The Invisible Hand

David Johnson david at
Sun Sep 30 04:23:28 UTC 2001

On Saturday 29 September 2001 16:39, Matthew C. Weigel wrote:

> I can only disagree with this.  RMS has never said that free software
> was unpragmatic, or that a pragmatic person would necessarily choose
> non-free software.  The argument is that, pragmatic *or not*, free
> software is the answer on social grounds.

You're not seeing the forest through the trees. The "invisible hand" is the 
forest. Certainly the FSF lists pragmatism as one of the virtues of Free 
Software, and the OSI lists sharing and community spirit among the features 
of Open Source. But there is no denying that many folks in both camps go out 
of their way to distance themselves from the other.

The point of my post was that no matter how hard you try to do the socially 
right thing, you end up being pragmatic, and no matter how hard you try to be 
practical, you end up helping the community.

The customer doesn't care if the grocer is selfish or altruistic, he only 
cares that the apples are cheap. The software user doesn't care if the 
license is open source or free software, he only cares that his software has 
is not restricted.

David Johnson
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