The more things change, the more they stay the same. The most significant change that resulted from the Open Systems revolution was that users started demanding solutions that wouldn't restrict their freedom. What has remained the same is that companies doing business in the Open Systems market must still preserve competitive advantage and scalability through a business model they can leverage. The proprietary business model has made these two truths a paradox: the more freedom you provide, the less leverage you retain, thus weakening the business. At the same time, the market is saying that the less freedom you provide, the less your products will be in demand. The solution to this paradox, which requires a new software business model, can be found by analyzing the free market trends which are already at work.From Sourceware Solutions by Michael Tiemann, Cygnus Support.
The licenses for most software are designed to take away your freedom to share and change it. By contrast, the GNU General Public License is intended to guarantee your freedom to share and change free software--to make sure the software is free for all its users. This General Public License applies to most of the Free Software Foundation's software and to any other program whose authors commit to using it. (Some other Free Software Foundation software is covered by the GNU Library General Public License instead.) You can apply it to your programs, too.From the Preamble of the GNU GENERAL PUBLIC LICENSE. (But what is GNU? -- GNU's Not Unix!)
I was able to do all the developement work on my ProtoGen/HL7 project using not a single bit of proprietary software! Thanks to all the people working on the GNU project and on FreeBSD. You can help bringing the world wide free software project to success: Put your fine developement work under the GNU Copyright License. And let others participate in the support and further development of your Ideas.
Free BSD is a complete BSD Unix Operating System for your personal i86 computer. with anything that you expect from a Unix Platform plus the latest 4.4 BSD features from the Berkeley software kitchen, which is wellknown as the most innovative Unix contributor. Being alive since 1991 FreeBSD is a mature and stable operating system capable of handling serious work. The Official FreeBSD Home Page is at http://www.freebsd.org/
Warren Toomey in Australia also maintains BSD info pages which include the BSD FAQ and a hypertext version of the FreeBSD source code.
FreeBSD is not only free, it is also save to depend on it, since it is user supported software. Moreover, even in the next generation operating systems like Mach and GNU Hurd, you will find 4.4 BSD to be the Unix-like environment. Thus you will easily take the step to bring your software developments (and your complete working environment) up to the latest state of the art, when it is time. Mach based operating systems will be free software too. You are free not to depend on vendors and foundations who put the word Open in their name, but continue to produce proprietary and inflexible software. Don't blame vendors of proprietary software(1) -- switch!
Free software is cool, isn't it? But there is a dangerous development going on these days. Software patents in general and user interface copyrigt in particular are a serious danger to any software developing person or company who happens to be a bit smaller than IBM.
Even in Europe software patents will increasingly become a problem. While in Germany patents used to be granted only to technical solutions, (i.e. that involved some new hardware concepts), the GATT treaty will cause the American patent laws to take effect here as well. It is particularely important to realize that software patents do not have the effect to protect small software developers.
There is an inherent problem with a patenting system in the changed world: Just who can ever be sure that there isn't any programmer who implemented your Idea before? Just who does have oversight about the billions of genious ideas that are inside the thousands of *.tar.Z and *.ZIP files on the hundreds of FTP and HTTP servers on the world wide net? It is just impossible even for the eagerest patent authority personnel!
The League for Programming Freedom addresses this problem.
There is good reason to completely reconsider the world wide patent system. Not only software patents are a virulent development of an old system that is at least questionable to match the today's world. I mean patents on the use of genome fragments, which become equally dangerous to most of this worlds people. Will patent holders of western biochemical industry once be able to sue small farmers for growing plants that inherit patented genome? This field is to be carefully inverstigated. I will put some links to WWW Sites who have more knowledge about this particular problem here. If you know some more about this issue, please give me a hint.
Will we once have to pay license fees just for living?