Wow. So GNU/Linux is just another product to some people. I find that concerning. Torvalds didn’t write it to be a product, Stallman didn’t write the compiler to be a product, and I don’t think the KDE or GNOME folks did it for that reason either. I know I certainly don’t hack to make a product that others can sell while they marginalize my motives. I don’t mind if folks make money, but the very idea that they feel okay with bundling proprietary software with what was supposed to be a system with complete freedom does bother me greatly.
You can marginalize me by pointing out practicalities and hypocrisies, and that’s all fine and dandy. People are monetizing something that they didn’t even participate in making–short of packaging it–and they’re not even paying lipservice to the freedom that it is supposed to represent. It’s not that they ignore it even, it’s that they actively suppress the ideas that founded GNU/Linux and made it great. The concept of Open Source is one with origins in businesses trying to do just this. They wanted to distance themselves from the political and social motivation behind free software, so they couldn’t very well call it free software… so they focused on source code and call it Open Source. It’s not a development methodology, it’s a means of viewpoint discrimination and suppression of ideas that they don’t agree with.
To Redhat and Novell, there is something wrong with you. Your ethics are questionable and you need to seriously reconsider how you’re using software written for social benefit for your personal financial gain. Stop enabling the subjugation of users.
To Canonical, thank you for your mission statement but be very careful with this Linspire deal. Linspire is a proprietary software company that just happens to distribute Free software. They think nothing of distributing proprietary software that exploits users and restricts freedom. I know there’s a lot of money in those revenue shares, but is it worth subjugating Ubuntu users to these proprietary software vendors?
To the open source people, quit taking the work of those who are making software for the purposes of freedom and ignoring their opinions. As much as people like to marginalize Stallman, the guy did coordinate and write the vast majority of the GNU/Linux system. cp, ls, mv, less, emacs, gcc, ld, ar, tar, gzip, grep, gawk, ed, all of these things are GNU programs. Stallman wrote many of them himself. This isn’t open source, this is free software, and it’s worth mentioning the difference.
It is possible to have a company sell Free software responsibly. We need to make sure that in our efforts of commerce that we continue to respect freedom. Thanks for reading my rant. Feel free to flame.