Subject: Re: Barriers to Lisp acceptance - a "survey" question
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: 1999/03/02
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Kent M Pitman <>
| You cut out the part of my discussion where I mentioned if it's not free
| it doesn't really address the issue.

  while I'm sure consumers want anything for free if they could get it, I'm
  a little concerned that people think there's business sense in providing
  all of these "necessities" for free.  you could argue increased sales and
  make such freebies into marketing vehicles, but you really can't argue
  that it's part of the standard and that vendors have to provide it.  in
  all this concern for user's needs, I frankly see much too little concern
  for whoever is _actually_ going to pay for them, given that the users are
  not even remotely interested in doing so.

  I'm probably among the old school of "free software" in that I respect
  that people will want to get paid for their efforts, that one has to
  expect to pay real money to develop software, and that it should cost
  money to have it supported, but that the _freedom_ of access to the
  source code should not therefore necessarily be reduced.  I do not think
  the drive for "free as in gratis software" is healthy, and I actually
  think that the more people demand from the vendors without giving them
  any sort of incentive to do fulfill their demands, the less willing they
  will be in fulfilling them.  catering to thankless, non-paying demanders
  is not good business.

  besides, it's not as if this is rocket science.  if you want it for free,
  I say: drum up the people who are willing to do it for free, license it
  so people can actually use it, and _chip_in_, don't just _demand_ that
  others do stuff for you.  programming is, after all, about bringing new
  stuff into existence that you see a need for.

  of course, I'm so happy that I don't _have_ to do a lot of work myself
  that I'm fully willing to pay for access to it.  I guess this makes me a
  heretic, because the people I tell this to have these weird ideas that
  I'm opposed to free software and "summarize" my position as "make, buy,
  or shut up".  apparently, the concept of creating something yourself to
  give it away is _completely_ foreign to these whining losers, and then I
  have even more reason to believe that they have no concept of how to make
  the vendors do what they think is a smart thing to do, namely create
  something they need and just give it to them.

  how hard _can_ it be to write, say, a de facto standard socket interface
  for Common Lisp and make implementations for all Common Lisps available
  to the Lisp community for free?  those who want it the most sound like
  it's an insult _not_ to provide them with something that trivial.

  in brief: if you think free software is so great, make sure it wins by
  actually making the effort to make it available to everybody.  meanwhile,
  I want to get paid well for my work.  my give-it-away-to-thankless-losers
  time is history, but I'm sure there's business sense to _some_ people to
  do all this stuff for free or you wouldn't demand it of others, right?
  nobody can be so egoistic and self-centered as to completely ignore what
  it takes to create something they want, can they?

  BTW, I think free software is wonderful, as long as it doesn't mean that
  people demand to get what I'm doing for them without compensating me, and
  I cannot in good conscience demand anything like that from others, either.

  yeah, I'd love to get everything for free, too, like great food, a socket
  interface, great new hardware, CORBA support, fast Internet connectivity,
  and of course entire Common Lisp systems, but I'm a little more realistic
  than to expect to be able to _demand_ it.  if somebody goes ahead and
  makes any of this stuff available for free, I'll be looking for attached
  strings and then I'll be happy if it's _actually_ free.  in practice,
  however, nothing is ever truly devoid of costs, and I sometimes prefer to
  pay money and get off the hook.  but that's just me, I guess.

  however, I seem to recall several important speeches on copyright issues
  for contributed stories to a "Lisp Lore Library" or something, and I fail
  to see how software doesn't incur the same conditions and concerns.