wants to promote his product - OK. But why is that problem? He's just unhappy that people exist that don't want what he's selling. Welcome to planet earth dude.
The original piece also has this:
>> The more obvious fragmentation problem is still a barrier to success. Snaps don’t cover some well known distros — Redhat, CentOS and Gentoo to name a few.
Said the guy writing an email client for Microsoft Exchange. He's actually making a living filling a gap caused by fragmentation and claims fragmentation is a problem.
He's just whining. As am I.
This isn't to say that software companies don't exist that just milk the hell out of their customer base. But, that's a problem with any industry, not just software, and is an economic phenomenon, not something intrinsically bad about proprietary software. Typically, it's a problem with a lack of competition and the ability of incumbents to erect artificial barriers to such competition.
This is exactly why you're often able to make money and sustain yourself out of free software.
I am a “technical user” and its bc. of projects like Plotly I try to avoid js (pole or not).
However, I could be missing something here in terms of licensing: can anyone stipulate how the various FOSS licenses could help with this situation ?
But I think the "standing in the community" is overrated; your clients probably won't know or care. Some people will prefer your project and help it, just ignore the haters.
I believe FLOSS ideally bypasses it via doing things for the sake of software or the task - minimizing trouble for the sake of making it easier on themselves but that has its own limitations and requirements including motivation. There isn't any open source turbotax equivalent for one as far as I know.
That distinction is not always clear though. For example: spreadsheets.
“This is going to be a very hard sell being a proprietary closed source system to Linux users, many use Linux because they have bought into the idea of open source. Good luck with it anyway”
“If it were FOSS, I would have downloaded it and compiled it 20 minutes ago.”
Is that it? The rest of the thread seems pretty mild and politely interested. This was two years ago and I think I'd be over it by now.
The more I think about it, this was written for marketing purposes. He doesn't really make a point. It just draws more attention to the product.
As for non-free I find it awkward since most of the time one would have to bend over backwards to support it (e.g NixOS with steam) or adopt external package management systems (Snap, etc) which only add complexity. It also reduces trust as we can't verify builds are in fact not tampered with and so on. If we avoid snap, nix, and guix for packaging then we must rely on upstream updating to ensure it won't break upon the next upgrade where we could have just compiled otherwise. This is inconvenient.
So, in my view I find it positive that there is a push for companies to open source when supporting GNU/Linux as it creates a much better experience for package maintainers, users, and the company involved while increasing the general reach of FLOSS software to other platforms (BSD, Plan9, ..).
The position of Stallmann is "the long-term societal costs of using proprietary software outweigh the short-term benefits in most cases". "Using proprietary software has short term benefits" simply does not address that position.
The fallacy is in equating fundamentalism and extremism and a strong conviction.
Having a strong conviction that democracy is a better form of government than dictatorship, and holding to that even tough democracy certainly has its costs and disadvantages doesn't make you a fundamentalist. A fundamentalist is someone who is unwilling to consider the evidence that their position is wrong. Weighing long-term costs against short-term benefits does not make you a fundamentalist.
Extremism on the other hand is a completely useless term. Being extreme simply means that you are far away from the mainstream. People who work for free and fair elections in China are extremists. The only reason why "Extreme opinions are rarely correct" is kinda true is because the author is lucky to live in a place where, generally speaking, extreme opinions that are a good idea do become adopted into the mainstream sooner or later and thus are no longer extreme. For one, that isn't true everywhere, and, maybe more importantly, you don't ever get those good idea adopted into the mainstream if you reject them "because they are extreme".
FOSS is the antithesis of this fundamentalism, as it expressly rejects the use of threats to intimidate others into not copying or modifying code. I'm sure there are some people who make sweeping generalizations that may not apply to all proprietary software, but being suspicious of an opposing viewpoint doesn't make one a fundamentalist.
This is true of all laws. This is how society works. If you don't like it, in a democracy you can campaign for change.
You seem to believe you have a fundamental right to copy someone else's works. If the author of those works grants you permission (open source) - then fine. You seem to suggest that people shouldn't profit from their work. I just don't think FOSS software alone is tenable.
I am well aware this is how laws enforced by governments work. It does not necessarily follow that is how society works, or that it must be so. I'd rather stay on topic than turn this into a criticism of democracy, however.
>You seem to believe you have a fundamental right to copy someone else's works. If the author of those works grants you permission (open source) - then fine.
On the contrary, you seem to believe you have a fundamental right to use violent threats to intimidate me into not copying or modifying code.
>You seem to suggest that people shouldn't profit from their work.
I absolutely do not suggest that. There are ways one can profit from software development (or other creative and technical endeavors) that don't involve threatening people with violent force.
>I just don't think FOSS software alone is tenable.
I understand that. At least acknowledge that you are the fundamentalist here, taking the approach that because you don't believe it is "tenable" for software to be free, you think it is pragmatic and therefor acceptable to use violent force to prevent others from copying or modifying code.
It’s really just Godwin by another name.
The first answer is "find a pain point and build a product". Note I said product, not open source tool.
The second part is selling it. That's pretty easy: is anyone else fixing this pain? No? Then sell people the product. You can give away your source code, but that's completely incidental.
