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I think you two might agree, but are talking past each other.

Of course TemMPOraL is right: There's nothing wrong with someone who truly wants to give away software for free. Saying that's wrong is saying that any act of generosity, kindness or charity is wrong.

But Daniel is not saying that free software is the problem, but that "People who think that software should be free" is the problem. When people expect software and web services to be free, producers who can't afford to give it away free are forced[1] to resort to other means. And when he says that for people paying "for software with dollars, this exchange was much more straightforward", he is echoing Maciej Cegłowski[2] of pinboard in his call: Don't Be a Free User[3].

The real problem is not free software, but software that dishonestly claims to be free. Ad supported software is not free[4]. Software that is monetized by pushing other software is not free. Software that sells your data is not free. Software that hooks people first and then pushes in-app purchases[5] is not free.

I'm actively working on how to get us out of this mess. If you're interested give me a holler.


[1] I'm being generous. I think anyone who is ethical and honest with themselves wouldn't allow themselves to be forced into doing anything dishonest. "You can't get permission for the wrong thing and don't need it for the right thing" (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8877192)

[2] https://news.ycombinator.com/user?id=idlewords

[3] https://blog.pinboard.in/2011/12/don_t_be_a_free_user/

[4] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8585237

[5] I call this the drug dealer business model. Microsoft perfected this in they way they got everyone hooked on DOS, then Windows and then Office, and then took it to a new level by giving away IE for "free".

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