Subject: Re: A few here may have an opinion on this
From: kragen@pobox.com (Kragen Sitaker)
Date: Mon, 4 Nov 2002 04:02:49 -0500 (EST)

Stephen Turnbull writes:
> >>>>> "Kragen" == Kragen Sitaker <kragen@pobox.com> writes:
>     Kragen> Software produces value.  Proprietary software tends to
>     Kragen> ensure that a significant chunk of the value produced
>     Kragen> accrues to the publishers; free software tends to let a
>     Kragen> larger chunk of that value accrue to the users.
> 
> Uh, you're ignoring Chris's main point, which is that the whole chunk
> of value may be much smaller if you use free licenses.

I didn't ignore it; I wrote a long post arguing against it.  I argued
that the indicator he used to support that thesis wasn't very
reliable.

> It is really hard to believe that the chunk of value accruing to users
> from _all_ free software is bigger than the size of the chunk of value
> accruing _to users_ from Microsoft Word alone (unless you argue that
> proprietary derivatives of permissively licensed free software---
> especially the BSD TCP/IP stack and friends---should be accounted
> "free").  There are just too damn many Word users.

Most nontechnical people I know who use computers use them for email
and web browsing; without free software, they wouldn't, because no
email or Web would exist.  I agree with you that we should count much
of the value of Microsoft's TCP/IP stack as proceeding from free
software, but even if we don't, much of the value of the Web comes
from sites that run on free software, not proprietary derivatives
thereof.

More people use Apache than Word, and it does them more good.

>     Kragen> I may think it valuable to have individual freedom, but
>     Kragen> that doesn't raise tax revenues unless I find it valuable
>     Kragen> as part of my job.
> 
> Proprietary software doesn't reduce your absolute freedom; it
> increases it.

I meant above that free software gives me some individual freedom that
proprietary software doesn't, and if I find that freedom valuable as
part of my job (for example, it saves me time), it adds to tax
revenues, because my employer makes more profits.  If I find it
valuable, but not as part of my job, it doesn't raise tax revenues
directly.

Whether or not proprietary software reduces my absolute freedom does
not touch this point of mine, so let's argue about that in another
thread, perhaps some other time.

-- 
<kragen@pobox.com>       Kragen Sitaker     <http://www.pobox.com/~kragen/>
Edsger Wybe Dijkstra died in August of 2002.  The world has lost a great
man.  See http://advogato.org/person/raph/diary.html?start=252 and
http://www.kode-fu.com/geek/2002_08_04_archive.shtml for details.