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

Re: Another artist who programs chimes in....

Author:Mark A. Hershberger
Posted:8/25/2000; 11:55:35 AM
Topic:Next survey: Are you an open source developer?
Msg #:20226 (In response to 20151)
Prev/Next:20225 / 20227

Alas, nowadays, artists' support is under attack from all directions.

I'd have to disagree. I believe that how artists are supported is changing. They will be supported and the good ones will be supported for their creativity. The method that they receive their support will change, though.

Previously, if you wanted to enjoy advertisement-free music, you had to generally pay for the privilege. Sure, there is NPR and you can listen to the top 40 classical tunes all day long without commercials, but not everyone wants that. So they pay for a CD of music they like.

Similarly, if you want decent, easy-to-use software, you've had to pay in most cases, in the past. Sure, you can get Emacs and spend your life in it (like I practically do), but this is not for everyone and many people are willing to pay for Microsoft's Office so they can get their work done without hassle.

However, tools like Napster, Gnutella, MojoNation and others as well as GNOME and KDE are changing all of this. People can now listen to practically any music they want for free in a commercial-free environment. Gnome is beginning to enable them to accomplish the same work that they would have had to rely on proprietary tools to do.

Understandably, some musicians don't like Napster. Some programmers don't like Gnome and the GPL that enables its existence. However, the number of creative people who object to these forces of change pale in comparison with the number of users that will love what Napster, Gnome and the GPL do for them.

Yes, it is simple economics. If I can get a piece of software for $0 that does what I need, I'll use it. If I can listen to music I like without paying, I will. The GPL makes it legal. Napster makes it possible.

The world is changing whether you like it or not. It really doesn't matter how much you pit your rhetoric against the FSFs or how much you complain that Napster steals from you. Its happening. There is no way to turn back the clocks.

Since the Napster/GPL meteor has already hit, I'd guess that you are far better growing a furry coat and learning to thrive in the new environment than you are attempting to retain your dinosaur habits.

Happy Hacking,


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