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Am I the only person bothered by the differences in Free?

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Richard Stallman deserves a lot of credit for what he's done, particularly PR-wise, WRT the development landscape. I actually disagree somewhat with the use of the word free in this case, but that's pure pedantry. Not at all coincidentally that's why people use the word freedom when they're actually referring to liberty which is similar and related but not the same thing. In fact it's completely sensible that the word free would be used to describe open even if it's technically incorrect.

On a side note a friend of mine told me a great story about his first contact with Richard Stallman - maybe his only contact. The friend was a brilliant developer I grew up with named Michael Graff. Back in the 90s he was responsible for what was probably the first really modern (worldwide, Internet-based) distributed cracking project which led to the factoring of RSA-129. It wasn't actually a big deal to be able to do it by that time but because the standard dated back to the 70s there was a nice little award ceremony for his team in New York City. A few days before the ceremony he got a call from Stallman basically demanding that he use the event as a bully pulpit to make a strong statement about free software.

Now Mike has nothing against free software. At that time he was already a key developer for NetBSD (as in commit access level) and not long afterward he designed, implemented, and administered the first PGP keyserver. However he also understood the opportunity this award presented for launching his career when he got out of college shortly afterward. When he explained that Stallman apparently threatened to organize some sort of demonstration to coincide with the award - probably an empty threat he hoped would scare a college kid.

I don't remember where the ceremony was held, but I do remember Mike said it was a very tall building and that he told Stallman if he saw him that day he would throw him off the roof.

As to the question of releasing source code, I look at it like this. Software development is essentially not all that different from any other creative endeavor. At the end of the day it's every bit as personal and every bit as much a part of you as a painting, book, song, or whatever is to its creator. You are under no obligation to share any part of that process you aren't inclined to share with the rest of the world for whatever reason.

I love that people do share. I love the philosophy of open [fill in the blank]. I follow it personally and have no intention of stopping. But it's asinine to hold it against somebody that they choose not to go that route. It's a personal choice and frankly none of anybody else's damn business.

I would like to separate a couple of mentions of "obligation"  I have seen so far vs "insightful". I do not *require* you to release the source code. But it can be a choice you do and it can help from the Pointy Headed Boss type "advantage" to just that you just run out of time and 2 more guys add a brilliant new section and then only a 3 hour meeting handles the new sharing aspects.

See elsewhere, I am really just on the verge of starting my Political Software project. Since I don't program, I am Commissioning it. Any one of you who wants in is welcome! But it is in fact 10% because I *haven't* gotten any hits yet that I AM going to outsourcing. But if you save the code, yes in one brilliant world you might get Swiped by Google and cheated, but in the others, you can just have people add features once a year.

I told her to generate invoices and put down the price of her services discounted to zero rather than just doing it for free, so that they and others could see the value that they were getting.  Makes a lot of sense, even if it does involve more work.
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this is a realllllly good idea.  An invoice with the full price the work is worth, and then a discount of up to 100%, so they see what it's worth.

This thread really made me think about my perceptions and habits as a software consumer.
(Background: I'm really not a coder, but I released one free and open-source project a long time ago that I've spent this week supporting for a friendly but entitled-sounding user).

My thoughts were mostly about trustworthiness in software, not so much quality. There are basically two places I'll download Closed-source Free-like-beer (FLB) software:

* Here
* Someplace an actual person recommended
But for free-like-speech (FLS) software, I'll try anything. I guess my implicit assumption is that if the code is available it's probably not going to do anything malicious to my computer. And as far as I can remember, that's held up. (Installation checkboxes for browser toolbars notwithstanding).

This attitude of mine is loosened for obscure programs, and redoubled for common ones. For example, there are hundreds of FLB Windows programs for converting videos, and I wouldn't download any of them without searching here first for some advice. But if I found one on SourceForge, I'd go ahead and try it, see if it meets my needs.

And really, I don't even think payware is exempt from this. I just don't trust closed-source software (as a rule), and if that's not fair, at least you know that I'm right some of the time--see the proliferation of sites purporting to identify if software or websites are "safe" or not. (This all goes for Android too, where practically every "app" spies on you to some extent.)

Now, for someone like my parents, I expect the list of places they'll download software to be shorter:

* Someplace I told them to go
* Someplace my brother told them to goBut that's just me trying to keep my skills de-crapping computers rusty :)


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