The third part, "Our competitors will fork and steal our business!", is possible, but extremely unlikely, unless you suck at your product. Incumbents don't get unseated without tremendous effort. The longer you're around, the more people will trust you to do it right, and the better you'll be at it, with more features and more customers. (I don't know of a single case of this ever happening; it's usually just a completely new open source product and they compete fairly)
The last part, "How do I keep people from just building and using the code for free?", completely depends on how difficult this is, and whether your packaging and selling of the product provides additional value worth paying for. The simplest way is to provide premium services that solve more pain points and to provide this with their purchase. But you can also just make the software so annoying to build, and cheap to purchase, that it makes more sense to buy it.
I don't think you appreciate the danger here. Someone can sink a few tens of thousands of dollars into cloning a codebase, then make it to market in a bare fraction of the time it took you to get there.
When you say "incumbents don't get unseated without tremendous effort," you're referring to big incumbents like Amazon or Google, or CVS or Home Depot. Sure, at that scale it's impossible to ramp up that quickly.
But for small outfits struggling to survive, handing the jackals everything they need to compete with you is flat-out stupid. The barest vestige of a moat, something as small as locking your doors, can be enough to get the jackals to pick easier targets.
Having to manage the creation of a software product is an order of magnitude harder than just cloning it and differentiating it from there.
AFAIK, small startups do not get unseated by other small startups that poach their technology in order to ruin their competitor. Besides being quite unethical, it's very bad PR. Not to mention, someone else would have to be in the same position, ready to take the same risks, on the same business model, with the same technology, at the same time.
Risky things happen. But so far, I am unaware of this particular risky thing ever happening. I would love to hear if it has happened before.
(I will add the caveat that if anyone were to do this, it would be China)
It's basically like the kudzu that grows ubiquitously across the SE United States. Find a tree, climb it, then steal all its sunlight. Look at an existing business, find out what makes it tick, then clone its business model and go after its customers using the same marketing channels its using.
I don't think you'd have to read many business books to find an account of this happening, albeit with non-software products. It works because customers simply don't have the bandwidth to be loyal or to thoroughly research everybody they do business with.
So it's a general problem with businesses and not a valid argument against FOSS alone then. That being said I don't see "uber for x" companies to be a danger for legit businesses. To me it seems more of a way to milk investors, and not a viable way to steal markets.
Most systems have a potential for agents to act badly, but it is my lay understanding that game theory have shown cooperative strategies to win out.
Meanwhile, if you do release your software as FOSS, then you at the very least get a marketing channel (the FOSS community) that's 1) cheap to acquire (any "this week in FOSS" blog or software repo or whatever will jump on spreading it around specifically because it's FOSS) and 2) is on average savvy enough to know that you're the actual encumbent and your competitor is a fraud. Assuming your product is actually good, they'll be inclined to support it and possibly even buy it.
If this is scary to do with your core product, then at least start with the FOSS dependencies of that core product. See also: Valve being one of the "good guys" in the Linux-on-the-desktop movement; their core product (Steam) is closed-source DRM (the literal antithesis of free software), but their free software contributions (especially around Mesa and Wine/Proton/DXVK) more than offset the "evil" of their core product, and so Linux users (myself included) have no qualms throwing money their way.
Car ride-sharing business isn't a monopoly, and it also isn't one-eats-the-other. Uber and Lyft are competitors but they both still exist, even though they do the same thing, because (1) they both have strong brands, and (2) they both implement their business in different yet complementary ways. It's obvious that not every competitor cuts the legs out of the other competitors at every opportunity.
Likewise, not every start-up is going to steal the tech from its rival, even if your "friend" keeps suggesting you do it. And even if you did have your competitors' source code, source code isn't a brand, it isn't a development team, it isn't support, and it isn't sales. If you don't execute all the business aspects better than your competitor, the source code is useless.
> As a computer user today, you may find yourself using a proprietary program. If your friend asks to make a copy, it would be wrong to refuse. Cooperation is more important than copyright. But underground, closet cooperation does not make for a good society. A person should aspire to live an upright life openly with pride, and this means saying no to proprietary software.
I don't agree that refusing to copy the program would be wrong. "Cooperation is more important than copyright" is a nice slogan. But copyright IS a form of cooperation. In the situation described, you have to choose between cooperating with your friend and cooperating with the software vendor. Stallman is right to point out that it puts one in an ethical bind, and a way to avoid that is to avoid proprietary software. He argues (elsewhere) that the act of offering proprietary software is really bad, because it erodes society's most precious resource, goodwill.
As for me, I have a fondness for the FOSS subculture, and a preference for free software, ceteris paribus. I use a mixture of free and nonfree software because I have other more pressing concerns, like choosing the best technological choice for the job, and ease of use, and making money.
The biggest issue with proprietary software is the unbalanced relationship with the vendor that it implies.
When trying to sell a niche product, r/linux might not be the best place to
ask. I'm wondering if the author would have had the same response when someone
on a windows or mac subreddit did not want to use their software.
Instead try to sell to people who you solve a particular problem for.
