Subject: Re: the walls have ears
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <turnbull@sk.tsukuba.ac.jp>
Date: Wed, 2 Jun 1999 09:43:59 +0900 (JST)

>>>>> "rn" == Russell Nelson <nelson@crynwr.com> writes:

    rn> Stephen J. Turnbull writes:
    >> I stand by my statement, that most users by head count will not
    >> benefit enough from having source available to them personally,
    >> or to anyone who won't charge them all the traffic will bear,
    >> to demand it.

    rn> This is the same as Ian's argument

Yes.  I agree you, Russ, that upgradability, or where appropriate
repairability or even programmability will be demanded by a certain
class of users, and I (and I infer that you too) believe that class
will be large and visible.  _Especially on this forum._

    rn> that freedom of software
    rn> doesn't matter when most software is going into items where
    rn> not even the manufacturer expects to change the software.

Speaking for myself, it's not that freedom of software doesn't
matter.  Of course it does.  (Why do I keep having to write that?)  I
don't think Ian will be very happy with your lack of qualification,
either.

It's that freedom of software doesn't matter sufficiently much to
individuals in a certain class of users that they will pay for, or
even waste breath on demanding forcefully, source availability.  This
class will be large (IMO) and nearly invisible.  _Especially on this
forum where no representatives are or are likely to be present._

I'm not talking about the desirability of free software in the
abstract; I'm talking about its desirability to a certain class of
users, and about their incentives.  I'm doing this because I think it
is relevant to both business strategy (where it may be intuitively
obvious) and to social strategy (where it is not, as I read the
discussion of many free software advocates, who - this is a caricature 
and doesn't apply to anybody here as far as I can tell - divide the
world into the free software advocates, the users as yet uneducated
about the benefits of free software, and the profit-only-seeking
Hell-spawned minions of Bill Gates).

Do you have an objection to that statement, do you think its
consequences are totally negligible, or is the discussion something
else?  I thought I knew where you were coming from, Russ, but now I'm
rather confused.

-- 
University of Tsukuba                Tennodai 1-1-1 Tsukuba 305-8573 JAPAN
Institute of Policy and Planning Sciences       Tel/fax: +81 (298) 53-5091
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What are those two straight lines for?  "Free software rules."