"The Free Software Foundation likes to talk about free software
in â€œethicalâ€ terms, claiming that
users should have a fundamental right to the
â€œfour freedomsâ€ in all software
(i.e. that proprietary software shouldnâ€™t
"This is the strong claim for free software. But as an ethical
claim, itâ€™s predicated on the assumption that
free software can fill the niches that proprietary software does
(although you wouldnâ€™t guess that from most of
the rhetoric that has been published).
"If it canâ€™t, then eliminating proprietary
software deprives users of fundamental functionality. You have no
freedom in software that doesnâ€™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."