Re: [linux-audio-dev] Free Software vs. Open Source: Where do *you* stand?

From: Richard Spindler <richard.spindler@email-addr-hidden>
Date: Tue Feb 21 2006 - 09:43:39 EET

2006/2/20, Pete Bessman <ninjadroid@email-addr-hidden>:
> WHAT is your NAME?

Richard Spindler

> WHAT is your QUEST?

Write, use and advocate FREE Software.


I don't listen to music very much.


First of all, I'm not a musician, but a programmer. I enjoy hacking
audio and multimedia tools, because it's a more demanding field than
most other programming topics.
And as a programmer it actually makes sense to rely on free software
tools only, because there are plenty of them and most of them are very
good, propably better then all non-free alternatives, although a don't
use these very often.

And this is not without reason, because every single time I tried to
use a non-free piece of software, I gave up on it. Not because I had
moral doubt's, but because I felt severly limited with what I could
do. There is a certain approach in non-free software development,
that's contrary to my understandig and my way to work with software.
And that is it tries to hide what's inside. The perfect example is an
IDE, non-free IDEs provide a bunch of wizards and a "run" Button, and
then you hack your stuff press the button and in the background the
compiler and linker and whatever starts to work. But I can't see
what's EXACTLY going on, because I can't see inside. I can't work like
that, it totally pisses me off. I want to know what's happening and
why it's happening.

This of course doesn't apply only to IDEs, but to most other non-free
software as well. I hate it. The Problem is not when everything works
fine, but when something breaks, deep down inside. If you have an open
Environment and a smart mind, you can dig down, find the flaw and fix
it. This is almost impossible or often unecessarily hard to do in a
non-free Enviornment.

This alone is reason enough to dismiss non-free software for me, but
it's not all. Es mentioned already, there is the issue of copying
software. I can copy a tape or CD, and give it to a friend, and I
believe this is fair use and legal, at least in most countries. I can
also copy pages from a book and no one would mind or call me thief or
immoral. Honestly I do not see any difference to software, and I
certainly don't like the approach that I may not copy it to help a
friend or neighbour. Yet another reason why I prefer free

While I don't have any moral issues copying software from microsoft,
obviously they do have enough money, there is yet another reason why I
don't like copying software. And that is all these stupid obstacles,
that are associated with non-free software. Like serials, and cracks.
Everytime you wan't to copy a piece of non-free software, you have to
hunt down uselessly lengthy numbers, search all of these dark,
non-eye-friendly porn advertising, popup ridden webpages, just to get
a piece of software to fix some braindead anti-copy measurement. No
thanks, not with me.

Of course sometimes there are limitations in what free software can
do, and people demand that "this" or "that" needs to be adressed by
free software before they are willing to use it. While I agree that
there might be limitations, I'd like to offer a little example why I
happly comply with these.

I own an old black and white laser printer. When my girlfriend decided
that she needed her own printer, she also demanded that she'll need a
color printer, because color is, ... well "more fun". Therefore why we
got a cheap color printer for her, can't be that bad, right? Well, the
paint is expensive and the printouts are awful. Therefore I prefer to
limit myself to black and white, although I have to be careful when I
design my documents to make sure they still look nice while being
printed in monochrome. In the end it's even more fun to design simple
stuff when limited to two colors. And this is also the approach that I
employ when dealing with software. And it's all worth it.

Received on Sun Feb 26 20:17:39 2006

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