“… free as in ‘Freedom’….”

A consequence of diversity, as described by Matt Asay today:


The problem I have with free-software advocates like Richard Stallman is that they think freedom is the primary reason to use open-source software. It’s not. Utility is.

After all, we’re not talking about essential human rights here. We’re talking about getting work done with software.

Over the past 10 years I and the companies with which I’ve worked have sold hundreds of millions of dollars in open-source software/services. Not once have I been asked about “freedom.” For that matter, I’ve also never heard a customer gush about reduced vendor lock-in.

To the contrary, I’ve met with CIOs and CTOs who have explicitly told me that this isn’t a top consideration for them. Just last week, in fact, I moderated a panel at LinuxCon in which I asked senior IT executives from leading media companies if vendor lock-in is a primary motivation for using open source. Nope.

They have work to do. They want software that helps them get their work done and gets out of the way. That’s what open source does.

(Go to the original article to get the links Matt uses to document this section.)

The above will be spun by some as “Business is Anti-Freedom”, but I think a more apt description is “Different strokes for different folks”. People are seeking solutions to their own problems… their judgments may be very different than your own.

It’s finding ways to accommodate all those differences — developing multiple options to satisfy diverse needs — that’s a trickier problem than assuming everyone shares the same values.