Defending the four freedoms of the GPL on Windows
The article starts out well reminding people of what the four freedoms of the GPL are, but looses focus at the end with a "I don't like paying for software".
I like paying for software, ease of use, support and training. I like this, because by parting with some of my money I support the development team, the marketing team and so on - I keep them in business. I want to keep them in business, because my business depends on what they make.
Now, if my business stops depending upon further development, support, ease of use and training, I would like to be free. I would like to say no to upgrades. I would like to disengage from the product maker until I need them again.
A parallell: If my car needs service, I would like to pick the mechanic myself at any time I like. I would like spare parts to be available until I die if I'm not fed up with the old heap.
Proprietary vendors like Microsoft doesn't let me do that. I must upgrade regularly, otherwise my business documents will be impossible to exchange with others. Why can't Word2 read the document format of Word XP? Is it a law against that? It is a business strategi, but not a very nice one. I understand that it might be difficult incorporate special new features without substantial rewrites, but surely a simple letter...
This is what the four freedoms are about, as I see them. I get choose who the mechanic is at any time I like. If the software is in a lingo long forgotten it is more expensive to figure it out, but it is legal and it is possible. Nobody will come and call you, a tax paying citizen a pirate. A PIRATE - the rudeness of these people is beyond compare! I don't know which schools these people went to, but I for one will never send my children to such a dismal institution. A REAL pirate KILLS people, RAPES people, and STEAL their belongings afterwords. I've met boat refugees who have come up against real pirates several times on their way to safety, listened to their stories, and unsolicited copying is NOT piracy.
My business needs are such that I don't need a new office suite every year. Quite frankly, what I need is - you know - a thingy - that does that special thing which scratches that itch. That interoperability with my accountancy package, and that old printer with the really wide paper, which the original vendor doesn't support anymore because its chasing some new operating system with new printer models. There is nothing wrong with the old printer, its just not fashionable anymore. Maybe, just maybe, in a free software world, there might have been a mechanic.
Linux is just a kernel, so is the Hurd, they are means to the end called operating system, like the kernel in Microsoft's Windows. The difference is in the freedom, not the price. That copyrighted freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0). The freedom to study how the program works, and adapt it to your needs (freedom 1). The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2). The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements to the public, so that the whole community benefits. (freedom 3). While making money to live for, because the community around you understands your needs for food and shelter.
Should free software be built for Microsoft Windows or any other proprietary operating system? Personally, I will never, ever do that. I don't know how. If I did know how, I would still not have done that, but I wouldn't stop someone else from doing so either. I'm free to do what I like, and so are you. You don't need anyones permission. Well, perhaps except Microsoft's. They don't like free software, because they don't like freedom - your freedom. "Gates" says it all really - closed gates.