Subject: Re: "Well, I want to switch over to replace EMACS LISP with Guile." From: Erik Naggum <email@example.com> Date: 15 Oct 2002 22:02:51 +0000 Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> * Johannes Grødem | Well, yes, it's not always practical, but at least it's possible, unlike | with proprietary software, where it's essentially impossible. This is actually the worst kind of nonsense -- a massive lack of insight into business leads people to believe things like this and it is hard for them to get out of this mindset over time. | (At least in the case where you don't have access to the source.) Purchase it, contract with the owners to do what you want. | That it's free means that you can change it, it doesn't mean that you are | necessarily able to, or that it is practical. When it is supposedly free, you believe you have freedoms that you find that you actually cannot use because of the restrictions on a number of other freedoms that you signed away. Many people in the business community shake their heads in disbelief about the often staggeringly misguided ideas that proponents of supposedly free software cling to like a religion or an ideology that would crumble immediately upon serious contact with reality. It therefore becomes necessary to avoid getting into a position where money can buy you freedom, and this is obviously very attractive to young people and students, who have no money and feel better in the short term if they believe this is not a situation that can be fixed. The really sad thing is that you do not need to get filthy rich to purchase more freedom, but if you give away what other people would have been willing to give you something in exchange for, and you keep doing this for a long time, you get stuck in that position. This is not good for anyone in the long term. And we live in the long term. Had we lived in the short term that the supposedly free software community favors, dying before 30 would have been the norm. And unsurprisingly, few people "survive" in the free software "market" beyond that age. Many regret all the time they just gave away instead of working for money. | I thought people understood this, but you've experienced otherwise? I have experienced the freedom of doing business, too. Those who are so confused as to believe that the choice is only between "proprietary = I can't get at it" and "supposedly free = I can get at it" /completely/ miss the point. I was a strong proponent of free software because I thought that available source code would be educational and would help make programming a real profession by making its products available for study by new practitioners in the field, and I worked on Emacs because what I had done with it helped me in so many ways. However, open source is not educational -- few people read source code, and what is produced is generally of extremely poor quality, providing some evidence that the value of education through source code access never materialized. | Or is your point that the free software movement is trying to make free | software look better than it really is? No. People who are led by how things appear deserve whatever they get. My purpose when writing is not to convince people of my view or to make them believe me, but to encourage them to think about something I have thought about and to provide me with their thoughts in return. I believe that this is what human communication can do at its best. The tendency to believe things, or worse, people, instead of thinking about what one has read or heard, causes nothing but problems. I tend to get pissed off by believers and those who do not want to think because they are afraid of being "convinced" of something new, because they are like talking to people who are in a coma. Maybe they can wake up and remember it and maybe they have thought about a lot in their comatose state, but that is generally a losing bet. Still, waking them up seems like a good idea and making people think does appear to be beneficial no matter how late in life they start to think about more than they can believe in, because the desire to believe is the worst enemy of independent thought there can be, not because people believe in the so-called "irrational" or "mystical", on which I have no opinion, but because independent thought has to work with ideas and undeveloped thoughts that /should not be believed/ until they have been thought about much more and much longer. So if your first reaction is "I do not believe", indicating that you must believe before you can proceed, you are in a coma as far as I am concerned. It appears that some people are unable to think about, discuss,or consider things possible, if they do not also believe in them to some degree, and thus cannot read, cannot listen to, cannot /understand/ arguments that go against their beliefs at any given time and primarily respond with "I don't believe it", or even less intelligently, "I don't believe you". I still believe (!) that the only way to make people wake up and think is to present them with lots of things that are worth thinking about. Many people seem to wake up when there is no way they can remain in a comatose state without actually realizing that they have turned themselves off. It appears that the belief in the benefits of supposedly free software is remarkably resistant to independent thought. -- Erik Naggum, Oslo, Norway Act from reason, and failure makes you rethink and study harder. Act from faith, and failure makes you blame someone and push harder.