(Disclaimer: I do use some proprietary software.)
Personally I don't use software that I cannot review myself for tasks that are important to me. That includes reading email. Hence, the reason for rejection is that it's not open source. I don't see how this makes me a horrible fundamentalist, but maybe you care to enlighten me :)
> it's harmful for the entire ecosystem
I also completely fail to see how me personally want to review source code is harmful to the "entire ecosystem" (I assume you refer to the FOSS ecosystem?)
When free competitive alternatives lack, I also accept some proprietary drivers. Considering how the industry moves towards managed hosting ("cloud") and how ridiculous it makes my old under-utilized family & friends servers look, I'm thinking that, confidentiality issues aside, I could accept what is standardized enough to transparently swap providers - the way my Internet access is wholly in hands of an access provider that I can swap by plugging another one in a free RJ-45 port on my border router (with no perceptible impact because I use none of their bundled services), or the way my domain names are in the hand of a perfectly replaceable registrar.
Tbsync developers have no problem with that.
> Also, you literally trust your life to proprietary software every time you jump into a car or onto a plane.
Is that a good thing? People do it out of lack of choice, not because they want to. Trusting closed software for communication purposes is especially bad in the age of mass surveillance, so Hiri is actually not an example to be used if you are so interested in pitching for closed software.
> There is ample evidence that companies competing using proprietary knowledge is actually a pretty good model for more productivity / technological progress. It’s why we have anti-trust laws.
Laws which aren't working for the most part because they have been diluted by monopolists / oligopolists to completely toothless state.
> I believe the Linux community should embrace proprietary software with open arms
No, thanks. Linux doesn't need to become another macOS. There are cases when proprietary software has no alternatives, but encouraging such situations isn't something to aim for.
Without that level of commitment no one would have used Linux and all the early immature and amateurish efforts, there are people here who know what a horror some of the efforts were to use and the long journey to today. Would any of the practical minded folks use any of that?
That part of the journey could only be made because of those motivated by ideals. The practical 'middle ground' mindset would not have delivered the rich open source world we know today.
If you don't subscribe to the ethics or values driving it it's perfectly ok, but mature discussion needs to recognize that commitment is required to achieve anything. Simply looking at the results and failing to appreciate what it took to get here is a recipe for failure in any endeavour.
It's basically open blueprints, not open systems - with predictable results.
There's never been a truly open system, although Hypercard, Excel, VBS, and Smalltalk have all tried (and failed) to edge into that space in their different ways.
FOSS has certainly never shown the slightest interest in developing an open system.
It has always been more of a charter for tinkering than a glorious liberation for end-users frustrated with bugs, poor UI choices, and all the other things that end-users hate.
There are plenty of FOSS software where one could do meaningful changes that improve your user experience without being a developer. This includes customizing the theme for your desktop, translating the software into another language etc
What do you even mean by open system?
There are plenty of regular (non-dev) people that propose great ideas for changes to FOSS programs that later get implemented, you don't get this kind of interactions with your users with proprietary sw because that your "intellectual property" and who the hell are you to dictate how to do things with my property attitude (which is, if not implied then anticipated by most users).
Really? I got into Linux originally when I saw how you could swap DEs and customize practically everything. I wasn't a developer back then.
You sell proprietary software, which is a perfectly fine and decent way to make a living. Why are you defending yourself and exactly what against? It's perfectly alright to make a living the way you see fit.
However, I'd rather not have the Linux community "embrace proprietary software with open arms", thank you very much.
Why? What possible harm could it do?
>Why are you defending yourself and exactly what against?
I didn't write the article as a defence. I wrote it as food for thought. I would like to see Linux usage increase. I believe those that reject proprietary software outright are preventing this from happening. A vocal minority give the impression that proprietary software is not welcome. This has not been our experience.
2.) Those people vocally disagreed with his previous article, him following up defending amd explaining his stance is how discussion work.
3.) Why not?
4.) Why do you want him to be silent and that group to hAve monopoly on discourse?
Maybe it makes more sense in relation to the other post. If so, I think the essence of it should be worked into this post to give it some context.
If I'm a fundamentalist for this belief, so be it.
The morality stance has nothing to do with the act of building or creating. I have always said, agree to sign a contract where you give up the ability to enforce the proprietary license and I have no issue with it. The problem is that no one would use a proprietary license unless they could enforce it, and thus the morality issue of a proprietary license lies in how the license get enforced in the legal system. This is not the first time a morality issue has been raised when people get put in jail because they helped someone in need.
I want to be able to check whether the software does anything harmful for me, and to be able to fix it and adapt it to my needs. Proprietary software effectively curtails the possibility of doing that.
Say I am allergic to nuts. Fortunately, when I buy some processed food I can check easily whether it has nuts or not. Now imagine living in a world where food makers sneakily put nuts in their products, in order to "enhance the user experience". And not only that, but they took great efforts to hide this information from the consumers. After all, most people are not allergic, so no big deal here. I would say that this is immoral.
Sure, this would be morally wrong (and also illegal). But you are basically saying that everyone is putting peanuts in their software, which is simply false. Quite insulting to those of us that do work on proprietary software.
