Re: Free software business models (was: Evolution copyright assignment: Storm in a teacup)
- From: Richard Stallman <rms gnu org>
- To: Miguel de Icaza <miguel ximian com>
- Cc: carlos gnome org, foundation-list gnome org
- Subject: Re: Free software business models (was: Evolution copyright assignment: Storm in a teacup)
- Date: Fri, 13 Aug 2004 11:15:11 -0400
If you say that Ximian always intended to develop non-free software, I
will have to take your word for it. I thought that the new management
were responsible because I still thought of you as a strong supporter
of the Free Software Movement's principles.
In 1997 you answered the call to start the development of a GNU
desktop, which we needed specifically to blunt the temptation to use
the then-proprietary Qt with the GNU/Linux system. In 1999, when you
started Helix Code, you still appeared to support these principles.
It was a committed free software company, or so people thought. When
the same company (renamed Ximian) later began releasing non-free
software, it never occurred to me that you had planned this a long
time in advance.
In short, for making a living, if you are happy as a consultant doing
very limited software development, pure free software companies are
If on the other hand, you are mostly interested in creating new
software on a short period of time,
All else being equal, it's good to develop more software faster. We
are all aware that non-free software can be profitable. To someone
who views respect for others' freedom as an ethical imperative, this
would not justify developing non-free software.
Thus, the real statement in your message is what your values are.
Developing non-free software doesn't bother your conscience now. You
can encourage someone to use a non-free program, as the KDE developers
did in 1997, without a qualm.
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