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The Inversion of the Open Source - Big Corporation Divide?

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Before we get carried away, let me clarify something.

Richard Stallman is a serious and ethical person who does not want to see corporate dominance of software.  He is one of the good guys, and a champion of the little guy.  His intentions are all good.

The point I'm trying to make is that he is first and foremost concerned with promoting the concept that source code should be open and free to modify and share and distribute.  He is much less concerned with the repercussions and consequences of the corporate takeover of Open Source, or about the problems that occur if culturally no one is willing to pay to fund open source / free software.

That is the gap I am trying to address -- the fact that being pro Open Source is *NOT* enough to bring us to a better place, and that if we aren't just as passionate about direct grass roots funding of open source and free software authors and musicians and artists, we may find ourselves in a more commercialized, convoluted, and exploited place than we started out.

I have been following donationcoder for at least a year now, as a reader...But this has to be the single most interesting thread I read since I discovered forums; I had to participate as this is a subject that matters a lot to me.

I totally agree with everything mouser said. My ideas completely, only reframed and laid down with a clarity I would have trouble achieving.
But more or less, this is the point I have gotten to also: there is a problem. But I am completely at loss as how to address it.
I have been scratching my head for years: How would it be possible to create a realistic and sustainable business model for open-source (in a large sense, i.e. I include in the definition of 'open-source' images, music, movies...) that is NOT owned by corporations?
I have read many many ideas through out the years, but nothing ever convinced me. There are a exceptions (Braid, that open-source movie that made a bit of money, wordpress...), but even by studying the open-source success stories, I was unable to digg out a pattern.
So if anyone has pointers, ideas, theories, I would be happy to hear about them.
For a somewhat related discussion, I point you to the blog post of choiceofgames called "8 Ways to Make Money when You’re Banned from AdSense". I think the comments thread is interesting (I would have posted a url, but as this is my first post, I wouldn't want to fall under some anti-spam rule I do not know yet).

[edited for trying to make my text clearer - sorry, English is not my native language]


Richard Stallman: All software should be Open Source, where it can be modified and distributed as users see fit.

He advocates Free Software, not "Open Source"
I suggest you read:
I'd rather you copy/paste what he sais instead of writing down an interpretation open to huge misunderstandings.

if programmers can no longer make a living from creating software that is ok -- they can always get consulting jobs if they need money.


In fact, I suggest you read everything under ...

first, thanks for the links, those are useful.

but actually i've been reading quite a lot of writing by and about richard stallman lately.

i stand by what i've said.  i'm not trying to use his words -- i was paraphrasing and trying to simplify the main gist -- i know he has problems with the term Open Source.

i think my point stand though.  Stallman is interested almost entirely in the first principle that users should be able to access and modify the source code of all software, period.  anything that aids that is good, anything that detracts from that is bad.  the point i was trying to make is that i find this a terribly incomplete *ethical* goal.  I'm much more interested in figuring out an ethical long term philosophy/culture of open source / free software that helps individual independent coders and artists to survive and thrive as well as maximize the freedom of users.

Mouser, i found one post where company automattic (wordpress owners) make money on opensource model.

if programmers can no longer make a living from creating software that is ok -- they can always get consulting jobs if they need money.
--- End quote ---
You can't earn money to run a call center, support and developer company with ONLY  consulting and this is surefire way of ripping off any business. Not every company is automattic or mozilla to earn money from consulting/software.

Do check these points where GPL kills commercial side of software:

If I distribute GPL'd software for a fee, am I required to also make it available to the public without a charge?

No. However, if someone pays your fee and gets a copy, the GPL gives them the freedom to release it to the public, with or without a fee. For example, someone could pay your fee, and then put her copy on a web site for the general public.
--- End quote ---

So in short if you write software and released it under GPL, any of your customer can get a copy and is free to redistribute in any way they see fit without any strings attached from your side. It may look good for softwares like wordpress, firefox but is it possible for other business to use this same model to make profit ? NO.

Established business can make money with such model but any newcomer in software business will not make money with this that is for sure.

More stuff to read:

Attempt to clarify GPL issue in wordpress:

I'm still skeptical about business model with GPL.


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