Re: [rumori] free

From: Every Man (
Date: Thu Feb 01 2001 - 08:58:49 PST

On Thu, 01 February 2001, Steev Hise wrote:
> 1 Feb 2001 found Every Man writing:
> ->I just elect not to complain since I'm getting my money's worth.
> you elected not to but also attempted to discourage others
> from complaining.

I did? I didn't mean to do that. I just thought I was
expressing why I, myself, didn't feel the need to complain.
My follow up email should have made that more evident with
the line "this is MY idiotic opinion."

I feel you've read too much into that, because I never felt
as though I was encouraging the idea that free software must
suck. It has been my personal experience that free software
tends to not have adequate technical support, and when there is
a shareware version, it always seems to be an improved version
of the freeware app. However, the freeware apps don't necessarily

For instance, where I work...if our software doesn't have a 1800
number we could call for application specific assistance, we
won't use it. People's lives indirectly depend on the software we
use here, we MUST have immediate tech support. For at home, for
my word processor and mp3 streaming software and such...freeware
apps are safer, because immediate tech support isn't as important.
I like being able to ask someone for help, that's a fine option.
I have plenty of freeware whose programmers won't reply to my
messages. I'm sure everyone has had similar experiences with
shareware apps, too, but at work that's never been a problem. I
might be on hold for 20 minutes, but oh well.

Again, I'm not trying to imply that freeware "sucks." Some of it
is amazingly well written. At home I have a version of linux running
on a PC which hasn't required a reboot in many months! That's
stability, my friends, but I wouldn't recommend my mom and dad to
run soon as a problem occurs, they wouldn't know what to do.
It's not as straightforward as, say, Mac OS 9 which costs money.
I know it's improving, it's getting better, and so on...but the
freeware needs to be user-friendly AND bug-free. If it gets to that
point, how do software vendors make their money? I've been asked
this by many friends, and I don't have much of an answer...short of
what RedHat does...selling CD's if you want them, but you can
download for free.

> my point is that that kind of thinking is
> counterproductive. encouraging the idea that free software
> must neccesarily suck and nonfree software is better is
> wrong and destructive. the entire infrastructure of the
> internet is based on free software. the entire open source
> movement is based on the idea that free software is BETTER.
> the way that free software gets better is by having lots of
> people look at it and find problems and report them (i.e.
> "complain").
> As Eric Raymond said in his famous "The Cathedral and the
> Bazaar" paper: ``Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are
> shallow''
> (
> )
> I agree that when a company has a proprietary, for-money
> product and they release a free version it will probably be
> worse than the regular version, but this is due to the
> greed of the particular company, not the nature of software.
> but this started with a discussion of napster and there is
> no non-free napster yet. or with, for example Apache, the
> most popular web server software in the world, which got so
> good and so popular because a bunch of geeks looked at the
> free server written by the National Center of Supercomputing
> Applications and they said, hey there's some problems with
> this. the NCSA couldnt keep up with all the problems people
> were finding. eventually they said, nah, we arent going to
> maintain this anymore. so the geeks started patching the
> code themselves. they didnt say "oh it's free so to hell
> with it." more and more people thought of ways to make it
> better, and it got better and better and turned into the
> Apache project ( ). If it werent for them the
> world would be probably be running all on Microsoft web
> servers and the slow pages you just mentioned would be even
> slower and we'd all be fucked.
> I could go on and on with more examples but everyone's
> probably tired waiting for this message to download.
> smh
> Steev Hise, Wannabe Has-Been
> -----------------------------------------------------------------
> "Cyberspace is spooky."
> -Kurt Vonnegut
> -----------------------------------------------------------------
> ----------------------------------------------------
> Rumori, the Discussion List
> to unsubscribe, send mail to
> with "unsubscribe rumori" in the message body.
> ----------------------------------------------------
> Rumori list archives & other information are at
> ----------------------------------------------------

Rumori, the Discussion List
to unsubscribe, send mail to
with "unsubscribe rumori" in the message body.
Rumori list archives & other information are at

Home | Detrivores | Rhizome | Archive | Projects | Contact | Help | Text Index

[an error occurred while processing this directive] N© Sharerights extended to all.