Free software

8 02 2012

I tagged along a couple of my friends this afternoon to a talk on “free software” organized by Swecha. Didn’t have a clue about what it’s all about and was curious to get some idea about it and also may be meet some like-minded people. The sales pitch sounded as if the audience largely conglomerates professionals from software  and information technology. But alas! there was the first disappointment when I saw a huge crowd of college students and practically no one else around. Waited a considerable time for the chief speaker to come and then started the verbal assault of the proprietary software and the people behind it.

The crux is – People behind the proprietary software are committing a sin by restricting the freedom of users in the form of licenses. Thus using proprietary software is a sin.

Within minutes into his speech,  I realize that he is preaching “software communism” . Propaganda is what he is doing, trying to influence the young minds.

I was both shocked and amused by this realization. The audacity to propagate communist ideas, that too about “software”, which is not a basic necessity or primary need, in a democratic country seemed both courageous and preposterous. When almost everything is business here – food, health, education, water, and more – a condition which majority of people have accepted in general, I doubt the fruitfulness of trying to instill red thoughts in people about “software”, which doesn’t really affect day-to-day life as much as many others. But of course from the perspective of the advocates, their effort, despite being just a drop in an ocean, is definitely a step towards their dream destination. And all the left political groups in our country are in the similar pursuit.

Achieving this mindset in a nation is tough enough. But when it comes to “software”, it’s extent of reach doesn’t confine to any one particular nation. In effect, these Swecha people may be trying to bring “awareness” among the users throughout the world in the hope that if they reject or refrain from using proprietary software, that will teach the software capitalists a lesson. The question is, will it work? Any takers here?

The more basic question is – does communism work? I have little knowledge about the actual conditions in the communist areas, but I have a feeling that it’s not exactly a haven as it is being promised to be. I strongly believe that whatever the “ism”, prosperity and happiness result when each one of the citizens feel responsible for the others and the nation. Everything else just follows. However, I believe that I would be better able to comment once I acquire reasonably adequate knowledge about both the isms.

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5 responses

9 02 2012
Haritha

Opensource software can not beat proprietary software when it comes to reliability and technical support. No organization would consider a complete opensource model for it’s IT infrastructure. Some supportive softwares they may use opensource ones but the critical apsects of infrastructure is mostly proprietary software. Popular steps towards adopting opensource, as far as I know, are: adopting Red Hat Linux, using open source databases like PostgreSQL and server software provided by Apache software foundation. While Red hat linux is open source, it provides technical support. I am interested in opensource only as student. Open source kinda sounds like lok pal bill, does n’t it?

10 02 2012
Sashank Bhogu

propritary software vendors are committed to their customer / needs of the market – this is their driving force which in turn shows up in their revenues. Hence, manage to get the best minds to work for them. In India, it is taken for granted that you don’t have to purchase windows. Piracy rocks! Whether it is free or propietary software… everything is the same here.

In relation to these facts, it is amazing to see open source community catching up with the proprietary guys and and also to see the range of softwares created by them.

10 02 2012
sireeshaavvari

I’m not against open source software. The only thing is I was appalled by the speaker labeling proprietary software as sin. I believe that is truly uncalled for if their mission is only to promote open source software.

31 03 2012
Deepu

Sid, I absolutely love your post, this one!
Your observations are succinct and the choice of words are just elegant – proud of you vai.

About the subject of the post, my take is that no body is forcing anybody to buy a particular software. Those who want to reap rewards and make money are free to risk and invest their time/effort/money/resources to create their own software – its their right. And if people want a software and have problems in paying for one, they are free to create their own from scratch – its their right.

One can’t wage war just because they want every thing freely – sorry but it won’t work that way.

31 03 2012
sireeshaavvari

Thanks Sam! Your words always mean a lot to me.

Your perspective was well-put.

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