[quote=177991:@Alwyn Bester]Free software definitely has an impact on the market, especially for Indie developers.
I’m curious, what are your thoughts on open source Michel?
There are lots of open source and open specifications that adds a lot of value, but also contributes to the idea that things must be free. OpenGL is a good example.[/quote]
I tried to give an historical perspective, since all too often opinions quickly turn into either or, trying to make payed software evil and freeware angelic, or the other way around. Nothing is intrinsically evil. It is very important not to let oneself be blinded by preconceptions. I am still a shareware author, but I know this way of selling software is quickly becoming a thing of the past. Consumers today have zero or little education, very little regard for boy scout cookies or other “honor system”, and absolutely no loyalty whatsoever. Plus an attention span akin to the proverbial golden fish. The only way to survive is to find the gimmick that will draw attention and sell on big distribution channels like the MAS or the iOS App Store. Long is past the boxed software era when I had to pay thousands CompUSA to get my foot wide space on the shel for a month. Today shelves are virtual, but the ransom is still here : no exposure is ever free in the enchanted world of Internet 3.00.
We all practice open source at one point or another, posting snippets or full classes, or making them available through repositories. We all contribute free software now an then, often when the cycle of a program has ended, but not necessarilly. Open source and free software is just the natural sweat of programmers who need to share what they have found, and which may not necessarily fit in the commercial circuit.
To me, Open Source is very much the equivalent to other scientific research. Fundamental science is open source by nature. Researchers exchange data and concepts freely. Often enough, research is a university thing, and computer open source follows the same rule.
Now where it gets thorny is what you do with Open Soure. At the risk of hearing screams, may I point to Mac OS X and iOS built atop an Open Source Unix foundation ? May I say that the number one OS today called Android sits on open source Linux ? Apple is the most profitable company on earth. When big laboratories produce generic medication based on open research, turn around and rake huge profits, it does not seem to shock much.
To me, Open Source is mainly a geek thing, ingrained in research. As such, it is boon of insipration that most programmers enjoy. But it is impossible to separate it from politics. Some people simply think that commercial software is evil and should simply disappear. That reflects in some of the leonine open source license terms. Not even a penny finds grace in the eyes of the free software ayatollahs. So we end up with open source programs that in practice cannot be used in anything commercial.
Such an attitude IMHO is just another not so bright way of stiffling innovation. Well and good a twisted geek gave birth to a freeware baby and forbid any kind new development based on it if any money is exchanged. I wonder how that guy lives. Actually I don’t. When looking closer, one will quickly find out he got supported by his parents, or paid by the university, so he can afford the luxury of being intransigent about free.
Other people, fortunately, are not so biggoted. A lot of people who placed their code in publicly available repositories, most noticeably on SourceForge or Github, contribute to the general wealth of the software industry. And that is great.
Fact is like any software industry, computer programs as a business are just like music : many candidates, very few make it big. The rest survive on their enthusiasm.
I have made mine a Lao Tzu idiom a while ago : He who knows he has enough is rich. "
I never made millions selling my software. But I have made enough to pay the rent for quite a while. And that makes me fortunate.