Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.


Author:Brett Glass
Posted:8/24/2000; 1:32:46 PM
Topic:Next survey: Are you an open source developer?
Msg #:20117 (In response to 20104)
Prev/Next:20116 / 20118

GPLed software is not part of a "free market." In fact, its stated purpose is to destroy the free market, preventing you from buying an alternative product at any price -- be it $9.95 or $250.00 or anywhere in between.

If $250.00 is too much to ask for a particular product, a free market will let the vendor know by declining to buy until the price is reduced to what a buyer is willing to pay. But the GPL undermines this natural free market process by undercutting the product even if it is a good value for the money. It's virtually impossible to compete with "free" -- even if your product is better and aggressively priced. All that is necessary to destroy the market is for the free product to be "good enough" for the average user.

Also, there is no guarantee that GPLed software will be updated or supported. Most GPLed products languish and are not further developed as soon as they become "good enough." (A good example is GNU Emacs, on which development has stopped. Another is GCC, which is not as good as many of the commercial compilers which it has driven from the market.)

It is unethical to destroy free markets and worthy businesses via predatory practices, which is what the GPL does. The GPL does not meet the criteria for an "open source" license and should not be considered to be a legitimate one.

--Brett Glass

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