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Linux Interactive: Questioning the Ethics of Selling Free Software

May 04, 2000, 22:35 (4 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Matt Williams)

[ Thanks to Matt Williams for this link. ]

"Is it ethical to profit from free software? I've heard this question many times. When I try to explain to people what Linux is, they always ask, "If it's free, why is it for sale in stores?" This is always very hard to explain."

"Is it ethical to sell free software? I would have to say yes. The movement will always be alive. No matter how many Linux programs are sold, there will always be software just as good for free. In the world today, everyone is out to make a buck. Our ethics are based on that principal. Make money or get left behind. I'm only sixteen years old, and I've been faced with that many times. I've been trying to "get rich" for four years now. After maturing a bit, I've realized that money isn't everything. That doesn't mean I won't continue to strive for it. I'd be kidding myself if I said I wasn't. I want a car soon and I'm going to try and make money in order to get it."

"Striving to make money has become acceptable, unless its taken to the extreme as a certain OS maker has. As long as no one tries to remove the free part of the Open Source altogether, selling free software is okay. Just remember. You got started for a reason. That reason was to provide people with quality, reliable, and free software. Make sure that the price you decide on is what the people deserve."

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