Aquarium Blog

Friday, February 27, 2004

Clemens Vasters on free software economics

In Where do you want to go, Aiden? Clemens Vasters goes deep in one of the dialectics many open source advocates work to hide everyday: the real war is being fought between commercial software companies and commercial non-software companies.

The whole thing about “free software” is a lie. It’s a dream created and made popular by people who have a keen interest in having cheap software so that they can drive down their own cost and profit more or by people who can easily demand it, because they make their money out of speaking at conferences or write books about how nice it is to have free software. At the bottom of the food chain are people like you, who are easily fooled by the “let’s make the world a better place” rhetoric and who are so enthusiastic about technology that writing open-source – or any source for that matter – is the absolutely best imaginable way to spend their time. It doesn’t matter whether you love what you are doing and consider this the hobby you want to spend 110% of your time on: It’s exploitation by companies who are not at all interested in creating stuff. They want to use your stuff for free. That’s why they trick you into doing it.

Actually, I have always felt ok with many of the notions of open source, for instance, the most basic: to have access to the source code can be seen as some kind of insurance in case your software provider cannot maintain a decent level of support. I am always willing to share my source code with my customer as far as there is a reasonable mean to enforce my right to continue selling my software, and to avoid my customer of becoming an illegitimate competitor.


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