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Advogato: A rebuttal to Meyer's "The Ethics of Free Software"

May 22, 2000, 11:10 (3 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by xiphmont)


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"In a recent article in Software Development Magazine, Professor Bertrand Meyer critically explores the lack of an ethical or moral grounding for Free / Open software. This rebuttal responds to the deep flaws in Professor Meyer's essay as well as building a moderate's case for the ethical basis of Open and Free software."

"...I'm a Free/Open software developer (in the senses of both speech and beer). I'm a Linux user and programmer who got his UNIX start on BSD and who develops for everything he can. I'm a moderate and an OS agnostic; I don't personally like Windows in any of its incarnations but I don't refer to or think of Microsoft as a Great Satan (they have done some pretty evil things, yes, but that's actually irrelevant right now). I use Linux because the system suits me, not because of inherent moral superiority, although, as I'll argue later, there *is* practical, ethical superiority to the open system."

"...Having the source is about people, the everyman and everywoman, keeping a stake in the software technology that's fusing with, running and controlling their everyday lives. It's not about exercising power, it's about the freedom and ability to exercise that power when needed. Do you think (to pick a popular example) Microsoft has your best interests at heart unless there's a buck to be made?"

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