It's great that you don't include malicious code in your proprietary software. But why should you defend the right of others to do so? It's not really "insulting" to note that this is a common occurrence.
As you note, it is illegal for food manufacturers to put anything secret in food, let alone secret and harmful. Why tolerate it in software?
We don't enforce laws against food manufacturers putting secret ingredients in food by opening up food production processes so that any member of the public can walk into the factory and watch them at work. A major reason for that is that the FDA is bound by law to respect trade secrets, so it can't just make public every detail of the food production processes it inspects; all it can say is whether or not they are safe in the FDA's judgment.
If we wanted to make laws against putting secret ingredients in software, the enforcement mechanism analogous to the one we use for food safety laws would be to create a huge government agency that inspected software source code. It wouldn't be to open up the source code to anyone who wants to see it.
The trouble is that the effects of harmful software are much less obvious than harmful food.
You have to at least understand that (some) people have a trust issue with proprietary software, since too many vendors (including Canonical btw) ship with monitoring included.
An easy way to prove that is indeed publishing your code and letting the users compile it themselves. You can still hide your peanuts, but if somebody finds them, you'll have a hard time proving it was not there.
I see no difference between the two cases. As per your suggestion, it would seem reasonable to make proprietary software illegal after all.
With the spread of DRM into the everyday world, we can see how this is playing out: coffee machines refusing third-party cartridges, printers requiring users to replace ink even if it's not used up, tractors unable to be repaired by the owner.
A chair is quite close to its source - some people would find it easier to inspect the object than the blueprint. As such, there's no meaningful distinction between a chair and its source. In terms of freedoms though, a nonfree chair would restrict your ability to inspect or alter it. It would turn into dust when altered, or would be covered with a special layer preventing unauthorized repainting or installing a child seat.
All those things refuse the user to enjoy the freedom of operating them whatever way they like, with real consequences. I know I wouldn't buy any of them given the choice, and I consider them malicious. In my book, malice is definitely related to morality.
Additionally, do you object to patents and/or copyright in principle? If so, why?
Genuinely curious, not critical or necessarily opposed.
Copyright and patents on inventions are perfectly OK in my book. They are based on spreading the relevant information, not on hiding it. (However I loathe patents on theorems and algorithms.)
You start with "I salute you. I’m a fan" and then call a lot of people "fundamentalist", then "You have made a choice based on an ideology", "blind to the realities of the world you live in".
Then "But like most utopian views, it’s naive", "It’s a pipe dream", and finally "Like all fundamentalists, they simply ignore some inconvenient truths".
Then you ramble through justifications of your business model (and quite a few logical fallacies).
For being a fan, you express your support in a strange way.
Now excuse me while I go back to writing software as a gift to whoever wants to use it.
I think one of the "better" approaches if you cannot survive with a "support/customization" model (which is certainly not for everyone) is to open-source elements of your software offering that are not business critical but still somewhat useful for other parties to live in the open. This way you do not take away your livelihood, but you still contribute back in some amount to the tech world. That's like being a good citizen.
Totally agree with your "good citizen" argument though. Something we should consider.
IIUC you mean this in the context of desktop environments (and not including things like Android, server OSes, or ChromeOS). The problem with your argument is that those of us who use Linux as our main desktop environment don't want just another platform: the entire point of its existence is its openness. The point is and has always been that you can download it, install it, and run it without having to jump through arbitrary hoops, agree to restrictive licensing, pay anyone, etc.
Watering that down for proprietary software vendors goes against the whole point.
Maybe we would get more, possibly better software. Steam has certainly shown that for games. However, the entire reason that Steam for Linux even exists is that folks at Valve didn't like what Microsoft was doing with Windows 8, specifically the Windows Store and its games for sale, competing directly with Valve. They created Steam Machines and Steam for Linux as a contingency in case Microsoft tried to use their position to prevent another, competing marketplace from existing.
They can do that because of the license, and specifically because of the license no one can later revoke Valve's ability to use the OS, even if Linus or GNU decide to go into the games marketplace business. That's why us purists insist on it.
World keeps turning.
Do your thing. See how that plays out for you.
As a proprietary app, we have encountered quite a bit of resistance from Linux users, usually berating us for not being open source. I think that's short sighted. We need more pragmatists.
And here lies the main point - they believe that many users will simply reject their proprietary software on principle. If the community was seen to embrace proprietary, which is what I'm calling for in the article, they might just support Linux.
Also worth noting that the largest contributor to the Linux kernel is... Microsoft.
Yes, because we've grown tired of companies abusing their relationships with customers: abandoning products and leaving them useless, charging more and more for the same or less levels of support, removing features, suing users for repairing their own property... The list goes on. Sure, similar issues can happen with FOSS, but at least you have some recourse if the creators disappear.
> Also worth noting that the largest contributor to the Linux kernel is... Microsoft.
Yes, but only now. And only because they did what they could to kill Linux, and they still lost. That former behavior is the kind of thing we like to never be an issue in the first place.
Which aren't properly any FOSS angels, when we examine their product portfolio.
Actually IBM is the king of patent submissions.
