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Old 12th September, 2008, 04:37 PM
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Gizmo Gizmo is offline
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MOST of the distros are done by people on a part-time basis, as a hobby. That's how it all started, after all, and that's the way Gentoo (the distro we use on our server) is handled. For that mattter, that's the way AOA itself is done. We don't make any money here; the work done on this site is pretty much volunteer. Don't get me wrong, though...........we keep hoping one day we'll actually have a business that makes money.

However, open source is not about giving software away; it's not that kind of FREE (free as in beer). The heart of the open source movement is about letting you keep the freedom to do what you want with what you own.

See, most EULAs don't give you, the consumer (the one paying the bill) any rights to speak of. You have the right to use the software you purchased, and you have the right (in most, but not all cases) to make a backup copy for archival purposes. But you don't have the right to figure out how the software works. You don't have the right to modify the software in any way, you don't have the right to use the software in whatever way you see fit, so long as you don't violate the rights of the author of the software.

That's wrong. If I paid for something, by golly I own it, and I can do whatever I want with it.

So the open source movement starts with the simple premise that you can do whatever you want with your software, provided you don't violate the author's rights in the process. It makes good on that by ensuring that you have access to the source code. Do you have any idea how many businesses today are running mission-critical applications, with no source code? What happens to that business if the software provider ceases developing that software, or ceases to exist entirely? Right now, that business is screwed using standard software licensing practices. Using open source, that business would at least have the OPTION of hiring a developer, or contracting another company to provide that capability, because they would have the source code.

In addition, having the source code available to anyone prevents the software developer from creating heinous licensing requirements like "You have to call us and register your application on the machine you intend to use it on before you can use it" (Windows, anyone?).

Most Open Source companies that make a profit do so by selling SERVICE. IMO, that's exactly as it should be, as it forces companies to compete based on the level of service they provide to the customer, not based on whether they can provide a feature that then locks the customer into their software forever.

So, to reiterate, Open Source is about Free Software (free as in freedom, not as in beer). There's nothing about Open Source that says that a company can't make a profit, and indeed many companies do. It just says that a company can't make a profit by taking away your rights.

Last edited by Gizmo; 12th September, 2008 at 04:37 PM.
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