“Real Price” of Free Software
According to FSF website
Free software is a matter of users’ freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software. More precisely, it refers to four kinds of freedom, for the users of the software:
The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0).
The freedom to study how the program works, and adapt it to your needs freedom 1).
The freedom to redistribute copies as you can help your neighbor (freedom 2)
The freedom to improve the program and release your improvements to the public, so that the whole community benefits (freedom 3)
Being free to do these things means that you do not have to ask or pay for permission.
I am trying hard to understand this concept. Whenever I need to understand something I relate it to something simple and similar so that I can understand the harder situation, better.
Let us assume here that, like free software, we have something called “free movies”. Take for example a movie – Jurassic Park by Steven Spielberg. Let us apply all these “freedoms” to this movie.
Freedom 0 – Freedom to run the movie for any purpose.
We are going to have a small party in our house on the day of the release of this movie. Just call the producer of that movie and ask for a print, he will send you the copy for free. There is no need to ever go to the movie theatre again paying for the ticket, right?
Freedom 1 – Freedom to study how the movie works and adapt it to your needs.
Isn’t it like cutting a portion of the film and pasting it somewhere else? Why does Spielberg have to spend so much effort to make this movie if some one sitting somewhere is going to change the product?
Freedom 2 – Freedom to redistribute copies of movies so you can help your neighbors.
Doesn’t it rhyme like “Thou Shallt love Thy Neighbor as Thyself”? So this means watch the movie for free, make a copy of it and distribute it to all your neighbors for free. During the age of free movies, could philanthropist only produce movies?
Freedom 3 – Freedom to improve the movie and release your improvements to the public, so that the whole community benefits.
Spielberg may have spent months to plan and make this movie. Now thanks to free movie movement, someone has access to his film and can modify and release it. Wont the qualities of the product suffer?
Having gone through all these things I have a doubt. Aren’t we talking about the old socialist concepts, which have proved to be a total failure in Europe, Russia and other old communist countries?
Bringing in a new concept requires time and money. That is true in software field also. If someone comes up with a great concept and implements it in free software he doesn’t get any reward for his hard work and time. Someone somewhere will use it to reap the benefit of that hard work. Isn’t it ethical that the person who did the hard work in developing this software gets something out of it?
I have heard that during communist rule in East Germany, USSR and other European countries, every one use to earn the same kind of income, they have to live in same kind of houses what ever be the work they did. Wasn’t this one of the reason for the failure of communist regimes in the world. Whatever is your talent it never gets recognized and then talented people in these countries lose motivation. When the brightest brains in one country lose motivation that country has no future. If that is the case in the long run,