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Free Choice: The "Social Business" Model and Free Software

Apr 24, 2008, 22:30 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Luke Leighton)

"Free Software developers fall into two main categories: those that stand by the principles behind free software--patent-free, license-free and unrestricted distribution (for example, Richard Stallman's admirable stance); and those that are simply happy to compromise to some extent, for example to download libdvdcss to watch DVDs, or to install proprietary software such as Skype, on the basis that there is simply no (or no better) alternative (for example, Ubuntu which supports all kinds of proprietary firmware and binary drivers, and gets itself into enormous difficulties as a result).

"These 'level of integrity' choices are decisions that we, as Free Software developers, are free to make. Yet the average person is simply unaware of these issues of 'integrity,' or they are but do not value them highly, choosing 'interoperability with their friends and businesses' as 'more important.' Or worse, they agree that integrity is important yet are forced into making decisions to use--and stick with--proprietary software. In such instances, the level of experience of (and thus the offerings available from) Free Software developers in a particular area of specialist expertise that the users absolutely must have before being able to consider migration, is close to or literally zero..."

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