Subject: Re: Pitching Free Software [Quotes]
From: Bob Young <>
Date: Fri, 26 Jun 1998 12:36:55 -0400

 Fri, 26 Jun 1998 12:36:55 -0400

You are better off with the car analogy:

"Would you buy a car with the hood welded shut?"

The answer, despite the fact that few of us wouldn't know where to 
start in maintaining or repairing an auto engine, is "of course not".

The benefit that opening the hood gives us (as car or Open Source 
users) is that we have control.  We can repair it 
ourselves, we can get our Uncle Joe to fix it, we can take it to one 
of the 100,000 (US alone) local car repair shops, or we can take it 
back to the dealer.

But it's our choice.  If the hood was welded shut we'd have to ship 
it back to the manufacturer.  In the software sense the binary only 
model means we have to wait for the manufacturer to repair/upgrade 
the software, and what happens when they decide that the fix we need 
is not important enough to address?


> In the Great Search for Benefits of Free Software, I recently stumbled
> upon this...
> Compare software to appliances (toasters, food processors, tvs,...).
> Now, what does the average person do when the toaster doesn't work as
> it should?  Or when it's not working at all?
> Some will take it to a repair shop.
> Some will open it, look inside, then decide that it's too difficult,
> and bring it to the repair shop.
> Some will try to fix it, but will really only make it worse... thus
> having to bring it to the repair shop.
> Some others will fix it.
> Now, I haven't tried this `pitch' on anyone (yet), but the usual
> arguments against free software (or for using proprietary software
> instead of free stuff) runs mostly along those lines.
> "What does that give me?  I don't have the know-how to fix it myself."
> You don't have the know-how to fix a TV, yet you still expect it to
> let anyone (maybe even a friend) try to repair it.
> "If normal users try to fix stuff, they just make a bigger mess."
> Yep, so we should seal all toasters, coffee machines, TVs (and those
> *are* things I wouldn't even open).  No screws, so normal folk can't
> open it, so they can't make things worse.
> You don't expect a mechanic to bring his car to the workshop for
> tune-up that he can do himself, right?  But every programmer has to
> beg the company that makes his tools to fix things.  Stupid.
> Okay, I'll stop ranting here.  Guess you get the idea.  And I hope
> this works... (though, given the general stupidity, my hopes aren't
> too high :-()
> Anyway,
> Bye, J
> -- 
> Jürgen A. Erhard  eMail:  phone: (GERMANY) 0721 27326
>    MARS: Erhard/mars index.html
> 		   "Ever wonder why the SAME PEOPLE
>      make up ALL the conspiracy theories?" -- Michael K. Johnson

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