[ILUG-BOM] fsf?

Sameer D. Sahasrabuddhe sameerds@[EMAIL-PROTECTED]
Mon Nov 24 13:36:59 IST 2003


On Tue, Nov 25, 2003 at 12:31:04PM +0530, Sachin Nair wrote:

> http://forum.gnu.org.in/1047552361/index_html 

Believe me, this is the last thing that a newbie to the "philosophical
debate" should see ... ;)

> About the movement, from what I've read about it, is it just about
> software or is one trying to make a point about the society in general
> too? 

It is difficult to be very precise about these two issues, but in a
loose sense, the former topic of "just software" is what the Open
Source movement talks about while the later topic of society in
general is what the Free Software movement is all about. Here are some
good references to see either side:

http://www.fsf.org/philosophy/

http://www.catb.org/~esr/open-source.html

A few good hints, about ESR's idea of Open Source and how it contrasts
with Free Software, are also found at end of the following chapter in
his new book, TAUP in the sections titled "Linux and the Pragmatist
Reaction: 1991-1998" and "The Open-Source Movement: 1998 and Onward"

http://www.catb.org/~esr/writings/taoup/html/historychapter.html

>  I know am still not being exactly articulate, but the whole issue can
> be sometimes confusing to a person standing on the pavement wondering
> whether to jump in or not! ...read me!!!

I would say, worry about the philosophy part only when you have the
time to. If by jumping in, you mean using FLOSS on your setup, go
right ahead and give it a try; what have you got to lose? I am sure
you'll be hooked in no time ;)

> While free software might make business sense, the idea propagated by
> opensource.org IMHO is not really likely to succeed. 

Errr ... its actually the other way round. Free Software scares the
hell out of businesspeople (marketroids) because they don't like being
lectured on idealogies. Open Source, instead, makes perfect business
sense, although its the same wine in a different bottle.

> How many people can make money by releasing the source code? Software
> develops faster, true!, software also develops better, true! But does it
> make business sense?

Depends on what business you are in. If you plan to make money by
selling software that you wrote, go ahead and do that - its your
choice. That's the only kind of business that cannot afford to release
source code. But most Indian companies work in the service industry
... they rarely release branded products!

In either case, remember that the customer is the king, and no matter
whether you want to release your code or not, there are others who
will - and your customers just might decide to go to them!

> by opening it's own source? :/. Why would any other business house want
> to ask the parent company for support when they can have 2 software
> geeks inhouse to provide support for the project on their own?

Its easy to say that, but difficult to implement ... relying on a
company that's providing service usually turns out to be far cheaper
than doing it yourself. Remember the suit buzzword "outsourcing"? If
the customer has access to the source code they run, they have more
freedom to choose their support system. This would be true even if
they used a custom built software that's used only in their company!

> Redhat began the fedora project in the hope that worldwide developers
> will have a hand for it to succeed. But what percentage of coders whom
> you know, work for pleasure while they need to put food on the table? 

Download any big software like the kernel, apache, gcc etc. Grep for
all the copyright notices. That should answer your question.

> I don't intend to start any holy war which has been fought countless
> times already. Am just a guy asking questions... just out of curiosity
> ..

No problem at all! Feel free to fire away!

Sameer.
-- 
Research Scholar, KReSIT, IIT Bombay
http://www.it.iitb.ac.in/~sameerds/



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