What Is Free Software
Subject:   End of small software houses?
Date:   2008-09-08 06:39:50
From:   dotcom99
An interesting summary of the history of the Open Source movement.

What's also interesting however is that like most accounts of the merits of free software, it fails to take into account the perspective of the small business that produces software.

Intellectual property law does provide protection for the software producer, not just subsidising distribution. To produce and market a piece of software requires a considerable investment of time and money. Businesses that make their living writing software will be unable to justify that investment if they are unable to commercially exploit their invention.

Open source projects are run by volunteers who apparently have no need to make a living and have considerable time on their hands. (A study of the demographics and motivations of this group would certainly make interesting reading). Small businesses and freelancers in the software business unfortunately have no such freedom and in proportion to the rise of the OSI movement, will start to go out of business, or to move to other arenas.

As someone that makes an independent living out of writing software, my view on free software is that I will start writing it for nothing when builders start building houses for nothing, banks stop charging interest, farmers produce food for nothing, and when all other businesses that currently charge me for their services deliver them to me free of charge and gift-wrapped every month.

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  1. Re: End of small software houses?
    2008-09-08 08:28:44  Karl Fogel | O'Reilly AuthorO'Reilly Blogger [View]

    • Re: End of small software houses?
      2008-09-08 15:05:49  Karl Fogel | O'Reilly AuthorO'Reilly Blogger [View]

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