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osOpinion: Paying the Price for Free Software

Jun 24, 2001, 12:00 (11 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Tom White)

[ Thanks to Kelly McNeill for this link. ]

Yet another Call to Arms Against Microsoft, this time by a writer who says that Open Source software is the best thing for programmers since sliced bread, despite some rather curious assertions, like the statement that Microsoft is "skimming" (which, according to the author, means that Microsoft is charging what the market will bear -- a Bad Thing, apparently) and that programmers are less worried about money than people in other professions:

"Now, for some programmers, there is no burden. There is only a community of peers waiting with open arms, trading respect for new knowledge. True, this may sound too much like some idealistic hinterland. Anti-capitalist, and anti-democratic, and perhaps even communist...."

"So this may provide some idea of why Microsoft is attacking the GPL. Software placed under the GPL is in a legally protected domain. It can be sold, but it must be given to anyone who asks for it. Microsoft can't take the code and pretend it was something the company wrote itself. And this is the price that Microsoft is unwilling to pay, the piercing of the image -- their bubble of stolen respect and feigned competency."

"This free and idealistic community cannot exist by itself. It is a product of speculation and spare time, from the world of the hobbyist. No one in this community wants to stop business from making money; they just want these companies to stop taking advantage of the non-technical public."

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