IPL as a burden

Frank LaMonica frankl at valinux.com
Tue Jan 16 03:55:22 UTC 2001

You may be correct about saying people would require source if they knew more
about it, however they have to care about it to some degree first before they
will, in general, take the time to learn about the issues.   If you read the
rest of my posting, you would see that I continued on by saying the people on
this list are exceptions - they do care about the source code.  Unfortunately,
we are the extreme minority.  I go on to show how open data formats may be a
lever which can be used to open the eyes of those users who sit fat, dumb, and
happy using proprietary software that locks up their data in hidden formats.
Once they have reached the realization that the protection of their own data,
and their ability to freely access that data are two issues they should care
about, we may be able to get them to care more about open source code.

BTW, your analogy about a car is no longer valid.  Almost all new cars are
controlled by proprietary programs running in embedded processors that can only
be accessed by very expensive equipment that is tightly controlled by the car
company.  The days of tuning your own car without a computer are over, we've
lost the automobile war  :(

Andrew J Bromage wrote:

> 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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