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Re: [Fsfe-uk] BECTA discriminate against FLOSS?

From: Chris Croughton
Subject: Re: [Fsfe-uk] BECTA discriminate against FLOSS?
Date: Sun, 4 Jan 2004 12:19:18 +0000
User-agent: Mutt/1.2.5i

On Sun, Jan 04, 2004 at 11:17:30AM +0000, ian wrote:

> On Sat, 2004-01-03 at 23:45, Chris Croughton wrote:
> > Most of the VB programmers I've found write and publish
> > completely free code, not GPL pseudo-free.
> Almost certainly because they have no means of capitalising on that code
> anyway. The main costs are marketing and individuals simply haven't the
> resources so they might as well let others use it without bothering
> about the hassle and they might get some recognition.

And, with most developers I know, no interest in the
marketing/sales/admin side.  It's why I work through an umbrella company
for tax etc., it may cost me more (I could save probably 3-4k per year
if I did it all myself with a limited company) but it would 'cost' me a
lot more in my time doing something I hate doing.

> Its a bit like music.

I wondered whe someone would compare it to music.  IMO music is the best
comparison to software (RMS used it well when talking about copyright
and patents, for instance).  Partly because I am a (amateur) musician...

> The main agents against Napster et al are the big recording
> companies. The average band would be only too pleased to have their work
> publicised on the Internet by giving it away free. Would all music
> suddenly cease if a few mega stars and the recording industries didn't
> make millions from copyright CDs? I don't think so.

It existed before they started...

> As it gets cheaper to record high quality music (and to originate high
> quality software) the Internet as a distribution medium will
> increasingly put pressure on traditional commercial systems associated
> with these activities and the vested interests will fight tooth and
> nail to preserve their power and money base just as the Church fought
> the printing press.

Not quite for the same reasons.  The Church didn't want the "common man"
to think for themselves, or to find out what the Bible really said, that
cat is already well out of the bag as far as music and software are
concerned.  It's more like the guilds trying to insist that no one
except them was /allowed/ to practice a craft even if they knew how to
do it.  But still a protectionist racket.

> I think it will take some time to shake out, but rather less time than
> it took to establish printing and universal reading as more sensible
> than a few literate monks holding all the power. Incidentally, monks
> haven't disappeared, and neither will commercial software, its just
> that the balance of power will shift significantly.

Yup.  And that's all I want.  I don't particularly want MS to disappear
and make Bill Gates a pauper (I don't particularly like what he seems to
have become, but I don't hate him personally), and my opinion is that
there is a need for 'commercial' software, and there is a need for
secrets (and hence 'closed' software) in many areas, because humans are
not perfect.  There is, however, a need to restore balance in software
and music (and you don't need to tell me about the evils of the
'pigopolists' in the record industry, I know too many musicians!).

Chris C

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