[Ilugc] Laments - Followup..
- From: oiron@xxxxxxxx (T.R.Shashwath)
- Date: 26 Mar 2004 21:51:43 +0530
Free does not necessarily mean price. the 'free' in Free Software
refers to "Freedom". Many free / open source software are available
for a price. This does not mean that you cannot view / modify /
redistribute its source.
I only want clarification on this point you have made.
I have often wondered, how, under the GPL/LGPL, a software can be both
open-source AND priced.
I thought, if Company-A gave away software source code, and allowed anybody
to view/modify/redistribute, then, it would be immediately infinitely easy
for Company-B to push Company-A out of the market, by just modifying the
source notionally, and selling it for a lesser price. And, this vicious
circle would end up with the price becoming Zero Rupees / Dollars
(Interesting, Zero is the same in any currency!!!).
Or, am I missing some very important, but subtle, legal point here?
It's not such a negative loop, as you would think. The key here is the
service aspect of the whole thing. This is how RedHat, SuSE and others
make their money.
First of all, there's quality assurance. I can download all the packages
needed and build an Linux from Scratch system, or (as I have done) a
Gentoo system. But will that be enough for a corporate, or an end user
who just wants things to work the best they can? Companies provide this
QA, by testing packages, and making sure they work. You pay for quality.
Second, there's customer care. Again, this is more important for the end
user and the corporate, who want good answers and want them yesterday.
And companies can provide that, without the standard RTFM response. You
pay for after sales service.
Finally, there's value addition. If you want, you can buy a RedHat boxed
set, with 5 CDs (I think), and three or four manuals, as well as free
support for a fixed period of time (1 year?), and so on.
The question could very easily be, "Why not build your own car, instead
of paying more to buy one?" and you can see how that seems ridiculous...
I hope that clears it up a bit!
May the Source be with you!
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