One does wonder whether this situation is intentionally exacerbated by the fundamentalists. Case in point, there are people against Flatpak because it makes it easier for developers to bypass repos and their package maintainers.
Hello there. An not so much against it, as not "for it".
> it easier for developers to bypass repos and their package maintainers.
No, that's not the problem at all. The biggest problem is duplication of libraries, most of which will not see security updates nowhere near as promptly as the system version would, integration with the DE and the problems there, fundamentally replicating the Windows/macOS model, while many see native package management as superior for the reasons I mentioned.
Flatpak isn't even good enough, in my opinion, since it adds complexity to an otherwise simple scheme in an effort to accomplish some of the deduplication you and other fans of package managers want. Ditto its repo model.
Yes I do. I was talking about selling packaged food, but still, restaurants make a good example also. They will always tell you if one of their recipe contains a particular ingredient (of which you might be allergic), and whether there are vegan options. Many restaurants even write the complete list of ingredients on each item in the menu!
Even then, except for very complex sauces, it is quite easy to see all the ingredients once you have the dish in front of you. This is impossible with proprietary software. Just grepping at a binary, you won't get too far.
At one point I wrote a little piece of software as a proof of concept that used detours to redirect any file I/O in IE that was deemed "unsafe" to a special in-memory file system.
The bottom line is that you don't need the source code in order tell if an application is "phoning home" or if it makes suspicious API calls. In fact, it is often easier to just simply monitor how the software interacts with the host system to determine if it is performing (possibly) malicious actions. IOW, if you're concerned about a certain piece of software, then auditing the source code isn't going to be as good of a solution as just sandboxing the application so that it's impossible for the application to do something bad.
I authored the article. People ask us about our software all the time. We answer their questions. We have a post on our views on privacy, how we collect and use data etc. We give people the option to opt-out of data collection. Our email list is strictly opt-in. It seems that you are fine trusting the people that provide your food, but not your software.
Microsoft uses Linux on something like 60% of their own cloud servers, presumably because they find it more profitable to do so than to use the software they wrote themselves.
One thing you have possibly missed is that the people you think are fundamentalists rather than pragmatists, are for the most part being fundamentalist about pragmatism.
They are not telling you to open source based on some abstract philosophy, but because they think that the practical effects of doing so are better.
And given that open source as an economic system of production is currently out-competing liberal capitalism at its own game, on its own terms, on its home turf, I suspect that they may have a point.
Do what you want, but it may be a mistake to dismiss the open source community as not being pragmatic when they critique you.
I am dismissing those that reject proprietary software on principle.
I also made it clear that we would open source our software if we could find a business model that would work for us.
That dismissal presumably includes both Stallman and the Debian project. I would not dismiss them all that lightly.
>I also made it clear that we would open source our software if we could find a business model that would work for us.
You are making a nice email client. The service of rock solid business email management would presumably be the obvious model to start with. There are more people willing to spend money on that than there are people willing to buy a better email client.
If they dismiss it then they don't need it. You can't force anyone to buy things they don't need, at least in free society that is.
"But it doesn't run games or Excel on my desktop!" Ah yes you're right. Guess Linux is niche and needs spreading after all.
Linux runs the world. I highly doubt it needs more "spreading".
Example: I have an older laptop with a 5400RPM hdd that I've since bought a SSD to image and put a new OS on. Currently it runs Windows 7. Hate Windows 10 after being a lifelong Microsoftie (DreamSpark worked as it turns out), been learning Linux at work, so let's try it at home. I work on computers for a living, I can handle the learning curve, right? I will be reinstalling Windows 7 so I can AskWoody Group B it until it is out of support, then move it to Windows 7 POS Ready to get security updates until the last possible second. From there? I guess a mac because I refuse to use Windows 10 on personal devices aside from maybe a LTSB version. Different rant though, back to Linux on desktop:
I _want_ to run NeonOS or Debian KDE on that laptop, but cannot as the tools I use are not available on those platforms. The "fundamentalists" as portrayed in this article would say that I shouldn't have chosen to use the tools I chose. That doesn't help my problem though and won't do anything to get the 'unwashed masses' using the better software en mass. Here better software = FOSS since we are being a hypothetical fundamentalist a la Stallman.
If these Stallmen could "hold their nose" long enough to build Linux such that it could run most rando Windows programs without huge fuss and individual WINE config tweaks, the long term benefit would be that they would be positioning themselves to overtake Windows in usage on the desktop as well as the server side.
Knock-on effects are strong:
1. More users, more developers to create software
2. More developers, more improvements made to system codebases, package maintenance, dev tooling
3. More Linux, more Linux compatibility out of the box
4. More Linux on desktops, more people who've never been tainted by MS DreamSpark (like me) and due to baby duck syndrome prop up MS Windows, Office, VS and the Microsoft way
5. MS might even open source Windows itself (a core product) if it is no longer profitable. Making the job of dealing with Windows compatibility A) easier and B) nearly redundant
So the FOSS people win the war, at least on the desktop Linux vs Windows front.
If you include BSD as well as Linux, you get the Apple computers and phones.
