open source vs. constructionist learning

Richard Dobson richarddobson at
Tue Apr 13 06:22:26 EDT 2010

On 13/04/2010 10:42, Ismael Luceno wrote:
> 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.

How evil? Scale of 1 to 10: compared to what other evil things?

> 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.

Lucky you. You have an employer. Not everyone is so fortunate.

> 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...

RUBBISH. If people can get stuff without paying, they won't pay. I have 
a Paypal "donate" button on one of my web pages for people to use who 
are making a lot of use (including commercial/industrial) of some tools 
I am giving away free (and which indeed may well become OSS in due 
course - depends on something outside my control). It has yet to be 
taken up. I do not see that releasing the source will suddenly make 
users feel supportive enough to start making any donation at all. QED.

>> 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
> software.

You don't have the right to make such an assertion. That's called 
fascism. Only the author has the right to make such a determination.

I am on the verge of giving up on giving away software (I have given 
away quite a lot; some is in OLPC) - because I am broke. I literally 
cannot afford to commit time to it. And seeing people in the privileged 
position of being in employment accuse people such as me of being in any 
way evil discourages me from making any contribution at all. Why should 
I bother? I cannot pay my rent using the "gratitude of the community"!

Richard Dobson

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