When a response to such a pointed question is, “Nobody, really.” it tends to irritate the one who is asking the question. I have looked at this blog from time to time and even commented there. This is an individual who would rather not have FOSS advertised as he apparently views it as selling out. The problem though is simple: the GPL does allow a person to sell the software itself. Contrary to popular belief, one can put software on a CD, sell it for $19.95 (or whatever price suits the seller), and allow users to have it as long as they are allowed to run the software on as many computers as they want, make as many copies as they want (on distribution media such as CD’s), and examine/alter the source code of the software. If the CD doesn’t come with the source code, then the business in question must provide a method of obtaining said source, even by offering to give them a CD for the cost of shipping and production.
For those who do not know, Penguin Pete is a…. “controversial” figure (let’s just leave it at that for now). In his latest post, one of the paragraphs that caught my eye reads as follows:
Honestly, every time I read somebody ranting about “Linux needs to do this, Linux needs to do that…” I always think, “Who asked you to draw up an agenda?” Linux may not make a pile of money… but it touches hearts.
And who are you to decide who can and can not make an agenda of any sorts concerning this POSIX compliant kernel? I have news for you, Peter: You are not the boss of anyone. If you want something to remain geekish, that’s fine. It’s your right, and in fact, you can set things up for geekiness all you want. What you have caters to power users such as yourself. However, other people want a system that just plain works. As someone who does the common tasks of typing documents, surfing the net, reading e-mail, and listening to and watching multimedia, I can understand things from an everyday user’s point of view.
What’s wrong with advertising the fact that there are alternatives to Microsoft’s platform and group of “solutions?” The beauty about the whole thing is that Linux is not the brand! Check out Nimblex for example: They allow people to create customized distros for their own organization/group/business/whatever.
So whenever anyone shows ambition towards the promotion of FOSS, you’ll have a problem with that? Allow me to pause just a second and relate a story to everyone else.
When she went to college, my sister got a PowerBook G4. Since I was mainly running things that weren’t PowerPC-based, she had something to herself. Whenever I tried to use her PowerBook, she’d get upset with me. I was interfering with the only thing at the time that she could claim as hers and hers alone. When she got into computer programming in high school, I decided to give it a shot. When she took a desktop publishing class, guess what I also did later in high school myself? I took the same class (with newer computers that ran Windows 98 along with MS Publisher). This was all before I found myself ready to run the alternatives to Windows. I had Mandrake 8.2, but….. I just wasn’t ready for it.
The whole point of it all was that everything my sister did I was trying to imitate. So the question is this: Is it possible that there are those out there who want their geeky OS to remain such? Could it be that they see their system and applications as theirs and theirs alone and that anyone who has the gall to set things up to where anybody could give it a try threatens said ownership and elicits snide remarks and very questionable accusations? Is it elitism? A need to feel superior to other people?
Remember folks. The GPL itself does not forbid the selling of anything. It prevents people from turning licensed software into proprietary software. So for example, gnucash can be sold on a CD, but people must be allowed to share it with other people as well as look at the source code and alter it to their liking. If one is truly willing to share, then they must follow the Hacker Ethic and do so. Many true hackers have no problem with sharing information, especially the type that can better a person’s life.
So are individuals such as Peter simply selfish and are not willing to share the functionality *nixed systems have? The main response to the quoted question here is this: Who died and made you god?