RE: Why Aren't Open Source Tools Being Considered?

Subject: RE: Why Aren't Open Source Tools Being Considered?
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axion -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 20 Aug 2005 19:53:12 -0700

On Sat, 2005-08-20 at 22:11 -0400, Bonnie Granat wrote:

> Yes, that is where I started. But there is only a small article on FOSS.

But there are a number of links as well. Search for "free software" and
"open source" and you'll find a lot more.

Also, have a look at for open source and for free software.

> Do the people involved in this have other jobs and earn money some other way
> than working on this software?
> Is what they do considered "volunteer work," so that it is not a part of the
> economy in a dollar value sense?

Some do, some don't. A number of companies have found it worth their
while to employ people to work on FOSS projects full time. These
projects usually have some relation to the company's core business, but
the return is often very indirect, and is as much to do with generating
good will and favorable publicity than any monetary concern -- rather
like a company gaining a reputation for being environmentally

> Do the individuals in this endeavor want to have everything in society free?
> What am I missing here? Is the "profit motive" seen as something evil rather
> than a method of providing jobs for many people as well as providing for
> one's own personal needs?

The emphasis is on knowledge being free. If you think of the academic
ideal of free exchange of ideas, you'll be close to the outlook.

Opinions are all over the map, but I think it would be safe to say that
many FOSS people think that there are other things just as important
--or more important than the profit motive. Almost all of them would
consider the free exchange of ideas and and freedom of speach more
important than profit, for example

> I don't know why this has to be so mysterious.

I don't think that it is very mysterious. Rather, I think the problem is
that it is too simple. On encountering FOSS for the first time, many
people wonder what the catch is. Some refuse to believe that it isn't a
scam, or that there isn't a profit motive.

Really, FOSS is about the exchange of ideas, doing meaningful work, and
helping others by helping yourself. There isn't really much more to it.

Bruce Byfield 604-421-7177

"Navigator, navigator, rise up and be strong,
The morning is here and there's work to be done,
With your pick and your shovel and your old dynamite,
To shift a few tons of this earthly delight."
- The Pogues


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