Free is too expensive (Economist)
Posted Apr 7, 2012 16:39 UTC (Sat) by rqosa
In reply to: Free is too expensive (Economist)
Parent article: Free is too expensive (Economist)
> First release of GCC supported VAX and SunOS. Later Cygnus developed extensive system which brought GNU tools to users of proprietary OSes and it was enthusiastically endorsed by FSF. And even when Linux finally made GNU/Linux OS usable support for users of other platforms continued.
None of which negates my point. Using free software has always involved giving up certain "concrete advantages" (in the early pre-Linux days, the disadvantages would have been forgoing first-party support from the system vendor, and spending extra effort to installand keep up to date a bunch of third-party software across all systems in the administrative domain) but getting other concrete advantages (such as the ability to fix problems yourself, the "with many eyes, all bugs are shallow" effect, the likelihood that a project with a bad maintainer will be forked rather than killed off entirely, etc.) in return for the ones given up.
> All the FOSS “success stories” (server, embedded, Android, etc) are in places where people care about normal users
In the examples you cited above (Cygnus, GCC on VAX and SunOS), how did "Joe Average"-type users matter at all? The people who decided to switch over to GNU tools on those minicomputer/workstation platforms were developers and system administrators, not technically-illiterate end users.
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