Subject: Re: Open letter to those who believe in a right to free software
From: kragen@pobox.com (Kragen Sitaker)
Date: Mon, 25 Oct 1999 01:39:46 -0400 (EDT)

Stephen Turnbull writes, of a world without proprietary software:
> Because there would be less software, of lower-than-necessary quality.
> This matters a lot to non-programmers.

I don't see why this statement has been so controversial.  Of course if
people can share software, they will be less inclined to rewrite things
from scratch, and most software will still not be as good as it needs
to be.  Free software doesn't solve all the world's problems, only some
of them.  In particular, it doesn't solve the problem of perfectly
incenting people to produce good software.  It looks like it will do a
better job of producing good software than the proprietary software
system.

I expect an all-free-software world will initially look a lot like the
all-free-science world of the 1800s, where most science was done by the
idle rich.  Perhaps we can come up with a
military-industrial-university system for software as we have for science.