open source vs. constructionist learning

Ismael Luceno ismael.luceno at
Tue Apr 13 05:42:08 EDT 2010

El Tue, 13 Apr 2010 17:06:04 +0800
Carlos Nazareno <object404 at> escribió:
> Some developers need to put food on the table and feed themselves and
> their family.
> Do you think that's evil?

As long as they distribute their software as free software, it's a good
thing. Distributing non-free software is evil.

There's no reason to do privative software. If my employer started to
do something like that I would immediately quit and find another job.

But, even if you can't find a company that agrees with the free
software philosophy, doing software for internal use only isn't
something bad, and many companies need such software.

> Do you think that it's fair that the legendary genius Sean T. Cooper
> who made at
> Bullfrog who's now making a humble living as an indie Flash game
> developer ( is forced to give away
> for free to everyone his isometric game engine that he's selling
> ( which he worked on for
> over a decade? He's already freely giving to everyone via tutorials &
> free as in beer games to enjoy, but must you take away his livelihood?

Why making his work free software would make him poor? :S

In fact, what prevents him from selling his engine if it were free
software? He would make much more money...

> About code/apps as art: can't you respect the artistic wishes of an
> artist? Is it evil for a magician to keep secret the tricks of his
> trade?

There's a huge difference between performance of an art and the

But, back to the problem, you could solve it by simply releasing the
artwork under a different license (e.g. CC-BY-ND). But the code itself
should be free software.

> How about this: provide the sourcecode/files for private review to the
> governing body (like the OLPC dev team or organizers of local
> deployments) to make sure it doesn't contain malware, backdoors, etc
> and plays nice with the system, but not open to the whole world
> because it can also be exploited for the wrong reasons (hacking, kid
> cheating without learning (my multiple choice math puzzle example)) or
> prevent the author from feeding himself?

Not general enough, and anyway why should the children trust OLPC?
Why should I trust OLPC? I want to see it myself.

BTW, you should re-read my previous e-mail, there are more reasons.

Hacking/cheating would never be a problem we should care about, same
can be done with the binary.

> Or maybe for the author to give his utmost assurance that the software
> contains no malware if he/she is unable to legally give reveal the
> sourcecode or if it will truly impair his ability to feed and clothe
> himself and his family.
> Is that acceptable?

I don't see how releasing the code under acceptable terms (i.e. free
software license) would make the author starve.

But if he doesn't desires to do so, he could keep it in his HDD, nobody
would use it... is that better?

> This is a hypothetical situation, but what if none of you guys or the
> kids speak the language the program was written in?

Then we could learn it! that's fun :D.

> What if the app was written in ?
> Aside from the admiration of the sheer craftsmanship and awesome
> display of a true work of horror, what good is it to anyone who wants
> to patch and improve the software?

You're torturing your own argument.

> -----
> What I think is evil is people who freely take other peoples' work and
> not give anything back in return, use it for good/productively, give
> credit or contribute to the community. For example, pirates and
> black-hat hackers who do it for profit and not for reasons of limited
> finances or without the intention of giving back something in return
> when they have the opportunity to do so later on.

Yep, that's another kind of evil, but I don't feel affected by it...

Except perhaps pirates, if I had a ship it would be a huge problem.

But I don't see how that relates to our discussion, you get
improvements and more software in return...

Anyway, we should teach child what is good, and free software is the
only answer.

Ismael Luceno
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