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ONLamp: Why Should Free Software Have to Earn a Profit?

Feb 13, 2004, 12:00 (12 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Andy Oram)

"The main complaint I hear about free and open source software from people in the computer field is that 'You can't earn money from it.' Sometimes the claim is thrown about with the superior air of those who consider themselves versed in the ways of the world--essentially accusing free software proponents of being economically soft in the head. At other times the claim is made petulantly, an anxious cry welling from the breasts of those who have lost jobs in high-tech fields and spent months looking unsuccessfully for work.

"I got a new perspective on this question recently when I read the book Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Practice and Principles, published in 1985 by the much-celebrated business researcher Peter F. Drucker. It discusses, among other things, the sources for new ideas. One passage that can prove significant in discussions of free software comes from Chapter 9, titled Source: New Knowledge..."

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