Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Is It Ever a Good Thing to Use a Nonfree Program?

Filed under
OSS

If you run a nonfree program on your computer, it denies your freedom; the main one harmed is you. Your usage of it can harm others indirectly, by encouraging development of that nonfree program. If you make a promise not to redistribute the program to others, you do wrong, because breaking such a promise is bad and keeping it is worse. Still, the main direct harm is to you.

It is even worse if you recommend that others run the nonfree program, or lead them to do so. When you do that, you're leading them to give up their freedom. Thus, what we should avoid most firmly is leading or encouraging others to run nonfree software. (Where the program uses a secret protocol for communication, as in the case of Skype, your own use of it pressures others to use it too, so it is especially important to reject any use of these programs.)

But there is one special case where using some nonfree software, and even urging others to use it, can be a positive thing. That's when the use of the nonfree software aims directly at putting an end to the use of that very same nonfree software.

rest here




More in Tux Machines

Raspberry Pi powered juggling performance

Flashing pins are spinning tens of feet into the air on a pitch dark stage. It's a juggling performance. All of the pins are perfectly synchronized to flash different colors in time to the music. It's part of the magic of theater and a special night out with friends to enjoy a distraction from daily life. Part of the magic—and why it's called magic—is that the audience doesn't know how these secrets are made backstage. Read more

Munich Reversal Turnaround, Linus on the Desktop, and Red Hat Time Protocol

Monday we reported that Munich was throwing in the Linux towel, but today we find that may not be exactly the case. In other news, Linus Torvalds today said he still wants the desktop. There are lots of other LinuxCon links and a few gaming posts to highlight. And finally today, Red Hat's Eric Dube explains RHEL 7's new time protocol. Read more

NHS open-source Spine 2 platform to go live next week

Last year, the NHS said open source would be a key feature of the new approach to healthcare IT. It hopes embracing open source will both cut the upfront costs of implementing new IT systems and take advantage of using the best brains from different areas of healthcare to develop collaborative solutions. Meyer said the Spine switchover team has “picked up the gauntlet around open-source software”. The HSCIC and BJSS have collaborated to build the core services of Spine 2, such as electronic prescriptions and care records, “in a series of iterative developments”. Read more

What the Linux Foundation Does for Linux

Jim Zemlin, the executive director of the Linux Foundation, talks about Linux a lot. During his keynote at the LinuxCon USA event here, Zemlin noted that it's often difficult for him to come up with new material for talking about the state of Linux at this point. Every year at LinuxCon, Zemlin delivers his State of Linux address, but this time he took a different approach. Zemlin detailed what he actually does and how the Linux Foundation works to advance the state of Linux. Fundamentally it's all about enabling the open source collaboration model for software development. "We are seeing a shift now where the majority of code in any product or service is going to be open source," Zemlin said. Zemlin added that open source is the new Pareto Principle for software development, where 80 percent of software code is open source. The nature of collaborative development itself has changed in recent years. For years the software collaboration was achieved mostly through standards organizations. Read more