proprietary software

Response to Sam Tuke's Response to "Is free software major league or minor?"

Thanks to Sam Tuke for a well-written and constructive response to my article Is free software major league or minor?. Tuke refers to my post as a "dismissal" of free software, however, which is ironic at best. There is no such dismissal in my article. Instead, there is a challenge: "Can we raise our game?" Furthermore, I would argue that classifying that challenge as a "dismissal" stems from a fundamental lack of faith in our ability to succeed -- which is ironically, the accusation Tuke levels at me. Where does this disconnect happen?

Mixing free and proprietary software: not a rosy future

A recent article caught my eye and turned it a nice shade of red. It discussed the -- hardly new -- idea that the future of software usage must involve a mixture of free and proprietary products -- something the writer refers to as "mixed source". The piece was entitled "Mixed source - the best of both worlds" which may give you a clue as to where I disagree with it.

The article was an opinion piece by Steve Harris, senior director for open source products at Novell in issue 78 of Linux User & Developer magazine. Sadly it's not yet available on-line and I don't honestly know if it will be. If it is I'll post a comment with a link here so you can read it for yourself.

Copyright, bad faith, and software licensing

Robin Miller recently published a story on Newsforge about "Stan"[1], as an example of a situation that demonstrates proprietary software is a danger to business continuity. I found this story interesting since I think Mr. Miller came close to correctly identifying a core issue, which is that the proprietary software business model as it exists today both facilitates and encourages vendors to act in bad faith. However, it did not need to have been this way, and really comes down to misuse of licensing along with some deliberate abuse and exploitation of existing commercial law.

The risk of using proprietary software

About one out of every 200 people is allergic to peanuts. Depending on the extremity of the allergy, a person suffering from peanut allergies who was accidentally exposed to peanuts might develop an itchy rash. Others might experience anaphylaxis, a severe reaction that can prove fatal. People who are allergic to peanuts have a tough time in America, where more and more foods are manufactured in factories that also process peanuts.

The risks of writing proprietary software

Every software developer faces a choice when deciding how to release a new software product. That choice is whether the program will be free or non-free. Unfortunately, many otherwise knowledgeable programmers aren’t sure just what this choice means, and may complain that programmers with families really don’t have a choice at all—if they want to earn a living, they must charge for their work. However, free software is not about giving software away without cost.

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