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At this point in time, there's hundres of real world exmples of every single "crazy" warning given by Stallman.



The difficulty is that many of those examples are also doing useful things that the more open/free alternatives aren't.

We are developing an unfortunate dichotomy between commercially supported, closed ecosystems with lock-in and rapid update cycles that provide superior functionality and more community-driven, open ecosystems with standards and future-proofing but inferior functionality.

If the open versions aren't too far behind the closed ones in functionality and performance, that's just another form of competition and perhaps a healthy one. But if we start to get too much lock-in, which is inherently a one-way process favouring the closed systems in this situation, and in particular if important data or external systems become accessible only from the closed systems, then we have a more serious problem, as we're seeing ever more clearly with the worlds of mobile devices, IoT and "evergreen" software.


That's the choice we each have to make for ourselves. Be a serf in corporate walled garden for short term convenience, or help build and improve the open ecosystem so it can catch up.


> Be a serf in corporate walled garden for short term convenience...

There is a spectrum from the cathedral to the bazaar. And there are only so many hours in the day. You could become a serf to principles, spending time others have for social activities or relaxing instead on maintaining a purely libre work flow.


There's a fundamental difference between you owning your tools and somebody else loaning them to you. You can save some time in the short term. However once the company starts going in a direction that doesn't work for you, then you end up getting screwed. I've been burned enough times over the years that I'd much rather use open source tools whenever possible. The beauty of open source tools is that they're not driven by need for profit. As long as there's a community of users who want to use a tool then it's going to keep being maintained and working the way the users want. It doesn't need to be profitable or grow it's market share.

So I'd much rather be a serf to principles and have control over my life than be a serf to a bunch of companies with their own goals and agendas. That's just me though.


However once the company starts going in a direction that doesn't work for you, then you end up getting screwed.

That is true, but if the more free/open alternatives were never at the same starting point in the first place, you were probably screwed that way too. Neither option let you start in a good place and then move in a good direction, and this is the unfortunate reality I was commenting on above.


I think open source does let you move in a good direction though. I switched from a Mac to Manjaro Linux for my main desktop, and I haven't missed anything so far. Latest Gnome and KDE are both really nice desktops, there are apps for everything I need, and the OS is rock solid.

I've used Linux on the desktop previously and it left me wanting, so the fact that I haven't gone back tells me that things are indeed improving.

Meanwhile, OS X hasn't added a single feature I use since 10.6. All I've experienced over the years is that it kept getting more bloated, slower, and flakier.


That's the choice we each have to make for ourselves.

Yes it is, but the reality is that if almost everyone is making the other choice, we stand to lose a huge amount by not following the crowd. That's not a price that most people are willing to pay, which limits the interest in and contributions to the open alternatives, and thus the vicious circle is closed.


It's not about the total users you have or marketshare. The only thing that's important for open source is that there are enough users to keep it going. And that's certainly been the case for many years now. The fact that most people use something else doesn't affect me one bit vast majority of the time.




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