IPL as a burden

Lawrence E. Rosen lrosen at rosenlaw.com
Tue Jan 16 00:51:27 UTC 2001

While as a supporter of the open source movement I appreciate the conclusion
you drew, I think your analogy is a poor one.  The cost of making copies of
software is nearly zero.  The cost of making copies of a car is far higher
than the cost of one car.  The auto manufacturers don't really care what you
do to modify your car because they are not afraid that you will compete with
them effectively.  Economic arguments in support of open source should be
carefully reasoned.  /Larry Rosen

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Andrew J Bromage [mailto:ajb at buzzword.cc.monash.edu.au]On Behalf
> Of Andrew J Bromage
> Sent: Monday, January 15, 2001 4:13 PM
> To: license-discuss at opensource.org
> Subject: Re: IPL as a burden
> G'day all.
> On Mon, Jan 15, 2001 at 04:36:38PM -0800, Frank LaMonica wrote:
> > Most users of software don't consider the availability of source code in
> > their purchasing decisions.  Why?  Because they are not in the
> business of
> > writing software, they are simply using an application as a tool.
> I think they might take the availability of source into account if they
> understood it better.
> When I buy a car, I don't care about tinkering with its innards because
> I am not a mechanic, and have no aptitude or desire to become one.
> However, I do insist that my car be servicable by any appropriately
> qualified mechanic that I nominate.  That way, I'm not locked into
> paying the company I bought the car from every time it needs
> maintenance.  With a car, that means many things including good
> engineering such as low coupling between independent systems (if I
> change the colour of the upholstery, that shouldn't make the headlights
> stop working) transparency (i.e. that the insides of the car are not
> hidden) and openness (anyone can produce service manuals, spare parts
> or even a clone of the whole car if they want to).  And in the end, I
> should be able to modify the car to my hearts' content (maybe put in
> a different sound system, maybe put in a cargo barrier, maybe convert
> it to run on unleaded petrol or LPG) and sell it to someone else when I
> don't want it any more, and not have to get permission of the original
> car manufacturer to do any of these things.  Naturally I would wait
> until the warranty expired (assuming the car came with a warranty)
> before doing anything not approved by the vendor, but it wouldn't be
> because the vendor forced me to.
> Would you buy a car that didn't let you do any of this whether you're
> a mechanic or otherwise?
> If I were not a programmer, I'd reason the same way about software.  If
> my purchased software needs maintenance, I don't want to be at the
> mercy of the company I bought it from.  I want to be able to hire any
> appropriately qualified programmer that I wish, or even do it myself if
> I think I know what I'm doing; after all, I'm not a mechanic but I can
> change a tyre with the best of them.  I should be able to freely give
> details of my fixes/enhancements to others, and I should be able to
> resell the software when I'm finished with it.  I should not have to get
> the original vendor's permission to do it.
> Would you buy software that didn't let you do any of this, whether
> you're a programmer or otherwise?
> This is not the full set of rights provided by Open Source, but if I were
> not a programmer, it's what I'd be looking for.
> Cheers,
> Andrew Bromage

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