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RE: [zzdev] Re: :gbg: Flame: User-hostile ethic of the Linux comm unity

> you think some other format would be better, would you please suggest
> it without accusing us of being "hostile" for our choices?

Hostile in this case might have been intended to connote "inhospitable" in
the sense that "the moon is an environment hostile to man" rather than
"antagonistic" in the sense that "palestinians are hotile toward israelis".

By the same token, everyone would agree that TeX, PostScript, etc. have
"users", but these users are not "users" in the sense that Apple Computer
thinks of users.  You clearly imply in your letter that "free" is a more
important consideration than "usable".  In addition, I think you would be
the first to agree that slashdot denziens and other FSF/OSI/Linux
aficionados are disproportionately "elitist" about their tools.

> software?  They are not the same thing.  For instance, Mozilla is free
> software, and it is commercial software.  It is developed by Netscape
> (now AOL), which is a business, so that makes it commercial.

Do you really mean that?  I could agree with you making a distinction
between free and commercial, but I do not see how participation of a
corporation could be the sole criteria.  Could you clarify?  Perhaps you
mean that it does not use GPL, or that certain key rights are held by a
corporation, therefore it is commercial?  All software has the potential to
be used commercially or not, and has the potential to be free or not, and
those two things are independent.  Those two things are also independent of
whether the developers writing the code were paid by a corporation, a
non-profit, or working gratis, (or more likely, a mixture of all of these).
This last distinction I would suppose is the least important of all.

> It is very important not to say "commercial" when you mean "non-free",
> because it is important to encourage more free commercial software.

I will defend the death your right to believe and say that, but respectfully
point out that others might not feel the same.  So maybe the wording would
be, "IF you believe as I do, then it is very important not to say..".

The idea of organizations giving away software for free to achieve
commercial goals unrelated to software revenue is not at all new.  In such
cases "free" itself can be a loaded term.  If I get software for free, but
need five full-time consultants to give me "services" in how to use it, is
it really "free"?  Technically, yes.  Is this a model that you should
encourage?  If you are selling services, yes.  I personally don't think that
businesspeople need any encouragement in the strategic use of free software,
it's a tried and true model (used shamelessly even by software companies).


(speaking only for myself)