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Re: More FSF hypocrisy

From: amicus_curious
Subject: Re: More FSF hypocrisy
Date: Mon, 23 Mar 2009 10:36:09 -0400

"Rahul Dhesi" <> wrote in message news:gq85rm$gmd$
"amicus_curious" <> writes:

If something has no commercial value, being free as in beer...

GPL software is supposed to be free as in free speech, not free as in
free beer.

And also:

The commercial value of software is determined not by what the license
states, but by what it would cost to use a substitute.

That is wrong. The commercial value of software is determined by what it costs to obtain it, i.e. its price. If it is free, as in beer, its commercial value is zero. If a substitute has a non-zero price, it will need to have a commensurate beneficial use to make it worth its price.

It's true that a lot of GPL software turns out to be junk with
essentially no commercial value.  Merely adding a license file
containing the GPL doesn't turn crap into gold. The usefulness of
software comes from how well it is written, not fromn a license file.

But that has nothing to do with setting the price. If the price is set at zero, as is usually the case with GPL'd applications, the commercial value is zero. That is not to say that a user cannot obtain beneficial use and so regard it as valuable, but he will not pay for it if it can be obtained for no cost.

A lot of GPL software is in fact of high quality and has a very high
commercial value -- so much so that many companies could not afford to
buy or create any substitute.

Wrong answer.

For example, consider the Linux kernel, that is so often misappropriated
by companies that make small networking devices such as routers. These
companies can make competitive products only because they are able to
use the Linux kernel. If they had to find a substitute, they probably
could not survive in the marketplace, because they would have to spend
all their revenue, and then some, just to pay for a substitute.

You can think of GPL software as a conditional gift. It's like somebody
giving you a house to live in, so long as no copyright violations occur
within the house. You might naively think that the house has no
commercial value, because it seems to be free. But as soon as you commit
a copyright violation in the house, the house is no longer yours to live
in. And now, when you try to find a new place to live in, you realize
just how much commercial value that house had -- so much that perhaps
you can't afford to find a substitute, and you might now regret
committing those copyright violations.

Of course, some people never learn.

If it is free it is not worth money. Period. It can be useful, certainly, and it can even be crucial, but it has no value in commerce.

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