Subject: Re: So what is an FSB anyway?
From: friedman@gnu.ai.mit.edu (Noah Friedman)
Date: Tue, 2 Feb 93 21:17:56 est

>>  o Are the GPL's ends (freely copyable + full source availability +
>>    "virus" nature) the same as those needed by a FSB?
>
>Full source availabilty is not necessarily something a FSB would want.
>Although it could be considered a conflict of interest (in the sense
>used in another question below), a FSB could make more money on support if
>it could effectively demand that customers pay them for any changes
>made to the software. 

What kind of "free software" are we generally to be discussing on this
list?  Freedom in terms of liberty, or freedom in terms of price?

You will generally have 3 types of users using a program.

   A) Users who need no support at all. 
   B) Users who need to make changes to a program but know how to do it
      themselves and don't mind doing the work. 
   C) Users who need third-party support. 

If these users have to deal with businesses operating on the monetary
definition of "free software", groups B and C are stuck with software which
is essentially proprietary: they have to go to vendor for any changes they
need, however trivial, and they take the potential risk of poor support
(mentioned below) due to the monopoly.

Said businesses and users also don't get free bug fixes and ports from
other users, since no one has the sources.  In other words, such software
does not build a community of users helping each other.  It is essentially
proprietary.  

Overall I find the interpretation of "free" software for which the actual
source is proprietary very offensive.  It is my personal wish that people
would drop consideration of this kind of software from this mailing list.

>Besides the examples you listed in markets other than software, I'm pretty
>sure that there are at least a few software companies (I won't mention names)
>that do a poor job intentionally so they can make more money off updates. 

This is one reason why making the software free (in terms of liberty) is
important to users who might want support.  That way there is an open
market and an incentive to do the best job of any competitors.