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

From: Chris Cannam <>
Date: Tue Feb 21 2006 - 17:05:00 EET

"Free software". But I do loosely use both terms.

The problem with open-source-as-ideology is that it uses ends and
evaluative methods drawn from business and applies them to things that
are not business.

It may or may not be true that open source development can produce
better software for the consumer, but I don't think that that end is a
sufficient one for people who are working from choice, for their own
enjoyment on inessential software. If you find yourself working for no
material return on things that are driven by goals best expressed in
business terms -- to beat Microsoft, to produce a free alternative to
product X, to get all the users and pull the carpet out from under Y --
then you've been seduced into doing work that is properly someone
else's, or only properly done for money, or properly not done at all.

The right answer to "I want to use FL Studio" really is "use FL Studio".
Until you can engineer a means by which FL Studio itself can become
free software and its developers still eat -- or unless you can justify
competing with it for business reasons -- it's foolish to get worked up
about competing with it at all. That's a business end, and you're not
in business.

An irony of both open source and free software is that they make it easy
to forget that all software is almost always written by decent humans --
for example, by implying that proprietary software developers are less
moral and so less significant. If my free software work puts a company
or its developers out of work, then that's a problem for my conscience.
It's not a victory for free software. And it's not "just business",
because it's not business. I will have damaged people's livelihoods,
for fun.


"Love's Secret Domain".

Received on Sun Feb 26 20:17:55 2006

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