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Is free software major league or minor?

Sep 25, 2009, 09:34 (6 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Terry Hancock)

"The Free Software Foundation likes to talk about free software in “ethical†terms, claiming that users should have a fundamental right to the “four freedoms†in all software (i.e. that proprietary software shouldn’t exist).

"This is the strong claim for free software. But as an ethical claim, it’s predicated on the assumption that free software can fill the niches that proprietary software does (although you wouldn’t guess that from most of the rhetoric that has been published).

"If it can’t, then eliminating proprietary software deprives users of fundamental functionality. You have no freedom in software that doesn’t exist. As such, if the software cannot be written as free software (e.g. because the business model is just too thin and no one wants to volunteer), then losing the proprietary alternative represents a net loss of end user freedom."

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