Subject: Re: free software as a delivery vehicle for lisp
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: Mon, 01 Apr 2002 16:24:26 GMT
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* David Golden <qnivq.tbyqra@bprnaserr.arg>
| I would like to point out that "commercial software" is not the opposite
| of "Free software" (that is to say, open source software under the GPL,
| not zero-price software.

  This may be somewhat misleading.  "Commercial software" is usually
  understood to be software for commercial unit sale such that the vendor
  can recover his costs from the profits of each unit sold, where copying
  of said unit is illegal.  This is cleanly contradictory to free software.

| People can and do pay authors of Free software to maintain and upgrade
| that software, and for rights to use the software in their own products -
| and if they don't want to release the source for those products, they can
| often negotiate a different, for-monetary-reward licensing agreement with
| the copyright holder of the software the wish to use (this business model
| is used by Aladdin, makers of ghostscript, for example.)

  The only problem is that Aladdin is also competing with anyone else who
  picks up their source and can offer Aladdin customers enhancements that
  exceed Aladdin's ability.  This is really hard to get around.

| Thus, using commercial software as an opposite to free software as "free
| software advocates" understand the term is wrong.  The correct opposite
| would be "proprietary software".

  It would not matter if the source were free if the ability to sell
  shrink-wrapped binaries were restricted to one vendor.  This would allow
  hackers to hack and users to use while making money for the owners.  I
  wonder what you would call this.  It is not proprietary, it is
  commercial, and it is not entirely un-"free",either.

| While you may worry about vendors "getting sick" and whether they should
| be allowed survive, one must understand that the significant proprietary
| software vendors preach pure free-market capitalism when they are
| "winning" and look for free-market interference protection when they are
| "losing"

  Are you aware of the _unbelievable_ insult you serve here?

| Microsoft, for example, are all for free markets in their rhetoric, but
| are busily paying corrupt politicians to produce laws that unlevel the
| playing field and effectively make it illegal to give things away.

  Microsoft has never, _ever_ been for a free market, nor for innovation.
  They use that rhetoric to fool easily fooled people into believing they
  are part of the American Dream, that William H. Gates III is some third
  millennium version of Thomas A. Edison.  This is all marketing and no
  substance.  If you believe Microsoft's propaganda, you have to be paid to
  have shut down your critical thinking ability.  A company that has been
  ruled in violation of good business practice and abuse of their monopoly
  power is not participating in the free market, it is a predator in it.

  In a fight against something, the fight has value, victory has none.
  In a fight for something, the fight is a loss, victory merely relief.