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The point of freedom

Paula on November 15, 2018

Hello guys, how are you doing? I've had in my mind a topic for a while now and I'd love to share and hear from you about it. It's not quite technic...
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Juan Julián Merelo Guervós

It's because free software is more about the freedom of others. And GPL does not prohibit making money out of GPLed software. Making money in software is not equal to restricting the freedoms of the people that use that software. That's a single model, and a mostly obsolete one at that.

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Juan Julián Merelo Guervós

Thing is, you can still make money out of it if you give the sources back. It totally changes your relationship with the person you're giving the sources to, be it your customer or the whole wide world. That's what Paula's post is about.
RMS probably doesn't understand lots of things, but he understands what freedoms is all about. It's about agency and empowerment, yours and the others. Giving freedom to others is no prohibition for you. You keep all your freedoms as an author (including making money, only not by restricting others' freedoms), but you share some of them with others.

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Kasey Speakman

I believe in the value of sharing code and solutions publicly. It can create a virtuous cycle of improvement for everyone. However I do not view it as a moral imperative. Because releasing open source software creates a sort of implicit unpaid job for someone (probably yourself) to maintain it. It simply does not make sense to me to be rewarded with a huge burden for trying to help out. Passion could be another reason to take an unpaid job, but I tend not to be passionate about specific solutions to problems -- I would happily switch to a better solution if one came along. So I try to keep the things I release simple or where they can be easily extended without source code modification. But just in case, I also used permissive licenses. I would rather companies internalize the source instead of asking me to add features. Or better yet, I'd rather them make their own open source version that they maintain.

I also think that full products are especially difficult to build as open source, at least until after the core vision for the product has been solidified. Because as humans, when we discover something new we naturally try to use it in every possible way. So you get that person who wants the CRM app you are building to also play music and do time sheets. It's human nature for people to ask. This is already a challenge just working privately with customers/users. So building in public makes it more likely for features to sneak in which dilute the core focus of the product. IMO.

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Ben Halpern

It’s nice to be able to offer the option, for those who want it, to use our code.

When they disagree with a community policy, they’re free to look at what we’ve done and build on it in a different direction.

And if they’re very happy with what we’ve done, they’re welcome to do the same, more out of friendship than disagreement.

It’s a general net win for everyone involved. And it’s a lot of fun!

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Jean-Christophe Helary

No, it is not simple. Human societies thrive on the premise that anti-social behavior is prohibited.

Just like killing people is prohibited, arbitrary restrictions to freedom are prohibited.

The GPL is not an arbitrary restriction to your freedom. It exists only because the basic assumption in the software world is that there is no freedom of the user.

As RMS has explained over and over again, in a world where arbitrary copyright laws that restrict user's freedom do not exist, there is no need for the GPL.

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Felix Terkhorn

This is a really thoughtful article. Thank you for writing it.

Looking forward to ruminating on it. Slowly... ⛛

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Paula Author

thank you for appreciating!