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Re: GNU licenses

From: alexander . terekhov
Subject: Re: GNU licenses
Date: 4 Sep 2006 14:59:29 -0700
User-agent: G2/0.2 wrote:
> If you want to "charge" for something perhaps "dollars" or "euros"
> or similar items could be required.

You don't understand the GNU "philosophy", mike4ty4.

Read the GNU Manifesto.

"Won't everyone stop programming without a monetary incentive?"

Actually, many people will program with absolutely no monetary
incentive. Programming has an irresistible fascination for some people,
usually the people who are best at it. There is no shortage of
professional musicians who keep at it even though they have no hope of
making a living that way.

But really this question, though commonly asked, is not appropriate to
the situation. Pay for programmers will not disappear, only become
less. So the right question is, will anyone program with a reduced
monetary incentive? My experience shows that they will.

For more than ten years, many of the world's best programmers worked at
the Artificial Intelligence Lab for far less money than they could have
had anywhere else. They got many kinds of non-monetary rewards: fame
and appreciation, for example. And creativity is also fun, a reward in

Then most of them left when offered a chance to do the same interesting
work for a lot of money.

What the facts show is that people will program for reasons other than
riches; but if given a chance to make a lot of money as well, they will
come to expect and demand it. Low-paying organizations do poorly in
competition with high-paying ones, but they do not have to do badly if
the high-paying ones are banned.


"Programmers need to make a living somehow."

In the short run, this is true. However, there are plenty of ways that
programmers could make a living without selling the right to use a
program. This way is customary now because it brings programmers and
businessmen the most money, not because it is the only way to make a
living. It is easy to find other ways if you want to find them. Here
are a number of examples.

A manufacturer introducing a new computer will pay for the porting of
operating systems onto the new hardware.

The sale of teaching, hand-holding and maintenance services could also
employ programmers.

People with new ideas could distribute programs as freeware(7), asking
for donations from satisfied users, or selling hand-holding services. I
have met people who are already working this way successfully.

Users with related needs can form users' groups, and pay dues. A group
would contract with programming companies to write programs that the
group's members would like to use.

All sorts of development can be funded with a Software Tax:

Suppose everyone who buys a computer has to pay x percent of the price
as a software tax. The government gives this to an agency like the NSF
to spend on software development.

But if the computer buyer makes a donation to software development
himself, he can take a credit against the tax. He can donate to the
project of his own choosing--often, chosen because he hopes to use the
results when it is done. He can take a credit for any amount of
donation up to the total tax he had to pay.

The total tax rate could be decided by a vote of the payers of the tax,
weighted according to the amount they will be taxed on.

The consequences:

The computer-using community supports software development.
This community decides what level of support is needed.

Users who care which projects their share is spent on can choose this
for themselves.

In the long run, making programs free is a step toward the
post-scarcity world, where nobody will have to work very hard just to
make a living. People will be free to devote themselves to activities
that are fun, such as programming, after spending the necessary ten
hours a week on required tasks such as legislation, family counseling,
robot repair and asteroid prospecting. There will be no need to be able
to make a living from programming.

So think GPL long run: communism will win in the end. No-scarcity,
girls for free, and all that.
(The dotCommunist Manifesto)


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