If there is a choice use FOSS app A or proprietary app B I will use A if it does what I need, as a developer I adapted the open source apps to my needs where with proprietary apps I could never done it.
I also question him being a fan, it seems to me like he's a fan of building on it, that's about it.
If I need to do some short time job and there are no FOSS tools I usually buy the license for proprietary software do the work and then uninstall it. Since I can't even see if there are some obvious security vulnerabilities so why risk having it installed.
About the "poorer choice", by using not sufficiently featurefull FOSS tools you get the chance to improve those and everyone benefits.
In an open world you can't sell product, you sell skill, time, resources. If you try to be something like JustEat, Booking, Expedia, ... you are simply dead, but that's not a problem except at an hypothetical "model change", that's a good things for the society that prize real innovation ad work instead of marketing ad use (legitimate or abuse) of a commercial position.
It's not a matter of fundamentalism but a different social model.
I honestly don't find anything controversial in that post. It just lists some points which are between "obvious" and "common sense". There is, however, a typo in your header! now that is interesting ('and' instead of 'an')
A lot of people often confuse FOSS users and users of proprietary software. The difference is that FOSS users (for example users who do install linux, even on a Mac) typically feel more comfortable with the 'idea' that they or anyone else can look under the hook and tinker, if it comes to it and bothers them sufficiently. This is the primary reason why proprietary software is unappealing to them. Users of proprietary software don't value the freedom to look under the hood and tinker as much. Personally speaking, I won't judge people choosing one or the other.
However, arguments such as OSS makes "life a lot easier for a bad actor to pick it apart." or "..if you only have a handful of contributors, mistakes may not be caught." or "there is nothing to stop someone from forking it and selling it for less /offering it for free." is just disingenuous.
> bad actor
Unless your software is crazy popular and there is cred to be earned in the black hat community, people who go around looking for exploits in OSS typically would not be bad actors. In fact, a proprietary tool that run /on top of/ an OSS platform would be a much more appealing target for bad actors than an open source one -- because hey, finding a way to use 'paid-for' software for free is far more appealing than finding a way to reverse engineer some random binary custom format used to store addressbooks.
> mistakes may not be caught ...
total(mistakes caught by in house team) <= total(mistakes caught by in house team + 1 contributor)
why is this hard to understand ?
> nothing to stop someone from forking it ...for free
Firstly - Licensing. Learn about it. Secondly, search for forks that are more popular than the upstream. I'm sure you might find a few (although I am also sure you won't find many). Understand why they are more popular (hint: will have nothing to do with code).
And finally, (most importantly) if you still feel that access to code is the only thing that will stop competitors from copying you and then beating you on price -- well, think hard about your future business strategy.
Very few manage to do a living from FOSS unless being hired by some big corp.
That's the point: if you're being secretive, then your end users are denied the ability - without undue effort - to verify for themselves that you or your software are acting in their best interests or "aligned with [their] own objectives".
Transparency is a dependency of trust. No ifs ands or buts. If you can't be transparent because "boo hoo we can't make any money" then I can't trust you, and no reasonable person should.
The tired excuse that "but but but the black hats will see our code and hack us" is just that: a tired excuse along the same lines as "security by obscurity". The black hats will find holes in your software anyway, because they're motivated to do so (whether because it's how they put food on the table or because they find it a fun challenge). The least you can do is make it as easy as possible for the white hats to spot those zero-days first.
None of the arguments in this article are groundbreaking or compelling. They're the same tired bullshit excuses closed-source devs always try to feed their users for why said users should be fine with "don't worry, just trust us, we pinky-promise we're not selling your data to advertising networks (wink!)". Maybe you are, maybe you're not. Maybe you aren't yet but might in the future. No way to know for sure without full-blown reverse engineering every single build.
And note that none of this has to do with software freedom. Yes, most transparent software happens to be free software, but you can be transparent and proprietary. From a trustworthiness perspective, I don't care if there's a thousand-page Apple-style EULA in the source tree; I just want access to the source tree. Conflating transparency and freedom is a tell-tale sign of strawmanning here.
Surely some academic economic work has been done on a situation like this?
As for musicians, plenty of them share their music (or flps, or whatever) all the time. Soundcloud, bandcamp, jamendo, magnatune, soulseek... the list goes on.
2. True, but charging money for your music doesn’t get nearly the same negative reaction that paid software often gets.
2. If people charge money for covers, the public does tend to exhibit some degree of outrage. I've heard a hypothetical future in which being caught whistling a pop song in public results in an instant fine being held up as a possible dystopia. Even when we are just talking about stringent enforcement of copyright on exact-ish reproductions of music or film, opposition to this propelled politicians into parliaments in the EU and several component countries (the Pirate Parties); I do wonder if Free Software fundamentalism actually ever involved the number of people that must have signed on for that to have been possible.
Genuinely not trying to be pedantic, just curious if you were being clever.
There are not that many open source projects for non tech users - most and best open source centers in tools for techies.
There is a lot of rhetorics and myth making about open source, but majority of developers does not do open source nor is required to and having open source project is not that much of advantage when looking for job.
Yes, you can pay the author for a book but you can reuse and modify ideas and concepts at will.
