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Old 05-29-2022, 08:38 PM   #1
jmgibson1981
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Is free and open software truly free?


I was pondering something this morning. I enjoy many of my games which all belong on Windows. I've always been hacking at it, got wine mostly doing what I want. But I realized something. There is no such thing as truly free software. The license doesn't mean anything. It's meaningless that the code is available to anyone for no cost.

The reason it isn't really free is because you do have to pay a price of sorts. While many people are very devoted to an ideal or something (which is commendable) some people just want to use the superior system. I am one of those. The price that we all pay regardless of viewpoint is being locked into whatever OS your favorite / preferred software was built for. An open source enthusiast wouldn't likely run a closed os (windows) even if they only used open software on it. A closed source person wouldn't likely run an open source operating system when everything they need is closed. Not to say that they are mutually exclusive but at the end of the day the idea of free software is just a phrase and nothing more. You pay for it in some way, usually with problems / inconveniences with running the other side of things.

I've been fighting to get a near perfect scenario for myself and I loathe the idea of dual booting. You always have to give something up. How important that is is different for each of us. But at the end of the day there is no such thing as truly free choice with software and operating systems.
 
Old 05-29-2022, 08:53 PM   #2
frankbell
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Quote:
You pay for it in some way, usually with problems / inconveniences with running the other side of things.
If I remember my Econ 101 class (it was a long time ago), what you are talking about is called "opportunity cost," and it pretty much applies to every decision in some way or another.

(Indeed, I was talking about this just today in a casual conversation about clipping coupons. The short version is this: The subject came up because someone was looking at some coupons in a my local rag. I said, "I don't clip coupons because of the opportunity cost. For me, the money I save is not worth the time it would take to mess with the coupons.")

Last edited by frankbell; 05-29-2022 at 08:55 PM.
 
Old 05-29-2022, 09:01 PM   #3
jefro
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Something like total cost of ownership.

You can use a virtual machine to run both at same time usually.

Even Windows has a pretty good Linux subsystem.

My company will only purchase Red Hat or Suse.
 
Old 05-29-2022, 09:06 PM   #4
Timothy Miller
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmgibson1981 View Post
I was pondering something this morning. I enjoy many of my games which all belong on Windows. I've always been hacking at it, got wine mostly doing what I want. But I realized something. There is no such thing as truly free software. The license doesn't mean anything. It's meaningless that the code is available to anyone for no cost.

The reason it isn't really free is because you do have to pay a price of sorts. While many people are very devoted to an ideal or something (which is commendable) some people just want to use the superior system. I am one of those. The price that we all pay regardless of viewpoint is being locked into whatever OS your favorite / preferred software was built for. An open source enthusiast wouldn't likely run a closed os (windows) even if they only used open software on it. A closed source person wouldn't likely run an open source operating system when everything they need is closed. Not to say that they are mutually exclusive but at the end of the day the idea of free software is just a phrase and nothing more. You pay for it in some way, usually with problems / inconveniences with running the other side of things.

I've been fighting to get a near perfect scenario for myself and I loathe the idea of dual booting. You always have to give something up. How important that is is different for each of us. But at the end of the day there is no such thing as truly free choice with software and operating systems.
I'd disagree. Almost everything I use and WANT to use is FOSS. It would take me the time to learn to use the proprietary paid for applications, thus MASSIVELY increasing their cost. FOSS is what I learned how to do most things on, and thus it's what I know how to use. There's no cost to use what I know. And because I know how to use it already, to me it IS the superior solution, since I know how to accomplish what I want to do. So for me FOSS is well and truly free, there is no cost associated.
 
Old 05-30-2022, 12:14 AM   #5
ondoho
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmgibson1981 View Post
The license doesn't mean anything. It's meaningless that the code is available to anyone for no cost.
Yes and the inventor of that license ALWAYS made it painfully clear what "free" actually means in this context. It does NOT mean "for no cost":

"Free software puts its users in control of their own computing. Nonfree software puts its users under the power of the software's developer."
source
(hmm, I can see there's a point to be made for computer illiterates that are at the mercy of their software's developers and distro's maintainers. But ultimately that's always the case for computer illiterates whether they use FOSS or proprietary systems)

That said I don't like people harping on the finer definitions of the words free and opensource.
Both software freedom & opensource are important, and the rise of the www also played its part - for a global community effort to create something that is owned by all.
There are many ways to skin this cat.
As long as you recognize the basics: "free as in beer" != "free as in freedom".

Last edited by ondoho; 05-30-2022 at 12:18 AM.
 
Old 05-30-2022, 11:56 AM   #6
jailbait
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmgibson1981 View Post
Is free and open software truly free?
Free has several different meanings in both a political and/or economic sense. The definition of free that comes closest to the meaning of free as used by Richard Stallman is "academic freedom".
 
Old 05-30-2022, 12:25 PM   #7
enorbet
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I dislike having to be rhetorical but I think this is a rather dumb question since everything costs something. TANSTAAFL - Is air free? Is temperature free?
 
Old 05-30-2022, 12:59 PM   #8
cwizardone
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frankbell View Post
If I remember my Econ 101 class (it was a long time ago), what you are talking about is called "opportunity cost," and it pretty much applies to every decision in some way or another.

