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By principle I prefer software that's free as in freedom of speech and services that are managed by non-profits.

However, you're not talking about "free as in freedom of speech", but rather about being a cheap bastard.

Nothing wrong with that, I am and will always be a cheap bastard myself. BUT sometimes being cheap is different from being frugal and can have a negative effect on your bottom line.

My Dropbox subscription costs as much as 2 Starbucks coffees and man, let me tell you, I drink a lot of coffee. In exchange I get a good Linux client, a good iPad client, plus unlimited history of changes. I also trust them with my data, for now at least.

With Google Drive you may think that you'll always have alternatives to move in case they shut it down. However, by supporting Google, you're contributing to a possible future where no alternatives are left. Also, in case Google ever cuts you out of your account based on a malfunctioning script that calculated some probability that you may be violating their TOS for one of their dozens of services, you will not have the moral right to bitch about it, because you knew the associated risks.




Huh? Google is happy to give me a very good free e-mail account if I let them process my e-mail and serve me ads. I'm perfectly fine with that, so I'm taking the deal. Similar deals exist for calendar and talk (for which, admittedly, I have limited use for - my work Outlook calendar is canon and I have maybe two persons I IM with on Google Talk).

How does that make me a 'cheap bastard'? In fact, I've been looking around, and my conclusion is that if I were to pay for my e-mail with another provider, I'd be paying more for an inferior product.


I'm fine with robots looking at my email too. I'm worried about the stories of people getting randomly locked out of their gmail though. My gmail powers nearly everything. It is responsible for pretty much all communications with all of my other accounts, and that includes accounts with automated payments. If I get locked out of my email, it would be a huge burden to regain my digital life. That said, I still use gmail, but that will be only temporary if these stories continue.


As I said in another comment I'm also a free Google Apps user and have made no attempt or thought about escaping Google's "silo".

Please read my reply in the context it was given. Using Google's services when they are the best makes sense. Using Ad-sponsored services, especially in cases where something valuable like access to your data is involved, when better alternatives exist for the price of coffee, well that does not make sense.


what is inherently better about non-profit running a service?

Functionally, the only difference is they can't pay dividends to shareholders. Non-profit's can (and do!) turn profits into executives bonus's or perks, or bloated organizations, etc.

Why do you feel a non-profit would run a service better?


Non-profits may not run a service better but it does mean they can't be bought (or it's just more complicated to do so). It can be a clear way to signal the intent behind the organisation and restrict what can be done by the company.

In the UK, it's easy to set up a non-profit as a Company Limited by Guarantee, which has no shares. Such companies can still make profits, but they can't necessarily be distributed to Directors. It doesn't prevent them from making profits or spending them any other way.

For a comparison, see past discussions about Post Haven (re: pledges to "never be acquired") [1]. Had they set up as a non-profit from the beginning, the purpose would have been clearer and enshrined in the company's legal structure. Presumably fewer people would have had cause to question the founders' motives.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5229229


You also forgot one thing - non-profits also do not have the contractual obligation to have profits or growth, like public companies do. Big difference.

Of course, non-profits are not created equal. There's IKEA and then there's Mozilla or EFF.


Ah, yes of course. That would actually be the biggest difference (and I completely forgot it). In my example, there are no shareholders so the obligation to maximise value for them doesn't exist.

The IKEA example is interesting as I think the aim of the convoluted legal structures (inc a non-profit somewhere) was to allow one person to have almost total control over the company.

Edit: For anyone interested in the IKEA web of companies, you read the following article: http://www.economist.com/node/6919139?story_id=6919139


Using free software to host services yourself is hardly being a cheap bastard. You are paying for the hosting part yourself.


The comment I replied to does NOT mention hosting free software by yourself, a route with which I agree if you're so inclined.

The comment I replied to mentions preference towards Ads-enabled services, just because they are free of charge and when a subscription to a service that keeps your data is the same price as 2 coffees, that's being a cheap bastard dude.

Also, in case this term offends anyone, it wasn't really meant to be insulting. As I said, I'm a cheap bastard myself. For instance I take advantage of a lot of available freebies, like Heroku's free dynos. I'm also a free Google Apps user and haven't made any attempts to escape Google's silo. Nothing wrong with that. But in regards to the price you end up paying, sometimes cheap stuff ends up costing more.




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