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Unworkable request

Unworkable request

Posted Aug 5, 2010 11:56 UTC (Thu) by nix (subscriber, #2304)
In reply to: Unworkable request by coriordan
Parent article: Balancing accessibility and software freedom

You'll note that this restricts the space of software *for users that are not also software developers* for a relatively long time. Most users are not software developers, and really aren't going to agree with RMS that they should avoid using proprietary software (without which they can't use their machine) unless they are software developers developing a replacement.

This sort of software-development-focused morality simply does not work for anyone else, and is not going to convince them (and I say that as a software developer and Free Software advocate).


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Unworkable request

Posted Aug 5, 2010 15:12 UTC (Thu) by michaeljt (subscriber, #39183) [Link]

> Most users are not software developers, and really aren't going to agree with RMS that they should avoid using proprietary software (without which they can't use their machine) unless they are software developers developing a replacement.

For me this comes, as usual, down to the question of whether free software is a means to an end (or perhaps to several) or whether it is an end in itself. And whether people are quite honest about which it is. I can quite understand it being an end in itself for people who like that sort of thing (I do myself), but then wanting to impose it on others as a duty is like asking them to pay for your pleasures.

On the other hand, if you see free software as a means to some end (and I do see it as a useful tool for several noble purposes) you sometimes have to ask the question of whether it is worth insisting on it in a particular situation, or whether there are better means of advancing your aims.

Unworkable request

Posted Aug 5, 2010 16:02 UTC (Thu) by coriordan (guest, #7544) [Link]

Not really.

Most software developers faced with a software problem will not have the time to code up a fix, or don't know the language used, or don't know the library APIs. I'm a software developer, but when my web browser crashes, or if I need to open an .xyz file in GIMP and it doesn't work, I don't starting looking at source code.

What I'm saying is, the exception is limited to a small subset of software developers. It's not a general exception saying that users can ignore the ethical limits if they're software developers.

In fact, it's not really related to being a developer (anyone can become a developer, or hire a developer), it's more related to having the intention to make a general solution for everyone for the problem you are faced with.

Unworkable request

Posted Aug 8, 2010 20:15 UTC (Sun) by nix (subscriber, #2304) [Link]

Oh, I agree with the intent-to-make-a-general-solution stuff... but this often seems to be used as an excuse to condemn people who dare use non-free $whatever, e.g. RMS's response to Raman. And that is quite different, and much worse. (e.g. what does RMS think Raman should do? Drop emacspeak and everything else he's doing in favour of spending huge amounts of time on text-to-speech stuff instead, just so he can talk to RMS without getting condemned? Yeah, that's gonna fly.)


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