(Indeed, I was talking about this just today in a casual conversation about clipping coupons. The short version is this: The subject came up because someone was looking at some coupons in a my local rag. I said, "I don't clip coupons because of the opportunity cost. For me, the money I save is not worth the time it would take to mess with the coupons.")
What I've heard over the years is, the "value" of the coupon is built-in to the price, so if you don't use the coupon you are paying "up" for the item.
I never clipped coupons in the past, but now that they are all digital I click on them as I view the local market's weekly ad. It adds up. I have been saving enough each calendar quarter to buy a large bag of Peet's (list price $16.49) for just a few dollars.
 
Old 05-30-2022, 01:19 PM   #9
SlowCoder
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Yes, there's a cost.

I'm very ok with paying the price for opportunity to separate myself from what, at the worst criminal anti-competitive, and at the very best questionable, business practices by the biggest tech companies.

I'm also happy to pay the price to play on an OS that allows me to learn at the deepest levels, how a system works.
 
Old 05-30-2022, 03:23 PM   #10
rtmistler
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmgibson1981 View Post
The reason it isn't really free is because you do have to pay a price of sorts. While many people are very devoted to an ideal or something (which is commendable) some people just want to use the superior system.
I think opinions vary, and what you consider cost, another person doesn't.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmgibson1981 View Post
An open source enthusiast wouldn't likely run a closed os (windows) even if they only used open software on it. A closed source person wouldn't likely run an open source operating system when everything they need is closed.
Not necessarily there are more than two types of preferences.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmgibson1981 View Post
I've been fighting to get a near perfect scenario for myself and I loathe the idea of dual booting. You always have to give something up.
Seems to me this is the problem. You're seeking an absolute, and you're also highly selective, or rather picky. That's your choice, but what others have done in the past are things like what Linus did, invented their own OS.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmgibson1981 View Post
How important that is is different for each of us.
Quite right. Obviously I'm at the lower end of the care set.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmgibson1981 View Post
But at the end of the day there is no such thing as truly free choice with software and operating systems.
Sure there is. I exercise free choice all the time.
 
Old 05-30-2022, 03:31 PM   #11
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The only single that is free is OpenBSD.

Mostly Linux isn't free. ("free", needs a clearer definitions).

Free?
 
Old 05-30-2022, 04:57 PM   #12
fido_dogstoyevsky
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Quote:
Originally Posted by openbsd98324 View Post
The only single that is free is OpenBSD.

Mostly Linux isn't free. ("free", needs a clearer definitions).

Free?
Depends on your point of view.

The BSD licences are mostly free but don't give you the freedom to take some code and redistribute it without giving credit to the source (of the code).

The GNU licences are mostly free but don't give you the freedom to take some code and redistribute it while making it part of your secret source.

Whichever is the more important freedom depends on you.
 
Old 05-31-2022, 09:28 AM   #13
dugan
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Uh, yay. We have a thread about how Steve Ballmer was right all along.

“Open source is free if you don’t value your time” was literally his angle. Only he dressed it up in phrases like “total cost of ownership”.

Last edited by dugan; 05-31-2022 at 09:29 AM.
 
Old 05-31-2022, 08:10 PM   #14
sundialsvcs
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The term that I prefer to use is: "cooperative development."

Years ago, I remember when software companies competed to produce "a spreadsheet." Yes, they were great spreadsheets ... all slightly different. Most of them did not survive, despite the technical merits of their products, and a great many "technical merits" were thereby lost (forever) in the process.

The final solution to this conundrum came, not from technicians, but from lawyers. (And from folks like Linus Torvalds.) The key recognition was that you didn't have to fight for "exclusive territory," so long as you you could instead legally guarantee(!) that the "territory" that you had recently gained could not then be declared to be "exclusive" by anyone else. Therefore, you could "share it" without compromising your business position. You no longer had to fight for "exclusive," and you were legally protected from "giving up the fight."

Well, the lawyers hammered-out the necessary verbiage, and shepherded it through the courts of international law. "Cooperative development" became a legally-recognized thing.

Within this context, no one is permitted to put up a fence around neither their nor(!) someone else's work, and to then start selling tickets. This simple concept created a legally enforceable framework of "cooperation."

"A rising tide lifts all boats."

"Free?" Open-Source Software? Obviously that is a misnomer, because in the real world "nothing's free." (All of us work for a salary ...) However, you can decide "what to charge for, and what not to." And, "the ability to make such a decision, and to make it stick, without losing your corporate shirt," has made all the difference in the world.

This is why a single software platform known as "Linux®" now runs on more than twenty entirely-different hardware platforms. No one could have ever done this, as long as they were required to defend it. But the game is entirely(!) changed if they don't.

Last edited by sundialsvcs; 05-31-2022 at 08:27 PM.
 
Old 06-01-2022, 12:45 AM   #15
jmgibson1981
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I believe this thought of mine was a moment of revelation. I'm now seeing it was a moment of jackassery. My apologies. Just the thought hadn't occurred to me before until I was messing about trying to hack something together.
 
  


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