Proprietary Software and Linux: Good, Bad or Somewhere in Between?

While I’m still up, I might as well tell you about my latest article, “Proprietary Software and Linux: Good, Bad or Somewhere in Between?”.

This comes on the heels of Canonical asking users to vote on which software (such as Adobe Photoshop and Apple’s iTunes) they would like to see made available through Ubuntu.

2 thoughts on “Proprietary Software and Linux: Good, Bad or Somewhere in Between?

  1. Sam Watkins

    I think this is okay. Ubuntu/Canonical has been hugely supportive of free software, and I don’t think this would be selling out. I’m sure RMS would disagree with me, but I think his GPL is hindering the development of reusable free software anyway.

    I like free software, but I don’t oppose commercial software. Good commercial software is a good thing, I think it can only inspire people to develop good free software too. I strongly oppose software patents, though. I support fully liberal software libraries and programs (public domain, MIT or BSD licensed for example), which can be used by programmers to develop better programs (commercial or free) without having to worry about license incompatibilities. I don’t like the GPL, as GPL’d code cannot be freely reused, it is incompatible with many other “free software” licenses. It seems to me that RMS wants the software itself to be free (no copies shall be enslaved!), but doesn’t care so much about the liberty of the users and software developers.

  2. Chris Post author

    Hey Sam, indeed the GPL is about ensuring that the code remains free and open source, which in turn ensures that everyone can study, modify and use it for any purpose.

    The BSD license on the other hand, ensures that the developer is free to mix it with proprietary software and all the rest of it. This means that end users don’t necessarily get the freedom to study, and modify the code.

    It’s fair to say that the GPL is responsible for the uptake of free software, not the BSD license.

    I think that free software and the open source development model are simply a better way to do software. If that’s the case, then we should ensure that the code stays open. The GPL is the tool which lets that happen.


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