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Re: [Fsuk-manchester] the non-free neighbour asking for help dilemma

From: Matthew Larsen
Subject: Re: [Fsuk-manchester] the non-free neighbour asking for help dilemma
Date: Fri, 16 May 2008 09:35:02 +0100

Hi All,

I have been following this discussion with much interest and would
like to make the following points. FYI I am fully supportive of FOS
Software & Standards, but the following I think are equally valid
points for the use of proprietry software.

1) Accountability. If an entity creates a piece of software for a
specific purpose, then sells / licenses that software to a 3rd party
and that 3rd party reports an error or malfunction in that software,
the originating entity is accountable to maintain that software or
provide adequate compensation. This is not guaranteed with free
software. Accountability can be a very important issue and should not
be ignored.

2) Secrets. Government or Military would not want to release or use
software which will potentially aid the enemy.

3) Staff (this is the one I expect a lot of flak for). Good IT
Proffesionals work hard and produce great code / systems / support etc
and should be compensated respectively. IT is a business, it is there
to make money to hire better staff to make more money etc etc etc. I
have worked on projects where we go FOSS. Sometimes the community is
fantastic, othertimes not (we would donate to the original developers
to create an interface on their system for us, but because of their
lack of commercial experience it tends to fall apart). It all depends.

4) There is a very strong 'them and us' attitude when it comes to OSS
and software houses. The company I work for will not decide to use
either one or the other, but a combination of the both: ergo 'Use the
right tools for the right job'. Sometimes the pressure to use
Proprietry or FOSS is from external pressure (A good example of this
is RNLI: Microsoft offered to provide all their software for free and
put a tender out for a company to implement it. Yes they could have
gone FOSS / Linux; but that would cost a fortune to retrain all their
staff and support technicians / interfaces to their radios or whatever
else. If you're getting it for free why change?)

I hope this helps! *Runs and hides from incoming fire*


On 5/16/08, Paul Waring <address@hidden> wrote:
> On Thu, May 15, 2008 at 11:50:17PM +0100, Tim Dobson wrote:
>  > Why do you prefer free software over non-free software?
> Because if there's a bug in the program or I want a feature added, I can
>  fix it myself or (if there's a sufficient business case for doing so)
>  pay someone else to do it. I use free software for technical reasons,
>  not moral or ethical ones - e.g. until about a year ago I worked mainly
>  under Windows XP, because it was technically superior (largely in terms
>  of being able to actually support my hardware) to Linux. Now Ubuntu has
>  passed XP, so I use that instead because I can get more work done. I
>  don't use free software because I think it's better for society.
>  Oh, and the 'free as in beer' part can be a deciding factor, so given
>  the choice of two equal pieces of software, I will use the "free" one
>  (but then that includes freeware and open source products, neither of
>  which may be 'free software').
>  Paul
>  --
>  Paul Waring
>  http://www.pwaring.com
>  _______________________________________________
> Fsuk-manchester mailing list
>  address@hidden
>  http://lists.nongnu.org/mailman/listinfo/fsuk-manchester


Matthew Larsen
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