ethics

A response to "free software major league or minor?": Unjustified dismissal?

I just read Terry Hancock's artilce on Is free software major league or minor?. Great article, and I'm very glad to see articulate discussion about these core subjects. Not enough is said about these matters.

However, I disagree strongly on several points that your article raises. I'll take it point by point in an effort to not misrepresent your views and keep focussed on the statements that you have made.

Is free software major league or minor?

Is free software really capable of serving end users or not? This issue has political consequences, which is part of what makes it important: either free software is "minor league" or it's "major league". Which we believe has a big impact on what our expectations can be and what our political and ethical stance towards proprietary and free software should be.

Not everyone is a geek. So why do we act like they are?

Not everyone is a Michael Schumacher, but a lot of people have cars. Not everyone is a Robert Capa, but many of us have cameras. The analogy can apply to computers. Not everyone is a geek, but many people have computers. The diversity of computing skill reflects the diversity in the the real world.

Seems like I’m stating the obvious, until you look at how people at various computing skill levels respond to others.

The Knights of Free Software

Lately, I've been thinking about what the free software movement is really about. Is it really just a bunch of guys who work with code, releasing it under a particular type of license? We seem to talk a great deal about "freedom" and insist that what separates free software from open source or proprietary is this philosophical, ethical, and legal insistence on total freedom for the user. All right; but is this all there is to it?

Making money on free art

There’s no point in having a world full of “ethical” but unemployed artists. I think there is an ethical compulsion for people with talent to use their talent (artistic talent is power which carries responsibility). And, since making money at doing it is frequently a requirement for that to happen sustainably, then making money at doing your art is also an imperative.

Ethics, employment and free software

Like most people around the world, I have to work to earn a living. And again, like the vast majority of these people, often my work requires me to carry out tasks that I might otherwise find ethically problematic. As a supporter of free culture, I have often found it difficult to reconcile my own convictions on issues such as copyright and DRM with those of my employers. In my current job, this has not been a regular problem.

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