Job security is quite relevant in academia: most discoveries in the last 100 years were [in]directly funded by government and researchers were usually not working under time or financial pressure.
As a matter of fact job security is threatened by turbocapitalism in which anyone is a Ford-model replaceable worker...
The substance is that job security in FOSS is based on personal competence, you pay competence, actual work, not evanescent product so a skilled programmer it's always safe, a mediocre one is always in trouble and can't try "managerial career" to mask his/shes low skill...
Look at the history of free software. It started from an academic environment where sharing was the norm.
It's not an offense but a simple reasoned scheme: did you know that at the start of IT golden age software was open? In the USA, not in the URSS. Did you know that in the golden age of USA "rich people" arrive even at 90% of income taxes and they are still happy?
I do not talk about centuries in the past or restricted communities.
My own personal truth is that you are right many in a FOSS world will be dead. Simply because they do not really produce anything sensible. FOSS world work on innovation, without innovation business die. Today we have near-zero innovation because we can't have anything really new in a managerial-drive world. But again this is a system that work well in the short term, crash miserably in the medium/long term.
When I'm attacked for writing non-free software, I now respond by linking to https://fman.io/blog/dear-comrade/.
One thing to understand, is that the free software movement strives for a bit more than open-source. It strives for trustworthy, ethical software. Software that does not spy and only does precisely what the user knows about and can be adopted to work according to one's needs. Copyleft is the best means we have of achieving that.
What I think you're also missing is how hard what we have even now was to win. You're grown up in a world where FLOSS was already a thing and fairly popular, but it is precisely because of the 'fanatics' that it is so and we're still far from an ideal place. If they were so lax as you wish them to be, you may not have all the things you take for granted today, because it is radicals who change the status quo.
You will be asked why fman is proprietary from time to time, because you market to people that have a lot of principled people on this issue in their ranks. You're free to ignore them and they're also free to keep not buying your proprietary product. That's how it works.
P.S. Just to let you know, I did subscribe to fman when it first showed up here and even renewed my license to support a one man shop, despite me not using the tool. Posts like the commie one however, carry with them a serios lack of understanding of the goals and reasons behind the (need for) free software movement.
Nonetheless, as I already said, I applaud you for taking the step to make some of your work copyleft. I am personally strongly of the belief that if fman itself was GPLed, you'd see an uptick it sales, not any downturn, because it would generate excitement and make people like me write plugins for it. At present, I don't want to do that due to it being non free.
People fought for the freedoms in our democracies with their lives, and killing others. That doesn't mean we have to keep doing these things. I understand that it was a fight to get here. But it's not like we will lose it all again if an indie dev like me writes proprietary software.
> You will be asked why fman is proprietary from time to time
I'm not just "asked". I'm told it's shit for the mere fact that it's proprietary.
> You're free to ignore them
They're not just ignoring me. They take time out of their day to actively hurt my product by downvoting or commenting in the nice way I described above.
> if fman itself was GPLed, you'd see an uptick it sales, not any downturn
I talked to the author of a once very popular Mac app for developers. He open sourced it under the GPL. Sales went down by 90% over night. So, while I am with you and would love for fman to be open source, it simply is not viable.
But we're not here, not by a looong shot and the very fact that you think we are shows you're missing the point. The goal of the free software movement is to make it so that no user has to touch any proprietary software in their lives if they don't want to. Of course they can if they want, but the point is they wouldn't have to.
> I'm told it's shit for the mere fact that it's proprietary.
I very much doubt that's the exact wording, bar some oddballs, but there's no denying that it is strictly inferior to any free software file manager in the user respecting dimension, that's just a fact you have to deal with when marketing to an audience with a large subset of free software enthusiasts. You ARE free to ignore them and they're free to criticize you. It's not a "mere fact", it's the most important factor for many. You have to understand that to many, proprietary software disrespects users, it's about more than the source, it's about the ethics of it.
> They take time out of their day to actively hurt my product by downvoting or commenting in the nice way I described above.
I think you're making yourself a tad self-important here. I am pretty sure there's not many, if any, people that actively go to 'hurt' fman. They're browsing and see a fman post, so they chime in their critique, that's all. This is why launching products is so difficult. If you were to be insulated from the critique, it would be easy. Voting with their wallets and putting pressure on the people who make the product is one of the least tools common people have to affect change. To force humane conditions in factories etc. and in the same way to get as much software that respects the user as possible.
> I talked to the author of a once very popular Mac app for developers.
There's a huge problem here. You won't find many believers in free (as in freedom) software in the Mac crowd, they'd never use a Mac, so the only people there are people who have been milked for decades, (because on macOS, even stupid utilities are pretty expensive), so all they want now is free, (as in cost), stuff. They don't care about user freedom, or they wouldn't be on a Mac. The fact that I need to point this out shows, again, a lack of understanding of the free software movement. I recommend you read up on it.
