Subject: Re: Studies
From: Michael Stutz <stutz@dsl.org>
Date: Thu, 4 Dec 1997 13:18:48 -0500 (EST)

On Mon, 1 Dec 1997, Bernard Lang wrote:

>   Once the concept of "godd free software" is accepted, people
> will just see things differently... and then all may change.
> That is why the "linux means business" column of LJ is so
> important.

This is going to be tough, because it is partly an issue of semantics. "Free
software" is not a foriegn concept to the Windows world, but it means a
vastly different thing, and has absolutely nothing to do with the source
code -- to most Windows mavens, "free software" either means a dinky little
unsupported program that Joe College wrote on a bored Friday night that you
can download from Filepile free of charge, or it means "shareware."

I once produced a small set of clip art images; the package was copylefted,
and one day wound up on PC World's download site. They had it labeled as
"ShareWare," and refused to change the label to "Freeware" or "Free
Software." It was not a commercial product, so it was "ShareWare."

The idea that something called "free software" or anything produced by a
group of individuals can be of equal or greater quality than a
slickly-packaged product (produced by a large corporation and sold in
stores) is, I think, beyond most of these folks. It's not to their
discredit, but that they live in a world where the concept of software is so
completely different -- it's simply a "product" to be bought, not a "work"
(of art, of science, engineering or whatever you will).


m