P.S. Quite frankly, fman doesn't eclipse free software file managers like Dolphin by a long shot, so it's not like people who wouldn't want to pay would get it for the features. In other words, there's no particular need to 'pirate' fman if you will, because there are already more featureful file managers that are free as in both cost and freedom out there. So by making it GPL, you'd really do a service to users who pay for fman. As I said, you'd only make it so that people like me would actually find time spent writing plugins as well invested. Right now, people who write plugins are enriching your product, with it being free software, they'd enrich the software commons.
The article mentions and thus applies to both libre vs proprietary and gratis vs paid. And it is definitely meant to apply to both.
The author is fearful of not making money if his code is open source. The rest of the article seems like a justification-wrapper around this. I am not saying that this an unjustified fear but that it doesn't seem to be tackled-on directly. Is there any alternate reality where Hiri could be making money while having their product open source?
It seems to work for Travis CI and Sentry where their product has an infrastructure component attached to it.
It sure would be an inconvenient truth for them if their blog and business and business model and a significant fraction of their perks in life were backboned by FLOSS.
The author's approach to security is deplorable but frustratingly common, treating security as a feature, as optional, and as something that is too expensive for most software. As a reminder, the author's product is an email client.
To the author's proprietary-software mindset: Remember, in the long run, all software is worthless. Someday, there will no longer be email. I have a box of add-on cards with connectors which will never be used again; I think that most folks do. We know that proprietary protocols fade away, that closed languages wither and die, and that siloed knowledge is never cited.
To tackle the final argument directly: No, the purpose of software is to compute. Stop being married to work; it's an ugly American meme and doesn't have to be how we live.
Finally, here's a popular argument that the author chose not to talk about: What if existing copyright law is unconstitutional? In particular, what if the Constitution's copyright clause forbids copyrights which survive the death of the creator; or what if works-for-hire are inherently disenfranchising to artists? This would align just fine with Stallman's opinion that copyleft is only necessary because copyright law exists; maybe a world where corporations can't take code from their employees as easily would be a better world.
Hey ho. You go your way and I'll go mine.
That is the attitude that I can get behind, however neither side of this argument is really prepared to do that. In my experience, FLOSS advocates do appear to have a more fundamentalist all or nothing approach when espousing their opinion online, often aggressively. Ideology is great, but it does lead to book burning on occasion.
At the same time there are some FOSS fundamentalists that think using proprietary software make you a bad person. They are wrong.
We don't believe this. We argue that free software is important because it gives users control over their technology, and proprietary software is bad because it denies users that control. We don't believe using proprietary software (whether by choice or otherwise) makes you a bad person.
If anyone is actually making this argument I would say they are doing the free software movement a disservice.
OS branches over technical direction disagreements are a closer thing but they generally aren't businesses.
this is the only thing I agree with.
some things should never be kept propietary unless there are widely availabe (FOSS) tools to reverse engineer them.
I think the late Justice Scalia had one such ironic moment with his dissent in I believe Laurence vs Texas when he derided a decision as saying under that logic it would lead to gay marriage.
Your license can easily stop that in a way that still respects user freedom. Even more than GPL does.
Maybe author hopes that choice of words would stimulate discussion, but I think all it stimulates are flame wars reusing old slogans. So the content may be interesting, but the form struggles to make it underwhelming.
Free software is strictly more ethical than nonfree software. Any attempt at arguing otherwise basically boils down to a rationalization of 'but I want to make money', which is not a tenable ethical stance. I'm not saying it's wrong per se, but it doesn't inspire goodwill or good sentiments either. Trying to deride people with a strong sense of ethics regarding software production and use by comparing them to religious fanatics is misguided as best, malicious at worst.
We can argue that not all software is work, but some certainly are, and many times the final product is used to make money. Like any other work or product of work.
That's why I consider an extremist position on FOSS (Stallmanesque) comparable to fanaticism.
At the core of all of this is something that people here just don't seem to want to wade into (understandably): capitalism does not have an ethical foundation. Capital is limited, for some to have, some have to forego (usually not by choice, or laziness, but by systemic force). That is not an ethical or moral system. Yes, we are talking about software here, but so many of the points made here boil down to those that are comfortable with capitalism and (so-called) democracy.... and those that see the major major flaws in it and are trying to actively pursue something better.
I assume that the author happens to enjoy food and shelter, how strange of them.
But the chance that they would quit this job and go work on open source code for a living is about 0%. Would you rather they go make proprietary code for a megacorp instead? Nobody seems to single out Google engineers for abuse when it comes to FOSS vs proprietary, it’s always the little guys who get all the abuse.
As for free software being more ethical, I'm just not sure what that means? You think because someone is giving their time the motive is always altruistic and therefore superior choice? I'm not trying to antagonise you. Just asking the question. I don't think of it as a zero sum game. You can add to humanity and get paid for it. I'm no libertarian, but if you add value, create jobs, contribute to taxes...
Because we want the freedom to use it however we wish, to modify it to behave as we wish and to share those modifications with our friends. That's why I don't use proprietary software any more than I have to: I like freedom.
Because Microsoft is putting ads into its email application.
The software people pay for.
Used to be, you could say "If you didn't pay for it, you're the one being sold."
Well, their users damned well did pay for it, and they're still being sold.
You can say you'd never do that.
I'm sure Microsoft would have said they'd never do it five years ago, too.